This latest article in our Wardrobe Building series is on sports jackets, odd jackets, or just jackets. Whatever you want to call them.
It’s an area with little understanding. I loved the exchange in The Times that a reader highlighted recently. Apparently someone wrote in, suggesting that with all the video meetings going on, brands should start selling just the top half of suits. Another reader pointed out that these already existed. They are called jackets.
So, here is my suggestion of five essential jackets for a modern wardrobe.
As ever, these capsule collections cannot suit every person and working environment. So I have based it on my lifestyle, which is a mix of formal and casual; and then throughout, I’ve suggested ways in which this can be tweaked to be more formal or less formal. more Summer or Winter.
Some readers will be seeking jackets that can effectively replace suits to the office. Others will be wanting to dress up a T-shirt and jeans wardrobe. Hopefully this method will help both.
Throughout, I have linked to other PS articles that contain examples of these jackets and details on them. It’s also worth looking through the whole ‘Jackets’ category of the site.
I haven’t included specific cloth recommendations, just because the number and variety of them would mean that the list would be out of date within weeks. But hopefully there are enough visual examples to enable you to seek out your own.
Navy should also be the first choice for a smart jacket. And for a more casual one, I’d argue it should still be in the top five.
A smart jacket could be in cashmere or a wool/cashmere mix. A more casual one could be in a plain wool, or a hairier wool like tweed.
A smart summer version is easy: hopsack. Classic and simple. A more casual summer version is harder, but there are nice navy linen herringbones out there. Anglo-Italian has a nice one.
2 Dark brown
Dark brown should probably be the first choice for a casual jacket.
Brown and green are the more casual, rural equivalents of the city’s navy and grey, and brown is a little easier to wear than green – even with brown shoes.
A lovely casual option is brown tweed, such as my Harris Tweed above. A smarter version would usually be a colder shade of brown, with finer material, like this Rubinacci cashmere jacket. Or perhaps have other smarter colours mixed in, like grey. An example being my Zegna wool jacket above, made by Shibumi.
In the summer, dark brown is lovely in wool/silk/linen materials, like the Solito jacket pictured.
Casual summer options are tricker. They are in general for summer jackets – it’s one reason people wear a lot of overshirts and safari jackets, or something like this Mandarin.
But there are nice browns out there – if you want something that’s very casual, to wear with jeans and so on, then look at the lighter linens (9oz or below, not 11oz) and things like washed linen.
Although grey is a classic colour for formal tailoring, it’s normally used more for suits and trousers. This is partly because grey goes with so many things, and that’s more useful in a trouser than a jacket.
That said, it can make a useful smart jacket. And having some pattern helps – at the least a herringbone, and perhaps ideally a check, as with the Saman Amel jacket above. Plain grey is trickier – I’ve found my Steven Hitchcock jacket less versatile than I hoped.
With more casual jackets a mid-grey herringbone is fantastic, and rivals the dark brown for versatility. See my Harris Tweed above, from The Anthology.
It’s also easier in winter cloths, but I find warmer, browner shades of grey can be good in the summer. See Biagio Granata jacket pictured.
4 Dark green
The other casual, rural staple after brown is green. Wonderful in a dark tweed, as above from Zizolfi. Goes with everything save other greens.
It’s just as useful as the dark brown in summer too, often with a little check over the top, perhaps pale blue to pick up a shirt colour. Example above from Prologue.
Green can also work as a smart jacket, just as navy can work in a casual one: it just needs more careful consideration. You want a colder shade, just like the brown – perhaps like the Drake’s windowpane check pictured.
5 Tan and light brown
Those first four colours are the most obvious, the easiest to pick. Number five is a harder. (And of course there’s no reason you’d want five, rather than four or six – it’s just a ‘round’ number.)
Personally, I think the fifth area to look at is lighter browns and tans. For example, my mid-brown cashmere from Eduardo de Simone shown above, on the more casual side. Or my oatmeal Escorial Tweed for something smarter.
There are also redder browns, like my Richard James. There are paler browns like my linen Caliendo – which is both summer-y and more casual. And there are tan corduroy jackets, like the Armoury one pictured.
Most readers will find that one jacket in this colour range will make a useful fifth jacket.
A more casual collection
To be honest, I think the jackets above, in their most casual versions, would make a perfect capsule collection, even if you only wore them with jeans and chinos.
But you could replace the navy with something more obviously casual if you wished, like a gun-club check (see Ciardi jacket above).
A more formal collection
If you wanted a more formal selection – to wear really just for work, with smart trousers and shoes – then you might want to replace the brown or green with another navy (perhaps a different style, weight or pattern).
Another option worth considering for a smart wardrobe is a dark grey, a charcoal. It needs some texture to it, perhaps like a donegal, but the darkness of the colour might make it better than a mid-grey.
A bigger collection
Once you had most of these basics, I would expand the wardrobe with colours and patterns, primarily.
So a pink corduroy jacket is wonderful, for example, but you can’t wear it all the time. Equally a gun-club check: very enjoyable but also highly recognisable. Not to be worn every week.
A bigger collection would also enable you to have a green corduroy as well as a green tweed. Or a grey cord as well as a grey tweed.
Start simple in design, too
As to the designs of these jackets, I would start pretty simple. There’s no point selecting very classic, versatile materials, and then using unusual designs.
So I would go for all single-breasted jackets – or one double-breasted at the most.
It seems boring, but an SB will always be more useful – and if you have one style in a DB, there’s a chance you’ll want an SB version of it later. It’s what happened with my navy hopsack jacket from Caliendo, for instance.
With these first five jackets, my design decisions would be driven just by how formal or casual I want them to be, such as patch pockets on more casual jackets, and flap pockets for smarter ones.
Questions on all this happily received below. Including specific sets of five jackets for your very specific circumstances.
Hi Simon, nice article. In the last photo are you wearing the navy hopsack with grey flannels? Isn’t that something to avoid? I.e. a “Summer” jacket with “Winter” trousers (and vice versa obviously).
I was actually wearing a topcoat over the top of those two in the rest of the shoot, so it wasn’t that mismatched. And I think the priority there is really functionality – whether it’s what you need for the temperature you want to be, the weather and so on. It’s not really going to look odd having the two together.
As to this first question, obviously in the reader’s mind, hopsack as a fabric is merely thought of as being exclusively a Summer stuff. Actually, as you well know hopsack is made in various weights.
When it comes to cashmere, you might be surprised if I said that I’m not at all enamored with the fabric as such. But I nonetheless recommend it to female friends for their blazers.
Finally, gun club jacket can be really muted. I have a RTW one whose fabric was offered by Dormeuil decades ago. I still wear it – mostly at night for pubs! I just can’t give it away. Bruce Boyer would certainly understand such an attachment!
Yes you’re right on hopsack. Personally I don’t like it as much in colder months, because it’s still fairly cold given how open the weave is. I’d prefer another fine wool, probably a twill, if I didn’t like cashmere
Ede & Ravenscroft feature now RTM blazers in hopsack. If hopsack in any weight is wind sensitive, then one would consider hopsack inappropriate for winter?
Brilliant summary !
I think you’ve got it perfect in terms of the colours .
And that Dark-brown Harris Tweed jacket from Elia Caliendo ….. I refer to it as the PS tweed from when I saw it first .
Anybody thinking of rushing out to buy the five will quickly realise they need five more for different seasons in slightly different shades.
Possibly a odd (maybe stupid question) ….why don’t we have jackets that open up at the arms to make sitting at desks and working on computers easier ?
(i.e. the kind worn for shooting which open to allow for shooting a shot gun )
What happens now is you take your jacket off to work at a computer or allow the arms to ride up your wrists.
You could have that Robin, it would be a little unusual but perhaps more functional. It also depends a lot on how you have jackets cut – they can be looser generally, and particularly in the back
Great article. Would you consider your brown escorial “urban tweed” as a good example of a dark brown jacket? Or is it to light?
It is good, yes. It would be a little more useful if it was a shade darker, but only a little.
Having the Escorial brown be a little darker would be more useful for what Simon? A more casual or formal wardrobe?
More for slightly more formal
Would a darker brown steer it further from casual use (jeans, chinos)
A little, yes. Though a coarser yarn would also make it more casual, eg tweed
Do you think you would make any of the future runs darker, specifically brown or green?
Perhaps. There’s a little left in each colour so we haven’t discussed any future run yet
Hi Simon, hope all’s well sir.
Right on time with this one I have to say. Despite working in tech, and working from home exclusively now since Covid reared it’s head, I have been slowly (very slowly) building.
I picked up my first bespoke odd trousers yesterday from the tailor (charcoal cav twill). And have my first few shirts from Luca arriving next month.
Now, following on from your very helpful ‘Navy Jacket and Jeans’ post from last month, I’m settled on navy for my first jacket (being my favourite colour also helps). To be precise, it’s Moon PL375 2013-33, Dark navy mix. Just wanted to check, do you think this would serve me well as a first jacket? (on the slightly more casual side). For reference, mid to dark indigo jeans, Charcoal trousers and olive/stone chinos are my defaults.
Thanks and much appreciated as always,
Ps. The Nubuck tote is a thing of beauty, had I the finances to spare I would have pounced on it.
Cheers Chris. Yes, I think that would be nice
Thanks for the article. Are there any jackets you would recommend for working from home that won’t feel “weird” in the way that wearing a business suit around your house would feel strange?
It’s probably quite personal, but I’d say that’s more likely to be not a jacket, but a jacket substitute – like an overshirt, a jersey jacket, a teba and so on
Superb article, thanks Simon. These capsule pieces are great, as they demonstrate that a great wardrobe is not a large wardrobe, but a well thought-out combination of pieces that pair together. They have certainly helped me to build my wardrobe, where every item is made to count. A capsule wardrobe also inherently lends itself to buying less, but buying quality, which i think appeals to most men. Thank you.
Can i ask if you think this cloth from Anglo-Italian would be a good candidate for a casual, versatile dark brown jacket? https://angloitalian.com/collections/tessuti/products/ait-016
I’m sure it’s hard to say without seeing the cloth, but my concern with going for a darker fabric (such as https://angloitalian.com/collections/tessuti/products/ait-018) is that it appears so dark that it becomes much more formal. Your Harris Tweed jacket from Caliendo above is beautiful as the fabric has so much character, which might be lost if it were too dark. It seems this a fine line to tread.
Thank you again, Simon.
I know what you mean. Both browns are nice, with the lighter colour more casual and the darker more formal. Though both could work in both situations with the right pieces elsewhere.
I’d ask yourself whether you’re more likely to wear the jacket more with jeans or with tailored trousers, and decide on that basis
Many thanks Simon, that’s helpful.
Just one additional question, regarding style. I am currently considering either Anglo-Italian (inspired by your review!) or Prologue to make a dark brown blazer for me. Noting the differences in the cut, my assessment is that both are reasonably casual in their style, though AI is perhaps even more casual. Even so, i still thought the Prologue style of wider shoulders, low buttoning point, curved and open quarters below the button lends itself to a casual style. Would you agree?
More generally, i assume that most Italian-style jackets are suitable for casual ware, compared to the more formal English ones?
