Universal Standard’s Pick of the Month: The Rio Blazer
By : Amanda Richards
I realize that in the grand scheme of “things in life to be afraid of,” wearing a blazer seems like it should be low on the list. The thing is, though, for much of my adult life, wearing a blazer seemed like a terrifying prospect. I’ve written before about the first time I tried to wear a blazer in a professional setting. It was a disaster; I felt like an awkward oversized baby in adult clothing, and never less like myself.
Throughout my twenties, I avoided blazers for various imagined reasons: a blazer made me look too big, too assuming, too masculine, like I was trying too hard. They were uncomfortable, they weren’t tailored properly, they didn’t hit me in the right spots. Most of all, I felt they weren’t in line with what I considered my overall style aesthetic. If I wasn’t a buttoned-up young professional, how could I actually incorporate a blazer into my wardrobe — especially one in black or navy?
Now, though, I realize that a blazer — the kind you invest in and have in your wardrobe for years — isn’t the kind of piece that dictates your personal style. Instead, it’s a polished accentuation to anything I happen to be wearing that day. Sometimes, I wear it with a sweatshirt and jeans. Sometimes, I wear it on it’s own, buttoned up as a top. And yes, sometimes I wear it with corresponding suiting. Styled my way (with white sneakers and gold hoops), it actually feels like an expression of my own personal aesthetic, as opposed to a symbol of conformity and rigidness.
The reason I love the Rio blazer so much is because it’s got a longline cut; the “masculine” silhouette I’d previously avoided is actually my preferred way to wear suiting now. Of course, my ideas on gender and clothing have also shifted quite dramatically, but that’s a different story for a different day. I also love the two different styles of suiting pant that match the Rio: The Minton joggers are basically athleisure in a workwear fabric, which I love, and the Sylvia pant, which is cut like a true cigarette pant, which is harder to find than you think.
Most of all, though, I love the Rio because it’s helped further my understanding of what a classic, clean, tailored blazer can do to elevate your wardrobe without overshadowing personal style. It’s the kind of piece that everyone can opt into, look great in, and incorporate into their dressing approach — however that approach may evolve.