A guide to brands of unstructured jacket

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By Manish Puri

Whilst soft tailoring is hardly a new concept, there’s something about unstructured tailoring that feels particularly in sync with modern life: it’s indisputably more casual, reframes imperfections as characteristics, is lighter in the arms and on the pocket, cooler to wear (think sweat not Fonzie) and, heck yes, in some cases is machine washable (please check the care labels).

An increasing number of tailoring brands carry some type of unstructured jacket, and this guide has been written to help pick apart the offerings. We have touched on 19 different brands, but focused on six that offer a choice across price points, formality levels, styles and cloths.

In addition, the six brands we’ve chosen have established, unstructured single-breasted jacket models and so my hope is that, even if the specific jackets shown are no longer available, the observations will continue to prove useful as the model remains on sale.

We’ve shown photos of each of the featured brand’s navy option to try and make any comparison as simple as possible. However, most offer a variety of colours and cloths which we’ve tried to summarise through the guide; and most will also be launching spring/summer versions in the upcoming weeks.

On that subject, anyone that is considering purchasing an unstructured jacket would do well to read Simon’s piece on the best cloths for unstructured jackets.

Before we dive in let me briefly clarify what I mean by an “unstructured jacket”.

By “unstructured” I’m referring to a garment that has been excised of all canvas, padding and most (if not all) of its lining – sleeve lining and buggy lining (across the shoulders) sometimes escape the purge to make it easier to slip a jacket on and off.

By “jacket” … well I’m hesitant to define that to this learned readership, so permit me to define it in terms of what it isn’t. It isn’t anything with square quarters. It isn’t anything with four or five buttons. It isn’t anything with lapels that are neither notch nor peak. And importantly, as a result, these unstructured versions have the potential to substitute for more classic tailoring in your wardrobe.

Now that we’re on the same page, let’s get going. In a break with the tradition established by my one previous guide, I’ve elected to present the brands in ascending price order. I hope you find it useful, and I’ll be lurking below-the-line to answer questions where I can, full of appreciation for anyone that can add their insight on these or any other unstructured jackets.

Uniqlo Comfort Jacket (£49.90)

Please, before you refresh your browser or reboot your computer, let me reassure you that you’re still on Permanent Style and, yes, we’re going to talk about a tailored jacket from Uniqlo.

If one of the most expensive elements of tailoring is the work that goes into the ‘structuring’ I wanted to see what merits a truly budget unstructured option offered. I also liked the idea of including something in this guide that would be easily shoppable for most readers, rather than just those that live in London, New York or Hong Kong.

The fit and style of the jacket was a pleasant surprise. Perhaps my views of high-street fashion are outmoded, but I was anticipating a coat that was miserly in length, lapel and latitude in the waist.

The back length of the medium (to fit chests 38” to 41”) was 72cm which compares to an average length of 75cm across the RTW 38” structured blazer offerings of Drake’s, Spier & Mackay and Anglo-Italian. That 3cm differential does present a peek of the cheek, but its’s less “bum-freezer” and more “bum-fridge”. Even so, I would avoid this jacket if you’re above-average height.

The lapel width was around 7.7cm which is similar to Simon’s RAF blue suit from Whitcomb & Shaftesbury. Not a dramatic width by any means but wide enough to ensure one doesn’t look like a footballer on the court steps celebrating a libel case victory against a tabloid newspaper.

As I’m quite straight between chest and waist (being reared on chapati, paratha and naan will do that to a lad) I usually find RTW 38” jackets a little snug around the belly. However, the Uniqlo fit was also relatively straight through the body allowing me to comfortably button it with room to spare.

The cloth composition varies across the range of comfort jackets but, broadly speaking, they are made up of 50% cotton and 50% polyester. This is one of the reasons why the Uniqlo option is so much cheaper and it is its primary failing. As a result of the cloth, the jacket felt flat and inert. I imagine if one had the misfortune of slipping in the bathtub and getting tangled up in the shower curtain it might feel similar to wearing this.

It’s also telling that the “Style Hint” section of the Uniqlo website (where customers share images of their garments) doesn’t feature many photos of men actually wearing the men’s comfort jacket – it either shows women wearing the jacket or men carrying the jacket as they saunter around town. It adds to the impression that this is an accessory piece for those that don’t regularly need or want a jacket but would like something that can pass muster in a pinch.

Other options: I don’t think there is anything at this price range that can compete with the Uniqlo comfort jacket. However, another high street option (albeit slightly more expensive) is Massimo Dutti, who sell a lot of unstructured and lightly structured blazers.

Trunk Clothiers Ebury Jacket (£395)

Trunk’s unstructured jacket model is the Ebury, which comes in two colourways: navy and olive.

What separates the Ebury from any of the other jackets featured in this guide is that it’s made entirely from 100% Ventile. Simon provided a great summary of what Ventile is and how it performs as a cloth when he recently looked back on how his Nigel Cabourn parka had aged. I don’t want to replicate that here but essentially Ventile is a compact cotton that is waterproof and windproof. This lends versatility to the Ebury as it straddles tailoring and light outerwear.

In keeping with the fabric, the styling of the Ebury is deliberately informal: triple patch pockets and no cuff buttons. The fit has just a little more room in the chest and through the waist than some of Trunk’s other jacket models, which helps to accommodate a lightweight jumper.

I also wanted to mention on Trunk’s Wigmore jacket, which is made for them by the Italian brand Lardini. The Wigmore isn’t quite unstructured, having a light half-canvas in the chest, but I think it’s a good option for readers that are intrigued by the prospect of an unstructured jacket but aren’t willing to do away entirely with the benefits of canvas.

