Last year, we received a lot of feedback asking us to create more work appropriate styles. Think sleeved tops and tailored pants. Introducing: the Oversized Blazer, our latest work-appropriate addition to our range.
Beginnings of the Blazer
The blazer was first coined by the Lady Margaret Rowing Club, the rowing club of St. John’s College in Cambridge in the early 1800s. The Lady Margaret Club jackets were termed ‘blazers’ because of the bright red cloth that the rowing club used. These jackets were also worn to protect the wearer from the rain and cold, similar to the modern day windbreaker.
Fun fact: this rich history of the blazer is precisely why our Oversized Blazer is handwoven in a bright red colour-way, we wanted to pay homage to the look of the very first blazer ever produced.
A Symbol of Empowerment
Since its invention in the 20th century, the blazer has widely remained a closet staple for both men and women, enjoying brief explosions of popularity over the decades.
One example of this came with the invention of the Chanel suit in the 1920s. With more and more women joining the workforce during and after the war, there was a high demand for a suit created which allowed a woman to have a modern, feminine appearance, while still being comfortable and practical enough to walk around in. The popularity of the Chanel suit served as one of the very first times a blazer was used as a symbol for empowerment, as it was designed so that a women could essentially ‘fit in’ and be taken seriously in a male dominated workplace.
From the 1940s onward, the blazer became a symbol of female empowerment in a variety of different social circles. During World War II, the Mexican American woman zoot suiter, or pachuca, came into prominence in California and the Southwest. Mostly consisting of second-generation Mexican-Americans, pachucas wore their blazers in a baggy fashion despite war rations of cloth. By wearing these suits, these women openly challenged conventional norms of beauty and sexuality, and rejected the idea that women could be just wives and mothers.
Of course, this would not be a complete history of the blazer without mentioning the explosive popularity of the “power suit” in the 1980s. With its jutting shoulder pads, decorative buttons, and bright colours that defined the 80s, the blazer enjoyed an explosive popularity amongst working women in the office. The 80s was also the first time that women’s suits were not merely feminised imitations of men’s professional garments but a suit different in fabric, cut, colour and ornament, which helped women to show both their authority and their femininity.
The Modern Oversized Blazer
Since the 1980s, the popularity of the blazer has gone through a relatively quiet period, with it simply becoming a rather generic office wear staple. However, it can be said that oversized blazers are also becoming more and more popular due to the rising trend in thrifting, as many (understandably) find it difficult to find a blazer that fits them perfectly at a thrift store. Instead, people are using this as an opportunity to tailor, accessorise, fold and tuck oversized blazers so that it would fit better.
One of the challenges we faced when we were creating our Oversized Blazer was getting the overall fit right. It took us 3 rounds just to change the pattern and get it right. The shoulder area had to be padded just enough to provide the right amount of structure but not too much to keep it modern. In comparison to our Classic Blazer, which has a softer structure and is more casual, the Oversized Blazer is more structured and smart looking (work appropriate alert).