Adret ‘Jack’ bomber jacket: Review

Wednesday, August 11th 2021
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Although there has been quite a bit of coverage of Adret in the past two years (including on PS), pictures of the clothes in the wild are rare. 

I thought it would be useful to shoot my most significant purchase from Adret, therefore, and reflect upon it. That's the Jack bomber jacket in worsted wool, pictured below. 

(The other purchases were a thermal top, a pair of sandals, a handkerchief and a scarf. I comment on those briefly at the end of this piece.)

The Jack bomber is a short, casual jacket whose most unusual aspect is probably that it is entirely tailored. 

It's more common for blousons and bombers to be elasticated at the hem, and therefore sit on the waist, letting the rest of the body flow out above. Most that are not elasticated simply drop straight, rather than trying to taper into the waist.

This does taper, with a pronounced dart on either side of the hips at the back rather than elastic. I think it’s this lack of ribbing, combined with a material that you’d more commonly find in tailoring, which makes the jacket look quite smart and unusual. 

The material is an old Vitale Barberis Canonico wool, which appears to have quite a lot of texture due to the mixture of black, brown and olive yarns in the weave. It would make a nice sports jacket. 

The tailoring feel continues with matte horn buttons up the front, each sitting on a good shank, and pleasingly functional hip pockets. 

On most good sports jackets, the flaps of the pockets can be tucked neatly inside, leaving a clean, jetted finish instead (see below). This can be useful if you need ready access to them, or simply want to change the style.

Yet it’s rare for casual jackets to do this, presumably because it’s quite a fiddly job. The only bomber or blouson I own that has that feature is from Loro Piana. 

One of the questions people ask about Adret is what the quality is like (presumably because of the high price).

I think it’s more useful to judge that on considered touches like this, rather than simple things like precision of stitching, which should be a given. 

The cut of the jacket is pretty roomy, which anyone who has followed coverage of Adret will not be surprised by. 

As I think these pictures show, though, the chest is generous but not oversized. Other styles of jacket, such as an old bomber or a varsity jacket, would be bigger. 

What is noticeable is the size of the sleeve, which is large in the upper arm and tapers significantly below the elbow (shown below). This I think is very effective. It makes the jacket look flatteringly big but without any sloppy dropped shoulders or excess material. 

The knock-on effect is that the Jack really looks better with other loose-cut clothes. These are some of my wider linen trousers - from Edward Sexton, 9-inch hem - and yet they don't look wide here. 

It has been asked whether Adret is a ‘whole look’ brand, where you really need to buy all the clothes together. 

I don’t think you do, but Adam (Rogers, co-founder) does have a particular aesthetic, which means certain silhouettes and certain colours. The clothes will always look best with other pieces with the same outlook. 

This jacket, for example, would look unbalanced with skinny jeans, and a rich, vibrant top would be out of place. It’s much better with wider trousers and muted tones.

My combination here is particularly restrained, which I guess is typical of me, particularly when I’m trying out new clothes. It doesn't have to be as dull as that - the Adret range includes a huge range of colour, from pink to yellow to green. But they're all similarly pale or muted. 

In these photos I've worn the jacket with two different tops, to show it can switch between being a little smarter and perhaps a little younger or contemporary. 

I would guess most PS readers are likely to wear a jacket with a collared shirt or sweater, like the black Dartmoor above. This certainly looks more put-together, and flatters me more when the jacket is removed. 

But I probably prefer the look at the top of this article, with just a black knitted T-shirt underneath. It looks more modern, and perhaps more relaxed too. 

Interestingly, the collar of the Jack bomber works quite well when it’s up - staying up at the back and dropping down at the front - but it’s not a tall collar when folded down. It can look a little small with just a T-shirt underneath. 

So to the issue of price. The Jack bomber was £1600; the linen version £1200. This is on a par with any designer brand, and very expensive for the kind of start-up we normally cover.

The defence is that Adam and Seto (the other co-founder) have invested a huge amount in their workforce in Indonesia, their livelihoods, workplace and training. The shop in Mayfair is one of the loveliest you will ever visit, and cannot have been cheap. 

More importantly, Adam has created something genuinely distinct in menswear, and beautiful. The former should be recognised and rewarded by anyone that cares about clothing, while the latter will always be to particular people, priceless. 

It is modern, easy and elegant. That’s the way they describe it, and I think it’s true. 

But the price remains a barrier. For me, it means mostly that I can’t afford to buy much. I’ve bought the pieces I have both because I love them and because I want to support Adam and Seto, but if they were less expensive I would certainly have bought more. 