I think the differences are small, but AI might be a little bit more casual, given the lack of any pad and general softness. But as I said, it’s small, and probably outweighed by things like cloth and colour as a result.
And yes, I wouldn’t wear most English jackets casually.
Very helpful, thank you Simon.
Unfortunately I have found it hard to find decent cloth books for wool/linen/cashmere in London. I have ended up going for an Irish linen in a blue/grey as my summer jacket, not your recommendation on colour or cloth weight but will find out next summer!
I just took delivery of a navy herringbone tweed jacket and my hope is that I’ll be able to wear it both casually and more formally and have it as my only separate jacket. It will definitely work with flannels and more formal trousers with or without a tie but I’m still undecided as to how well it works with jeans – it is similar in style to the Solito jacket above but a shade lighter and slightly more structure to the shoulders with just a hint of roll to them.
I would just love to have a jacket made with that Harris tweed, but I probably wouldn’t get much use from a second jacket, and I look better in navy anyways. If anything I’d probably use a summer jacket in navy more than another tweed.
may I suggest another great color to add to your jacket collection: dark burgundy/wine. I have a wool one with faint gold and blue/green glen plaid and it looks great with grey wool trousers and brown suede brogues. Give it a try.
Thanks Raymond. I’m sure the jacket is lovely. Personally I’ve never found burgundy to be as versatile as these others, but perhaps I should try it at some stage
I think burgundy/wine works very well as part of a tweed mix, but not as a dominant color. But I also like the Drakes sport coat in tussah silk that is a brown with a touch of wine in it. https://www.drakes.com/clothing/blazers/brown-tussah-silk-jacket
Yes, good point
Isn’t the navy herringbone 460 oz Anglo IT fabric you recommend for casual summers a bit too heavy Simon?
Do you have more recommendations navy cloths that are good for lightweight overshirts and shirt jackets for summer? Much appreciated
I don’t think it would be in linen, no. Perhaps in a very hot country, but not in any temperate one.
If you’re looking for summer jackets advice, the best post to look at is here.
The website says the Anglo IT navy herringbone is larger in size — do you recommend a smaller herringbone for much shorter people based on the images?
It depends how small obviously, but probably not, no. It would be fine on a smaller man
I think it’s up to you. Try and find a herringbone jacket to try on and see what you feel about the sizing
What’s your recommendation for someone who lives in a relatively sunny, casual climate in Cali that averages usually 22 degrees (and varies b/w 21-29 degrees)? Should one just invest in summer jackets for year-round?
With that kind of temperature I would have thought you’d get more out of summer weights, yes. But there’s probably still room for 1 mid-weight cashmere or wool out of 5, perhaps? Just for the slightly colder months of the year
Great article Simon, I think it sort summarises the philosophy of odd jackets espoused throughout the site.
Just a quick question, will there be a review of the Hitchcock navy jacket ?
Yes, that’s coming next week
Simon would you not recommend costly bespoke shirts because the collar/neck area inevitably gets soiled? Collars can be replaced but what about areas also below the collar which can also get dirty?
Why does that particular area get soiled as opposed to other parts of the body?
It depends how many shirts you have, I think, and if you’re good at looking after them well. When you see the first signs of soiling, use some extra liquid on the area, or a stain remover.
I have bespoke shirts that have lasted 10 years – including white ones. But I have quite a few shirts. If you have more like 10-15, you should perhaps go for slightly cheaper shirts yes. Particularly as more expensive shirts don’t tend to be longer lasting, just finer
I do have 3 MTM shirts now but don’t quite like the fit/look.
I’m a young person starting out my wardrobe and like Wil Whiting’s shirt fits, though they’re expensive… I’ll sturdy cloths with the hope they’ll last 10+ years? I’m thinking of getting around 5 shirts, ditching the old MTM ones… what do you think since I know you recommend cheaper shirts.
I think Wil is great but a big step up. I’d suggest starting with cheaper bespoke
Hi simon – where is that white shirt from that you’re wearing with the blue Stephen Hitchcock jacket? Is it a one piece collar? It’s absolutely spectacular.
Yes, a one-piece collar from Marol – featured previously here
The tweed overcoat in the first image – where is it from?
Liverano – see previous article on it here
Found this a very good read and probably something I would keep coming back to as a reference point, similar to the capsule wardrobe for business suits.
I don’t think I have seen the Steven Hitchcock navy cashmere jacket featured before, may I know if more pictures would be made available in future articles?
Yes Jun, it will be covered with more shots next week.
Hi Simon! I have a quedtion related to cloth!
I’m trying to purchase cloth from overseas, I’m particularly interested in a herringbone, tweed cloth from Moon, however, i notice that they only deliver to the UK
This is not the first time that i have encountered this problem
What can be done when there’s no retailers in a given country?
I just find another merchant with similar product?
I’m afraid so, yes. Most mills are not set up to sell to end customers still (that’s why local and international merchants exist) and those that are, sometimes only do so in certain areas. It’s worth trying to go through a local tailor as well.
Hi MF, I would recommend you contact Moon and ask for a UK tailor who deals in their cloth. I’m sure you will be able to find a UK provincial tailor who will be happy to buy the length of tweed you require at their discounted rate and then sell it to you at full price. Shipping will be extra and possibly expensive (depending on how much cloth you need and where you live), but it may help you to get the cloth you want.
Dear Mr. Crompton, a little bit off-topic but I was wondering whether you intend to do an introduction and/or a review about Sciamat, Milano (bespoke or MTM)? Thank you.
I am reading your articles for a while now, and I am delighted to say that I like what you write & the way you do it.
I appreciate your work very much and wish you all the best.
No, I have no current plans to cover Sciamat. It isn’t really my taste I’m afraid.
Very pleased you find the site so useful.
I like articles like this. Thanks very much.
You made your recommendations very specific wich is great. Personally I think it often looks better on paper than in real life though.. . What I mean is for example my brown cotton jacket…I bought it because I thought it would be great to wear as a casual summer jacket for the same reasons you mentioned.. It turned out to be very hard to match with trousers. It came down do trying everything that I already had in my closet to see if there was a match. I only wear it with white trousers now. Looks great but not versitale at all. Thank again!
Yes true, cottons are not easy in that way. The shade makes a big difference. Apologies that I don’t have room to go into how all the different colour recommendations here apply to different cloths as well.
Great article, and really perfect for me since the most formal clothes I get to wear on a day-to-day basis is a sports jacket. As for the cloth of a navy jacket, where would you put a basket weave in the formality range, is it smarter or more casual than hopsack?
It depends a little with basket weave – it’s often made up in different yarns and styles. But usually it’s quite casual, a little more so than hopsack
Thanks Simon, lots of great ideas for new jackets here and some really nice styling too. Only you could feature photos of 18 different jackets (I think the Ciardi corduroy is repeated?) in an article titled ‘IF YOU ONLY HAD FIVE JACKETS’!
Ha! Very true. I am trying my best to keep them edited down though…
This is a very useful post and very timely as I’m planning to order some sports coats soon!
I’ve been wanting to get something in linen for quite some time. Ideally in a colour that would primarily be worn as a summer sports coat (I am planning to order trousers as well so that I have the added advantage of wearing it as a suit, however the suit would only be worn occasionally). Of the sports coat colours that you’ve mentioned, what would you recommend in linen (even if the resulting suit is more bold / less useful / less versatile)?
As this jacket is likely to be a solid colour, would I be better served simply getting the same colour in a linen-wool-silk, given that the use of the suit is likely to be fairly limited? In other words, would you prefer a linen sports coat coat or a linen-wool-silk sports coat in the same solid colour?
Definitely wool/silk/linen. Or something similar designed as a jacketing material, rather than the classic linens that are mostly designed for suits and trousers
Great article again, thanks Simon. For a more casual navy summer number, I would also add cotton in a relaxt, unstructured cut and make. Great with jeans and chinos and doable with grey fresco etc as well
Very insightful article, thanks, Simon! Quick question with regard to the grey herringbone tweed: Would you say such an odd jacket would work well with charcoal or perhaps black flannel trousers? Thanks for your advice!
Yes I think it could. Obviously top and bottom would be similar in tone then, so I would make sure to introduce some warmth or colour elsewhere – eg a blue shirt rather than white, or dark-brown shoes rather than black.
Simon, I presume you may have heard already, but the SC Holdall is going to be used in the coming Bond movie. Congrats!
Blimey, I didn’t know that. Thanks
Simon, didn’t you design the SC Holdall? The Bond Experience just did an excellent review of this piece. FYI, the Holdall is featured in the recent Bond trailer.
Thanks, yes I did and I was told it was in the trailer. A nice compliment to how modern it feels
Charles, what “Coming” Bond movie? The latest one was due to air in April, but was postponed to November because of Covid. The next film in the franchise hasn’t been commissioned yet. So how can you say the Hold-all is going to be used?
He (fairly obviously) means the one due to air in April and postponed to November…
Well done Simon. I know you’re rightly of the view, contrary to some menswear writers, that being featured in a Bond film does not make something stylish or cool in and of itself (it is after all effectively product placement much of the time). But it must nonetheless be very exciting to have the World’s Most Famous Spy having his dinner suit (no less) carried in the bag you designed. A piece of history that! More info here
Not the original poster, but I believe it can be see in ‘Trailer 2’ for No Time To Die. Bond is handed his Tuxedo in the SC Holdall.
Thanks Simon! One final question: Do you think a navy flannel is a good option for a unstructured casual jacket (soft shoulder, no lining, minimum canvassing)? Does it need to be in a particular weight to work? Or do you think another type of woollen would be more up to the task?
Yes it would. In general, flannel is designed as as suiting and doesn’t have the openness to work as a jacketing.
This touches a long-lasting puzzle of mine: Flannel used to be the go-to material of casual (tailored) trousers. Yet it is allegedly too formal for odd jackets. Why are trousers and jackets different in this respect?
It’s not that they’re too formal, necessarily, it’s just that you generally want different things out of a jacket and a trouser cloth, and the corresponding materials are usually woven and finished differently.
With trousers, the bigger priority is for them to hang straight, to be smooth and keep a nice line. Even though flannel has that milled finish, it still does this. Partly because it will be fairly tightly woven.
Jacket materials usually want to be a little more open in the weave, a little softer, and with a little more texture, to separate them from a suit jacket. Drape and line is important, but less so than with trousers. There is more need of movement in more directions, and so on
Great explanation. Thank you.
Flannel gets destroyed by perspiration. That means unless you suffer from Prince Andrew’s disorder
no disco or other dancing in flannel.
I learned the hard way despite my inquiry at the flannel manufacturer.
Absolutely wonderful article, as always. Enjoy this style of doing the capsule collection – it’s informative, not overwhelming, and allows a bit more room for imagination given the use of 3 pictures per item as a reference.
Got a nice laugh out of the last sentence.
I only wish you put this out a little earlier in the year as I was starting to buy some casual pieces (though it seems like I ended up in a similar place – perhaps because I’ve read enough of your other work). I will say that it is difficult to find good RTW options (well, at least when one is trying to be careful about one’s funds) for the following very specific use case:
business casual outfits during hot humid summers in Northern California. I’ve resorted to linen blends, hopsack, linen DB (all 3 in shades of navy/blue) because good greys are hard to find for summer RTW. I’ll say this, I feel more comfortable with my selections as a starting point after this article, and will use it as a reference.
