There are few things more quintessentially British than the Blazer. The blazer in not simply a suit jacket worn without it’s matching trousers. It is a stand alone jacket, usually in a solid colour or bold stripes and will more often than not have contrasting buttons in either gilt or silver metal or mother of pearl.
First adopted by the Lady Margaret Boat Club of St John’s College, Cambridge University in the 1800’s as a jacket to distinguish the rowing club members and identify the as a team. Their jackets were a bright crimson red which most likely gave rise to the name Blazer. Other boat clubs followed suit and soon bold stripes appeared.
Being closely associated with clubs or used as part of uniforms blazers will often have a club or association badge on the breast pocket. Although blazers are also worn by individuals with no affiliation to a club and will often be plain navy blue or black.
It is common for blazer buttons to be chosen for their significance to the wearer. There are buttons to signify the membership of certain clubs, those with military or academic insignia, masonic buttons and even personalised buttons with monograms or family crests on them.
Recently I made a visit to Benson & Clegg located in Piccadilly Arcade, on Jermyn Street, London to meet Mark Gordon, Managing Director to discuss blazer buttons.
Since 1937 Benson & Clegg have been offering bespoke tailoring to discerning gentlemen and their client list reads like a who’s who of the British high society. In 1944 they were awarded the Royal Warrant to His Majesty King George VI as his official tailor. Currently they hold the warrant for HRH The Prince of Wales as official supplier of buttons, badges and military neckwear. Benson & Clegg really are the worlds authority on blazers. If their blazer buttons are good enough for Prince Charles, who is known for his love of the blazer, then they are good enough for me.
Benson & Clegg craft all of their buttons in England and there is are nine separate hand operations in their manufacture. Stocking over 150 button designs, from the crests of the most prestigious academic and military institutions to many historic and classic designs there is sure to be a blazer button to suit you, be you a keen sportsman, a master of wine, a judge or a military man.
However, you need not be limited to button designs from their standard range as you could always commission your own design. There are two levels of this. First is the full bespoke option in which you will get a full three dimensional relief of your design on your buttons. There is even an option to have ‘mounted’ buttons which allow for a two tone button – for example a silver motif applied on a gilt background. These really are the highest specification buttons and are true works of art.
Secondly there is the option of having an engraved button in which you can have your monogram or design engraved on to your buttons. It was engraving that I was at Benson & Clegg taking to Mark about and after a consultation I left my design in the capable hands of Mark and the team there and I was in no doubt that the results would please. However, a few weeks later my buttons were ready for collection and the results (as you can see below) are nothing short of perfection. Crisp, clean engraving on flawless gilt buttons. I really couldn’t wait to get the buttons on my blazer and have since been enjoying the discreet and elegant personalisation that they bring to my blazer.
The blazer is a wardrobe essential for any gentleman, so whether you choose to go for buttons relating to your sporting nature, to your academic or military background or even if you choose to get personalised bespoke buttons you will find exactly what you are looking for in a bijoux little shop packed with a wealth of knowledge and traditional skills to provide you with everything you need for your blazer – I wholeheartedly recommend a visit to Benson & Clegg.