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Coats & Jackets

Making a case for a summer blazer

Making a case for a summer blazer

While the days of separate winter and summer wardrobes are (mostly) behind us, there are still a few times when it makes sense to have summer versions of clothes. Namely, the unstructured blazer. Perfect for summer, the unstructured blazer is, in its simplest form, a blazer without the lining and padding that you’d find in a traditional blazer. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a less intricate type of tailoring – as with all the best menswear pieces, this deceptively simple-looking item is actually a lesson in craftsmanship.

We can’t talk about the unstructured blazer without discussing its history, specifically Neopolitan tailoring. In the early 1900s an Italian tailor, Angelo Blasi, became inspired by English tailoring – in particular the structured, lightly padded fit, and narrowed shoulders of jackets. This is the popular style in London and the one Blasi emulates. There is just one minor difference – Italian temperatures are significantly warmer than English ones. Over in London another Italian tailor, Vincenzo Attolini, was working at Rubbinaci (famed, Italian tailors) and decided that like Blasi, he liked the shape of the jackets but unlike Blasi, the shape was the only thing he wanted to keep from English tailoring. Attonlini removed the coat pads, inner linings, and created a longer lapel and a slightly curved hem. And thus, the lightweight Neopolitan jacket was created. It was a style that was quickly adopted by Italian tailors, because it enabled gentlemen to still look smart but, more importantly, stay cool. 

Today, an unstructured blazer is a summer essential. After all, no one wants to be that man who looks great but is secretly getting heatstroke in his wool blazer. “The lack of lining and padding means it fits more like a shirt but is also breathable, so it’s perfect when the temperatures start rising,” says stylist Luke McDonald. 

There is no perfect fabric for the unstructured blazer; however, the lighter summer fabrics really lend themselves to this style – from linen to cotton and even seersucker. If you’re buying now with the winter months in mind, you can also find styles in wool-cashmere blend. 

It’s the breathable, relaxed, element that really makes the unstructured blazer a summer hero, taking you from the office to after-work drinks without the need for a quick change. And, if your calendar is punctuated with weddings this summer, the unstructured blazer is about to be your new best friend. “The best types of unstructured blazers can be worn with literally anything,” says Luke. “But given the nature of tailoring, even the unstructured kind, it will also smarten things up.”

“The best thing about the unstructured blazer is that it basically has duel use – it makes smart outfits feel more relaxed, and relaxed outfits feel smarter,” says Luke. So if you want to throw a blazer on over your t-shirt and chinos, go for it. 

Words: Nadia Balame-Price
Photography: Jon Cardwell
Styling: Alexander McCalla
Styling assistant: Toby Standing