The Role of Blue in History
For the last century, both men and women have been fond of the colour blue. The stats tell the tale showing that men in particular prefer blue up to 50% more than other colours (green ranks second). However, it was only in the 12th century that blue started to play a major role in society as the preferred colour of aristocracy because of the high cost of indigo–the raw material required for dyeing fabric blue.
The Role of Blue in Menswear
Depending on the validity of the source there are between 50-60 shades blue–with my personal favorite, “Carolina Blue” being an unofficial entrant. While blue is overwhelmingly popular, it unfortunately has a ubiquitous association with the monotony of so-called power dressing. Navy blue suit, navy blue tie, sky blue shirt and matching socks. Certainly professional, but all together lifeless.
The discovery of “Prussian Blue” in 1704, constituted the widespread use of the color. However, French Blue, a derivative of Azure, is the focus here. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first printed use of French Blue in English was found in The Times–a British daily national newspaper based in London–in 1802.
By 1910 blue was widely adopted in America for sports jackets. Robin’s egg, Prussian, and French Blue were all worn by well dressed men of wealth. However, blue can quickly revert to being commonplace when only used uniformly. To make the most of the color, one needs to learn how to use the bountiful range of options, while remaining in the same color palette.
The vibrancy of French Blue takes magnificent form in a blazer for Spring/Summer in the high sun of the French Riviera–or the Italian depending on your preference of leisure–or right at home on Savile Row. Here we offer options for each.
Have a proper cup of tea (milk or lemon?) in a resilient “French Blue Mohair” for the combination of lightweight breathability and crease resistance to look the business whether on holiday or on actual business. Compliment with a soft 3/2 roll button (try dark brown Buffalo horn buttons) stance with two lower patch pockets, side (twin) vents, a full chest with signature Steed, lightly padded shoulders and slightly wider lapels with a generous amount of belly for good measure. Pair the blazer with a Summer weight cream flannel trouser from the originator of flannel–Fox Bros–to intimate a certain Prince Charles like gravitas.
Go full la dolce vita with a lightweight wool (for durability), linen (for breathability), silk (for structure and sheen), unlined, soft shouldered, triple patch, side vented, wide peak lapel, 4 on 2 double breasted blazer with mother of pearl buttons and double pick stitching in a shorter length for that dash of Italian flair. The mix of bright color and relaxed tailoring lends just the right amount of loucheness to the garment. Throw in a midweight flat front trouser (no turn ups, of course) in stark white cotton and you have an al fresco pairing made in Savile Row heaven.
Channel your inner savoir faire in a classic wool/mohair, ¼ lined, 6 on 1 DB blazer with a strong shoulder, jetted pockets, unvented with yellow gold flat buttons (skip the monograms), in a longer length. Pull on a pair of pearl gray single pleat trousers in midweight silk and linen with a 2 inch cuff to complete the look. The combination of the wide and low button stance, the strong shoulder and the warm hued gold buttons all contribute to the ultimate Superman, and furthermore, super chic look.