From Capstan-smoking mariners to Lady Di herself, the double-breasted, gold-buttoned blazer has always had a devout following, and you can add us to the long list of devotees.
The mere mention of a Smart Casual dress code can drain the colour from most men's cheeks in seconds. It triggers a wave of primordial panic deep in the brain, quickly overriding any sense of rationality and shutting down the most powerful, instinctive 'fight or flight' response. The Americans don't fret – they just reach for the chinos, polish some loafers and hail a cab. Confusion reigns over here in the U.K. though, with plenty thinking that as long as you've ironed your trousers, had a quick whizz on the lint roller and checked there's no gravy down your polo shirt, you're good to go. It's a bad habit us Brits need to break out of, so perhaps it's time we admitted there's a problem and that way, we're already on the road to recovery.
My late grandad never faltered when it came to dressing for the occasion. Ex-Merchant Seaman Christopher Cloudsdale spent a lifetime navigating the sartorial minefield between formal and relaxed with total success. His go-to choice for family BBQs, birthday parties or a game of dominos down the community centre was his navy blue, brass buttoned blazer (which he loved so much, we bloody buried him in it!). I'm pretty sure he'd have worn it over his pyjamas, gardening scruffs or swimming trunks if my long-suffering grandma had let him. Its enduring popularity is probably due to the position it holds on the formality barometer – sauntering below the stuffy suit jacket but holding a dominant, steady stance above the zip-up blouson. It's a strong, mid-weight wardrobe contender.