Very useful guide, Simon.
What’s your view on the most versatile DB colour ? Navy would be obvious to me but keen to get your thoughts anyway.
I think my advice would be the same as the above with regards to DBs, with the additional point that a DB will always be more formal, so it’s difficult to get any of them to be that casual
For maximum versatility (which is a key objective for a capsule collection), do you have any advice on fabric choices for jackets that work across seasons? Say, for all but the height of summer (and assuming a bit of appropriate layering with knitwear and/or outerwear to see you through winter) here in the UK. This week’s UK weather is a good example: it was warm and sunny at the beginning of the week and will be cool and wet by the end.
I noticed that Anglo-Italian have a “Transitional” category where, from what I can tell, the cloths are similar weights to their AW equivalents but add in a bit of cotton to the mix. Does that make it a little cooler? I’d be interested in any other principles to achieve this versatility across seasons.
I’d work mostly on weight rather than fibres, and look to 9-11oz.
This is fantastic, Simon. On the topic of ‘number of jackets’, it got me thinking about the number of jackets you have from trying out different tailors. I’m sure you try to keep at a consistent weight, but what do you do when/if you need to get them altered? It must be inconvenient 1. due to the number of different tailors & 2. if they don’t travel to the UK (Liverano etc.).
Good point Ollie, and maybe worth a separate post.
Generally, it’s been OK because I haven’t changed much, and because I carry on travelling to these places – eg I had my Liverano altered last year by them in Florence. It only needs one visit.
Thanks Simon, that would be great to see!
I had thought there were structural and other tailoring details that made suit coats not quite right for using as sport coats, but Brian Lishak of Richard Anderson Ltd. informs me the differences between their sports coats and suit coats are minor:
“A tad longer is all and a four button cuff rather than two or three. Our style is based on the classic riding coat (from which the sports coat derived) except for our using a single button front.”
Have you discerned any significant differences between the two?
No, the differences between the two are mostly the cloth, and a little the design details. Not the structure or cut.
You have to take in consideration the region you live in and the change in seasons. Certain fabrics are more comfortable than others. I would like more information on proper fabrics because to me this makes the whole garment. The fabric, cut, design, and craftsmanship.
Simon – Would you tend to always have your jackets buttoned up when standing? I’m just wondering about prioritising the fit across shoulders, chest, waist etc with RTW
Yes, I pretty much always would. And I’d certainly have a jacket fitted on that basis
In London, in which months do you wear a navy wool/cashmere jacket and when a navy hopsack jacket? I ask because I need a jacket for spring, summer and autumn. I am usually in air-conditioned offices and I would like to have a navy jacket that I can wear not only in summer but for as long as possible throughout the rest of the year.
Would a fully lined navy hopsack jacket (9oz) be a solution?
Could you recommend something (fabric/weave type and weight)?
If you went for a slightly heavier hopsack, and just layered a bit in colder days, that could be OK.
But otherwise just go for a wool jacketing, from Loro Piana for example, at around 11oz
A very useful edition. The capsule series is super useful.
As I was reading this one on jackets I recalled that I don’t think I’ve seen an article from you on the “shacket”. In the continuing casualisation trend I expect we will be seeing more of this article. I searched your site, and found one article talking about wearing a t-shirt, in which you wore a light fabric blouson, but that is cut differently – shorter for a start – than a shacket.
It strikes me that in a really informal setting, where no one is wearing a jacket, and you want to be a bit smarter, but not quite the odd one out, a shacket can work well. In one way they remind me a bit of the trend in my youth in the late ’80s, into the ’90s of wearing an unbuttoned shirt over a t-shirt. But the shacket, being cut to work more like a jacket, looks so much smarter than that.
I appreciate that as the UK heads into autumn this topic may have missed the seasonal boat for relevance, but I would be very interested if you chose to write on this subject at some future point.
I look at my own small collection of jackets-proper (I live in a tropical climate), and most of them are halfway there already – linen/mix, soft tailoring, unlined. That, here, is already pretty formal. I see more shackets on the horizon.
Thanks Linden, and yes you’re right – they are very useful today, and I’ll certainly look to do something, perhaps in the early Spring next year
I want to buy a brown jacket but I don’t know if the grammage is important with flannel, some people said that you need at least 320 gr.
Tailors know I’m a beginner, so it’s really hard to find the best cloth with my budget, which is not really high for a jacket (850€).
First off, don’t get flannel for a jacket. Get another wool, but flannel is largely designed for suits.
And yes, a weight around that is a good idea.
I have a lot of blue/beige trousers, so I thought it would be nice to buy a brown jacket.
Like this one from Pini Parma : https://www.piniparma.com/collections/suits/products/brown-wool-jacket-made-in-italy
if your dress shirts keep getting dirty due to sweat especially around the neckline/collar, would wearing a t-shirt underneath help? I’m a bit skeptical that it would unless you have a t shirt with a high collar
No, it wouldn’t really. It would only help under the arms
Is that a one piece collar with your S. Hitchcock jacket?
Assuming yes, is it possible for a bespoke shirtmaker to make a one piece collar, but not so pronounced like that?
Yes, absolutely. See post today (Monday) for more shots of it.
i like the weight and texture from drapers 4ply, but seem most of the cloth from this collection are dedicated for suit
Regarding on jacket pattern, do you think the blue windowpane from this 4ply collection (https://drapersitaly.it/au-en/collection/4238/) will be a right colour and pattern for an odd jacket?
I think the colour and pattern are good, but you don’t want a high-twist like that 4-ply for a jacket. You want something slightly more open, with more texture. These will often be woollens rather than worsteds.
There is more detail in our jacket cloths guide here. However, often it’s easiest just to pick from jacketings bunches instead, as they’re all designed to be just for jackets. Like the Loro Piana ones for example
Starter question for 10. If someone has a brown Donegal tweed and a greyish blue linen jacket what should the third jacket be? I’m leaning towards a grey glen check but I don’t think that two out of three jackets should be on the grey side of things given your post above.
It depends so much on what you wear them with, your work environment, lifestyle and so on. And you basically have just one winter jacket and one summer one there.
I would point you towards navy or dark green, based just on that description. But I think most of that is set out better in the article above.
Good Evening Simon,
Not sure if you have already managed the buttoning types, in case, I do apologise…
I am planning my next navy blazer which I would mostly wear with jeans or tailored odd trousers, so informal…spalla camicia, patch pockets, maybe peak lapel(but not defined yet as peak lapel is too bold sometimes) …but I am thinking on the buttoning type…
I am thinking if a single button could be the right choice…3 on 2 is the standard on Neapolitan jackets but at the end only one button is used (if used)….single (dark horn) button might help to keep the line cleaner (and also it would not be “the average Neapolitan blazer”)
What’s your position on single button blazers?
Thanks and best wishes for the festivities.
That sounds really nice. I would advise that you go for the 3-roll-2 though. It will look more casual, be more versatile, and be more likely to sit well with jeans etc. A one-button jacket is generally smarter, sharper and more formal. There is a post here if you’re interested.
the link is an interesting read, glad you shared it.
Yeah, you are right a 3-roll-2 is more versatile and overall will better fit the business environment I work, which is informal (several VPs and some C-class but definitely not a tie and suit workplace).
I hope that the spalla a camicia (not too extreme, I want something “subtle”) will help in smoothing the “dramaticity” of the peak lapels…also considering I would almost never wear the blazer buttoned (reason why I’ll make half lining as I like the jacket seems cleaner inside when it’s open…)
Thanks as always for the great support.
No worries Henry. The only thing that worries me is never buttoning the jacket. If you’re not going to do that, don’t pay for a high-end make and tailor, as you won’t get most of the benefit of a good make
I agree. I would use high end tailors for suits only.
To me an informal jacket can be (slightly) less perfect than a suit (usually used to be buttoned).
True. Just don’t spend as much on it and you’ll be good
Great, thanks !
Would then be a smarter option to spend on a good MTO blazer like JMM (~1500gbp) and go full bespoke on a complete suit?
I might drift to this option…
Yes, I’d say so. That at the most probably for the jacket
Do you see any major difference in versatility between a 2 button SB vs a 3-roll-2 dark brown neapolitan style jacket, especially for a first jacket in this color?
I’m not sure I’d call it major, but a 2 button is pretty much always going to look smarter, whereas I think a 3-roll-2 will usually look a little more casual, while being fine for most formal things too. So the latter will be a bit more versatile, yes
If the lapel shape and roll allows, would it be feasible for a tailor to add a button and buttonhole and convert a 2 button jacket into a 3-roll-2 with reasonable results?
No, not really. The roll and shape at the front are largely set by the collar of the jacket. Getting a good result on the front like that would require largely remaking the jacket – and it’s normally cheaper and more predictable to get a new one
I have a question and I couldn’t think of where better to pose it than here. I was reading Ethan Wong’s blog and he talks about ” button harmony”, essentially the bottom button of a jacket being in line with the top of the waist pockets. Most well-dressed men seem to have jackets that conform to this and it does seem to look balanced and, well, harmonious. However, a quick look on eBay or similar will show that the vast majority of 2nd hand jackets, certainly in my size, do not have “button harmony”. Is it really as important as Ethan Wong suggests it is? If so, why do so many older jackets in existence not have it?
That lining up of the button and pockets is a general rule with tailoring, and how most tailors would usually cut.
However, when you start altering the other proportions of the jacket, the button position has to change to. So it may be that the other jackets you’re looking at are much longer, or shorter, or the buttons are just placed at a certain point on the jacket for style reasons (in recent years, the buttoning point has tended to be higher).
The position of the buttons in this way is very much driven by fashion. The position of the pockets is then just a question of what looks most in balance with those buttons, the bottom edge of the coat, the front edge and so on.
So don’t focus on the pocket position. Just look at the other things, like length and button position, and see if you like those
I’ve only got one .A marlboro classics. 18 years in old .Cost me £25.
If you only wear a jacket in spring, summer and possibly early autumn, are summer fabrics sufficient? A hopsack or wool-silk-linen jacket is comfortable on hot days and can be layered with knitwear for colder days.
Summer fabrics like that can look a little odd if layered with knitwear. But something like a light wool, perhaps 9oz, could work. They don’t look that different to something heavier. My Solito one here is like that.
When do you switch from winter to summer jackets and vice versa (temperatures/month)?
I don’t plan it really, it’s just as soon as the weather seems warm enough. However, I usually only switch a handful of jackets at a time. I’ve made the mistake before of moving everything, and then experiencing a three-week cold snap
If one commissions a bespoke jacket, would choosing a two button jacket necessarily have a longer lapel than say a three-roll-two? In other words, does one sacrifice lapel length when choosing 3-roll-2?
The lapel isn’t necessarily shorter, but it will be more curved, as it rolls from the 3 to the 2, and therefore it won’t have that sharp look of a 2 button. So yes, you do necessarily sacrifice something in the long, sharp look of a 2 button
Hello Simon, do you think Dugdale Bros Cascade dark navy silk-linen fabric would be appropriate as a summer casual, 9oz isn’t to light ? Also if you have any experience with mixing only silk- linen without wool, if there is any big difference. Thanks
9oz is not too light for summer, no.
