A lapis-blue linen jacket for summer

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Saturday, August 20th 2016
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Blue linen jacket bespoke

Summer clothing, particularly from Italian brands, often includes a lot of light, bright colours. These can be difficult to wear, particularly in northern European countries where the sun might not be that consistent. 

I'd suggest that of those brighter colours, one of the easiest to wear is the bright blue of this linen jacket from Anderson & Sheppard. 

It is a stronger colour than most things a man is likely to own. But it isn't as glaring as lemon-yellow or go-to-hell red trousers. 

It is lighter than most jackets he is likely to own too. But it isn't the cream or sky-blue linen that brands often offer for summer - and again only seems appropriate on madly sunny days. 

I'm going to call it lapis blue. Names of colours are infuriatingly inconsistent, but it is perhaps closest to the stone of lapiz lazuli, rather than cobalt (stronger, deeper) or azure (lighter, brighter). 

Michael Drake used to call his ties in this colour 'sugarbag blue'. But I hesitate to use that given I've never had a sugar bag this colour.

Blue linen jacket with navy grenadine tie

So, lapis blue for the summer. Inevitably I anchor it with some navy - in this case my old friend the 9cm, untipped, hand-rolled navy grenadine tie from Drake's.

And just as inevitably, I pair it with grey trousers below the waist - here the fresco trousers Kathryn Sargent made me years ago when she was still head cutter at Gieves & Hawkes. 

Grey is by far the easiest thing to wear against bright colours, softening and supporting rather than contrasting.

The solid jacket and tie makes room for some pattern in the shirt - and here I'm wearing a blue-and-white striped shirt in a cotton/linen mix, from Luca Avitabile. 

The handkerchief could have been a sharp white linen or even a grey trimmed with white (a nice, unexpected alternative). But given this was a bright day in Italy, I opted for a bright green and blue silk design from Rubinacci. 

On the feet, dark-brown walcots from Edward Green, and Bresciani grey socks to match the trousers. 

anderson and sheppard blue linen jacket

The jacket was made for me several years ago by John Hitchcock when he was at Anderson & Sheppard, and it is probably the single-breasted I like best in terms of style. It is the only two-button I have from him, and I prefer it to the three-roll-twos. 

Getting it out of the wardrobe reminded me there were a few things I wanted to get altered, but haven't gotten around to. I was going to narrow the sleeve, for example (the only thing I don't like that much about the A&S drape style).

And the sleeves were mistakenly shortened from the end - rather than the shoulder - a couple of years ago, which I need to get fixed too. 

I have to say in retrospect I wouldn't have had a patch breast pocket either. The dinky little Neapolitan ones are nice, but the English ones just too big and bulky. I don't mind it on the jacket now - it seems part of its character - but not something I would do again.

The linen is still available by the way, from W Bill. It is in the Linens & Cottons bunch, number WB60265.

Photography: James Munro for Drake's

edward green alcot shoe dark brown

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John

Worth considering it as a suit?

David

I have this exact cloth in a single breasted A&S suit also cut by Mr. Hitchcock before his retirement and it works brilliantly. Nothing dandy about it and I’ve had a huge amount of use from it. It’s one of the most complemented pieces in my wardrobe.
Your right about the patch breast pocket. I’ve never liked them either from the English or the Italians and specified a regular with the rest patch.
I certainly wouldn’t have the sleeves taken in. It’s an essential part of the louche look. The cut is simply brilliant.

nick inkster

Hello Simon
Love the coat, and the colour, but struggle a bit with the way this rig has been put together.

Firstly, I don’t think bright (coat) and muddy(trousers) ever work together well. Wear this coat on the terrace of the Belmond in Toarmina with white/ivory/canary etc trousers whilst sipping your Negroni.

Equally, I could never see laced leather as being a natural fit with linen; slip-ons, or suede would be my choice. Too much clash of formal/informal going on.

B

Will you get the alterations done by A&S, or by a third party tailor?

Hazwan

Hi Simon, what do you think of a linen jacket like this but in navy? Would the colour suit the casualness of the cloth?

Winot

What is it about navy hopsack that makes it work better in your opinion? I am thinking of your DB from Elia.

nick inkster

I once had a jacket made in navy linen and it looked exactly as you say Simon, until I had a brainwave and swapped the dark blue buttons for a silvery grey mother of pearl, which transformed the whole look of the thing. Worn with a white shirt and stonewashed jeans, it looked fantastic.

Rabster

Interesting and beautiful use of colour ….blue , grey , purple socks , brown shoes .

On the question of sleeve length …….. where should a sleeve fall?
Above the wrist bone ?
At the bottom of the wrist bone ?

And how wide should it be by the hand(end) ?

Reader

I wish I had such a beautiful jacket.
My criticism is your photographs share in common with almost all photographs of linen jackets a false impression if soon after wear creases appear. In other words, what you show is not how the jacket really looks shortly later, when creases appear. It’s not real.