My overall impression was that the Wigmore was the most balanced of the three Italian-made jackets in this guide by far - with generous lapels and length and a nipped waist to give some shape through the body. Which is perhaps not surprising given the design has been informed by Trunk’s experience of selling Boglioli, Caruso and Lardini. I found the fit true to size (I tried a 38”).

Other options: Nigel Cabourn make a similarly styled jacket called the Peak blazer (£240) in navy and army green. Like the Trunk model, the Cabourn jacket has triple patch pockets and no cuff buttons. However, unlike Trunk, the Cabourn is made from ripstop cotton and has a shy lapel that is more peek than peak.

Drake’s Games Blazer (£695 to £795)

The games blazer is Drake’s reworking of a tailored jacket in an attempt to give it a more utilitarian and sportier air. Each of the jackets can be paired with matching trousers (priced separately) to form a suit that works equally well as separates. The games blazer is currently available in three iterations, which we look at below.

The Mk. I (shown above) and Mk. IV are Drake’s single-breasted options. Both are shorter in length and fuller in the body than their standard tailored block. Both give a nod, a wink and even a nudge to workwear styling. The Mk. IV features a beefier lapel than the Mk. I, four flap pockets and a set of interchangeable buttons that allow the wearer to switch between plain brown and engraved brass.

Whilst instore I tried on the Mk. IV (size 38”), although I do have a slight preference for the Mk. I as I find the flap pockets on the IV rather busy. The length of the jacket felt quite short – my quick measurement was 71cm, but Drake’s online size chart said 72.5cm (similar to the Uniqlo coat).

Regardless, I’m not as concerned by a shorter games blazer because this is styled less as a formal piece of tailoring. The Mk. IV sleeves were particularly long but, given there are no cuff buttons, the length is easily altered by a tailor, or on the fly with a roll-back or two.

I also tried the Mk. III, which is Drake’s double-breasted unstructured jacket option, and I loved it.  Taking an elegant 6 x 2 DB, making it up in informal cloths like washed linen and wide-wale corduroy and then removing all structure from it epitomises the high/low vibe that is at the heart of the games blazer range.

The Mk. III also negates some of the difficulties in buying well-fitting, structured RTW double-breasted jackets. By foregoing structure, you’re signalling your acceptance of a silhouette that will never follow the exquisite, hourglass lines of the finest double-breasted, and that’s quite liberating. This in turn gives you less reason to keep the thing buttoned up, which only further emphasises the informality of the blazer and permits the peak lapels to sweep past the buttoning point like a long shawl-collar cardigan.

Other options: William Crabtree & Sons also carry a robust and utilitarian option in the form of their Lowgill work jacket (£295) which comes in three colours (chocolate, navy and khaki) and is made up of a 10oz cotton canvas. The Lowgill features a five-button front so it can function as either a chore jacket with the collar popped or as a casual blazer with the lapel rolled back.

Boglioli K-Jacket (£650 to £1220)

The K-Jacket was the first unstructured option in the UK that I encountered around six or seven years ago. To this day it continues to underpin Boglioli’s tailored offering with no fewer than 28 single-breasted K-jackets (and a few double-breasted options too) on their website at the time of writing – significantly more variety than any other brand featured in this guide.

It’s this range that makes the K-jacket an attractive option. Unsurprisingly, they have a multitude of jackets in cashmere, corduroy and an assortment of wools (the herringbone Shetland above is one of my favourites). But Boglioli also specialise in (and indeed have pioneered) various garment dying and washing techniques. The upshot is that a lot of the K-jacket fabrics have an almost vintage look and texture.

I sized up to a 40” K-jacket and it was comfortable but still a touch narrow in the arms and across the shoulders. What I noticed most was the height of the gorge, which rested above my clavicle and almost hoisted onto the shoulders. A high gorge can help to lengthen the appearance of the torso and emphasise the shoulders over the chest, but this is quite extreme. It’s also fair to say that gorge positions have trended down the chest in recent years. Ultimately, where it should fall really depends on your taste and body type.

I also noticed that on a couple of the jackets the quarters were gently curling away from the body, like a Pringle. This could be caused by the lack of canvas, the fabric or just be that the jackets needed a quick press. However, because I experienced it on a couple of them, I wanted to note it here for others.

The shoulders are spalla camicia and the sleeve length just a fraction shorter than the other jackets in this guide – which worked well for my arms. This is an important consideration as the K-jacket has working cuff buttons so any sizeable sleeve length adjustments will be trickier and more costly.

Other options: I’ve focused on Boglioli because of their unique and extensive fabric offerings, but there’s no shortage of Italian brands making unstructured jackets around this price range (between £500 and £1100). Aspesi, Barena, Canali (Kei blazer), Caruso, De Petrillo, Lardini and Masimo Alba all sell unstructured jackets of one form or another.

My two notes in this category are that (a) many jackets labelled ‘unstructured’ may still have some minimal canvas and (b) these jackets tend to wear small so consider sizing up. All of the brands I’ve mentioned (including Boglioli) can be viewed at Mr. Porter via this link.

The Armoury Model 7 ($1050 to $1600)

The Armoury’s in-house tailoring is made by their long-term partners Ring Jacket and over the years they’ve developed a wide range of jacket models. The Model 7 is based on The Armoury’s popular Model 3 but eschews any canvas, padding or lining (even in the sleeves – which is unusual).

The shoulder of the jacket is slightly extended. Given the absence of any internal structure, the front jacket panel is also extended so that when it meets the sleeve head the excess can be used to create a subtle shoulder roll (rollino) as opposed to the shirring (grinze) more commonly seen on soft and unstructured shoulders.

