A cream jacket is more useful than you might think. 

Certainly, I’ve found myself using this one from Jean-Manuel Moreau more than I expected since I received it earlier in the year.  

This post describes, and illustrates, three ways I’ve liked it in particular. 

A nice side effect to this versatility is that it makes a full cream-linen suit easier to justify. 

For while the suit is unlikely to be worn at anything but a wedding or garden party, both the trousers and jacket are more useful. You can see examples with the cream trousers here. (And a similar pair in Florence, here.)

 

 

Outfit 1: Formal

The easiest partner for a cream jacket is a pair of lightweight grey trousers. 

They can be a high-twist wool, cotton gabardine or (if you like the cloth) worsted flannel. But grey is always an effective foil for something as bright as cream. 

And once you have the cream and grey together, almost any shirts look nice: a blue linen, a butcher’s stripe, even madras or denim.

Indeed the choice of shirt pivots the whole look, given how much of a blank canvas the cream and grey are. It can be wedding-formal (with a white shirt), playful (a bright pattern) or much more casual (perhaps denim). 

 

 

My favourite is pink. Pink’s always nice with grey, but I think it is especially attractive with the grey and cream together. 

This particular shirt is the pink PS Oxford, which is really a little heavy for summer. But I don’t have a pink-linen shirt yet. (I’m currently in the process of correcting that, with D’Avino.)

The grey/brown handkerchief helps tie the outfit together, I think, reflecting the colours below the waist. In fact this is a good example of where adding a pocket handkerchief really enhances the outfit, rather than being a default (see our recent discussion on the rarity of hanks). 

On the feet are black-suede loafers. Dark brown would work too, but black is often nicer with a bright colour like pink.

 

 

Outfit 2: Tonal

The best alternative to grey trousers, I find, is brown.

Particularly a pale brown, like the cotton gabardine shown here (they’re the trousers from my Elia Caliendo suit).

The advantage of brown over grey, of course, is that it looks less business-like, and formal. There is less suggestion here of a wedding or some other daytime event. 

The lighter shade (café au lait?) also feels more summery than a dark one.

 

 

I liked this jacket and trouser combination when worn a white shirt and dark-brown loafers. The result was pleasingly tonal, contemporary even. Tortoiseshell sunglasses help too. It feels earthy, natural and relaxed. 

The loafers are the Sagan Classic from Baudoin & Lange. The sunglasses are from EB Meyrowitz.

Thanks to the lovely Spinach cafe for letting us shoot outside. 

 

 

Outfit 3: Colourful

I’d describe that previous outfit as very me. It achieves my persistent aim of looking subtle and understated, in tailoring. 

The third outfit is a gear change. Here, I wanted to show how well a cream jacket can work with strong colours – if that’s more your thing. 

So the shirt is a broad awning stripe, the trousers a dark olive and the handkerchief a hot pink. Even the sunglasses (from Bryceland’s) have a coloured lens. 

 

 

It would work without the handkerchief. It would also be smarter with the grey trousers shown in outfit one. They’d both be nice combinations.

But this shows how nice a playground the jacket is for colour. Even a bright tie wouldn’t be amiss. 

The shirt is a cotton/linen, made by D’Avino. The handkerchief is from Anderson & Sheppard – a souvenir from a event years ago they did with LimoLand. The trousers are ready-made from Paul Stuart (I have yet to find the same dark olive as cut-length linen.)

Dark-brown suede loafers serve to ground the outfit, and send the eye back up again to the colour up top. They are, like the black suede, the Belgravia from Edward Green.

 

 

As I said, I was surprised how often I wore this jacket, and the different styles it could accommodate. 

I commissioned the suit as a replacement for an old one from Kent Haste & Lachter, which was too structured (and on which I made poor design decisions) to work well as a jacket. But I never expected it to be this useful.

I’d go as far as to say it should be in the top three or four jackets for summer – alongside a brown or green wool/silk/linen (like my Solito), a navy hopsack (Ettore de Cesare) and something in the tan/oatmeal area (Caliendo). 

Jacket part of a made-to-measure suit by Jean-Manuel Moreau – review here

Photography: Alex Natt @adnatt

 

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Anonymous

Perhaps it’s the fact that these looks do without a tie, but I’m finding the jacket of the suit works much better in these outfits as opposed to the outfit in your original review of the full suit. Do you think this sort of jacket would work as well dressed down with chinos (say olive or stone) on the bottom half, or is that too casual?

