Trends - Blazer Rebound

A Move Away From Casual Dress In Offices Signals Return Of The Blazer

Return of the BlazerEach weekday morning, millions of men and women wake up groggily, look in their closets and ask themselves that age-old question: "What should I wear today?"

Those whose offices maintain a business-casual environment often choose khakis or jeans and fitted but informal tops, like polos. However, a significant number of workplaces are maintaining a formal business environment or even reverting to one after allowing some leniency with dress. Thanks to the shift to a more polished style, the market for dressier wearables – like blazers – is expanding.

Capitalizing on the trend, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers are among many high-end labels offering a variety of well-made, tailored blazers in wool, polyester and even cotton/spandex blends. Not to be left behind, the promotional apparel industry is getting in on the action too, providing high-quality blazers to those in the market for sharp imagewear.

And, the blazer trend is appealing to a wide variety of corporate customers – those in the hospitality, automotive, and even retail sectors are adopting a more polished look for their employees.

The most popular blazer from Edwards Garment (asi/51752) is a traditional, single-breasted polyester piece with patch pockets and a two-button closure. Available for both men and women (3500/6500), the blazer comes in five colors and offers easy-care attributes and versatility.

"It sells in a variety of markets," says Taraynn Lloyd, marketing director for Edwards Garment. "This includes security firms, transit, education, banks, museums, hotels and event arenas." Interestingly, Lloyd adds, the 3500 is also an ideal piece for younger demographics. Student choral groups, for example, have ordered the blazer as an alternative to traditional robes.

Meanwhile, Executive Apparel (asi/53418) has had success selling its shorter blazers, for which new styles were recently released. In fact, the supplier introduced many new versions at industry trade shows in January. "We're also getting a good response to the new color palette in our UltraLux and EasyWear collections, especially charcoal and blacks," says President Donald Singer. "Blazers are perfect for any environment in which the public meets the corporation or institution. Truly, we are hospitality specialists, so hotels, restaurants, casinos and the like are huge clients of ours."

Both Executive Apparel and Edwards Garment offer the two most common imprint methods on blazers: embroidery and patches. The crisp look of a well-cut blazer, combined with a high-quality logo, sets the wearer apart and reflects well on the brand and its employees.

"We find that end-users today are looking for ways to differentiate themselves from the competition, and blazers help to do that," Singer says. "They provide a very professional look, and they last longer than a golf shirt or sweatshirt."