The chest of the jacket offers a little room and fullness. On the Model 3 this is aided by a light, floating canvas, but on the Model 7 this is achieved by incorporating hammer darts which are secreted under the lapels (see below).

The extended shoulder, the roll and the drape in the chest all nudge the Model 7 towards a Florentine style, which separates it from some of the closer-fitting Neapolitan-inspired jackets we’ve covered in this guide.

The Armoury consistently refer to their Model 7 as a travel jacket. On the road, any guilt usually felt when tossing a jacket into a carry-on is assuaged by the lack of canvas and padding – and, fabric wrinkling aside, this should be equally true of all the jackets in this guide. At the destination, the intention is for the Model 7 to be comfortable in warmer climes – even the choice of a breast patch pocket (which I’m increasingly preferring on my casual jackets) was made to reduce the amount of fabric sewn inside the jacket.

As such, the RTW Model 7 jackets available online are limited to summer cloths like seersucker, high-twist wool and linen. However, as with all of The Armoury’s in-house tailoring, there are comprehensive MTO and MTM options available should you want an unstructured Florentine-style jacket in a winter weight.

Other options: Neapolitan style jackets dominate the RTW market, but Florentine tailor Sartoria Vestrucci have a collection of unstructured shirt jackets ($1190 to $2290). Their RTW (which is often modelled so handsomely by their Creative Director Tommaso Capozzoli) follows the same cut and style as their bespoke offering. You can also shop Sartoria Vestrucci on The Rake (£858).

Loro Piana Sweater Jacket (£1,490 to £10,880)

Loro Piana’s sweater jacket prices vary significantly depending on the composition; the wool, silk and linen pique blend (ideal for warm weather) is £1,490 whilst the opulent vicuna and cashmere mix comes in at a hefty £10,880. The most versatile option (and the one that I tried) is the 50% cashmere and 50% silk, which costs £2,700.

Loro Piana’s pricing largely reflects the superior quality of their raw materials, and anyone in doubt should take a look at Simon’s detailed piece on his visit to the Loro Piana factory. Furthermore, having never visited one of their shops before, I was astonished by the legion of assistants that were working the floor - like a highly drilled Formula 1 pit crew in trim navy suits.

The cloth felt and looked sumptuous - buttery in the hand, light on the shoulders and with a subtle melange texture to it. Were I to see a swatch at my favourite tailors, I would happily order a jacket in it, safe in the knowledge that I was getting a foundation piece for any capsule wardrobe: a three-season navy blazer.

However, in terms of the fit and style I’m afraid I found the sweater jacket to be a tad charmless. Slim in the lapel (around 7.25cm), slim in the arms and slim in the body - I sized up to the UK 40/ IT 50 and the jacket was still straining at the button when closed. Whilst it might be fatuous to make comparisons between Uniqlo and Loro Piana I preferred the fit of the comfort jacket.

Perhaps the more svelte amongst the Permanent Style readers can pull this jacket off. I hope so, otherwise it’s a frustrating make from such an appealing cloth.

Other options: Brioni have a couple of intriguing unstructured options. Their Travel Jacket is based on an archive bespoke creation from 1968 and is reissued periodically - the grey cashmere cotton (£2,530) is unstructured whereas the navy wool (£4,170) is not (hence the price difference). The jacket has flap patch pockets on the hips which the wearer can access through three openings: top, middle and side.

The Plume jacket (£1,590 to £4,370) is Brioni’s partially structured model (permitting itself a lightweight canvas in the chest) and is more generously and, in my opinion, elegantly proportioned than the Loro Piano sweater jacket. Brioni’s RTW range benefits from extensive handwork and complimentary alterations.

Brunello Cucinelli also have a sizeable range of deconstructed blazers to choose from (£1,750 to £4,450). Although, I must admit I found it hard to look beyond the styling where every model appeared as if they were in the midst of being pantsed – their jeans waistbands grimly clinging on to the precipice of modesty.

Manish is @the_daily_mirror on Instagram

The Index

The index is designed to collect the key information of each of the single-breasted models featured. To aid comparison we’ve shown the waist, chest and body length measurements for size UK40/IT50 - measurements taken from the brands.

I’d generally consider myself to be a fairly solid 38/48, but my experience was that a few of the unstructured jackets run small to size (particularly Boglioli and Loro Piana) so I would certainly recommend readers try a size up before making a purchase.

Prices are correct as of time of writing.

Brand Model (Size) Price Button Vents Pockets Varieties Length (cm) Chest  Waist 
Uniqlo Comfort Jacket (M) £49.90 Two Centre Patch/patch flap on hips. Barchetta on chest. Various colours, patterns and pocket types. 72 54 TBC
Drake’s Games Blazer Mk.IV (40/50) £695 to £795 Three roll two Unvented Patch/patch flap on hips and chest. Available in blends of cotton, linen and corduroy.

Various plain colours and pocket types.

DB (MK. III) also available

73.5 56 TBC
Trunk Clothiers Ebury (50) £395 Two Unvented Patch on hips and chest. Navy and olive 74 53 51
Boglioli K-Jacket

(50)

£650 to £1220 Two Double Patch on hips. Barchetta on chest. Large number of cloths – many unique to Boglioli.

DB also available.

74 53 48
The Armoury Model 7

(50)

$1050 to $1600 Three roll two Double Patch on hips and chest. Summer cloths but others can be ordered in MTO and MTM. 77 57 49
Loro Piana Sweater Jacket (50) £1,490 to £10,880 Three roll two Double Patch on hips. Barchetta on chest. Available in blends of wool, silk, linen, cashmere and vicuña.

