Blake London Blog

Menswear 101: Perfect Blue Blazer

On the subject of the blue blazer, a wise man once said "Aside from manual labour, it's hard to think of an activity for which one of these is inappropriate". Today we'll be looking at this style-critical matter in forensic detail and deconstructing some expert stances. Think of it as Menswear 101. 

First, a short primer.

If you want a grown-up, flexible wardrobe that will enable you to look well put-together in a variety of situations, a blue blazer should be at the very top of your acquisition list. So you need one. In fact you need two:

 

  • A sharp, structured number for formal and business occasions
  • A more casual unstructured alternative that's easy to wear every day.

Structure refers to how the jacket is fabricated. Structured jackets contain a canvas, shoulder padding and other elements which define their shape. The Blake Blue Textured blazer is highly structured which gives it a very smart but quite traditional look. By contrast the Blake Dark Camo is completely unstructured - it has shape but that shape isn't supported by any internal elements so the fit is inherently softer and less formal.

The most interesting looks are usually created by contrasting a structured blazer with more casual fabrics and vice versa. It's a relatively easy thing to do but needs to be executed with an eye for detail. Get the combination right and you have the holy grail of menswear - simple and masculine but with enough flair to make you stand out.

Let's break it down:


If you're going to team a blazer/shirt/tie combo with jeans you need to avoid looking like you've had your top and bottom half cut and pasted together. The secret to this is ensuring that the silhouette of the jacket and trousers matches. Here a slim-fit blazer and dark jeans with polished dress shoes looks like a confident choice rather than a lack of wardrobe options.
Picture: mrporter.com



Hirofumi Kurino from United Arrows usually puts on a masterclass and here he's contrasting a sharp, structured navy jacket (actually part of a two-piece suit) with a very relaxed cotton shirt and blue knit tie. The dressy woven leather belt adds a bit of luxury.
Picture: thesartorialist.com



Neither seersucker or Jason Donovans usually make for a good look in my opinion, so the chances of pulling them off together should be low to negligible. Surprisingly, this parody of a 3-piece suit works because all the elements are in harmony. The jacket and white dress shirt are left unironed and slightly dishevelled so the contrast with the jeans isn't too extreme. The relaxed fit of the seersucker waistcoat and restrained blue/white colour palette help pull it all together and avoid it becoming costume-y. The gold buttons add a nice accent.
Picture: tsbmen.com



The elements of this smart but slightly dressed-down look are simple but it's easy to go to far and end up just looking scruffy. It's an American style - you don't see many British guys pulling this off. Structured jacket, textured wool tie in a neutral colour, button-down shirt with the top and collar buttons undone, neutral trousers (not chinos) with a tab waistband. Notice that although it's got a casual edge, all the clothes are pressed and the addition of a folded pocket square keep things looking smart. Will easily take you from the office to evening drinks or a date.
Picture: tsbmen.com


A very soft, completely unstructured blazer is teamed up with a double-cuff dress shirt to epic effect. The secret here is that the dress shirt is also in a soft cotton and left unpressed so it's got an easy look that complements the jacket. This is Daniel Craig BTW in case you didn't recognise him from the nose down. I love the look of this overdyed cotton, I'm definitely going to make myself one like this for Summer.



The inevitable Nick Wooster shot. Ultra simple: blue blazer, blue oxford shirt, white jeans - it's all in the fit and details. Slim-fit blazer, contrast stitched buttonholes and piping, belt buckle matches blazer buttons.



Simple but accomplished. A textured Isaia blazer over a denim shirt flips round the soft/sharp combination in picture 2. Although the shirt is denim it's sharply pressed to contrast with the soft, unstructured blazer. A standard dress shirt wouldn't have been anything like as interesting.



A beautiful double-breasted blazer is brought to life with discreet but highly effective scarf and pocket square deployment. These kind of wardrobe skills renders analysis redundant. Just watch and learn. Picture: thesartorialist.com

Images are credited where I know the source, if I've used one of yours and not credited correctly please let me know.

Vintage? No. Mad.

 

Don...

Blake...

Got a shock on the tube the other morning. Opened the paper to see Mad Men's Don Draper wearing a jacket with an almost identical weave to my design for the Blake Vintage Check. Same alternating houndstooth pattern in ecru and black (very unusual), same big, red overcheck. Similar lapel width even. Spooky.

The Vintage Check pattern is more reserved in style - naturally, coming from this side of the pond - but shares Don's go-getting panache minus the ennui and inner demons. So if you want to represent like Don but it in a slightly more British way, go Vintage.

 

IDOL mag

Blake featured in IDOL magazine. Super! Dapper!

While you're there, also a nice interview with Ben Whishaw, currently one of Blake's favourite actors. We'd love to get him into some of our threads. Anyone know him?

 

Good Friday Fassbender Style

Spring may be approaching but it's still f**king freezing outside. Under these circumstances the well dressed man should be ready for scarf-deployment at a moments notice.

So in time for your Good Friday here's a style recommendation courtesy of 'Big' Mike Fassbender. Much to admire about Fassbender in Shame - acting chops, ability to urinate on demand etc. - but particularly drawn to his outerwear stylings as both masculine and creative.

Take this double-textured stance for example. Achieve a similar look in Blake Vintage Check and matching scarf, pocket square and vintage tie pin (scarf and pocket square available on request - email me).

Steve McQueen new* a thing or two about tweed

It's a bright but cold spring morning and you have places to go, people to see. McQ knew that the optimum garment for checking off your to-do list under these circumstances was a tweed blazer. Exhibits A through to C are a masterclass in nonchalant, masculine, textured outerwearing.

Steve had to put up with a boxy fit, cardboard-stiff old school tweed and the lack of a NASA developed technical solution to keep him cool. But then he was Steve McQueen.

Can we suggest you invest in something that has the same timeless qualities but with some 21st Century benefits?

*21st Century = new/knew. Get it?

 

White pants in winter

White trousers in winter - it's a strong look IMHO (the use of 'pants' in the title is in deference to the growing number of international visitors to the site. Hello Uzbekistan!)

Seen here, our boy Tom Lawton matching some white Acne strides with a Blake Vintage Check on a decidedly overcast day. As long as it's not raining or damp underfoot it's no less practical* than on a summers day and it adds a bracing note to what can otherwise be a dreary outing. Try it, yeah?

*If you're going to wear white, you're going to be friends with the washing machine/cleaners. Get with the programme.

 

Owen Valentine Pringle interview

The latest Creative Heads is with Owen Valentine Pringle, formerly Director of Digital Communications at Amnesty International. 

As well as being super-smart chap with the responsibility of empowering Amnesty's supporters to fight human rights abuses around the world, he also looks double-good in a Blake Blue Textured Blazer.

> Read Creative Heads with Owen Pringle

Le style de Barât et Biolay

Endured a fluey and hungover trip out of Paris this week on the Eurostar (which I normally rather like to be fair). Cheered up by the cover story in the in-flight (on-rail?) magazine which is a two-hander with Carl Barât and Benjamin Biolay.






The interview's OK but the main event is the styling, with B & B channelling some full-on Gainesbourgian Tailoring Louche vibes. Mostly Kooples I think which is pretty much my favourite thing on the High St at the moment. This is (probably) a clue to where Blake is going for Series 2 with softer shouldered, deconstructed jackets teamed with silk scarves/pocket squares. Also, printed fabrics for the jackets.





Biolay is Blake's new man-crush FYI. Not only has he fathered a child with the daughter of Marcello Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve, it's apparently an open secret in France that he was schtupping Carla Bruni, the then-First Lady. Respect. His new album's not bad either.