Anonymous

Thanks for the response, Simon. I see what you mean regarding the cloth – perhaps having the jacket in a darker colour, such as tobacco, would offset the formality of the cloth? It would also possibly pair more effectively with jeans as with Mark Cho’s outfit below. Incidentally, and apologies if this has been addressed but I’m not seeing it in the article, but could you provide details of the grey trousers in the first outfit?

JB

I’ve been looking at a cream jacket or suit for a long time, and this just reassures I should really get one.
Above all all great examples of how to wear it. I’d also recommend Mark Cho’s styling tips of his cream/ivory suit here https://www.instagram.com/tv/B_fjOLMH158/. He shows it with jeans and a madras style shirt, as well as different shirt and tie combinations, quite useful.

I also really liked the combination Dag wore in your recent talk, with a brown polo underneath. Then again, it’s hardly surprising the Saman Amel team wears this look well.

Daniel

Hi Simon,
At the end of last year I bought an (unstructured canvas ) cream jacket for just the sort of weather we’re enjoying at the moment. The colour really does make me feel good and one striking option is pairing it with jeans and a plain navy casual shirt. Quite dramatic but lots of fun.

Leo

Morning Simon,

All very nice but don’t you think it resembles one of the waiters at Gran Caffe Gambrinus just down the street from Solito’s atelier?! Gennaro usually calls one of those guys in a cream jacket to bring up the espresso!

Leo

Fair enough. Where would be your top place to wear that jacket?

Al

In Italy the standard color of a waiter’s jacket is white (on black trousers) not cream. I’m sure you can find every possible variation these days but that’s the traditional color.

limek

The jacket is lovely and the brown and olive trousers are a great match. To my eye the grey looks too dull for such a summery look. I find that it basically looks off kilter. I’d have likely gone for a silvery grey insteadm but even that wouldn’t have anywhere near the interest of the other two – especially the brown.

Scott

The cream/grey combo is the most understated of the outfits which is the point. The pink shirt looks fantastic here and adds just the right amount color, love it!

Alex

Totally agreed on the grey, despite grey and cream usually complementing each other perfectly. The outfits with the brown and dark olive trousers are lovely, but the grey trousers and black loafers just look totally at odds (to me anyway) with the summery top half.

Scott

Another extremely useful article, you’re on a roll! A cream jacket is something that never crossed my mind really, but these examples show the usefulness of this color for a classic subtle and understated Summer look.

Stanford Chiou

What do you think of pairing a navy linen trouser—or even chino—with a cream (or tan/oatmeal) jacket?

Jason

As a suit, this works with all the attendant limitations of cream (£ per wear).
As a jacket, it doesn’t do it for me, it’s just too formal.
If you are going to do cream in a casual jacket, it has to be something completely louche like Anglo-Italian’s fabulous tennis blazer. That way it can go with jeans and covers all be the most formal bases (great £ per wear ). Something that the late, great flaneur and cream jacket addict, Lee Brilleaux would probably have sported, had he been with us today.

RT

Wonderful to see the late, great Lee Brilleaux referenced here. He embraced the cream suit with all its limitations and “owned it” in the same way he “owned the stage”.

MB

I find that I wear my cream jacket less than I would like, so this article is really helpful. I wonder, though, how you would add a tie to these outfits.

Ben

I vastly prefer the tonal look to the others, cream being a warm color to my eyes. And the difference in formality between the first and second looks seems not practically significant: I can’t imagine a circumstance where one is appropriate while the other is not. (It’s not like you’re wearing cream to the law firm anytime soon).

Also, for a man who goes to Pitti, your interpretation of ostentation (look 3) seems rather restrained.

Andrew Poupart

Excellent article, Simon! I’m a big fan of cream in jackets, trousers, and suits and find it a useful shade, in various fabrics, more or less year-round. I do like your styling ideas and will have to see if they work for me (especially the pink linen–I have a pink linen shirt, but the collar is not the best at standing up under a jacket).

Also, that the third look is your idea of a colorful outfit did make me smile a little 😊

Robin

I think these are the best examples of differing jacket and trouser combos you’ve done .
Normally no matter how hard one tries differing combo one comes off looking like a ‘newscaster’.
In this case the differences do not seem as stark.