I don’t have any experience with that bunch or with just silk/linen, no.
The key things wool will bring are breathability, recovery from creasing, and stopping the material being too shiny. So look carefully at the latter, and be aware you might be giving up something on the first two
Thanks Simon, can you please advise, which one will be better for summer, this one, or that heavy linen you wrote about in article?
I really can’t say having not seen this one in person I’m afraid. In general I think the best for summer jackets are wool/silk/linen though
I went to Lafayette Saltiel Drapiers (3 times), Virgil and Pierre helped me a lot to find the right tailor and the right fabric for the Navy jacket.
Now I hesitate a lot for the color of my 3rd jacket ( 1/brown 2/navy). Maybe Gun-club check but you write “very enjoyable but also highly recognisable. Not to be worn every week”.
Is this fabric versatile ? More than your Ciardi Jacket ? https://ibb.co/Bwfp5zk
The darker the better for the versatility, even with gun-club check ?
If that’s what you’ve got, and you’re looking for versatility, then I’d suggest a mid-grey herringbone, like mine here.
Yeah, i’m not a huge fan of grey jacket, but it can be nice by wearing colorful clothes like Mark Cho for example. (https://www.instagram.com/p/B5Fi3lMhrDl/)
I thought it was for older people, but with a yellow or burgundy cardigan I think it can be really versatile.
Yes, grey works with strong colour really well.
Do you find pockets have a great effect on the smartness of an odd jacket? I am looking for more smart odd jackets, so I am leaning towards flapped pockets – probably hacking pockets. And I was thinking a ticket pocket to distinguish it from my typical suits. These would be more structured English tailored jackets.
Usually I do patch pockets on my odd jackets, but they tend to be in more casual cloths, patterns, and colors. And they tend to be Florentine and Neapolitan jackets. (Although I do have some patch and bellowed pockets on some more hunting-inspired English jackets.)
And do you think a natural colored camelhair jackets could fit in the light brown/tan category?
I think pockets have a middling effect – less than structure or cut, but more than say buttons or other small style details.
Flapped pockets would be fine on a structured odd jacket like that. Although hacking pockets with ticket pockets too would be fairy bold and a style you might end up regretting later on.
I don’t find camelhair is good in that light brown category, no. The colour is too rich
Do you have any recommendations on jacket cloth weights for three season wear – autumn, winter (working in modern office with heating and cooling and use of an overcoat), and spring? I know climate will make a difference, but say similar to the UK. Are there other factors besides weight I should keep in mind, i.e. fibre mix, weave, etc?
Well, you’re pretty much looking at lightweight wool if you want it to wear through those seasons. Perhaps a heavier high twist at the most, like a hopsack, but they’re a devil if the wind ever gets up.
I’d suggest a 9oz wool – something like my green one here.
Thanks. I was thinking 9-11oz, so I’ll be looking to lean towards the lower end of that range then. But I might have to be a little more season specific with my jackets after all.
Checked, casual, summer jackets are easy. It seems harder to find something smarter and three-seasons with out repurposing suiting. The exception being navy jacketing. Any recommendation on bunches would be appreciated.
As an aside, do you think it is possible to have one “transitional” wardrobe covering autumn and spring? Or are the color palettes too different? My guy says the palettes are different – considering the relative light, or strength of sun, during those seasons.
I think your guy might be trying to sell you something! Yes, certainly one wardrobe can cover both, and more besides. Particularly if you’re in the city where nature varies a lot less.
You’re right, plain jackets are difficult to find, but keep an eye on Loro Piana collections, and maybe look at a dark brown or tan with just some interest in the weave rather than a pattern.
Thanks for the tips. And “my guy” was meant to be my GUT. Hah. So no worries about anyone pushing sales…. Other than my own love of shopping and clothes.
Revisiting this article and it really is one of your best. Navy and brown are obvious ones but cream and dark green are under appreciated. Grey works but it just can’t be too dark and benefits from a pattern or texture that makes it clear it’s not a suit jacket.
This should go into a “Best of Permanent Style” master list.
Thanks, really pleased. We do have the ‘Essentials’ section under Style, but I guess that’s pretty specific to style rather than wardrobe building (another guide – all in the menu)
Simon, can I ask what you think about this jacket:
I like it but I worry that maybe the unusual maroon color coupled with the blue check/windowpane might be a bit much. Thanks for any guidance here.
I think that looks nice. I wouldn’t have described it as maroon if it wasn’t called that – I’d have said brown. Perhaps it’s a brown with a reddish cast.
If it’s your only brown jacket like this, I’d think carefully about whether it’s the best option, but if not then I’d say it looks like a nice choice
Hi Simon, I would like to get a couple of ‘proper’ jackets – probably a navy sc and perhaps a dark brown/ green tweed sc also. I could afford to go to go to Anglo Italian or Saman, however it would be a stretch and I really want to understand if getting a good jacket from trunk perhaps a bogliioli would be meaningfully different to paying 2x for Anglo etc? I have bought bespoke in the past, but conscious when you surround yourself with content involving people spending thousands on clothes you can normalise it and I want to be objective. Do I need to spend £1500 on a navy jacket I guess is the question… (realise not on you to answer this for me but as ever keen to know your thoughts!). Sam
You will get something substantially different with those two, yes. In that example, both the quality and the fit will be much better.
Perhaps look at the cheapest of the Saman Amel lines, Toscana, for something that will be closer to £1000? There should be more good MTM in this price range really.
Hi Simon, hope you’re well.
If I could kindly get your thoughts on something. I asked previously you’re thoughts regards my choice of cloth for my first bespoke jacket (Moons, dark navy mix herringbone, planning an appointment with Mr Solito in the near future hopefully), appreciate the help with that.
However, naturally, I’ve already got jacket number two on my mind. I have a thing for herringbone, it’s a subtle pattern that from a distance really just looks like texture (to me, at least) and would happily go for the same collection again but specifically in a brown/black mix (PL375 2013-16). I just wanted to get your thoughts on this as a choice for a jacket collection in it’s early stages.
Brown is great, but the darker, colder side of brown is more my thing, hence when it’s mixed with black, grey, or a navy check etc. , I love it. I just wonder, would a jacket made in this fabric work well in a more casual context (bare in mind, it will be in a Neapolitan make, patch pockets etc. anyway). Mid to dark jeans, mid grey flannels etc. I just feel it would work well with mid grey trousers, and denim/chambray shirts (my favourite) for example. Brown, but a colder, perhaps more urban version.
Would love to know your thoughts,
Thanks and much appreciated as ever,
Ps. Loved today’s article on dressing yourself and how it’s evolved over the years. Really spoke to me.
Yes, I think the jacket would work in that context. It would be a little more limiting than a warmer brown – for example, better with dark jeans than anything lighter – but it certainly could work
if I had the choice to take five jackets on a lonely island, it would be the following fabrics:
– a dark blue flannel jacket (winter)
– a Green tweed jacket (winter)
– a dark blue linen jacket (summer)
– a seersucker jacket (summer)
– a Prince of Wales Hopsack jacket (summer)
Concerning the last bullet point I have a question: in general I would prefer a grey Prince of Wales jacket. But what do you think of a green checked jacket as an alternative? The colour green is warmer and it is easier to combine then a grey jacket. But I am not sure, please see the following link, do you like the blue pattern in the green jacket? If yes, which trouser colour you would combine?
It is a fabric from Lanificio T.G. di Fabio (in a wool, linen, Elasthan mix)
That jacket combination looks a little bold to me. Unless it’s a design you really love, I think it’s something you could go off or wouldn’t age that well.
I’d also avoid elastane in any fabric mix, particularly in a jacket. Remember it stretches but that also means it pulls at you all the time as well.
And the top five is nice, but flannel is not a jacket material generally – please avoid that if you can.
Thank you Simon, that was very helpful for me!
Oh good. If you want to know more on jacket materials, have a look at the Guide to Cloth. It’s very comprehensive!
Ok. May I ask you again what you think about the following fabrics? The supplier is well known for its quality in Italy. Here are two other checked designs, this time not in green 😉
They both look pretty bright and strong, but of the two I’d pick the first one.
Bear in mind Drapers aren’t a mill, they’re a merchant, so they’re supplying cloths bought from various different mills.
Ok thanks. Do you know a good choice for a (Hopsack) Glencheck / Prince of Wales fabric? The pattern should be larger then smaller because a fine pattern would be more for a suit I guess. The fabric should have structure. A checked pattern is perfect for a sport coat but in my opinion a nice fabric is hard to find ;(
I haven’t looked for one like that for a while I’m afraid Tommy, so it’s hard to say. But I think you understand what you’re looking for: something not as loud as these options, but still with noticeable pattern
Ok no worries. In you article I read that a mix of wool/silk/linen is also very good for summer, especially when it is a Hopsack weave. What you think about a light blue sport jacket in this style? I mean it could be even better than a Glencheck jacket because it is easier to combine. Can you please tell me as a last supporting act how you think about the following fabric:
https://shop.hfwltd.com/collection/74 – Product 320792
Thank you again so much!
WSL is good for Summer, but I don’t think I’ve said in a hopsack weave. Hopsack is also good, but tends to be just wool and has a different look.
792 looks nice, though from that set, I’d pick 487, 791 or 802. And if going for a blue, I’d go for the least strong
I’m in need of a good sports coat, preferably in brown, and I saw a berg and berg option:
Do you think this could be worn as a blazer with different colored trousers (navy, grey), or do you think this jacket is too formal and therefore only works as a suit option?
I would appreciate you input.
It’s a nice colour, although I’m not sure how good it would be with navy.
I’d also worry a little being a high-twist, which is normally best for suits and trousers. But it is hard to say with just an online image
I have a green donegal tweed from Maggy1866. My combination are corduroy trousers from Loro Piana in Burgund and in Brown. Does it work?
That sounds nice Thomas
Hi Simon. Do you think leather elbow patches on a wool blazer are still in, in 2021?
I don’t think they’ve really been fashionable for a long time, but that old-school look has become more prevalent in recent years. It’s often nice if not too high a contrast, like a dark-brown suede rather than tan leather, for example.
Hi Simon, great articles. I am looking at having a Navy bespoke sport coat made – I am thinking Cifonelli or deLuca in Paris. Ideally, this jacket should pair with dark denim jeans and be a cashmere or cashmere / wool blend. Do you have any general suggestions?
Sure, happy to help.
The first thing I’d say is that I wouldn’t naturally look to those Parisian houses for a soft-shouldered jacket that would be good with jeans. I’d go to the Neapolitans. However, Cifonelli have made me a nice tweed jacket with inset shoulder that was OK with jeans (here). Given that, I would recommend them, as I haven’t had or seen anything from Camps de Luca that I would say was as suitable.