Those others pieces, by the way, were:

  • Fellows sandals, which are great but I bought the size too small. Currently considering putting money aside for another pair. 
  • Yellow handkerchief. A great example of Adam’s sense of colour. A soft, buttery yellow cotton that is wax-resist dyed and looks much more sophisticated than the more common bright silks. 
  • Indigo scarf/bandana, which I love for the same reasons.
  • Cream thermal top, in knitted cotton. A great piece too, but I find it too like a thermal to wear on its own, so it’s restricted to layering under things. 

Images of all those at some other stage. Also featured in this article are black-suede Alden LHS loafers and my Frank Clegg large working-tote bag. 

Photography: Alex Natt @adnatt

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Gus

Interesting fabric, presumably not available any more?
Welcome your frankness on pricing; their items are very expensive. The product is certainly different and the investment in the Indonesian workforce is commendable – however, I struggle to understand why a “start up” would choose Clifford Street as a location.

Marcel

Pretty commendable to have arguably the most beautiful store on Clifford Street with no backers. From studio appointments to pop ups, this was naturally the next step even if they are considered a “start up”. No matter how expensive it may be, if operations can justify rent on Clifford Street I am sure it will pay off for them in the long run. Although many items are deemed “expensive” there is something for most budgets – I suggest that people actually pop in and have a look. Limited runs, vintage luxury fabrics (check out the wild silk items) and stellar execution with design. Adret is in its own league. And of course that will not come cheap for some items, but I have many pieces that were affordable for me. Definitely worth popping in and talking to Adam about his work!

Fritz

It certainly looks beautiful, but at this price point it‘s so inaccessible I‘m tempted to consider the brand more of a art project.
I wonder if these price points can be justified by how the product is made: Private White pays British salaries and does all in house at probably a third of what‘s charged here.
That being said it‘s a lovely, unapologetic brand. Unfortunately it seems that one needs to own a small stake in a middle Eastern gas field or Central African mining operation to be able to afford it

Fritz

Of course not, but it seems to be one of those brands that look best if the entire outfit is just made by that brand. At these prices that‘s getting very expensive very quickly

Aaron

How does one go about buying from Adret, online? Their website just has an animation.
It’s a nice bomber, but if I were spending that much I think I’d rather pay a bit more and get a nice leather one instead.

Peter Hall

It looks smarter buttoned-rather more like a shorter sports jacket than a bomber. It avoids the baggy look of similar styles(with the elasticated waist) Sleeve profile is very good.

The sleeves seem a little long, or is this just optics of the photography?

Tamaki

Hi Simon,
Thank you for the article. The jacket is really interesting and it is something I have looked for quite some time. I believe there are some other stores that offer something similar, Ascot Chang and The Armoury offer some casual style jackets in MTO in Taylor materials (ex: Road Jacket, 3PB), among other taylors (I believe there is one Taylor in Mainland China that does some very interesting bombers).
I would like to know your perspective on those jackets and how they would be distinct to the Jack jacket, both in terms of style and in term make if possible. Thanks!

Gabriele

Interesting, it reminds me in style and function of the Armoury 3PB. I have one in navy tweet which is lovely and similarly smart for a blouson. Simon, any thoughts on how those two compare?

Nick

How would this jacket compare to products by Lutays in terms of make, as both brands seem to be at the upper price end of this style of outerwear? Are there any handmade elements such as buttonholes?

Adam

Very reminiscent of commonwealth armies’ battle dress from world wars 1 and 2, especially in this colour.

Ben

Points to Adret for combining unique fabrics with subtle changes to classic designs. At those prices, their stuff would be compelling if every piece were made to measure, if not bespoke. That would really substantiate the casual tailoring theme they’re going for, differentiate the brand, and justify the costly manufacturing setup mentioned in this post.

Noel

Very nice design. The outfit here can serve as an inspiration too for other types of blouson. On that vein, I wonder if the black Dartmoor is a prototype for a future colour or a one off made just for yourself Simon?

Bruce

I would certainly buy one if available…as you have noted previously black knitwear can prove very versatile.

Peter

Black Dartmoor would be great, or a restock of the black polo. Dartmoor in a dark, gray green would also be nice.

Noel

I agree. I’d add that black works best if there’s some texture, something to make it a little bit more distinct and less plain. The black polo has this because piqué cotton isn’t entirely plain.

Jason

Looks very enticing.
Love the style, fabric and colour, but the problem with this style for me is when and where would I wear it.
I often wear an A&S French workmen’s jacket as an alternative to a sports coat and I feel fine throwing a trench over it in the wet.
I wouldn’t feel the same with this length.
That’s why I prefer my bomber or Wind Breaker iterations to be waterproof.
But maybe I’m missing the point ?

Chancellor

Note that some of us live in countries where we get rain in the warmer months, and it’s very cool in the spring/fall and snowy in the winter, requiring completely different outerwear for those seasons.
Certainly can see your point for utility in the British Isles though.

