A women’s blazer is a jacket resembling a suit jacket, except that it does not typically come with a matching skirt or pair of pants. A traditional blazer has a notched lapel, flap pockets, button cuffs, and a two-button closure, although there are many variations on the classic.
Like many women’s garments, the blazer is menswear-inspired. The word ‘blazer’ was actually used to describe the brightly colored jackets worn by the Lady Margaret Boat Club at Cambridge University in the early 19th century. From then on, blazers were usually worn as part of a uniform, military or otherwise. The style was adapted for women by whom else but Coco Chanel, who incorporated the jacket into her original Chanel suit in the 1920s. Over the next several decades, women’s jackets were worn either more formally, as part of a suit (think shoulder pads), or paired with complementary separates for a business casual look.
As women’s suiting and jackets have evolved, the resulting blazer collection includes a wide variety of cuts, fabrics, colors, and embellishments. There are classic wool blazers, with traditional tailoring, lapels, pockets and buttons, and new takes on the original with variations on the collar, cuffs, and closure. While it’s easy to find a blazer in black, navy, gray or tweed, there are also printed fabric, cotton, linen, silk, and even sequined jackets.
The blazer is a classic women’s jacket, and its versatility as both casual and professional wear makes it a wardrobe essential. The blazer’s most obvious job is as a work jacket. It pairs well either with a matching bottom, or a complementary skirt or trouser. But the blazer is useful way beyond the office, and should be put to use off-duty as well. Pair a colorful blazer with jeans and a tee for a put together, yet casual, weekend look.