With regards linen ,if one is doing a different combo linen jacket and trousers , should one go with a non-linen trouser (as you appear to do ).?
Or is a linen jacket and different linen trouser acceptable ?

JAMES L HENNIGHAN

Frankly put…..and no matter what you pair it with……or indeed spend on the jacket or any number of trousers……. you look a fool when you don’t wear any socks.

The clown …..or clowns …..who came up with ‘….no socks….’ related to any fashion ensemble have nothing to offer us….

Perhaps the only thing worse than ‘no socks’ is the British males penchant for black socks with shorts……..

It’s a close run thing as to which is the daftest of the two………..

In reality they both deserve to be laughed at………

James Hennighan
Yorkshire, England

Jon Bromfield

I’m with James on this one, Simon, and I understand his inclination to ridicule this deplorable trend.

There is a time honored rule about properly dressed men not showing ankle and foot skin, and, yes, feet and ankles are not the most attractive parts of a man’s body. What next, exposed midriffs?

, I’m even of the opinion that men over twenty-five shouldn’t wear shorts in public – think of the children!

Jon Bromfield

But that’s the point, isn’t it? It’s not traditional menswear. Neither is wearing shorts with a suit coat (unless you’re in the Bahamas, and even then…).

And aside from exposed ankles not being the most admirable part of the male physique, breaking up the leg line, etc. , it makes the outfit look incomplete and draws attention from your face, which is where you always want it.

I’m certainly not “emotional” about this point. It’s just clothing, after all.

I save my outrage for tuxedo jackets with notch collars.

Roger Seegobin

Happy to see the pop of color in the jacket top pocket.
Was suggested when I commented on the suit a week or two ago.

Roger.

J.

Hi Simon. Looks good if you ask me. Funny… I have a cream jacket with a large grey check for years and after trying several things I came up with pretty much the same combinations. I wear it with grey and brown trousers. The grey that I wear with it is a wool and the brown is a heavy cotton linen. I have worn it with a pale olive too but for some reason the whole thing turned out looking very dull. I guess it’s about having the right shade. The darker green that you are wearing seems to be working better. Thanks for the post!

anon

Recommending worsted flannel in option 1 is interesting. Is that because worsted flannel can be relatively light, making it a comparably-weighted foil to a linen coat? I’ve always viewed flannel–worsted or otherwise–as exclusively a winter fabric.

EZEQUIEL

maybe an unpopular opinion but i have never seen how “cream goes with everything”. to me it always looks horrible unless you are a tax evasor chilling in a caribbean island

AM

Hello,

I’m considering commissioning a suit in Fox cream cricket flannel. Do you think that material/color could be used to the same effect as the jacket here? Many thanks.

Sam

Could you wear some tailored navy shorts with a cream jacket?

Jan

Nice! I have an unstructured cotton jacket in this shade and the slightly more casual cut, structure and fabric make it work really well with all kinds of chinos (“cafe au lait” is a favorite but olive, navy, mid blue, old pink, burnt orange, lots of options really) and lighter shades jeans, I think. Excellent summer weekend evening gear!

I too struggle with the sock-less look (in leather shoes that is, it’s a no brainer for espadrilles and cotton sneakers) but I think it makes perfect sense when you wear white or cream on top – not sure if it’s the summer association or the skin colour, could be both

Anonymous

Simon it looks as if your Sagans have a rubber sole in the photo.Do you prefer them over their leather counterpart?Personally,I like the look of the full leather sole.

Claudio

I always thought that keeping two shirt buttons undone is too bold a statement and that a man is not supposed to show his flesh, or his chest hair for that matter. You clearly appear not to bother, but it would still make ME feel uneasy to go about town showing my chest. Could it be that I’m old-fashioned and that we are just redefining a somewhat macho mentality whereby it’s ok only for women to show their flesh so that we can take a peek? I’m thinking aloud.

Scott

I’ve actually seen that color in an overcoat. It was a bit darker, but the same general idea. What do you think of a cream overcoat?

Scott

Yes, showy and impractical are excellent descriptions. Dark overcoats in whatever color look fantastic and flatter any man so much better than lighter shades I think. Every time I wear my dark brown or navy long, almost ankle length, overcoat I get compliments. Interestingly, the ratio of comments is at least 2 to 1, probably higher, of women to men with the women being very vocal about how much they like a long coat on a man. I’m considering a dark olive color mixed with black or brown which I think would look very sharp and be very versatile. What do you think about this idea?