Various plain colours.

75 49 47

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George

Great article, and appreciate the range of options.
where possible it is always great to move outside the predictable Armoury, Drakes, Trunk, Anglo sphere but I guess that dominate the market niche we are in for a reason!

Markus

This depends on the perspective. Taking a Viennese view the major (high-street) brands are BOSS and – with much better quality – Windsor; everything upward from that will very likely be Italian and not British (e.g. Canali, Corneliani, Zegna).

Daniel

Any thoughts on the offerings at John Simons? In wealthier days I bought a couple of Drakes jackets (standard, not the games blazer) which are wonderful but about £1000 new and I notice John Simons are a fraction of this price which is appealing now I am considerably less well-heeled! However, if they aren’t up to much, I would rather invest in a garment I know will bring me pleasure, is well-made and will last.

Peter Hall

Timely article as Massimo’s unstructured wool blazers are currently 1/3 price😂
Great article.
I can’t help but think, we are slightly replacing the blazer, or more exactly, why we used to wear a blazer. Just beginning (in the Netherlands) to regularly see cotton work shirts used as a outerwear(over knitwear). I was lucky to find a navy wool rtw work shirt which does the same job. Hopefully this trend will draw more men into tailoring.

JB

I would throw suit supply in the ring too. While possibly a bit of a bum-freezer, they do have long sizes too, and a great offering of fabrics. For guys starting out or wanting to play with unconstructed jackets, it’s worth a look.
On washable and unstructured jackets. I recently found matthewgonzalez.co.uk who are making bespoke washable suits in London. Basically no canvas etc, fabric pre-washed at 60 degrees to prevent shrinking.
I think this would be a very interesting read to follow up on by Simon.

Manish

Hi JB
Suitsupply is definitely a great value price-point and have some terrific fabrics from reputable mills as you rightly point out. However, I don’t think they sell a truly unstructured option – but please correct me if I’m wrong there. I think their Havana jacket model is the most “natural” but even that features half-canvas construction.

Dario

I have a completely unstructured linen jacket from Suitsupply I bought this summer. It was listed as a “Lazio” model.
And I have seen they have some other unconstructed jackets in cashmere and “traveller” wool.

Manish

Hi Dario
Thanks so much for sharing that! That’s really interesting because the Suitsupply website shows the Lazio model as having a light shoulder pad and half-canvas construction. Perhaps they’ve updated the model since you got yours?

Dario

Hi Manish,

I hope it is ok to drop the link here, I bought this exact same suit but in dark brown (it seems they don’t have it listed anymore in that colour):

https://suitsupply.com/en-dk/men/suits/mid-grey-lazio-suit/P6274.html

I have a couple of other Lazios and indeed the standard is light padding and half canvas, but from time to time some different ones pop up.

Manish

Brilliant! Thanks so much, Dario! That’s super helpful to know 🙂

Fred

If you opt for custom with suitsupply, you can get a completey unstructured jacket. Although it is more expensive than their rtw.

Manish

I think the photos I added for the Shetland sweaters article were helpful to some and so I’m going to upload some of the shots of the jackets I tried. It’s not easy to see the detail of these dark coloured jackets but hopefully it gives you an overall flavour.

Manish

Uniqlo Comfort

Uniqlo Comfort.jpg
Manish

Trunk Wigmore

Trunk Wigmore.jpg
Manish

Drake’s Mk IV

Drake
Matt L

This photo shows the jacket much more appealingly than any of Drake’s own photos of it.

Manish

Drake’s Mk III

Drake
JB

That’s a great jacket, unstructured db, that can be worn open like that. Love it.

Martins

I’m kind of glad my size brown cord is out of stock! or i might not wait to consider this year’s Donegal preorder!

Manish

I must admit that out of all the ones I tried this is the one that felt was the best marriage of cloth, style and fit. Although, to be fair, I only have one DB so maybe this was extra appealing for that reason.

Manish

Boglioli K-Jacket

Boglioli K-Jacket.jpg
Manish

Loro Piana Sweater Jacket

Loro Piano Sweater Jacket.jpg
Charles

Great post. And, like others, throwing Uniqlo in is a great idea. I don’t mind spending £500 on a jacket, but it must be MUCH nicer than others.
I’m not affluent enough to agree with the “2% better for twice a much” argument.
Case in point, I wanted a chore jacket. I tried loads and Albam was great – the ones twice as much were (very) marginally better, but the ones that were twice as cheap where massively worse. For me, that was the sweet spot.

PB

Last summer, I found an Izod (of all brands) cotton/linen navy sport coat in thrift store. It’s completely unstructured and appropriately styled: average lapel, triple patch pockets, no darts, two button cuff. Slightly extended shoulder, nice drape, good length. It’s become a favorite, winning out over many other more rarified vintage choices in my closet.

Max Lavender

Dear Manish, Simon, or any other PS reader that may be able to help,

I am about to be Called to the Bar and enter the world of commercial/chancery law. Commercial/Chancery chambers are one of the few places where a suit and tie are still worn every day, never mind the pomp needed for court appearances.

I love the Neapolitan tailoring covered on PS, with its soft shoulders and wide lapels. The snag is that my budget, at least initially, is restricted to the £600-750 range for a suit.

I would be grateful for any recommendations of brands that make suits of a similar style to those made by the Armoury, Saman Amel etc. that fall within or just outside this bracket.

