In a previous post I credited my grandfather, the eponymous Jacobi Press, with bringing sport coats into the fore after World War I. In truth, both blazers and sport coats have military origins—the blazer with its roots in the naval forces, the sport coat with the army.
Blazers are generally blue and often are decorated with brass buttons. Historically, they became popular as jackets for schools (or other organizational affiliations) with “blazing” bold color designs and stripes, thus the name. Sport coats began with excess gabardine fabric in the J. Press stock rooms at the end of World War I. Unable to make suits from it due to the mix and quality of material, Jacobi Press decided to use the overstock to make stand-alone jackets, then called “odd jackets” because they did not come with matching trousers. The material is often heavy—think tweed, wool, camel hair, or corduroy— and the style is less formal and worn more casually than a suit jacket.
Certain classic sport coats have a 3/2 roll and a throat latch (button-up), vestiges of a time when indoor central heating and horseless carriages had yet to sweep the country, making protection from the elements a strong consideration. The roots of the sport coat, as well as its name, come from fox hunting and other outdoor activities indigenous to country life to which this style of coat became an essential wardrobe component.
Although the terms blazer and sport coat have become interchangeable, J. Press expands the horizons—how to have them fitted, suggested styles of color and material, attention to the buttons, and when to wear each during the warm weather season. Expanding the horizon includes bringing classic India Madras adding mix/matched patchwork. J. Press scoops frosting on the cake with drop dead hand blocked Batik print which also works for summer formal wear occasions along with plenty of gin and tonics.
Warm weather tropical worsted versions of tweed work well with khaki trousers.
The mix is indelible. My grandfather’s original Armistice Day Odd Jacket formulation has expanded into a category unmatched in today’s market at J. Press.
Step up to the plate and give it a swing.
I love the phrase “odd jacket” because what it defines for a suit is the necessity of the jacket and trouser (and vest) being cut from the same bolt of cloth. Sadly this requirement was abandoned when computers got involved in the making of garments and suit separates became all the rage.
Would love to see a picture of that Armistice Day jacket if any are extant! Thanks for the interesting post!
Wonderful history, Dick. Keep ‘em comin’.