Jacob

Thanks for more coverage on Adret. It’s nice to see the pieces in the wild so hopefully we do get to see the scarf and handkerchief eventually.

Also, I thought I remembered you saying on Instagram that you bought the “Pablo” shirt however theres no mention of it. Did I misread/not remembering correctly or did you return it?

Jacob Schmitt

As it is a piece I’m considering for myself, have you worn it much? How do you like it? Love to see an outfit eventually.

Nikita

Hi Simon! What do you think about Michael Browne recent ventures into tailored casual clothing? Seem’s like pretty interesting developement amidst general casualisation of clothing. Any plans on trying anything on? Also would like to request long awaited article in the “How to dress like…” series about Michael personal style.

Russ

I now have bought from Adam a beautiful blouson waistcoat (unusual with long sleeves), casual shirt and mesh overshirt. None were cheap in pounds terms, but are not so if you consider the gorgeous fabrics, the excellent workmanship, the fact these are limited edition runs plus the likelihood they will last a lifetime and look increasingly better with wear. Adret have a unique offering and they are worth visiting by those wanting to build a luxury casual collection alongside their formal suits and jackets.

Paul Boileau

Interesting jacket: the pocket flaps look a little out of place to me but can be tucked in I see. if I were going for a bomber jacket I would seek out Lee Marsh.

Joe

Man those pockets are strangely placed. Useless the bottom ones on a cardigan?

Ben

Random question. What is the jade bracket? Where can I get one? For some reason, it just looks really masculine and kind of unexpected.

O

Hi Simon, I have been reading since the early days of the site. I hope you don’t mind some well-meaning feedback / criticism.
Independence – Menswear seems to have become a bit of an echo chamber. Everyone knows and is friends with everyone else. I’m sure that’s inevitable with a close knit and specialised industry. I don’t see a problem with that between brands/shop owners (beyond everything becoming a little bit monocultural) but when a journalist becomes part of that, I feel they lose a degree of independence. I cannot help but feel the positivity towards Adret, for example, must be influenced by your friendship with Adam. If reviews are to be held out as journalistic / independent, I think a distance from the subject is needed. I don’t think that’s consistent with friendship.
Price – I know this is a vexed subject on the site (and one you defend vigorously) but I feel that there is a loss of touch with reality here. Mayfair absolutely is for the mining tycoons and oligarchs. No normal person shops at Loro Piana or Purple Label. I have a good job and earn substantially above the average, but cannot justify shopping around there. It’s not a question of choosing between an expensive barbecue and some clothes – it’s the reality that with usual commitments (children, rent/mortgage etc.) it’s just not a reasonable thing to do with money. I cannot help but feel that this is partly the result of unnecessarily pursuing Mayfair premises and passing that cost onto customers. It simply doesn’t translate into value for the customer in terms of product.
I am sure you’ll disagree with both points, but I felt compelled to make them.

O

Simon, thanks for a characteristically polite and considered response.
I have been reflecting on independence and I think I may have been a bit harsh in my comment. Given your career, I shouldn’t have presumed to lecture about independence – unsurprisingly, it’s something you’re conscious of. Also, you don’t pretend to be fully independent: you’re transparent about the fact that you’re friends with Adam and that this might have influenced the buying decision. Readers are armed with that information and can reach their own views accordingly. I don’t think you’ve ever pretended to be a Which?-style buying guide, so it’s not fair to judge you by / suggest you live up to that barometer.
On cost, I think I agree. I would just add that even the lower end of the spectrum (the £215 jumper) we have actually lost touch with most people. I have to admit I actually bought the £215 shetland sweater from A&S. I felt more than a bit guilty spending that much. I also felt a bit annoyed when I saw pretty much the same sweater (I think they must have been the same manufacturer) at Trunk for a lot less. I’m not sure I was happy to spend the Mayfair premium. Nor am I happy to spend what Drake’s now charges for the Oxford button down shirts I used to buy, which I am sure has been influenced by Savile Row rents. But to moderate my previous comment – that may be a personal decision and each person is entitled to a different view of what something is worth.
Your suggested article sounds really interesting to me. I suppose value might not just be cost per wear (but that is a big part, for me at least) but also how something makes you feel, which is much less tangible and varies from person to person.
Thanks again. And good luck to Adret.

Oggi

I also have a A &S Shetland sweater.It proberbly is overpriced. However, the interesting point is that I do like it as much,if not more,than my other high quality cashmere crew necks that I purchased in the 1990s from Johnson’s because 1) it is so versatile and 2) just for it’s rugged looks.It works with jeans brilliantly in a way that my cashmeres cannot match but is equally at home with flannels and chinos.If I had to start again I would probably buy more Shetland sweaters and less cashmere.