Many thanks,

ML

Timothy Kermode

Spierandmackay.com

Manish

Dear Max
Many congratulations to you!
A reader has recommended Suitsupply above and that’s not a bad shout for the price – but beware that they do like a form-fitting suit.
I would definitely check out Drop 93. They have a large, discounted selection of Ring and Armoury tailoring that would fall into your price range.
Best of luck!
Manish

rich

Never mind the suit, my aunt marked her passing of the Bar exams with a tattoo in 1986.

Anon

As someone who instructs the chancery bar, I would first suggest stocking up on the “uniform”. Depending on your set and the type of work you will do, often you might be one of many juniors on a larger matter and will be expected to blend in a bit. Furthermore, having one suit might not be sufficient if you are going into multiple day hearings, and there is the risk of damage from stray bundles and pen ink from hastily amended orders etc.

As a result, i’d grab a couple of workhorse suits at least for your first year. If your doing high-value chancery/commercial work you’ll soon be in the position for an upgrade.

Max Lavender

Thank you all very much for your helpful responses!
Re Anon – I quite agree about needing some workhorse suits. Any recommendations of brands in the £200-300 range for this purpose? It seems there is a correlative relationship between price and lapel width. Ideally, I want to ensure that I don’t rock up to Chambers looking like, as Manish so brilliantly put it, a footballing libel claimant.
ML

Tom

You need a classic single breasted navy suit, cream shirts and some non jazzy ties. You can find some bargains in 2nd hand shops but I appreciate some people don’t like the idea of wearing someone else’s old clothes or that they don’t have the time to rummage around. A colleague of mine had a off the peg Roderick Charles suit which was good and priced below £400. They might be worth having a look at? My top tip is go as classic as possible, no frills or trend led details.

Anon

What Tom said. – One thing to consider is fit. Don’t worry about lapels. If you are on your feet a lot, and depending on how you speak, you will probably be moving quite a lot. Get a suit you can easily move in. nothing worse then trying to grab a bundle and worrying you will tear your elbow.
The obvious offenders are Charles Tyhriwtt, M&S, etc.
Remember to a certain extent you are putting on a uniform to signal to your peers/clients you are part of the team. The aim, at least in the beginning, is to fit in as much as possible sartorially.

Alex

While I’ve long since graduated to more expensive tailoring, I would highly recommend checking out Reiss for those on a budget. The jackets will be a bit short but hopefully not offensively so. I still keep a couple of suits from them which these days are reserved for duties like attending weddings which I suspect might get boozy and I don’t want to risk anything more expensive, but I still get compliments.

AVI

Try Cordings – some very decent suits c.£395, and in the sale often 2 for £500-600 etc.

JoshuaMN

Try Cavour.

Robin

I really loved this article.
So what’s to like …
1 Uniqlo … not really Uniqlo but the fact that you’ve considered high street brands and at times shown them to be comparable to the Lord Piano.
2 Other options section ….PRAISE THE LORD!! Its something PS could do with including in more articles. An article on, for example, £400 shirt is of limited use to someone if they’d never pay that much. Its exactly how I got into MTM shirts when I finally heard mention of something within my reach.

On the actual jackets themselves I’ve got Boglioli , fantastic but very pricey and only to be brought when heavily discounted, and Trunk, which are a bit roomier but really beautiful cloths.
Of Drakes, from what I’ve seen, my issue is that much of what they sell looks like it adds 40 years to the wearer’s age! It’s like clothes designed for pipe smokers and ageing teachers. A shame really as I love their ties.
The Armoury …. based too far away but their YouTube channel is truly brilliant.
And Loro Piana ….. it doesn’t matter what we’re told it just seems you’re paying a high premium for the name.
Well done, Manish .
Simon, Manish is a keeper !

Manish

Thank you so much, Robin!! I really appreciate it!

Timothy Kermode

Another option in the Uniqlo range would be a vintage Pendleton 49er jacket. At least here in the US they are easily found in excellent condition for under $100. Comfortable to wear and good-looking in a western/tartan kind if way

Manish

Thanks ever so much, Timothy. They look great but are they more overshirt/chore jacket options? We were trying to focus in on unstructured versions of more tailored jackets but this a nice option for a more casual getup.

Timothy Kermode

Most definitely casual

Fashion Bear

Simon,
This is virtually my favorite category of clothing–the sweater blazer option, in particular, has become one of my most oft-used types of clothing over the past two decades, vastly exceeding my use of more traditionally tailored jackets. I find the sweater blazer offers the perfect balance of comfort and formality, at least for how I want to dress, and works well for someone with a young child to run around after. It confers many of the same benefits that you’ve noted with regard to shawl collar cardigans (which I also love), but tends to feel more contemporary.
This year I purchased one from Camoshita via Trunk Clothiers (a double-breasted wool blend in a beautiful shade of caramel) and a two-button navy iteration from Dopiaa courtesy of No Man walks Alone, among others. I have several others from Camoshita, including summer versions in silk/cotton blends (one in cream and one in navy), and perhaps my favorite version of all time is a black pinstripe jacket in wool that I acquired from the Armani boutique in Milan in 2003–it was my introduction to this wonderful style of clothing, and it remains a piece I wear at least a few times every year. It looks not at all unlike it did when I first bought it nearly two decades ago.

Fashion Bear

My apologies Manish for directing my comment to Simon instead of you–as a writer I should know to read bylines!

Fashion Bear

Well, I have to admit I am curious, Simon, as to whether you dabble in this area at all–I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you in a knit sports coat or sweater blazer….

Fashion Bear

I’m not sure I ever saw that one! But thank you for pointing it out. What off the rack options do you have?

