We understand that each wardrobe is as different as the person wearing it, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few things that find a place in every closet. Regardless of how you view your personal style, the guidance outlined in this series should help set the bedrock for every closet. With classic design and ageless appeal, garments featured in "The Foundation" are easy to assimilate style staples that are sure to be worn on a regular basis. Advice found in this column should become tenets to dress by—no matter where you are in your style journey.

With the spring slowly heating up into summer, there’s one seasonal ritual that guys find themselves falling into at one point or another: wedding season. Sure, you’re bound to be suited up for the occasion—whether you’re in the wedding party or simply on the guest list—but beyond the big day, wedding season (not to mention the other “dressier’ events you’re signed up for this summer) is going to require something that walks the line between the buttoned-up nature of suit, with the ease of a piece more suited for casual wear. For your money, you’ll hardly do better than Brooks Brothers’ versatile navy blazer.

While we could regale you with Brooks Brothers’ legacy in the American menswear space—an icon in men’s design since its founding in 1818—it’s best to start with the basics: What the hell is a blazer, and how is it different that a sport coat or suit jacket? A suit jacket is just that, a jacket paired with a suit. Usually crafted out of smooth wool and structured, it has a similar shape to a sport coat (a major point of confusion) but its details are usually finer and more luxe—something you should be able to see the moment you get your eyes (or, better yet, hands) on the piece. A sport coat (which is more literal term for a blazer) is a standalone tailored jacket meant—in the traditional sense of the word—for “sport.” This could be anything from hunting to rowing crew (something NYC’s rising prep brand, Rowing Blazers, literally named itself after). The term “blazer” comes from the bright read rowing jackets of the Lady Margaret Boat Club in Cambridge; the nickname stuck and now refers to the silhouette generally.

Usually a stripped-down version of a tailored jacket, the traditional sport coat or blazer lacks darts, vents, shoulder pads or linings (things all found within a suit jacket). With nautical leanings, the navy blazer is usually accented with gold buttons, but this is not always the case. Regardless of its naval influences, a navy blue color assimilates nicely into a myriad of wardrobes and is markedly less formal than true black. In this way, you'll find this particular colorway to not simply represent the traditional iteration of this sport coat, but it should be far more flexible for nearly every event.

With the differences and definitions out of the way, one question remains: Why Brooks Brothers? Setting aside the fact that it’s a brand with over 200 years of experience crafting quality tailoring, Brooks Brothers’ garments have helped shape the base of American menswear styles—both in prep and professional wear. Given that the label’s navy blazer has been a staple of college formals (paired with crisp light khakis), Manhattan board rooms (worn with dark trousers) and everything in between, rest assured that copping a Brooks Brothers navy blazer is an investment that should pay dividends across decades—whether you’re working in finance or putting a little extra effort into dinner with the in-laws.

For maximum use throughout the summer, go for a true navy jacket in a lighter cotton or linen blend. Go for something unlined and unstructured, and you’ll be set for the warmer months. In terms of what to pair this investment piece with, that depends entirely on the occasion, but think about the blazer more as an assistant than a statement piece; if your outfit is tightly put together already (think clean chinos and a chambray shirt, or jeans and a monochromatic T-shirt for a backyard party), the blazer should organically polish the outfit without feeling stuffy. Remember: If you’ve bought a blazer with simplified style and limited extraneous detail, this is one thing that should be as well-traveled as you are this summer.

Want to learn more about “America’s Suit Maker”? Study up on Brooks Brothers here.

Suiting up? Shop Grailed’s selection of blazers here.

Tags: the-foundation, rowing-blazers, prep, blazers, tailoring, brooks-brothers