Rowing’s Fashion Statement

A New Book Explores the Colorful Culture of Rowing Blazers

From Rowing Blazers by Jack Carlson. All images courtesy of Jack Carlson

By Madeleine Whittier Published on October 18, 2014

Jack Carlson’s new book, Rowing Blazers, makes the stylish suggestion that if clothes make the man, then blazers make the rower. The book, prompted by Carlson’s personal interactions with rowers and blazers from all over the world, has put a spotlight on a sport who’s long history is rich and, literally, colorful. “Talking to other rowers and hearing anecdotes and traditions related to the blazers is what made me want to write this book,” said Carlson, who recently finished his doctorate in archaeology at Oxford University. Having dug deeper into the esoteric history of rowing blazers than anyone ever before him, Carlson’s love of the sport and its fashion is evident on every page. The athletes photographed by Carlson and his team, Olympic gold medalists, world champions, and world record holders, represent their current club, their college, or the club that raised them, with this same enthusiasm. It is this pride, emanating from every corner of the rowing world, that makes for the perfect mix of beautiful pictures and intriguing stories.

Carlson has managed to peak the interest of long time rowers and style enthusiasts alike. As Carlson puts it, the sport of rowing “is tremendously in touch with its history and its heritage.” With many new clubs adopting the blazer tradition and many old clubs staying true to it, he predicts that the long held traditions of rowing fashion will grow stronger with time. Though “the blazer itself has had a big impact on preppy style,” Carlson says, “the individuals wearing the blazers are not necessarily preppy.”

Self identified prep or not, all readers will likely find something to love, or something they didn’t know, in the pages of Rowing Blazers. The personal style and twist that each rower brings to her or his blazer and club is where the appeal lies, according to Carlson.

Regatta lovers and blazer fans can meet Carlson—and see his blazer—at the HOCR History Exhibition (near the finish line) for book signings at 2:30 in the afternoon on Saturday and 10:00 on Sunday. Carlson will also be coxing Oxford Taurus Boat Club entry in the men’s championship eight on Sunday, hoping to repeat his success of a year ago, when he steered the women’s great eight to the gold medal.



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Make this year’s Head Of The Charles® a success. There are many opportunities to get involved over race weekend and before.