Fashion Bear

I know, or certainly would have guessed, that, Simon :)…but would you consider this tailoring? A knit sweater jacket? Because I don’t tend to think of it that way. Though I suppose it does occupy a certain liminal space between knitwear and tailoring, I ultimately think of it as sharing more characteristics with the former than the latter.

Fashion Bear

I’m not sure I understand the question, and I’m feeling very dense about it :).

Fashion Bear

I got it; out of curiosity then, would you consider something like Barena, if you’ve tried their knit jackets, a tailoring company or a knitwear producer? What about something like Camoshita? Because I would say that those two companies, for instance, make knit jackets that are closer to a jacket than a cardigan on the–heretofore unconsidered (at least by me)– jacket/cardigan spectrum.

Manish

No problem at all Fashion Bear!
Take care

Fashion Bear

Thanks; great article!

Craig

Personally, I feel like most of these unstructured jackets are in that uncomfortable zone between formal and informal, and wind up being too much of a compromise for either. They look out of place in an outfit with tailored trousers and button down shirt, a less elegant version of a Neapolitan sports coat, which still has some structure to it. Similarly, they seem too fussy for casual outfits, where a chore coat or something similar, or shawl collar cardigan, would look better. In trying to be as versatile as possible, they don’t have a place. They also don’t flatter the physique. The ones that do look good tend to have some structure to it, some lining to give it at least a bit of shape. They have a slept-in look to them.

Keep in mind this is just my personal opinion. I’ve tried them in the past and gotten rid of them, as I found I was always reaching for something else.

Alan

Great Article. What is the jacket in the final image (blue / teal herringbone)?

DrBruno

Thanks for the great article Manish. I really enjoy wearing my Boglioli K jackets. So easy to use.

You mentioned Spier and Mackay in the article. Can you elaborate on their quality and fit? They are driving distance from me so may be of interest, particularly their custom program.

Manish

Thanks so much, Dr Bruno.
I’m afraid I haven’t tried them but I have seen plenty of people on my IG feed enjoying their tailoring. I just referenced them here as I wanted to collect a few “standard” structured jacket lengths from different retailers to compare against the Uniqlo jacket.
Cheers

Timothy Kermode

I have a lot of Spier & Mackay and recommend them without reservation. Luxury they are not, but punch well above their weight.
And as you mentioned, have a MTO service that allow you to pick your preferred jacket and trouser style

DrBruno

Thanks Timothy. I’ll give them a go.

Jake

I have several Spier and Mackay sportcoats, a good number of their trousers, and a handful of their shirts. They are worth checking out especially if you’re near the store. It’s good quality tailoring for a reasonable price.

Henry

I am unsure as to why a lot of brands market these coats as being more comfortable when in my experience, they are often the contrary. Canvassing and padding inside a coat allows it to be worn away from the body whilst maintaining a flattering shape.
In most images, these sweater jackets appear to be hugging the wearers arms and upper body. I’m certain a savile row suit, with a generous drape cut, is more comfortable for most men.
This applies to much of the casual clothing market, I find jeans and a T-shirt far more uncomfortable and restricting than any suit/jacket I own, this is coming from somebody who rarely wears tailored clothing due to where I currently live.

Martins

A lot Massimo blazers were in tk max for under 30£. Only thing I did not like for the price was super skinny lapels. But even than I was tempted.

As for me, couple years ago I bought a really nice barena navy unstructured jacket that by now I’d like to replicate as a mtm, but I was never able to understood why it works so well. It just does. Is it because of cloth? Cut? Single breasted it would look and feel like a cardigan but double breasted it just works for me.

Martins

it’s like this. the only thing I know I dont like is single went on the back.

on one hand when looking for something similar I’d like a bit more dramatic lapels, a little bit longer, but on the other hand I can’t understand what If smaller lapels and a little bit shorter length is what makes it work?
and more dramatic lapels and a longer jacket would look strange unstructured.

but for 79£ I really can’t complain! 🙂

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Martins

I think you just put to words what I have been struggling to understand what I don’t like about 2 double breasted jackets I have! lengthening jacket and/or lowering buttoning point would also make lapels a bit more dramatic!

thank you!

Martins

and here is close up of cloth. maybe you can suggest what is it and something similar? when I think jersey I think something that looks knitted (similar to knitwear)? so is this still a jersey?

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Peter K

I have a Hugo Boss unstructured linen jacket that does have skinny lapels.
They don’t really bother me and no one has ever said anything to me about them.
It certainly would look better with wider lapels but on such a casual garment they work.

Nils

Splendid article Manish, I’m happy to see you become a more regular feature of Permanent Style!

I am on the hunt for an unstructured jacket and as I don’t tend to wear much tailoring, William Crabtree’s Lowgill jacket and Trunk’s Ebury jacket seem the best options. Have you had a chance to try on the Lowgill Manish? What do you think of it, especially in comparison to the Ebury?

R Abbott

Great article with an interesting presentation of such a wide variety of makers. This is one area where I think it makes sense to budget less. I don’t see the value proposition of spending bespoke prices for “a garment that has been excised of all canvas, padding and most (if not all) of its lining.”

Dr Peter

This is an astonishingly detailed survey, and perfectly timed too, since unstructured jackets straddle that elusive boundary between formal and casual dressing in our present sartorial moment. My congratulations to Manish Puri for doing the painstaking work on display here, and to Simon too, for making this piece happen. It is an article for the reference collection.

Manish

Thank you so much, Dr Peter. I really appreciate it!