Let me know if you would like any other advice, eg on materials
I could use your advice for an office-appropriate summer sports coat. First off, I work in a very casual office, and the spring-summer weather where I live is humid and hot. I have in mind a nice, relatively heavy linen mix, preferably in dark brown (I already have blue and gray in hopsack wool and in wool-silk mixes). I like an English cut, especially a moderate drape cut, for example W & S. Is there anything about that sort of fairly structured cut that would be inappropriate for what’s clearly a relatively informal color and material? I’d appreciate your thoughts.
I wouldn’t say the structured cut would in any way be inappropriate for the material. But it would be smarter overall still, and as a result I wouldn’t be wearing it with chinos, for instance, just smarter tailored trousers. Which might be too smart for your office
What do you think of Lori Piana’s navy “sweater jackets”?
They have a cashmere/silk version for cooler weather, and a cotton/linen/silk one for warmer weather.
Do you think they check the boxes in this increasingly casual environment we live in?
Yes they certainly fill that gap between smart and casual. Lots of other brands do them though – they’re hardly unusual. That doesn’t mean you can’t buy LP, but bear in mind you’re paying a good bit for top quality, and a good bit for brand.
Hi Simon, I’m looking to commission my first bespoke jacket to wear with my new “uniform” of mid-grey flannels and white button down twill shirts. Your navy cashmere jacket looks fantastic but I wonder whether you could suggest something a bit more robust than cashmere? I’ll be wearing the jacket from Autumn to Spring in London.
Sure Peter – have a look at the navy jackets and materials I suggest here.
I actually saw a few readers at the pop-up that had used these cloths for jackets, which was lovely
Thanks Simon and I cannot believe I missed that article!
I already have 2 navy jackets (one 3-roll-2 SB, a linen DB for summer) and am looking to add a winter jacket.
I love the idea of a grey herringbone jacket to wear as a separate, but I’m not sure of the versatility. Does this work well with grey flannels ? I’d like to wear it to the office, and it will mostly be paired with mid-grey flannels, possibly charcoal twill, and sometimes raw denim.
Would a dark brown jacket (such as your Chan tweed) be more versatile ?
Bear in mind that the jacket will most likely be a soft make, patch pockets, etc.
A dark brown like that might be more useful, yes, if you’re going to wear grey or dark grey trousers with it quite a lot
Thanks Simon. Any recommandations on a RTW jacket with a nice cloth (tweed, slubby, texture, etc.) ? I can’t seem to find this kind of jacket in RTW, can’t go MTM at the moment.
Would you rather recommend to save up and go MTM for next season ?
Not specifically that I’ve seen, but I don’t look at RTW jackets much. Have a look at Drake’s, Anglo-Italian and The Armoury perhaps
Thanks, will have a look
Still in search of a dark brown sportscoat. I was wondering if hopsack could be an all-year around fabric if it were heavy enough (300g+). I know that it is primarly considered a summer fabric, but given the shift towards a more casual wardrobe and the dark brown colour if it wouldn’t look out of place in winter, say with grey flannel pants ?
I don’t think it would look out of place, but it wouldn’t be great in the winter. It’s not the weight, it’s the fact it’s woven to be open, to let air through. Cold air cuts straight through it
My dark green shetland wool Boglioli from Trunk gets a surprising amount of wear – the fit isn’t as good as my MTM ones but there’s something about the style which makes me less concerned. i’d have a look there.
Thanks, will have a look
How will you pair Grey herringbone jacket?
I’ve shown it in many outfits over the past few years. Perhaps have a search?
I am starting a new job soon which will require a slightly more formal style of dress. I already own a navy and dark brown jacket, and have been looking for either a grey or tan/oatmeal colored jacket. I fell in love with this jacket from the armoury
I know you mentioned that grey jackets cannot be paired with grey trousers, but do you think a jacket like this could be paired with a mid grey flannel trouser such as these from berg and berg?
Do you think this jacket will be versatile and seamlessly pair with other menswear staples?
I think that’s a lovely jacket, and will be great with navy trousers, dark brown, and charcoal. I’d want charcoal rather than the mid-grey of those Berg ones though
Thank you, Simon. In terms of the versatility of charcoal trousers, what color jackets will it go with? It seems too dark for a navy jacket.
Navy can be OK, but you need some pattern or colour variation in there.
Otherwise charcoal is great with beige/oatmeal, browns, olives. Basically anything other than grey that isn’t too dark
Thank you, Simon. In terms of styling this jacket, would your approach be any different as compared to the navy jacket in the first picture?
You mean the first picture containing a navy jacket? The one with the oxford shirt and the jeans?
Would you be concerned about the durability of a cashmere jacket such as this one?
A little bit. If you were at the stage in building a wardrobe where you only had two or three jackets, and were wearing them every day to work, then I might reconsider. But if not, then I wouldn’t worry that much
Wanting your advice about picking a brown jacket. For readers who don’t wear a tie, and will therefore mostly be pairing the jacket with solid/patternless knitwear/shirt/trousers- would you suggest first getting something like a check or Donegal?
I’d look at a donegal perhaps, just because I think checks can be a little old-fashioned or stand out more.
Thanks for the link to this post Simon. Very helpful. What are your thoughts on using a brown Glen Check wool with an accent color (blue, burgundy or green) for a sports jacket. Is it classically more reserved for suits?
No, that’s a nice combination. It will look more like a suiting the more smooth and hard-finished the material is, rather than what that pattern is
@Simon – I’m thinking of commissioning my first bespoke jacket. I want something I can wear with denim or flannels and be able to use as much through the year as possible. I’m thinking Navy, single breasted, patch pockets, with welted chest pocket, with a style similar to that of Ciardi. What I’m unsure of is fabric, i.e. ideal weight and also lining. Should I perhaps steer away from a full lining in the interest of covering more seasons? In short, if you were commissioning such a jacket for the first time, what would you ask for?
I think your choices so far are all great. On lining, I wouldn’t worry about it as it won’t make much difference to temperature. This is not a pure summer jacket.
On material, I think you should be looking for lightweight wools – perhaps 9 or 10oz. It will be a little warm in a British summer, but will go through into autumn well, and winter with a coat. And wool is the best for regulating temperature.
I’m afraid I haven’t looked at that kind of material for a while, but my first port of call would be Italians like Loro Piana or Drapers
Thanks very much Simon. Might I also ask about buttons for a Navy SB jacket such as the one I’ve described, i.e. material (thinking perhaps horn) colour & finish?
Dark brown will be the most useful. Up to you on material and finish, but I like unpolished horn
Great article Simon. Would this jacket qualify as a tan/oatmeal or a ‘bonus’ jacket. I love the pattern but am having difficulty on deciding where to wear it.
I think a bonus one. Checks are pretty rare really…
Here’s the actual jacket.
yes it’s fairly bold
Yes it is!
I’ll chalk this one up yo a ‘mistake’. I’ll continue to wear it and see if it grows on me. I’m trying to figure out on what occasions it would best be worn.
Hello Simon and group. Does anyone have a recommendation on a tailor in Toronto or who comes to Toronto for bespoke jackets? A softer, more casual cut is what I’m after.
The only one I’ve ever covered is Francesco, here. I don’t know if he’s still around
Could you give us a bit of a comparison between the cloth options on the lovely brown jackets you have – how should a reader choose between the warm Harris Tweed (or your Escorial), compared to a cold/darker brown tweed like your WW Chan, compared to the cashmere herringbone of your de Simone (which seems warmer again), compared to the Rubinacci donegal? All of them seem potentially versatile enough cloths to pair with either jeans or flannels or chinos. What are any pointers as to what makes one a better “single brown jacket” (assuming many readers will already have a nice Navy jacket)?
I think it mostly depends on two things: what else you’re likely to wear it with, and whether you prefer smoother or hairier materials, cashmere or tweed.
As I think you’d identified in another comment, the WW Chan would go better with more muted and colder colours, whereas the Harris tweed or Escorial would be better with stronger or warmer ones.
Thanks so much Simon. I think most common would be cream chinos and dark denim, with occasional use with a charcoal flannel. I prefer the non-scratchy feeling of wool and the more modern/urban thing of colder colours. I usually associate tweed with stiffness and discomfort. Is this wrong? I already have a navy wool so will maybe look towards a cold brown tweed to add a bit of texture and formality variety
Tweed doesn’t have to be stiff or uncomfortable no, though it is relative – it could be softer than other wools, but it will never be as soft as cashmere.
A cold brown tweed sounds like a good idea.
Hi Simon, do you think this will be a great grey jacket, or a “bonus” one? Thank you.
P/s: I’d like a brown/grey check patterned jacket for 3 seasons year round like your Shibumi, but it’s a bit hard to come by.
I think the colour of this could be good, but it’s a pretty strong check. Ideally you’d want something subtler if you want to maximise versatility
I live in a warm humid climate where the annual low is around 65-70 Fahrenheit. I Regularly wear a solid navy or sharkskin worsted woolen suit, followed by a classic blazer. I’d like to add an odd jacket to that mix,. After a navy blazer, What would pattern / color should I look to for my next jacket purchase? Looking for something that if need be could be still worn with a white shirt, and gray trousers for church.
With those things worn elsewhere, I’d say probably a dark brown, as suggested as number 2 on this list
Thanks. I’ve been seen by a grayish brown – usually referred to as taupe pop up more and more. Would that work? Or go darker if a white shirt is to be worn?
That would be nice, just not quite so versatile. You would probably need higher contrast things elsewhere – white shirt, dark grey trousers etc. But depends on the shade too
So it sounds like you think darker brown would be more versatile?
I have 100; or so ‘Tweed’ jackets. Bought over the years mostly in the UK or here in the USA. They hang in my garage and I rotate them for school wear. Students find me eccentric. All my ‘Weeguns’ have ‘pennies’, my ties are mostly ‘Rooster’ or leather. In my classroom, Miles, Getz, Evans and Coltrane are always in the background. How did i get to be this cool??
Hi Simon. Sorry for bumping this old article.
I was reading though it and was wondering if you’d consider writing an article along the lines of “If you only had 5 separates”? I appreciate that it’s a little strange to talk about only having 5 separates outfits when the whole point is that you can mix them. But I feel like I’m leaning more towards separates than matching trousers and jackets for suits. I’d be very interested to read an article along the lines of – If you were getting into separates, here are the 5 most useful/versatile combinations.
Thanks Matt. First of all, don’t apologise! No PS article is ever old, it merely gets richer and more useful…
On separates, I am planning one on five smart trousers you would own. I guess that that, together with this jacket list, would create your separates requirement? Or would it need more than that?
I see a lot of blogs recommending a navy hopsack jacket (or full suit). Local tailors I talk to suggest Birdseye over Hopsack stating that Hopsack. How do you compare Hopsack vs Birdseye?
Separate … I have several older (15-20 years older) suits that are three button jackets and double pleated pants. Anything I can do with those or do I just store them indefinitely? They include a charcoal check; charcoal herringbone; grey blue windowpane/check, and a black pinstripe.
Birdseye is a weave, just a pattern basically. It’s a normal suit.
Hopsack is more like a quality, made to be sharp but very breathable in hot weather.
It doesn’t really make sense to compare them.