Nicholas

Joy of visiting the shop and having a conversation with an informed artisan, provide associations every time you put on a garment like this. Buy it and then wear it as often as possible. Be prepared to do without any number of other things for as long as it takes. A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.

jack

Simon,
I believe the comments by O and your responses are important to your readers and definitely warrent several articles. Discussions of the relative value/cost of different componants of ones clothes, rather than just focusing on the best (and most expensive), would be very useful. And you certainly have the knowledge to comment on a wide breadth of brands, tailors, etc. While I understand your geographical constraints of London (Mayfair) and European brands, is your readership broad enough to include more explorations of The United States? New York (beyond the symposium you held in NYC)? I do notice discussion of some examples like Filsons, but you are now so successful and widely read, that perhaps value/cost includes a perspective of regional differences and similarities.
Thanks

Robert

Simon, A related question; I am travelling to Turin Italy in late Sept. for a wedding and will be there about 8 days including the wedding. I understand there is wool cloth making going on in Biella about 1 hour from Turin. Are there shops in Turin you would recommend or in Biella? I am now retired and not looking for the latest craze and why I follow you. Note: you might consider a series focusing on those of over 70 who are still frequently travelling.

Dutch Matrix

Hi Simon, great article and I was just looking for something similar yesterday, from Loro Piana or similar. One thing I am wondering about as a former rugby / power lifter type I am conscious about simply looking huge in something like this, do you think the construction will with this a bit? other than that, I love these articles, especially when you mention they are supporting the development of global communities, thank you for this and I look forward to future articles from other artisans.

Georgios

Hi Simon, may i ask something irrelevant ? Im looking for a good weekender bag causw i travel a lot. I want something with leather that ages with patina, what would you suggest ?

Boston Bean

Fine styling and fine workmanship. Looking forward to finding a knockoff, or even having one made at a mere fraction of what’s being asked.

Martins

But on the other hand, sometimes you see a piece of clothing, you love it, buy it, later find “almost the same” thing for 1/3 of the price… and guess what? The things you loved about the expensive one is still there, so the expensive one suddenly feels like a waste of money. But on the other hand, often it does not work, and cheap one is not worth it. I’ve had it both ways, and I’m slowly learning when and for what it’s worth it paying more to me.

Martins

And also, sometimes it’s a case of “I spent 3 times more than I should have so I better love it”.. And it takes a while to admit even to yourself that no, it wasn’t really worth the price tag.

Peter

Nothing but admiration for the singularity and ambition of Adret’s offering. Have you tried their sport jacket-cardigan model Simon? How did you find it?

John

Overall vibe seems similar to Stoffa. Would you say the clothes from Adret & Stoffa would mesh well easily?

Edric

Hi Simon,

I’m not sure if it’s just due to the angle of the photos, but the spacing between the last button to the button hem seems off, like the distance between the last button and the bottom hem is noticeably shorter than the last button and the button above it. It gives the impression that the jacket was originally too long for you and you had to shorten it slightly, hence the awkward spacing.

Edric

Yes, but with 2 closer buttons, it would at least “balance out” the awkward spacing. Given how much effort has been put to the brand as a whole, i’ll just assume this was a deliberate design choice for a reason.

zo

Simon are these the snuff suede aldens you had dyed black? Do they do jacket? I am looking to get my suede bomber dyed a shade darker – any suggestions where I can have that done? thanks

Jasim

Simon, thank you for the wonderful content as always. Could you share where that turquoise bracelet is from?

Robert E

Hi Simon, would you mind saying where you got your Aldens dyed? I know you’ve mentioned it before but I can’t find the relevant post.

Anonymous

Simon re the 1200 GBP Loro Piana Cashmere sweater/jumper how would say the equivalent garment from Turnbull and Asser, Budd, Drakes, Anderson and Sheppard or the best Scottish cashmere makers/retailers compare in terms of quality of cloth, cut and likelihood of lasting ? Is it really worth paying the Loro Piana prices for a stock item such as a navy crew or v neck jumper or cardigan? Incidentally of the Scottish Cashmere manufacturers who retail to the public who produces the best product in your opinion?

Anonymous

Thank You. Re the other retailers I mentioned; Turnbull and Asser, Budd, Drakes and Anderson and Sheppard how would you rank them in terms of quality and value for money for their knitwear? I left off Emma Willis too from this list! Which retailer do you believe offers the best option for quality and value knitwear (at this end of the market/price point) ?

Michael

Hi Simon,

I’ve often seen you refer to certain colors as “rich”. Could you please define this and elaborate on why a rich color would not work with this top?

Thanks,
Michael