The double-breasted blue blazer is a wardrobe staple, and an incredibly handy item of clothing. Wearing one is a good way of making an effort, but it has a sporty informality that helps to avoid looking over-dressed. Amazingly, I didn't actually own one until last December, when I found myself going to a series of semi-formal Christmas events, and decided my wardrobe was lacking an appropriate blazer. The run up to Christmas isn't generally a good time for me to be buying expensive clothes, so I ended up falling back on Marks & Spencer, a surprisingly good source of better than average ready-to-wear clothes. My first few suits were from M&S and they're extremely well made for a very reasonable price, so it seemed like the obvious place to go for a blazer at about 1/5th the price of a Ralph Lauren or Brooks Brothers one.
The problem (or not, in my view) with buying ready-to-wear clothes is that they generally need some adjustments or improvements, whether it's just a few tweaks to make them fit better, or changing some more egregious fault to bring them in to line with your tastes. Personally, I don't see this as a problem at all because I enjoy finding good value clothes and then making small improvements to them, with the whole result still costing much less than what I might have paid for tailor-made.
In the case of my M&S blazer, I decided to have the body very slightly adjusted to give a bit more shape at the waist and, more self-indulgently, to replace its very ordinary plain brass buttons with a set featuring the crest of my West End Club. My plan is to get this done at a local tailor, WG Child and Sons, which appears to have been in existence for well over 100 years and is now so out of place in it's rather down-market surroundings that it has attracted my attention and I have, for a while, been eager to try them out. A simple adjustment job like this isn't a great test, I suppose, but it should at least give me an excuse to meet them and get a feel for what they can do.