No, not much you can do on those suits to change the style
For me personally, I would only have four sport coats, two for warm weather with half canvas and two for cold weather with full canvas. Warm weather would be a navy wool hopsack and something like this taupe wool, linen and silk jacket from Surmesur https://surmesur.com/en-ca/products/taupe-wool-linen-silk-blend-sports-jacket-875747. Cold weather would be a navy wool doeskin and a taupe tweed, a nice mix between grey and brown.
I chose a navy seersucker sport for my summer coat , as well as, a seersucker in a mid blue stripe in a traditional seersucker; it sounds redundant but with the hot summer(humid) weather in the south (US) the seersucker breathes nicely.For winter coats, it would definitely be a navy doeskin and a lighter weight tweet(lambswool) in a mix of browns and grays. I would also throw in, another odd jacket of more of a transitional weight of a wool and silk, mix of light gray with a hint of pastels.
I’m looking for my first sport coat, and could use any help I can get.
For context, I’m in my mid-twenties, and a sport coat for me is only for pleasure.
During my search for a spring, summer single breasted sport coat I came upon 3 models I like:
Dark brown checked in 40% wool, 30% silk, 30% linen, fully canvassed and half-lined.
Caramel in 70% wool, 30% silk, fully canvassed and quarter lined.
Sage in 85% wool, 9% silk, 6% linen, fully canvassed and quarter lined.
What would you recommend me to do?
Happy to help. If it’s your first sport coat, I would definitely go for the dark brown – as mentioned in this piece, I think it’s one of the most versatile there is, alongside a navy and a grey herringbone. All three sound quite summery, but that might be what you want.
Feel free to ask more questions here or on other posts when you have them.
for the casual grey herringbone jacket, would you call this a versaitle choice (expect for winter days) or should I go with a darker colour and a different cloth?
Not a darker colour, but yes a different cloth. That looks too smooth and smart for a more casual jacket
Thank you for the fast answer Simon. I really appreciate this and I see your point here.
To be honest I am a little bit lost between all those different cloths and formalities. When it comes to jackets or sport coats I have nothing in my closet, so I try to grab the two or three jackets I will get the most wear from.
I work in a very casual office, where I can almost wear whatever I want. So the jacket itself will already be on the formal side I would say. Apart from work I like to dress up on occasion. Dinner with my girlfriend, birthday parties or a night at the bar to give some examples.
Therefore I’d rather get a brown and a grey jacket first and navy maybe as a third option. At the moment I mostly wear a shirt like your PS Oxford Button Downs on it’s own or layered with some Merino-, Lambswool or Shetland knit depending on temperature (I live in mid germany), but I want to expand my wardrobe to some jackets.
I found a jacket in a similar grey on Spier & Mackay which has a much more casual appearance on the pictures. But I am confused because it is made of the same 280 g 40/60 wool/linen mix from Marling & Evans as the natalino jacket I posted before.
Natalino also offers another grey herringbone jacket in a nice hairy wool, but in a darker color.
What do you think about those two for building a wardrobe next to a brown jacket?
It sounds like you’re on the right lines, it all makes sense.
I think with the mid-grey jacket it’s just the photography. It does have more texture I can see, though for versatility I’d ideally want something a little woolier, a heavier more autumn/winter weight. The Natalino looks more along those lines
and thank you again. So I guess the second jacket from Natalino would be a good choice to start with.
I definitley like the look and the appereance of the more hairy wool and the weight of the jacket matches your recommendation of 10-13 oz in your guide. I was not sure about it first, because it is darker than the other two I posted, but when I compare it to your grey herringbone tweed jacket it is not really darker or lighter, but a little bit different in color and cloth of course and it looks like you are really happy with it.
I just ordered that jacket and give it a try. Hope it will fit and then I can look for a brown one.
If i can chime in… i dont need a formal jacket, even jacket itself for me is almost an occasion wear. But ive settled on
3 piece winter capsule as dark brown pontoglio corduroy double breasted suit, grey herringbone tweed and gunclub check from spier and mackay. Still considering do i actually need number 4 but it would be either navy cashmere or navy lazyman.
3 piece summer, navy and brown ps overshirt, unstructured really light navy hopsack double breasted from spier and mackay (to be honest a mistake but i dont hate it enough to put on ebay)… if i decide on nr 4 it would probably be seersucker lazyman.
Pontoglio corduroy seems great for jacket, but im not sure i can reccomend it for trousers. Its really soft, and the only such soft corduroy ive had was ralph lauren and that wore out really quick.. but i need to wear it for a season to make up my mind.
P.s. unless you need a formal jacket, my vote goes to natalino tweed one. (but check out a spier mackay grey herrringbone tweed too)
Simon, I truly love the wealth of knowledge you share. I’ve read through the comments here and I understand you feel a linen/wool hopsack blend may not look “right” in colder months. I’d greatly appreciate if you could give me your opinion on whether or not you think the following would look alright in fall/winter (if it’s too cold, I’d just pair with an overcoat) or if it would look out of place. Thank you!
If you’re sure you wouldn’t get cold, then I’d say the brown would be fine, as it’s darker. The green looks much more springlike
Hi Simon. Hope all is well. For a tan colored jacket, does this match with charcoal colored trousers or mid or dark grey (but not as dark as charcoal) is better?
Would it be the same for a pale colored tan or a more saturated tan?
Most tans would work with mid-grey, but only the palest, the least saturated, would work with charcoal probably
Have you taken a look or have any ingoing projects using Fox’s Sports Jacketing 430g fabrics?
In terms of formality, where do you think this might lie and what trousers would you recommend choosing for it?
I feels slightly too dry for pairing with flannel but I’m not sure it would look quite right with a high twist either.
I haven’t really looked closely at it or tried it I’m afraid. Sorry
Hi Simon, great article. Interesting that you did not include a charcoal flannel jacket in your basic collection (you mention it as an alternative in the end though). I find this the most versatile one for winter, when everything is dark. Usually paired with a white oxford clothes shirt and light-medium grey wool trousers.
Yes, charcoal can be really nice. I guess I normally find a mid-grey and a navy more versatile in that situation, but this is only if versatility is your number one priority. And you might also have other factors, such as wanting something smarter than a mid-grey
I see. Because of your website, I bought a pair of medium gray flannel pants last winter and find them – as you said – extremely versatile. For jackets/blazers (see my PS), I usually prefer darker colors – also dark brown – in winter when it rains/snows all the time. Limiting to that, for me a navy blue blazer fits better with spring/summer/early fall, but not so much in winter, because I always associate the color blue (including navy) with sun, blue skies, sea, etc….. so more with the warmer season.
My PS: Since English is not my native language, for me a jacket (“Jacke” in German) is something very different from a blazer (“Sakko” in German), namely every kind of outerwear that is shorter than a coat. Is there a difference between jacket and blazer in English or are the words interchangeable?
I see, thanks Markus.
In English a blazer originated as a boating jacket, but today usually means a navy jacket with metal buttons or buttons that stand out similarly. Some people use it to mean a jacket (what the Americans would call a sports jacket) but they are the minority. It’s a shame because it is a useful word, given a jacket could mean almost anything, as it sounds like is the case in German
Hi Simon, very useful article.
I’m moving to London the next year and am trying to put together a wardrobe with my local tailor before I leave. But having never been to London I don’t know what to expect in terms of weather and formality… What would be your suggestions for a few jackets that would be versatile for dinners and drinks (e.g. establishments with a jacket/tie required dress code)? Would tweeds be too rustic? Perhaps some woolens and layer a cardigan or topcoat when it gets cold?
Is this for work, or just for leisure? Obviously if it’s for work it will depend very much on your office or working environment
It’s just for leisure. Thanks.
If it’s just for leisure, then you’ll find London similar to many international cities, and few things will look out of place. The weather is best described as unpredictable, and therefore I think you’re right to concentrate on layers like knits and a topcoat.
A navy blazer will I’m sure be useful, as will a tweed – as you say, maybe just keep the latter towards the less colourful and less hairy end of the spectrum, so it seems more urban and less country, but that’s about it.
Oh, and I might suggest waiting until you get here to have some things made. It’s hard to anticipate all these things in advance.
Do let me know if you have any other questions
Hi Simon, after reading this article, I have collected a navy and a brown jacket, and am considering another jacket for this autumn/winter. While choosing which cloths to go for, I have found glen checked could be an interesting choice for my third jacket.
However, could I ask whether you have found the jacket versatile enough? If so, which colour combination would you suggest I start with? If not, do you think it would be too early for the glen check?
A subtle glen check can be very nice Jack. It might also be worth considering the wheat-coloured tweed we are just re-issuing this week. It was originally featured here and is now exclusive to us.
That is a beautiful colour. I might go for that.
However, my navy and brown winter jackets are herringbones but not tweeds, and the cloths are not from British mills. If it were you, would you not mind as they are in completely different colours?
No, I wouldn’t mind personally
Again, a great and very helpful article. I would also put a charcoal / dark grey flannel jacket in the top five. By contrast, I am not a fan of windowpane or any other pattern for that matter (except a subtle herringbone). Yours are tasteful, though also not my style, but often they are bordering a bit on the clownesque and in addition are harder to combine than solid colors (which can also be washed out….. I have a wonderful very casual washed out grey K-Jacket from Boglioli).
True Markus, there is always that danger. I would also be cautious about flannel though. Usually it’s woven tighter and meant more as a suiting.
Hi Simon, thank you for this.
I work in a semi-smart office (mostly grey or navy jackets, or only smart trousers with a shirt, but no tie, or very rarely).
I currently have a navy suit and a navy wool/cashmere jacket + dark grey trousers. What do you think would be the most relevant next step? Again I don’t wear ties, so a grey suit may not be needed. A brown jacket might be a little odd in my office. Maybe a second navy jacket, in a different weight or texture?
Would an oatmeal-coloured jacket, as described in this list, also be out of place?
If so I’d suggest a mid-grey jacket, such as a herringbone, and a pair of navy trousers perhaps. Or very dark brown
Do you think a brown Dupioni silk might make it into this top 5? It seems so versatile in being suitable for all 4 seasons, covering one mid-brown and allowing for a darker brown to be cashmere/tweed for example…
I’m not sure. I think the colour and matte finish, sure, but it is a pretty unusual cloth. I think it might be quite personal
I’m building out my jacket collection from scratch. After a somewhat disastrous fit experience with Solito have just had my first ever 2 MTM ones made that fit totally perfectly by Saman Amel. Would you recommend trying other makers for the next few jackets? I’m thinking that it might be a bit risky to have everything in the same house style, with the wide lapel and high gorge – but on the other hand they have absolutely nailed my pattern. I can see how others like the Anthology might offer a different lapel/style which could add variation, but am really afraid that the first commission won’t have the same superb fit- the solito one is so off I barely wear it, really sadly.
What do you think – prioritise sticking with the same tailor and don’t worry about the consistent characteristic lapel/cut/style?
Or… take a risk on fit and get the subtle changes of a different Neapolitan-style SB look into the capsule?
I think you should wait either way, David. You won’t know until you’ve worn those two Saman Amel ones quite a bit, and found out what you wear them with, what you like them with and less so, and so whether a different cut would make a difference.
Two jackets is already a good amount to have to play around with. Do that for months before thinking about the next one
Such good advice. Thank you Simon
Excellent article, as usual. Sorry for all the preamble, but I want to give all the information you usually ask before giving advice, heh.