John

Hi Simon,
I find the entire outfit very sharp! Yet to my own taste, the color of the jacket is too bright. I definitely prefer muted colors.
I didn’t know that fresco trousers could work well with a linien jacket. Worsted wool trousers aside, how far upwards could one go in terms of formality with such a linien jacket?
John

Alex

I think I speak for many readers when I say I would love to see a post with all your A&S coats, maybe in a similar format to the lapel width post? You have tempted us with a review of the corduroy suit for awhile now! Thanks

Peter

Simon, it seems that the first button is unusually close to the end of the sleeve – if you were to button it up, the balance would seem wrong?

Reader

Do you mean you leave the first sleeve button unbuttoned because you dislike the position of the first button as too near to the sleeve’s end?
How is it possible that the position of the first button in relation to the sleeve’s end was not recognized and judged by the tailor who shortened the sleeve length as too near to the sleeve’s edge?

Reader

I’m very interested to know how you imagine correction – removal of firstbutton to new button position becoming fourth with cuttng and stiching of button hole, and removal of hand-stiched button hole thread and reweaving of linen hole?

Reader

Simon, how can you change the distance between jacket sleeve edge and position of first sleeve button with buttonhole by adjustment from shoulder?
If a jacket sleeve is adjusted from the shoulder, that usually means the jacket sleeve is too long. Instead of shortening the sleeve from the sleeve’s end, the sleeve is shortened by removing cloth from the uppermost part of the sleeve where sleeve meets shoulder. This major surgery is undertaken when the position of the first button on the sleeve is OK and when buttonholes are already sewn. But in your case, the position of tge first button is the problem! It is not possible to solve this way unless you mean you intend to have the whole sleeve replaced?

Reader

Amazing! My shirt sleeve length is 31″ which is no problem to shorten, but recently a Swiss tailor shortened my RTL Purdey tweed 40R jacket sleeves so that only ONE sleeve button whose diameter’s half is the difference between button and jacket sleeve edge justifying this tiny distance by saying the sleeve fold was so short.

chris

Very nice jacket, but lapis it isn’t! Much of that lovely stone comes from the Afghan/Iranian borders and is a very deep, regal blue (often flecked with gold/metal). Sorry to be pedantic, but you’ll have to try again with a handle for the colour!

James

Perhaps Persian blue, Simon? I believe the name comes from the color of tiles used to Iranian tile patterns. comment image)

http://colors.findthedata.com/compare/378-873/Persian-Blue-vs-Blue-Pantone

Nick Inkster

Audi have a special paint colour for their RS models called Sepang Blue…………….

Reader

Maybe Savoy blue?

Laurent

Love the outfit – mind telling where the shirt is from? Absolutely love the fabric (I must confess I have a thing for this exact kind of striped blue).

Laurent

Sorry, I somehow managed to skip the reference to the shirt in the original post while I was looking for it. Thanks for the reply anyway!

Oskar

Yes please (fabric ID)! Thank you

Bob

You really haven’t seen a bag of sugar thats blue or doesnt have blue as a significant colour on it? Like crisps, sugar bags are basically colour coded with a mid blue being for standard granulated sugar, yellow is caster sugar etc. Look at any of the brands, Tate & Lyle, Silver Spoon etc they all have the blue colour coding.

BespokeNYC

Really lovely color; not only is it more wearable in climates outside of southern Europe, but also by people with complexions not from that region! I’m curious if you think this material could work even more casually with jeans (assuming it was cut Neapolitan-Style) and no tie.

John

I just wonder whether this jacket made with a single button could have been an option for you. Notwithstanding one of your latest suit whose jacket was made that way, have you ever envisioned having a jacket like this one with a single button? I would greatly appreciate your take on this matter. Thanks!

John

Sorry for this additional query, Simon: wouldn’t even a navy wool blazer look rakish with a single button on the waist?
Formal jackets aside, which ones could easily bear a single button on the waist without standing out too much?
I still remember your Donegal tweed jacket made by Kilgour, which you eventually ditched.

Christoph

compliments to all – Simon and his outfit as well as one of the best discussions at PS – construction details, colors, occasions, combinations, it is all here!

Peter

Lovely jacket Simon.

I have an unrelated question. I had a rather wet bike ride into work this morning.
I have a good cycling jacket and helmet cover so my upper body stayed dry. What do you wear on a rainy ride? Is there something that keeps your legs dry and a shoe cover that keeps feet dry?

We have moved office locations and I no longer have a shower available at work so wet and grimy legs are harder to deal with now.

Matt S

A tan is necessary to pull off this colour, and you have a nice tan. I don’t think I could wear it! I prefer more muted blues. I’m not sure if there is a name for a cool blue-grey, whereas air force blue would be a warm blue-grey.

