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 I love the heat it can make wearing a sport coat or blazer a little challenging. This is the time of year where my Brooks Brothers Wash ‘n’ Wear blazer sees 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 question that came from a reader which inspired this post, “Is it standard for cotton blazers to have gold buttons?”

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

9 Comments on "My Wash ‘n’ Wear Blazer"

  1. Fading Fast says:

    While I am far from an expert, I was a young man in the early ’80s and remember well the poplin suits and sport coats (the suits were much more common and, over the years, I owned almost every color – stone, tan, olive, grey and navy) and to the best of my memory, I never saw gold buttons on the poplin sport coats.

    I put poplin in the same category as seersucker in that the suit jackets of the suits can serve as a sport coat without looking orphaned as the material is casual enough to naturally be a sport coat and, IMHO, gold buttons don’t really work with the material. It’s just one of those anomalies, but in a good way.

  2. mhj says:

    I thrifted a navy poplin wash and wear 3/2 jacket BB jacket too a few years ago. I had the trousers from a JAB navy poplin suit (from back when they made good stuff) where the jacket got destroyed. The fabrics are an almost perfect match and I now have a navy poplin suit.

  3. Lennart says:

    Actually I happen to wear a navy poplin today, no golden/metal buttons on it.

  4. Lennart says:

    But I must say the one you wear on the pictures look really good, can’t believe it’s 20 years old or so.

  5. Charlottesville says:

    Looks great, Jerrod. I recall buying seersucker (all cotton) and poplin (cotton & polyester blend) suits from Brooks in the early 80s while still in school, and still have tan and olive poplin suits from around the mid 90s or so that are wearing well. Brooks also carried a Wash & Wear poly-wool blend suit in 1985 or so, and I bought glen plaid versions in grey and slate blue to wear for my first real job after school because they were the least expensive non-cotton suits in the store and were great for travel. They finally gave up the fight after about 20 years, but I wish I could replace them. I note that I always dry clean my suits and sport coats, regardless of label instructions, after seeing a friend wash a BB poplin with disastrous results (Brooks replaced it, by the way). Hope your blazer gives you another two decades of service.

  6. Richard says:

    I share your love of poplin in the summer. I’ve got two old Brooks poplin suits in stone and olive, and a sport coat in tan. I don’t have one in navy, but I do have a mid-blue linen/wool blend blazer I love and I think your cotton poplin blazer would look as good or better with the kind of buttons it has–mother of pearl.

  7. L-feld says:

    I think there is nothing wrong with a poplin blazer having metal buttons. However, I do think summer gives you a nice opportunity to do a cream bone button or a light MOP button. I think the contrast gives it a nice airy sort of look. They also have the benefit of being lighter than metal buttons, which seems to go with the lightweight fabric.

  8. Hollywood Argyle says:

    Another option for a summer blazer is smoke mother of pearl buttons. I put such on a navy blue marl double-breasted blazer I have, and the results are excellent.

  9. Tie Clip says:

    Hi Jerrod, nice post.
    Navy blazers are timeless and I love them!
    As for cotton… I think one can give or take the brass buttons. The flaw in navy cotton and navy linen is that they fade, but if a person is okay with that, then they’re fine. I would say that cotton blazers are in the minority, so it’s really a matter of personal preference. However I have seen some PRL ones with brass buttons. If we can trust Uncle Ralph, then it’s a thing.

I would like to hear from you