I live in the southern USA, so the temperature is about 85F/30C for 2/3 of the year. It’s hot and humid.
Work is casual (no suits, no sport coats/jackets/blazers). I do like to dress nicely at work and after work, though. So trousers are either fresco wool at work, and cotton/linen or linen trousers after work (wool fresco if going to do something more formal). I rarely wear denim, as it is too heavy, I find.
So I think I need 1 navy jacket or blazer for the very warm 2/3 of the year, and 1 3-season or cool weather for the short time it is cool and when I travel to cooler climates.
Thank you in advance!
No worries Mike, happy to help.
1. No, I don’t wear them. They seem a bit too traditional to me, at least worn in this kind of context.
2. Fresco is more a suiting, hopsack is the jacketing equivalent, or mock leno. I’d go hopsack if you want something smart, w/s/l for something a touch more casual and perhaps more Italian looking
3. I wouldn’t have though two navy would be needed, no. I’d go for something different, like a dark brown
4. I wouldn’t go cashmere if your weather is that warm, and you have a fairly small wardrobe. I’d go lightweight wool, 9 or 10oz
This is so helpful, thank you!
I’m sorry I am so late to this, I didn’t know how to find the comment/thread and didn’t add the notification feature.
Thank you for taking the time to write all this up, and the extensive knowledge you share, here! I’m learning a ton from you and this community.
No worries, happy to help Mike. And do always leave comments on any post, new or old, when you have a question. It just adds to the resource that the article represents
Looking for a nice cold dark brown with some black in the weave for a jacket to wear with jeans, grey and brown flannels, and cream trousers.
The WW Chan W Bill has gone from bunches.
Is this any good? https://www.harrisons1863.com/product/wb12404/
Failing that are there any other bunches or fabrics that have caught your eye this season in black/brown mixes?
That W Bill is nice Ben, though pretty dark. I’d try to see it in person if I were you – perhaps when wearing jeans, as those will be the harder things to wear with it.
I haven’t spotted anything else recently, no
Is there such a thing as a true 4-season jacket? Would 11oz brown wool or cashmere be wearable in summer evenings? Or should the capsule really have summer and thicker winter brown jackets.
Not really Gerry, at least not in most countries in the summer, and in the winter it’s really dependent on having a coat over the top – at which point almost any weight is fine.
But really I think it depends on the size of your wardrobe. When you’re investing in your first 2 or 3 good jackets, it makes perfect sense to buy something in that mid-range that will have as much use as possible. Beyond that is when it makes sense to have something different, particularly for summer.
Do you think these two navy jackets can cover the whole range of seasons (from summer to winter and in between), and formality from jeans to more formal outfits? If not, what would be the main gap?
Certainly seasons, yes. On formality, a navy jacket is unlikely to cover everything – something fine and smarter for work is not going to look great with mid-blue jeans
That sounds good, and the goal would be to wear them with dress shirts for work. I was just wondering how much I can stretch their use.
As far as fall and spring, for a not so cold day, would neither look out of season, as long as I pick either one based on the day’s temperature? I was just thinking that instead of looking for one navy jacket that would do it all, it would perhaps make more sense to have two instead.
Thanks again, and really enjoy your posts and discussions!
No they wouldn’t I don’t think
Would the wool/linen hopsack fabric decrease much in versatility compared to a wool hopsack jacket?
And having wool in the mix, would the texture change enough to safely go with a linen shirt and/or linen trousers?
On versatility, only a little I would have thought. It would still be a nice smart jacket.
And yes I would have thought it would be fine with linen trousers and shirt
Hi Simon, I’ve been revisiting this article given I’m almost exclusively wearing separates rather than suits, and I’m trying to build out my sports jacket wardrobe.
I already have a navy cashmere, grey and cream POW, green tweed (very similar to in colour to yours by Zizolfi) and oatmeal (in your Escorial wool).
I recently sold my brown sports jacket, a lovely brown tweed check from Drake’s which had a lot of country/autumnal colours through it, because I thought it was a little too ‘country’ for my lifestyle. While I loved it, I live in the city (Sydney), so I thought something a little simpler and colder in colour tones would be more appropriate. I’m tossing up on the below two sports jackets and would love your opinion:
1. This brown gun club check in undyed wool (https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRIW2LME5KUy63_m0YLKZ07KTRTwvGN4nf_Ag&usqp=CAU). A simpler design in colder tones of brown.
2. This Harris Tweed (https://theanthology.net/shop/sport-jackets/wool-sport-jacket-the-anthology-x-jkf-man-harris-tweed). While this is probably more ‘country’ than the gun club check above, the colour palette is really interesting – it appears very neutral and cold, and therefore more modern.
They’re both nice materials Guy, but if you wanted to avoid that country look I would go with the former
Hi Simon, I have noticed that you don’t use flannels for sports jackets. Could I ask why?
Flannel is mostly designed for suits or trousers, Jack. Generally suitings are woven more densely and sharply, jacketings a little more softly and loosely.
I am planning to commission a suit either from Anderson&Sheppard, Huntsman, Richard Anderson, or Kent & Haste. He is in his mid 60s. Althought he rarely wears a suit and mostly wears a sports jacket, I would like to gift him a suit. I understand suits are suits and jackets are jackets and from your response I assume it may be difficult but could you suggest any cloths which could work for both a suits and the sports jacket? Also, if it were you which house cut would you go for?
On the cloth, no not really – only cord or linen perhaps.
On the house cut, it’s a difference in style so it depends which you prefer, or think he would.
I personally think A&S’s double-breasted suits are more flattering than single-breasted suits, and that Huntsman’s and Richard Anderson’s one-buttoned better than two-buttoned suits. In this case, if I were to commission a two-buttoned single-breasted suit, do you think I should go for Kent &Haste? Or is this something that could be sorted through discussing with the tailors?
I don’t think you’d notice a big difference in that button orientation between the three other than A&S. If you like the Huntsman and Anderson one buttons, I’d go to them for a two button as well
Good evening, Simon!
I need your advice with a more dark grey herringbone tweed jacket such as this one: (https://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-co-harris-tweed-vintage-herringbone-blazer-grey/p477820) or (https://www.michaelandrews.com/shop/sport-coats/bespoke-grey-herringbone-harris-tweed-sport-coat).
Is this also considerable as grey herringbone and with which trousers would you pair them?
I guess something like grey flanell or wine/cream/navy corduroy and maybe olive moleskin?
Greetings and have a nice week!
This darker grey is smarter, and I’d personally wear it more with navy trousers, with dark brown or cream. It would go with wine but that wouldn’t be my style. I wouldn’t wear it as much with jeans probably
I’m about to have a jacket made for a couple of weddings in late summer/autumn in Sydney.
I was going to order the PS oatmeal tweed then it sold out literally the next day.
I’ve been hunting for something similarly versatile and the thing that I have liked to most is this light brown from the Moonbeam bunch:
Looks good with the grey shown but I can also see it with olives and able to be dressed up and down. Not too sure about jeans but that’s not a deal breaker for me.
Do you typically find light browns as versatile as the wheat/oatmeal in terms of pairing with dark trousers/chinos?
Re cloth weight. I seem to gravitate towards heavier cloth which is less ideal in a warmer climate like Sydney. I’ve never had a half-lined jacket but am considering it this time; how much of a difference do you think this makes re ventilation/temperature control?
I’ve enjoyed reading all the articles. Lots of helpful insights.
Yes, that brown looks pretty good, I think it would be nice. It’s fairly casual for a wedding, but of course it depends a lot on the dress codes.
A half lining makes a difference, but not a big one. I wouldn’t say it’s a substitute for a suitable weight of cloth
Hi Simon, do you think a beige-ish oatmeal cashmere sports jacket could work with darkish hazelnut cavalry twill trousers? Sorry for the vague description… the cavalry twill was from Dakoda bunch.
That does sound like it could be nice, yes
Hello good sir, I am thinking about getting started with commissioning some sports jackets/casual suits. I am really build in the shoulders and slimmer in the waist and the English suits w/ structured shoulders looks a little odd on me. I am thinking about some of the softer cuts in Italy. However, the only Italian tailors that visits NYC I am aware of are Dalcuore and Solito. And I know Gallo (AKA Eric Jenson) has a NYC branch. Do you recommend of those for my athletic build or are you aware of any other softer tailors who travels to New York?
You might be interested in Thom Sweeney, who do a very soft shoulder but with a slightly sharper cut elsewhere. Otherwise I’d recommend Dalcuore or Solito
Thanks for the input. I’m thinking about commissioning are actually the PS Harris tweed and a navy textured jacket of some sort (either the moonbeam from Harrison’s or a hopsack). Would Thom Sweeney be a little too sharp if I want these jackets to be more versatile with being able to dress up and down a bit?
Also, second question. I’ve seen your late article about overshirts/chore jackets. It is worth it to go bespoke with these or the off the rack ones are good enough since there is no canvas?
If you want to wear the jacket with jeans and chinos, then Sweeney might be a little too sharp still, yes.
On the overshirts, chores, I’d say off the rack – mostly because tailors/shirtmakers aren’t often the best from a design point of view
Hi Simon, have you ever considered launching PS cloth for spring and summer? For instance, versatile dark brown in wool, silk, linen.
Not really, in that we don’t aim to sell a range or particular seasons, but rather to fill gaps when there’s something we can’t find. Is there a spring/summer cloth you think the existing mills don’t cater to?
Hi Simon, could you give an indication of whether there are new cloths in the pipeline?
Only the two new striped oxfords that we should be releasing early next year Nick
Thank you very much for your reply. I would add a vote for a summer cloth or alternatively if you could do a list of suggested summer cloths (perhaps with a focus on ones that are more work appropriate).
I would also say that your ciardi gun club tweed is something that is not out there in the market and I would personally like to get a length of that, just as a suggestion 🙂
Thanks Nick. There is a fair bit on shirt cloths in the Guide to Shirt Fabrics – see summer shirtings article. It doesn’t mention specific ones, but then these change every season from the mills anyway
On the gun-club tweed, yes I know Lafayette Saltiel have actually been working on it for a while – not sure if Virgil has got anywhere!
Interesting. What colours please?
We haven’t announced that yet
I see. I wouldn’t say there is something missing in the market, but as you mentioned in your article, cloth for a brown casual summer jacket is a bit tricky unless it’s linen, but I prefer linen as an overshirt. And I feel like not a lot of merchants offer wool, silk, linen which is what I am thinking of using for a summer jacket.
Why do you consider brown cold?
I don’t Peter. Some browns are more cold, others more warm (more blue, more red)
Hi Simon, do you think a medium to light brown jacket could be as versatile as a dark brown one for summer? I am thinking of commissioning a jacket in the Wool/Silk/Linen cloth below, but it’s pretty hard for me to draw how it would look. It would be great if you could share some thought on this.
That would be nice Jack, the only issue to think about is what trousers you’d wear it with. Mid- to light colours just mean you need dark trousers or much lighter ones
I was actually concerned about that too, as I mainly wear mid-grey or stone trousers in the summer. I thought about going for the dark brown in the same cloth, but I already have a dark brown summer jacket made with high-twist wool from the Ascot-6ply bunch. Although it is not the perfect material for an odd jacket, it was okay for me as it had enough texture. If it were you, which colour would you have chosen?