Andreas

I used to wear Boglioli jackets, but I was never quite happy with the length, and with those super-tight sleeves. Then I noticed that the german brand Windsor made a 3-button jacket that’s almost identical to the K-Jacket (in style and in quality, which is probably why it was a lot more expensive than their standard jackets), but which is a tad longer and more of a Drop 7-type fit. For some reason they don’t have any of them in their current collection, I’m really hoping they’ll bring it back for the summer.

MC

Hi Manish,

Very curious where Anthology’s Lazyman Jacket fits into any of this, if at all. What do you think of it?
MC

Manish

Hi MC
I have the first Lazyman in seersucker and I live in it during the summer. I usually wear it with trousers and polos/T-shirts but have donned it with jacket and tie as well.
The only reason for not including it (and other jackets like a Teba or The Armoury’s City Hunter) is we wanted this piece to focus on unstructured jackets that could quietly substitute for a more traditional structured jacket.
Hope that helps.
Cheers

Eric Markey

great artilcle, but i think you’ve forgotten to mention Thom Sweeney. Eric

Ant

Nice reference article, this. I couldn’t actually think of any other makes/brands that have truly unstructured jackets perpetually available. Eidos sprung to mind initially but of course they stopped a couple of years ago.

I’ve got a good many De Petrillo jackets and like them a lot.

On Boglioli – interesting observation on the quarters curling-outwards (now forever referred to as ‘pringle’ing) – I have noticed that on mine, too! One good thing with Boglioli is that they are so prolific though and so they are a common pick-up on eBay, etc. It’s a great starting point for many.

Manish

Thanks for the Boglioli ‘Pringle-ing’ update, Ant. It wasn’t too noticeable but now you’ve confirmed it I will be on the lookout for it!

Liam

I’d add Man1924 to the list. They have a Kennedy jacket that fits this category perfectly and depending the fabric tends to fall in the middle of this price range.

Martin

Simon and Manish, wouldn´t you say that a length like on Simon´s shorter jackets (like those by Solito) would be much better with jackets like these, too? Only The Armoury comes close. Or must the principles of balance and proportion be sacrificed for the goal of casualness? I find things like a denim trucker jacket achieve this much more convincingly and without any compromise.

Manish

I agree with what’s been said. I would only add that Simon is taller than the average fella so even his shortest jacket (like Solito) might be a little longer than well-proportioned jackets on a shorter individual. Mind you, I’m only talking about 1-2cms here at most.

BRAD TOMPKINS

Unstructured is all that I wear now due to work dress-codes (don’t want to look too stuffy), and overall comfort. I also agree with another poster who said that these do not mesh well with tailored trousers, as I typically pair them with selvedge denim or twill 5-pockets. Great write up! The Armoury offering looks right up my alley so added to my saved-searches in eBay….rather spend on quality pre-worn pieces than fashion waste! Great write-up Manish! New follow in the Insta…..

Manish

Thanks so much, Brad! Welcome to the chicken coop!

Peter

Brilliant article! I wonder if you’ve had a chance to try any of Adret’s tailored jackets? Not sure about the structural specifics – possibly they are canvassed and/or lined – but from the looks of Instagram they are stylishly relaxed and very much the opposite of the overly short+tight look.

Manish

Hi Peter,
Thank you so much!
I have had a chance and I loved them. I didn’t include them here as we wanted to focus on unstructured jackets that could almost replace a structured jacket without anyone (that isn’t a PS reader) noticing.
Adret have quite a few unstructured options that are stylistically very different to those featured here. They’re closer to cardigan jackets with a longer, slouchier length and low-slung pockets to sink the hands into. Great vintage fabric choices as always – in particular they have a dusty black linen jacket and trousers that looks and feels like silk.
Definitely worth reaching out to the Adret chaps on Instagram to find out more 🙂
Cheers,
Manish

David

Quite an informative article by Manish. I can’t help but think that with unstructured jackets, there’s often too much of a gap between a cut that errs on the side of formality and cloths and construction that are too casual (just like sneakers made from black or dark brown leather). For that reason I’d prefer a linen overshirt over most of those. I’d be interested in knowing what you think, Manish (and Simon!).

Manish

Hi David
I can definitely see that too and I think (in a perhaps misguided attempt to bridge that gap) this is why some of these jackets are slightly “shrunk down” when compared to a RTW structured equivalent.
However, to emphasise the positives, I do think as a result these slimmer jackets work well with t-shirts and polos (as shown in the last two photos of the article). Of course, that only matters if you’d even consider wearing a T-shirt with a jacket in the first place!
Cheers,
Manish

Yash

Hi Manish,
Excellent article and feels very relevant to the times we live in now. I regularly wear a couple of unstructured jackets that I have to just slightly dress up what might otherwise be a casual place/atmosphere/outfit. Really does work a treat.
The jackets in question are by Barena, bought from Mr Porter and Trunk way back. Completely unstructured, just fabric (one jersey and one twill – both cotton), no lining and light as a feather. Worth considering as a possibility for this type of jacket as they do them all the time and at a reasonable price point too.
The 3rd fully unstructured one I have was by Burberry bought at £250 down from £1000 on Mr Porter a few years ago in a delicious navy blue silk (and something) mix.
While I will never see these jackets in the same light or with the same love as my proper stuff, in the end the reality is that today, they get way more use than other, more formal jackets that I have. With those, increasingly I have to “find” or even “generate” an occasion to wear them.
Thanks.
Yash

Manish

Thanks so much, Yash. It’s great to get some insight from someone that has a few different options and wears them regularly.
Best wishes,
Manish

Yash

Many thanks Manish

Alejandro

Absolute joy to read. First comment here after months reading, well done!

