Blazers - what we often link to corporate wear used to be a sign of rebellion in the 1920’s when women started wearing men’s clothes to be seen as professionals in a male-dominated working world. Today, the newest trends are to pair blazers with sarees or wear it with jeans for the semi-formal or casual style.
Today, let's explore the History of Blazers… In particular the one, relevant for women.
1920's: Women At Work
In the early 20th century, there was a drastic change in women’s clothing. During World War I, women started working outside the house as men fought in the war. They started working in factories and did other physical work which earlier was perceived as “men’s work”. This kind of work was not doable in long gowns and frocks. Therefore, women altered their husbands’ clothes and went to work wearing suits.
1930's: Mesmerising Men-inspired Fashion
In the early 1930’s popular actresses such as Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn and Katharine Hepburn started wearing bow ties and suits i.e men-inspired fashion.
(Interruption by Yoshiko: Suddenly jumping to Japan in the 1930's, we also had a star actress in men's clothes. This is Takiko Mizunoe who was loved as 'fair lady in male attire')
At the end of the 1930’s, Vogue published a cover showcasing a model in a pantsuit. The editors wrote, "Our new slacks are irreproachable masculine in their tailoring, but women have made them entirely their own by the colors in which they order them, and the accessories they add". This article inspired more women to wear pantsuits and blazers.
1940's: Women Go Back Home
In the mid 1940’s as the Second World War ended, women stopped wearing suits and switched back to dresses and skirts because their roles changed from working women to housewives.
1960's - 1970's: Second-wave Feminism
Second-wave feminism in the United States began in the early 1960s. Betty Friedan wrote the bestselling book "The Feminine Mystique" in which she explicitly objected to the mainstream media image of women, stating that placing women at home limited their possibilities, and wasted talent and potential. To support this movement, women put forth their opinions through fashion by wearing men-inspired clothes.
Another influence was credited by the 1977 movie “Annie Hall” starring Diane Keaton in which her menswear-clad character donned bowler hats, vests, wide ties, blazers and button-up shirts.
1980's: Power Suits
Fashion in the 1980s was all about excess. Everything was big, bold, and utterly glamorous. During the day, ladies rocked power suits with big shoulder pads to prove that they were just as powerful as the gents. By night, they got glammed-up in sequin and one-shoulder styles. And today, the 80s blazers are vintage and a perfect piece of your retro fashion wardrobe.
Even the former UK prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, always wore a suit, saying that "she was in a man's world, and she had to look the part."
After 1990's: Grunge, Casual, Relaxed, Androgynous
Over the years, blazers have been evolving tremendously from sculptural shoulders, buttoned vests and plaid patterns to pairing blazers with slouchy boyfriend jeans for a semi-formal casual style and colourful prints and fabrics like the MIRCHI KOMACHI blazers.
A new fashion trend called androgynous has evolved over the last few years which aims to avoid gender stereotypes. As blazers are unisex clothing, it plays a prominent role in androgynous fashion.
In India, we have unique blazer trends such as pairing blazers with a saree or using traditional Indian fabrics for blazers (such as MIRCHI KOMACHI Blazers!).
Got inspired by the History of Blazers and want to create your own unique blazer style? Then chalo ladies, check out our cool and quirky blazers collection!