Must Haves: Boating Blazer

Yesterday was a long day and thus I had no blogging opportunity. You see I am a competitive rower and it is the middle of regatta season so many of my weekends are given over to training and/or competing (alas no pot for my crew yesterday).

As a reasonably high-profile regatta, many esteemed committee members and past rowing greats were in attendance and the regatta enclosure was filled with the wonderful display of club blazers that one associates with regattas. I made a mental note to include a piece today on the boating blazer... what a preppy item this is.

The boating blazer is a fantastic illustration of the preppy lifestyle. In wild colours (always your club's colours - if you don't row/aren't a member of a club then you should stick with a normal navy blazer), poor but comfortable fit and cut from a loose, durable fabric the blazer represents all the values that a prep adheres to. Furthermore it demonstrates the wearer's embrace of the preppy way of life (sport, appearance, decorum, protocol etc). Many regattas will not allow entry into certain enclosures if you are not appropriately attired.

Many blazers feature piping in contrasting colours (on the lapels and often sleeve cuffs). Typically this is grosgrain or satin that has been affixed to the club's blazer. The pocket also features the club badge and buttons may display the club crest or the crest of a prominent regatta where the blazer's owner has achieved honours.

Some clubs do not allow piping of the lapels unless the wearer has achieved "colours" by way of competition at elite levels, as is typical of school and university boat clubs (I will shortly be writing a piece on Earning Your Colours).

Lapels buttonholes should always be workable as you will need to affix your enclosure entry badges from the lapel (and the more of these you have the more respect you will earn).

Some clubs have truly garish blazers and these are oft imitated by those who are attempting to imitate preppy style but have no rowing experience. I would urge one to stay away from endorsing such blazers as you will be taken as a joke at regattas! Having said that - a smart navy blazer with a white stripe or discrete white piping can make for a great smart casual look.

Blazers are always worn with club ties, chinos/flannels and boat shoes. Most clubs prefer to use a local outfitter/tailor to produce their blazers and you should contact your club secretary if you need more details. If you are simply looking to pick up a blazer in the style of a boating blazer, then Ralph Lauren is a good starting place. You could always have a look at Amazon too.