Probably dark brown, but then, if you already have one in that colour, versatility is less of an issue
Do you think a dark brown wool/silk/linen jacket such as one made from this cloth (https://collection.caccioppolinapoli.it/en/3201-jackets/3156-320157.html) would work well with mid-blue jeans in the summer?
It wouldn’t be a natural match Jack, no. A material like that is more luxurious and intended for smart wear – it’s hard to find something casual enough to wear with jeans in warmer weather (a tweed equivalent)
That is quite frustrating. It seems like linen would be the only cloth that could effectively bridge the gap between formal and casual for the summer. However, I wouldn’t say I like using linen cloth for the jacket as I often feel a bit out of place wearing it when the temperature isn’t that high (below 25 degrees), which is fairly common during the British summer. So I usually wear linen as an overshirt as you mentioned in the article.
The tailor suggested that a fully lined jacket with Irish linen (e.g. W.bill’s) may be more suitable, but I also wanted to ask your thoughts on this.
Also, I have looked into a 50% wool and 50% linen cloth from Marlin&Evans. Do you think this cloth would work?
I haven’t tried that Jack, not sure how it would look made up.
You need to remember that these mills aren’t really trying to produce cloths for the kind of casual use you want. It’s not been their market historically. it’s why you’re much more likely to see a summer material like this at a brand like Ralph, than in a tailoring bunch.
I see. Have you ever considered creating a PS cloth which could fill in this gap?
No I haven’t. Nice idea though
I think that would be really nice
I’m not so familiar with different cloths and textures yet. You seam to recommend hopsack for a summer jacket and not for a winter jacket. Wool/cashmere would be a better choice for winter according to you. I actually have a hopsack (midweight) from saman amel as a fall/winter jacket that I think is quite nice. Any special reason that you recommend it more as a summer cloth? I have a wool/cashmere jacket as well, but I like more the texture of the hopsack. Cashmere looks more luxurious, and it is not always a good thing for me. The hopsack have a more matte finish which I like. But I suppose it is personal taste. I remember an interview with Liverano when he talked about different cloths and described that he liked more tweed, heavy wool fabrics than cashmere. Cashmere make you look more expensive sometimes if you know what I mean, and I’m not sure it is a look I strive for.
Hopsack is just a weave, but usually a hopsack cloth is made with a slightly twisted yarn, and woven to be more open, so more air can get through and keep you cool. When you wear your hopsack in the autumn/winter, and there’s a breeze, do you feel that come through the cloth?
Cashmere definitely has that danger, yes. If you think that’s not good for you then I would stick to wools, or 90% wool cloths, and then go more towards hairy tweeds the more casual you want it to look.
By the way, I assume you’ve read the chapters on this in the Guide to Cloth?
I’m not sure I have actually, thanks and sorry for not searching enough before asking. 🙂
Would you please suggest a fabric other than cashmere for a navy blazer which can be paired with grey flannel trousers. Something in the 400 grams to 450 grams range. Also what are your thoughts on blue flannel jacket with grey flannel trouser. Same fabric different color, theres something not right about it!
Yes that’s not great and flannel usually doesn’t make the best jackets as well.
I’d suggest a wool or wool/cashmere mix – have a look at someone like Abraham Moon or Holland & Sherry, or an Italian like Loro Piana or Drapers for something softer and lighter
Would you please suggest a bunch book from holland & sherry. Im exactly looking for the navy blazer’s winter counterpart.
I’ll have to check next time I’m at a tailor’s or in there
Would you consider a post on various color combinations? There is a lot of good information across the website (formality, knitwear etc) but an article on your thoughts on what color combinations work/don’t work would be very interesting!
You mean all colour combinations? That would be a very big piece!
Realistically I don’t think it could be contained in a single article, but perhaps something that linked to lots of other articles that had examples of combinations might work. Usually it takes me a whole piece to talk about just one or two combinations I like…
Yes I realize there are a lot of combinations! Particularly if we go beyond jacket/trousers and include shirts/shoes etc.
Links to what you like is a very good idea. I really enjoyed the piece titled “This feels like me”. Perhaps even what you tried before that you felt didn’t quite work (I remember there was a post like that at one point but in general rather than colour specifically).
OK, thanks Kris. I think you’ll find those ideas come up in almost every article I do featuring a new outfit, but I can try and find a way to bring some of them together.
You can of course also browse all of them using the Lookbook
Thanks for the lookbook Simon.
It’s a great resource that I was not aware of and is now bookmarked!
Ah good, I need to put it in bold or something – everyone loves it but only if they know it’s there!
Thanks for a great article. I am, as many of us here are, in the beginning of acquiring some quality timeless garments. I’m about to purchase my first two jackets. I have a couple of smart trousers like grey and brown flannel, grey high twist etc. My office is in the business casual area ranging from knitwear without a shirt to jackets and odd trousers with a tie. I would like to step up my formality a notch from knitwear with a shirt and smart trousers to wearing a jacket. Navy is a quite obvious choice and I’m thinking the second one to be a darker shade of brown. As many of us ask for I’m aiming for versatility. Hence I would like to be able to wear them a lot. To work, to evening events, during the day and throughout the year (except those very hot summer days).
Now to my questions. Do you have any recommendations for cloths for my first two jackets? I prefer texture over colored pattern if that make sense.
It sounds like you’re on the right lines, though I would suggest only getting one jacket at a time.
In terms of materials, it depends on how warm or cool you want them to be – have you seen the sections on jackets in our Guide to Cloth? There’s quite a lot of advice in there. Do ask more questions if you then have any though.
What would be a great winter navy jacket? Something that is not as casual as tweed but not as smart as wool/cashmere. Also would suggest a bunch that has a plain navy tweed.
Have you seen this article on navy jacket options Nasif?
Simon, here’s another one of my challenges!!
in this excellent “Capsule Wardrobe Collection Series” I can safely say that I’m about to complete the first one… “Business Suits” shortly by simply adding Navy trousers to my initial commission of navy jacket in the same cloth and also have my dark grey Smith woolens Whipcords.
To a fault, please note, my separates are also complete.. grey whipcord trousers.
What was my fault, you may ask.. and maybe other readers also?
I can see a case for commissioning another navy or dark blue jacket in a more appropriate jacket cloth rather than a suiting cloth as above to work with the grey whipcords …at a later date.
In your 3rd Article, “Jackets”, you mentioned either cashmere or a wool cashmere mix or even tweed.
I wish to again keep to a midweight cloth in a nice navy/blue. Could that be HARTWIST or THORNPROOF… rather heavy. I prefer a strong fabric, not too open weave.
I’m not speaking of a Summer fabric, like Hopsack or say FINMARESCO, that will be a separate commission, but a decent weight jacketing fabric..with a firm hand.
Then a grey herringbone… much much later.
Thornproof or Hartwist are very dense materials, I would suggest them unless you’ve seen and liked them already. I’d go for a more standard 11oz wool from a jacketing bunch
Lindsay, I recommend you check-out the Mock Leno cloths in the Smith Woolens Finmeresco bunch. A few years ago, Ciardi made a dark navy jacket for me with this cloth and it is an amazing 3-season fabric (not suitable for summer). It is surprisingly heavy and robust with, to use fabric terminology, a dry rather than soft hand. And it has a LOT of texture and will never be confused with suiting cloth. Importantly, it has enough texture/substance to go with whip cord or cavalry twill trousers (and flannel of course).
In order to get an impression of what it looks like made up as a jacket, I recommend you search the web. A fabric sample isn‘t enough.
I own several jackets now but I am still in need for a green jacket.
I am not so sure about the right shade though, because green is a very general term and I am very concerned about getting the right „green“.
Should I stick to seasons and go for an olive/brownish green tweed jacket for winter and a dark green linen (-wool-silk) jacket in summer? Is there are go to colour shade for a four seasons jacket?
And I’ve heard that a true green clashes with grey trousers.. is that true at all?
Thank you in advance for your help!
On the last point, it entirely depends on the shade of green. There’s such a big range of hues and shades that no rule like that could ever universally apply.
I would just go for a dark-green, in a light wool, if you want something all year round. Eg the green material here
Dear Simon, I own a navy business suit and a dark blue FW jacket. Now I am planning to commission a versatile summer jacket. Given the informal attire of my colleagues and clients, I don’t often wear tailoring, but would like to do so more often in the future. Would you also recommend navy Hopsack for the summer version – or rather brown? I don’t want to choose grey, as I am also planning on a grey herringbone jacket. Thank you.
Is this to wear with smart tailored trousers Ralph? Not chinos or jeans etc?
Mostly smarter trousers such as tailored cotton/linen/high-twist. But occasionally also sharp jeans and smart chinos.
OK. I think hopsack would be great for the former, but struggle with the latter. If you want it to span all of those, I’d go for brown, and more casual materials, like a cotton, a wool/linen mix, anything with more texture
So I have seen that most of jackets we wear have either a notch lapel or a peak lapel. Often the jacket collar is kind of pressed from the button upwards (a two button blazer – single breasted)
however when I look at jackets stitched by Asian tailors like Ring jacket, Assisi or Coller, Ascottage their collar rolls up from the button upwards.
How is that achieved? Is it the cut?
Please shed some light on it. I hope you get what I am trying to say here. Please see the image attached. See the roll on the collar.
That is the same kind of roll you would get from any Italian tailor on a three-roll-two jacket, it’s just that it has been done here on a two-button jacket. To be honest, personally this looks like it would be better with a third button too, but that’s just my opinion.
That look is achieved through a combination of the placement of the canvas inside in the jacket (how close it is to the edge), the tension created by the collar (which is largely responsible for how much the fronts roll open) and the pressing in that area.
Thanks Simon. I would have to look up for a three roll two button jacket. But it sounds like to be a slightly crafty skill.
Kindly give a link of some article if you cover it somewhere
Look at most Neapolitan ready to wear brands, and modern ones that copy them
I’ve found a flannel odd jacket that I’ve become quite attached to. It’s 340g and kind of greyish really dark brown. More so than the picture. I think it would look good with cream flannel trousers, or stone and beige cavalry twill, perhaps even selvage denim. Would probably also try to find matching pants to use it as a suit every now and then. However, I’ve read a couple of comments here where you advise against flannel as an odd jacket which makes me a bit hesitant.
Do you think there can ever be a good odd jacket made up in flannel? Any thoughts on the one I’ve described? Would be very happy to have your input!
Yes, you certainly can get a good jacket in flannel, it’s just that most flannels are more suitable for suits. This one looks like it is a bit looser and easier in that regard, but it’s hard to say from an image. Helps that it looks like a very soft make.
I wouldn’t wear it with flannel trousers too though. And it seems unlikely you’d be able to find trousers in exactly the same cloth? I assume it’s being offered RTW?
It’s very soft. I’ve located the bunch and fabric code. Contacted drapers and they can sell me the cloth.
It’s from VBC and yes it’s RTW. Why not with flannel trousers? Any fabric pant that you think it would look good combined with?