Scott

Actually I have a grey cashmere db herringbone, but a dark grey solid would be a wonderful addition and more versatile than olive I think. Outerwear is one of the most underrated and under appreciated aspects of menswear. It’s such a pleasure to wear a beautiful overcoat and other more casual pieces like a pea coat or a raglan sleeve coat.

Nicolas Stromback

Simon, I’d say a cream jacket screams for a denim shirt, such as your Everyday denim or even something a bit more blue. I say this with your posts earlier this year (or late last year) on contrast. A white or pale coloured shirt without a tie doesnt provide enough contrast to the cream. Also, a denim would go very well with either olive, brown or grey trousers.

I am planning to get one of these cream suits for next year, with the fact in mind that they can be separates. Is there any other fabric than linen that would do the trick? Perhaps something to contrast linen shirts, that I love and have much use for in hot weather like now.

Paul Boileau

No doubt a good pairing visually but to me a cream jacket is a Summer look (at least in the UK) so a denim shirt seems a little incongruous.

Paul Boileau

I only have one denim shirt in a rather heavy cotton so a very small sample group. I will investigate alternatives…thanks!

Dave Staplin

Great article as always, Simon, but I must ask: why no socks?

I’ve seen this time and time again in wearing everything from suits with dress shoes, to less formal looks.

Perhaps I’m showing my age, but unless it is no socks with boat shoes/shorts, or very, very casual summer wear – which would not include jackets – the whole no-socks look seems, well…misplaced.

RT

The degree to which age affects one’s judgement in aspects of dress is interesting. In terms of the “no socks” look, my personal preferences tend to align with Dave’s. I was discussing aspects of dress with some friends and colleagues recently and it’s certainly true that the younger ones were much more comfortable with the look than the older ones. However, the views on number of shirt buttons to leave undone was interesting. One or two older colleagues were fine with having two buttons undone when wearing a jacket, most were not. Older colleagues tended to feel that it looked a little untidy, whilst younger ones felt that it was redolent if that “trying too hard”, macho image that has been much derided in the past. I wouldn’t necessarily have predicted that and I have no judgement to offer, but I found age-related split in reasons for disliking the look interesting.

I.T.

Cream and grey don’t seem to look particularly well together. Pure white and grey may work well, but cream/beige and grey don’t. Dark blue trousers (perhaps, in a shade slightly lighter than navy) would’ve been better, but I know that You and the vast majority of readers here, dislike blue trousers with sport coats, although, dark blue trousers actually do complement cream, grey, and brown coats very well. What’s important is the proper fabric of the trousers that won’t create a dissonance with the jacket.

Dario

I’m amazed at the amount (and tone) of comments against the sockless look, I have only recently started doing it myself and it’s super practical for this time of year. I probably wouldn’t do it if I was required to wear a suit to work, but for the use I make of them, it’s more than fine. And remember that some time ago, the “standard” was white tie and morning suit.
Which brings me to the next point: why do you, Simon, find the chances to make use of the full suit so limited? with such a fabric, cut and colour, you can’t really call it a formal look anyway.

Scott

I really like the cream and grey combo and don’t object to the sockless look. However, I’d be inclined to be sockless only with a grey cotton on linen pant, never wool.

