Every woman needs a good blazer in her wardrobe, especially for workwear. From borrowing a shirt from the men’s wardrobe to the rise of boxier, unisex silhouettes, menswear has long influenced women’s fashion. But perhaps, the first instance of this amalgamation can be traced to the humble blazer.
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This wardrobe staple has its origins traced back to Jack Carlson, author of Rowing Blazer, who claimed that the label was first coined in 1952 after rowers from the Cambridge and Oxford boating clubs wore them during practice and races. Not only did the blazer keep them warm and shield them from frigid winds, the brightly coloured jackets also helped supporters identify which team the rowers belonged to.
Regardless how the blazer came to be, the jacket slowly trickled down to the masses and into womenswear—through the preppy, collegiate crowd of the Ivy League schools and Teddy Boys subculture youths in 1950s Britain, to the postwar signature tweed suits by Coco Chanel, who sought to redefine notions of femininity with this menswear-inspired silhouette that differed from the feminine, hourglass silhouettes of Christian Dior’s New Look.
Since then, the tailored fit of the blazer has been synonymous with propriety and respectability, and can be seen as the uniform of salaried workers in industries that require decorum and proper, professional dressing. These days, it’s also an instant remedy to your outfit, due to its amazing transformative ability to instantly dress up even the most laid-back ensemble.
Whether you’re dressing for brunch or for work, or prefer single or double-breasted, cropped or longline pieces, here are 12 of our favourites to get you stylish and ready to conquer any social situation.
Text: Debby Kwong/CLEO / Additional reporting: Aaron Kok