Kev Fidler

Following on from Nick and Matt’s points this jacket is rather bold and your tan does rather help carry it off. The grey trousers I find rather appealing – bit of a British twist that slightly tones down the overall effect and probably suits our weather conditions. To me cream trousers might be a bit too much of a Mediterranean look. Developing Matt S’ point about tan – how would this jacket go with that tone of trouser, Simon – though not a linen, I assume?

Matt S

I think cream and tan (or anything in between) could go very well with this jacket, though grey is clearly the best choice in Britain. Tan trousers can balance the bright colour of the jacket and perhaps make the jacket stand out less, or make the whole outfit more bold. Darker than lighter shades of grey (though not as dark as charcoal) could also go well with this jacket too.

T

Hi Simon,

The shade of blue here is really beautiful, enough to be summery and understated still. What’s the fabric weight here? I’ve been a fan of the blog for some time. Knowing that you’ve spent some time working in Hong Kong, what would you recommend in terms of fabric for dealing with hot and humid weather (talking over 30 celcius plus real humidity)? It’s a tough challenge that sometimes I find the only solution is to go without a jacket – that is unfortunate of course… Thanks!

M

Simon,

Speaking of blue, I find that an outfit playing with different shades of blue can be very useful for the summer, especially in hot countries. The palette of blues is large enough (from sky blue to navy, not to forget French blue) to be able to create enough contrast in the outfit. This can also include navy shoes (think loafers, perhaps with tassels) which are perfect for that purpose when there is enough contrast with the trousers. I find it at least as versatile as the combination of neutral colours that we all usually like but perhaps with a less automnal / more summery note. Any thoughts?

Cheers,

M

M

Cheers, Simon. I have sent you an email with a few shots as it is easier than explaining by words. With regards to loafers, I find that dark navy / midnight blue is quite versatile and subtle as black is definitely too formal and brown (to my taste) often too contrasting with bright or light blues.
Cheers
M

M

Of course Simon, I would not expect anything different! Email was just to attach pictures (difficult to do on the blog) to illustrate the idea but for the sake of the discussion, I added my final point on navy loafers here for everyone else’s benefit.
Cheers,
M

DE

Hi Simon, I like this! Just wondering if you can give maker/bunch/number details on the trousers – I can’t find it in the Kathryn Sargent post you link to?

DE

Thanks Simon, it looks very similar to the H&S Dakota 953806 grey that you featured in your post ‘The Holland & Sherry cloths I have known’.

Thomas

Simon, what great jacket once again. And I for one love the combination with the grey trousers. But, Simon, an open button on the sleeve? Really? I remember a remark a very sales-driven made-to-measure guys made to me before I received my (pretty ill-fitting) suit, some 15 year’s back – “you leave one open to show people what a great jacket this is” – and I have kept them dutifully buttoned ever since. And I always kind of cringe when I see it on some of the management folk around my office (and it does spread, and more so as it seems to get hard to buy even off-the-rack these days without working buttons). But maybe I am just overreacting on this …

Oskar

In the hottest of summer, would you rather wear this or the Caliendo hopsack, all else equal? Or still another jacket, if one is required? Thanks much

Ashish

Hi Simon

I had a few questions with respect to this beautiful jacket:

1. Is it 100% Linen?
2. Is it unlined on the inside?
3. Is there minimal shoulder padding on no padding at all?
4. What is your opinion on fabrics that are a wool, silk and linen blend for a jacket of this nature?

Many thanks and I trust that the jacket is holding up well.

Sincerely
Ashish

Anonymous

Hello,
I just have a question about shirting: you wrote somewhere that a cotton-linen mix is considerably less breathable than plain linen. So what is the advantage in choosing it over cotton or linen?

shem

Hey simon, I have a blue jacket (https://thearmoury.com/products/ring-jacket-hopsack-amj07-travel-sport-coat?variant=12255047483463) which I intend to wear with white or blue oxford button downs and grey pants. Would a tie like this (https://bergbergstore.com/collections/sale-ties/products/seven-fold-handrolled-repp-tie-navy-red-green-gold) work or should I stick to plan knits and grenadines?

THanks!

Shem

Thanks Simon. Can I say then that darker ties would work better with this jacket?

Anonymous

Simon, off to the Southern Hemisphere soon and don’t have summer odd trousers handy. Would a navy linen jacket with light grey flannel trousers look to confused in terms of fabrics, or is it doable?

Anonymous

Very nice color. Would such a color work better in a wool/silk/linen or a hopsack jacket?

Do you think the jacket colour works with beige/khaki/tan chinos?

Jonny

Hi Simon,

I was wondering if your thoughts had changed at all on this sort of shade for a summer jacket, or if you still wear this and recommend? I’m planning a couple of summer commissions, and being a Londoner, I’ve stayed away from ‘bright’ colours, but am thinking it may be time to really give it a go.