Initials CG

These are great combinations Simon! Long overdue a perspective on the cream linen suit everybody here secretly desires (even if some never admit it).
Grey trousers with the cream jacket, from mid grey to light grey is a staple – just look at AA/Esquire images from the past. The mid brown trousers looks amazing – right at home in Tuscany during the summer! A great context for all your combinations Simon.
Twenty years ago, which to me isn’t that far back unfortunately, you would spot more people wearing the cream linen suit with tie around town and in business settings. Today, the full suit would be hard to feel comfortable outside a particular wedding environment. And still, I enjoy my two cream linen suits by mixing the trousers and jackets. So, I love these combinations you display Simon.
I would suggest an evening/dinner summer combination with a dark navy light worsted trousers combo and black shoes (the slightly more formal loafers from EG or CJ) with mid calf socks! (Yes, i said it! When it’s 30+ in the evening you’ll understand). With a simple white shirt and pocket square, it harkens back to the summer black tie evenings with cream jacket look, which some of us secretly wish was more prevalent. And I think it works remarkably well as a contemporary look. It is also the only time worsted navy trousers work in an odd jacket combination.
On the sockless look, I would just comment to those who are so emotionally charged about it to consider a few points:
1. It’s a Mediterranean summer look. It’s about surviving the oppressive heat. So, yeah, I wouldn’t wear it too much in Northern Europe …
2. Having a little tan on your ankles does help. Blaring white or blotchy pink skin screaming out would be something to consider before you try it.
3. Bare ankles no tie is best, but don’t go bare with a suit- better mid calf socks.
4. It’s about surviving oppressive heat and keeping your jacket on – so please keep that in mind. Italians seem to fear the effects of air conditioning more than the plague, and this look works better in outdoor environments anyway.
Simon, I think you had a great article about surviving the heat which I thought was spot on. Ankles and wrists bare, no tie and you can keep that jacket on!
Cheers!

Tahir

I feel going sockless with leather lined shoes being justified as beating the heat is stretching it a bit! Your ankles may feel cool but the feet would be sweating and sticking uncomfortably to the lining. It’s your choice if you like the look.

Lucas Nicholson

When I say sockless, and when people usually do here, they mean with an invisible sock inside the shoe. So your feet don’t stick to the lining.

Jay W

Love the dark olive. Would like to see other combinations you may have with those. Thank you for article and the photos!

Scott

Great outfit. That tan jacket is fantastic and must be so versatile.

Jay Weir

Excellent, Simon, right down to the pocket square! Thank you very much.

Jay W

FLW

Simon- What are you thoughts on dark trousers showing through an open-weave fabric? You mentioned this jacket is only half lined and surely the olive or gray would be slightly visible in back. I have it engrained in my mind that such a thing is a faux pas but also feel that I’m over-thinking. I’d love to hear if your thought on the matter.

Hannes

Hi Simon,
I’ve played with the idea of such a jacket a long time and finally commissioned it in the oatmeal 12ounce linen from Dugdale’s Lisburn bunch. I was always looking for a summer equivalent of your oatmeal cashmere sport coat. Do you find that you wear this linen jacket in a similar way?

Neil Kirby

What a versatile combination, the only issue I would have wearing a cream linen jacket in London is keeping it clean of the general grime, but it is otherwise the optimal Summer jacket.

Matt H

I’m liking all of these outfits. I think, in this colour, I would have to scrub that wall before leaning against it.

Anonymous

Very nice jacket.
Do you think a peak collar on a casual jacket like this would work, or would it look “bastardised” in a way?

Richard

Simon, could the cream be paired credibly with dark brown cotton or linen pants both in terms of colour and formality?

Tim

I would add that a blue/white-striped seersucker shirt with light grey linen trousers would look rather dashing and be perfect for weather > 80F.

Hamza

Hi Simon,

How do you feel about a cream jacket in flannel, or about carrying such a colour in not so warmer months?

Uday Khopkar

Definitely a pink shirt looks fab inside a cream jacket but then to accentuate the cream, a dark maroon or burgundy trousers look a lot more elegant, even without a tie.

Dylan

Hi Simon,

Do you think a cream jacket in, e.g., a Fresco or Crispaire would be as flexible as linen? Are there other fabrics/blends you think could satisfactorily replace linen for cream jackets/suits?

Thanks!

Anonymous

Hi Simon, lovely piece! I am recently engaged and am planning our wedding in Italy. As I’m thinking through what to wear, I wanted something that evokes classic vibes but with a modern touch. I was thinking a cream/ivory wool/silk sport coat (notch lapel, welted chest and hip pockets, no vents) with white shirt and black bow tie (or regular tie), and black/very dark charcoal trousers with black shoes. I was wondering if you thought a combination like this would look a little incongruous, particularly the bow tie over regular tie?

Anonymous

Thanks Simon, really appreciate the feedback! I like the idea of adding a subtle pattern to the tie and maybe a pop of color, too.

Alexander

Hi Simon, looking at the first outfit a question came to my mind: I will be attending a wedding in August, setting formality aside, do you think that a cream linen jacket with mid grey prince of Wales trousers could work? For the shirt I’d go for either plain white or at most a light blue stripe, but I’m still unsure about the shoes.
Thank you very much
ACR