As the cricket-lovers amongst you will be more than aware, this a busy old summer for the grand old game. A home World Cup, with England champions! To be followed by The Ashes, England v Australia, Test cricket’s oldest and most famous rivalry.
From the perspective of gentlemen’s attire, cricket raises a rather delicate, if not outright controversial subject. And no, we’re not talking the cable-knit woolly jumpers players favour when the summer temperatures fail to raise themselves above chilly.
No, what we are referring to is the striped blazer. Arguably one of the world’s most iconic striped blazers - and certainly one of the most mocked - is intimately associated with the game of cricket. If you ever watch a match taking place at Lords, the so-called ‘home of cricket’, you can’t fail to notice the large number of gentlemen sporting blazers in a highly noticeable broad red and yellow stripe. Eggs and bacon, it is known as colloquially, and it is quite a sight.
This garishly coloured blazer is the club uniform of the Marylebone Cricket Club, or MCC, once the chief administrative and legislative body of the game. The MCC’s roots go back to Victorian England when the fashion for public schools and sporting clubs alike was to adopt a striped blazer in a unique colour combination.
As in the case of the MCC, many of these sporting and school uniforms have been passed down the years and form an integral part of the identity of the organisation to which they belong. It is also because some of the more jarring examples have survived - remember, the intention was to find a unique colour combination, not necessarily a good look - that striped blazers have become associated with the worst elements of stuffy, profoundly uncool old school fashions.
But the question is this - is a striped blazer an inherently bad idea? Or are we just prejudiced against them because we’re scarred by examples like the MCC, or perhaps our own school past? Can you ever look good in one?
Slimming down the stripes
The answer is, yes of course. If we think of all the other examples where it is perfectly acceptable to don vertical stripes, such as on a shirt, tie or a suit, then there is nothing per se wrong with wearing stripes on a standalone jacket.
There are two things that work against the traditional striped blazer, as familiar from so many club and school uniforms. One is terrible pairing of colours. Another is the fact that many striped blazers have particularly wide stripes. This just serves to accentuate any clash of colours - great thick blocks of ill-suited colours next to each other, repeated over and over.
If you are going to stick with the wide stripe tradition in a blazer, then you have to be very particular about your choice of colours. Even classic combinations like red and black, or navy and white, can look too much when the stripes are bold. It is best to stick for darker colours in muted shades, playing down the contrasts as far as possible.
An even safer option is simply to narrow the stripes. It is amazing how a difference of half an inch can turn a stripe that looks frightful into something quite appealing. Once you start looking at slimmer stripes, you also realise that multiple colours can work better than two tone.
One of the best effects for a blazer is to alternate thicker stripes with thinner, perhaps with edges piped in a third colour. Suddenly, even with more unusual colour combinations, you can create something that is interesting and appealing to the eye. A striped blazer is no longer an eyesore, but something to be seen out in whatever the summer occasion.
But don’t just take our word for it. Why not book an appointment, pay us a visit, and have a look through some of the fine striped fabric options (or otherwise) we have available to make you a perfect tailored summer blazer.