Archive for August, 2015

My Wash ‘n’ Wear Blazer

After what feels like weeks and weeks of cooler than normal temperatures the warm days of summer have returned. While this great for leisure activities it can make wearing a sport coat or blazer a little challenging. This is the type where my Brooks Brothers Wash ‘n’ Wear blazer gets a lot of action.
Poplin BlazerFirs off, what is Wash ‘n’ Wear (or Wash and Wear)? Wash ‘n’ Wear fabric is composed of either a poplin, seersucker, or wool blend. While the poly aspect of the fabric seems to fly in the face of the trad ethos it has been included in the canon. The blend has 3 major benefits. It is wears well in warm weather, stays wrinkle free, and it can be machine washed. According to this New York Times (Wash it, Wear, it) article it surfaced around 1953.
Wash and WearWash ‘n’ Wear fabric was primarily used for suits (based on the second-hand market) which has one thing that has always intrigued me about my blazer. The blazer came to me via the second-hand market, but I had always believed it to be a blazer. I believed this because of its blazer like features (gold buttons, two-button cuffs, patch pockets, swelled edges), but it turns out that I was wrong.
Brooks Brothers Wash n Wear BlazerIn an email exchange with the previous owner I learned the true origin of the blazer. It was purchased as part of a suit from Brooks Brothers in the early/mid-1990s. At some point the pants shrunk. The owner then converted it to a blazer by adding gold buttons, because it had all the features including the two button cuffs which were his call.

I now know the origin of my blazer, confirmed that trad was alive and well in the 90s, but I did not answer the questions that inspired this post, “Is it standard for cotton blazers to have gold buttons?”