Friday, April 5, 2013

The Madras Patchwork Blazer is This Season's Must Have

Courtesy of Tuckernuck at
One of this spring and summers' must have items is the madras patchwork blazer. According to, this bright colorful lightweight patchwork fabric has its origin in a southeast region of India known as Madras. The people of Madras first made the fabric from the fibers of the ancient Karvelema Patta tree; however, by the 12th century, they began spinning the fabric from significantly high quality of Madras cotton. When Europeans first came in contact with the lightweight cloth during the 18th century they instantly fell in love with it and began shipping it to Europe in large quantities, it was not long before the fabric became a highly-prized commodity.

By the end of the 18th century, madras weavers began patterning the fabric to emulate the tartan patterns of the Scottish military, resulting in what we call today madras plaid or check. Madras has become staple fabric among some of today’s men clothing designers, especially those that focus on American prep and American classic wears. The madras blazer is the "go-to" spring and summer jacket for casual nights out and garden parties, you could even wear it to a more formal event held outdoors as long as you pair with say white, blue or tan linen or light cotton pants. In addition to those basics you can try red, yellow or pink (not hot) colored pants as well; however, you will need a tremendous amount of courage and confidence to pull it off fashionably. Solid color short pants (just above the knee, think Bermuda shorts) is another appropriate option for this blazer, it is a great look for summer outdoor parties, socials and sporting activities in June or July. 

Besides blazers, you can find madras fabric ties, hats, vests, shirts, shorts and pants (by all means avoid wearing a madras suit, it looks amateurish, because it make you look as if someone wrapped you in a quilted blanket). Finally, with madras you really want to be careful when pairing it with other patterns, stay with solid patterns and colors because they balance out the bright mosaic of the fabric. Second, when buying a madras patchwork blazer, you want to make sure that the feeling of the jacket is overall light and that the stitching of the patches are slightly raised and that the jack sort of falls on your shoulders and pulls a little around your midsection when buttoned. The jacket will give some over time so avoid buying one that is bigger than your measured size; however, it shrinks some too so avoid buying one that is smaller than your measured size. Last, the other great quality of this jacket is that it is machine washable, therefore, you do not need to dry clean it (keep this in mind when you are considering the cost, on average the premium brands retail between $300 - $600, for a less expensive but just as good in quality version try Tuckernuck); nonetheless, it is a good buy because they have been around for decades and they have changed very little since originally being introduced to men’s fashion. It is a definite legacy piece, so buy one and be sure to pass it down to your stylish heir. 

Top five designers:

1. Polo Ralph Lauren

2. Brooks Brothers

3. J Press

4. J Crew

5. Land’s End


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