Manish

Thank you very much, Alejandro!

joshgtv

Eidos and Sartorio also do very nice unstructured jackets.

RobertP

Fantastic article; thank you. I was searching for an unstructured jacket recently (to wear with jeans, and something that’s baby-proof!) and settled on the Universal Works London Jacket after trying some of the above (https://universalworks.co.uk/collections/jackets/products/universal-works-london-jacket-in-olive-twill-1). In cotton twill, with two internal chest pockets too (something that a lot of unstructured jacket’s don’t have I find). Hope this suggestion helps some readers. £175 so very competitively priced.

Manish

Thanks very much, RobertP and a good shout on Universal Works. You’re also dead right about internal pockets on these types of jackets.

Philip Gilbert

Hi Simon
Of the jackets you feature here the only one I have experience of is the Boglioli. Personally I found it very disappointing and sold it as I hardly wore it
In my opinion the Belvest “Jacket in a Box” is a step-up in all respects
Although I have sold them as I changed how I look, I had some lovely ones in silk, linen, cashmere
I have always regarded Belvest as a being a well-kept secret when compared to brands that seek more exposure
Philip

Tom

Try a Teba Jacket instead. As easy to wear and a bit more interesting and less conformist. Last of England stock them in the UK or Bel Y Cia in Barcelona make bespoke ones.

Gio

Hi Simon and Manish, thank you for this useful article.
I own several unstructured jackets (Boglioli, Lardini, Cantarelli are some of them).
As other readers said, the lenght and lapels are the main cons.
However, I also find that when you button up them they don’t look that good. I guess it might be because of the lenght and also because of the button height (too high). Manish/ Simon, is it something that also happen to you? Maybe it’s better to wear it unbuttoned? Please, I’d like to know your thoughts.
And another question, is it always better to go tieless with unstructured jackets? I guess yes
Thank you for your help and best regards,

shem

Hi Manish, Ive been a long time reader of the blog andI have to say this article is incredibly useful (perhaps even more so than what simon often writes about). There is a range of recommended items at different price points, with product measurements and pictures of you wearing the garments and your subjective feeling when wearing the item. I find this incredibly helpful in guiding readers in sizing especially when brands and even their sales staff can be very unhelpful in this aspect (e.g. I love drakes but the size charts of their items are way off). Keep the good work up!

LAStyleGuy

Fantastic piece. And speaking of “workmanship,” I can’t believe the amount of work you’ve put in, with the exhaustive research you’ve obviously done as background for this post.

Michael from Connecticut

Manish, well done…and very informative. Let’s please hear more from you. Also what a stellar line “…reframe imperfections as characteristics.” Am giving you fair notice that I plan to plagiarize that really cool phrase!

JoshuaMN

Thanks, Manish – a really useful summary of one of my favourite things to wear. Good to see a mention of Trunk’s offering on here, I’ve a MTM version of their Wigmore in a Shetland tweed, which along with a thicker cotton Boglioli have been pretty much stalwarts in my wardrobe. For really hot temperatures I do like the cotton-linen version of the Vetra ‘workwear’ blazer. It’s pretty much shirt-weight. Gaiola (De-Petrillo’s cheaper RTW brand) and Cavour also make some great half-canvassed linen checks. Picked a couple off eBay from Italy for about £200 each and think they’re definitely worth a look-in for those of us slightly priced out by Drakes and The Armoury and looking to save a few coins for alterations.

Manish

Thanks Joshuamn! This is a really helpful addition.

Hal9k

Totally digging that seersucker, bud.

Stephen

Hi Manish, apologies for coming to this late – been a bit busy last few days. Just want to thank you for an interesting, well balanced and in places witty article. The line around “[lapels] wide enough to ensure one doesn’t look like a footballer on the court steps celebrating a libel case victory against a tabloid newspaper” is brilliant.
Great pictures in comments too All in all a good change of pace and a welcome alternative from prices and producers at the upper end.
A quick point from my own experience with chore jackets given that I have seen these at £450 +. I bought a navy one for £40 from Uniqlo that’s 97% cotton/ 3% synthetic mix with inside hip picket 3 years ago that’s still going strong Ok it did have plastic buttons- I was going to replace but ultimately never found a compelling need to do so. Also a royal blue cotton one with butcher’s buttons from gap also about 3 years ago. It’s not always about the price and the less structured end of jackets offers some good opportunities as you point out in your excellent article.
Hope to see you on PS again soon.
Thanks again

Yash

One more unstructured brand I just came across is Sacco. It’s available on The Rake and a coupe of others.

Seems totally unstructured, very colourful.

Don’t know any more than that but is potentially another option for people.

Thanks.

Rudolf Velhagen

I love the HAWICO Scotland cashemire jackets …

David

Really helpful article. Is the jacket pictured above the table a Brunello Cucinelli? I can’t work it out. Thanks, David.

MW

(1) I am very pleasantly surprised to be reading about chapathis and parathas on PS!
(2) What jacket is George Wang wearing in that photo?

Markus

I found this article most interesting. Great work.
I find it is always difficult to write about fit. While it has an objective part, it also has a subjective one. Being from continental Europe (Vienna) and slim, I guess I prefer my casual blazers somewhat tighter than the average Englishman. For me the K-Jackets of Boglioli work best, with minor alterations, and I more or less stay with the brand.

Zeke

Sorry just can’t get the image of Simon sputtering his coffee on reading the first draft out of my mind. Just teasing. Very nicely done Manish

Dachshund

This is something that Kilgour used to do so well, god rest them