Tom James finally got my pants sorted out and offered me a twenty-percent discount on a blazer for my trouble so I met today with my tailor to pin down the details. I elected to go with a warm-weather version in navy hopsack with a navy lining. I specified that the jacket should be double-breasted in a 4-on-2 buttoning stance. I chose quite plain antique silver buttons. The sleeves will have functioning button holes. The blazer will sport peak lapels, side vents and patch pockets.
Nicholas Antongiavanni in The Suit notes that "the classic blazer is double-breasted, with four instead of six buttons (arranged like a square, so that two can actually button), side vents, and patch pockets, to reflect its naval origins. ... It's shade should be a little lighter than suiting navy, and its weave a little more textured." He also advises that a true blazer should have simple metal buttons in brass, silver or gold. The jacket that I have ordered is in keeping with this classic style.
Antongiavanni warns against the "ubiquitous worsted, two-button, center-vented version; for since odd jackets afford you the chance to wear many stylish details that cannot be worn on suits, it is not reasonable to forgo these in favor of one that looks all but identical to a run-of-the-mill suit jacket." The problem with buying an off-the-rack navy "blazer" is that the vast majority you will find are of this common and vulgar variety. My Tom James tailor commented to me today that what I ordered was both classically stylish and commercially unavailable. It is unsettling and disturbing to me that the mainstream offerings in menswear stores are so bland and tasteless. It makes absolutely no sense to me that the most classically-styled odd jackets, like the double-breasted navy blazer, are unavailable to the masses. Unfortunately, the only alternative is to do what I did today and have one made.
The jacket should be here in about six weeks for a first fitting and I will post an update and some pictures at that time.