Overshirt, chore, teba: Defining the new casual jacket

Share
||- Begin Content -||

In recent years, casual alternatives to the tailored jacket have become increasingly popular, and we've talked about a lot of them on PS. 

However, it's not always clear what's meant by different terms and types, or what their differences in style and formality are. 

So in this article I’ll briefly set out the different options, and talk about their styles and smartness, ahead of a few articles looking at ones in the market and those I own myself. 

Unstructured sports jacket 

This is a normal tailored jacket, but with all the padding taken out of it and probably all the canvas too. It's often made out of jersey, washed cotton or something similarly casual. The Drake's Games Blazer is a good example, as are most Boglioli jackets.

But what defines it as a jacket? Primarily the curved opening below the waist button on the front, the shape of the lapel, and the lack of cuff on the sleeve.

It's more likely to have vents, and more likely to have at least one welt (non-patch) pocket, but it's that lapel and opening on the front that really define it. 

Teba jacket 

The Teba, that Spanish version of the unstructured jacket, is known for its lack of gorge - the collar and lapel form a point. But otherwise its lapel is actually fairly similar to a normal jacket. 

The thing that takes it away from a tailored jacket is the lack of curved opening at the front - its bottom hem is straight all the way round, which also means it’s cut a little shorter. And it has cuffs like a shirt. 

Whatever's going on with the material and the style of pockets, these two elements will always make it more casual. 

Smarter versions include designs like The Armoury's City Hunter. Jackets that take inspiration from the Arnys forestiere and its cousins belong in the same category. 

Chore coat 

A chore coat has that straight edge round the bottom, like the Teba. Even when you see versions with little curves to the front edge (like the Bryceland’s model above), the shaping is small. 

It also usually has three square patch pockets, again like the Teba. The big difference is the collar and lapel area, where a small collar and simple turned front edge make it look and behave more like a shirt, buttoning all the way up. Unlike a shirt, it usually has nothing at the end of the sleeve. 

There might be more variations of the chore than any other category - historically and today. Some have an opening on the sleeve; some have four pockets. Luxurious versions like the Anthology Lazyman or A&S Jacket No.2 are made in finer materials and have internal zipped pockets. 

But generally they share a simplicity of design, hip pockets and a shirt-like front. 

Overshirt

We’ve been through all the variables now. What does an overshirt have?

No curve to the opening, unlike a jacket. Cuffs, unlike a jacket. Perhaps a scalloped hem like a regular shirt, but more often a straight hem, like a chore. It also has a buttoned front like a chore coat - in fact, other than the cuffs, what differentiates the design from a chore?

A placket on the front usually, but most of all, it’s the chest pockets. A chore has hip pockets, and maybe something above; an overshirt has chest pockets and usually nothing on the hips. Which makes sense, given the design originates from a shirt; you couldn’t tuck a shirt in if it had hip pockets. 

Safari jacket

A smaller category this, but probably worth including as it’s so distinctive. 

A safari jacket is basically a shirt, but unlike an overshirt has hip pockets - four in total, with bellows construction to contain all your hunting paraphernalia. It also has a belt, a drawstring or some other way to hold the waist, epaulettes and pleats in the back. The details of a field jacket, on the body of a shirt.

I maintain that a safari jacket usually looks fussy, and I’d go for most other things as a jacket substitute. But a chore jacket can have the opposite problem and be rather boring, and there are better versions of a safari jacket, with simpler pockets perhaps (eg below, at Jean-Manuel Moreau).

What else is there? 

A shacket is usually an overshirt made in thicker materials, or with details like internal pockets. A guayabera can also be thought of as a variant on the overshirt. And there are many more variants defined by particular regions, like the Mao/Nehru jacket (below) or Tyrolean jacket.

The useful thing for readers is probably to understand how the main types above differ, and which is likely to be perceived as smarter or more casual. 

The first four categories above are in descending order of smartness, with the safari a little bit of an outlier. But bear in mind that will vary with the material as well, and it’s something we can go into in more detail as we cover specific versions in the coming weeks. 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

152 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Stephen

Hi Simon,
A good reference article – thank you.
I think over-shirts are an extension of the work-shirt, that tend to come into their own in a heavyweight material and layered. As for ‘shackets’ (even the name makes me shudder) are ‘neither fish nor fowl’ I wonder how successful they are nowadays, as I tend to see less of them in online stores.
The jacket in the last picture (whilst not one for me) looks really good on you.
All the best.

Jim Bainbridge

The safari jacket – on the one hand I want to have a soft spot for them on account of Roger Moore having been a style icon for me in my late teens; and on the other I watch his films now and wish he hadn’t worn both them and some of the more fashionable cuts of the time, as they detract from the other classic and beautiful clothes he also wore. I like the idea that the design could be improved upon, but I can’t see it working without taking out of original context and wearing very casually – putting a safari jacket with smart trousers, shirt and (definitely) tie is likely to evoke all of those associations. And I’d have to break the habit of a lifetime and leave my pith helmet at home, which would be a terrible shame. I think the unstructured sports jacket wins this one.

Henry

Hi Jim, I understand your point but I think if made properly a safari jacket can be worn well with tailored trousers, shirt etc.

283EFB61-2595-4289-81AE-BF2F10DDAD3D.jpeg
Jim Bainbridge

Thanks, Henry. Nice example. I do like both the jacket and how it fits with the ensemble, but would still contend that for anyone that has negative associations, still unlikely to change minds – and the safari jacket itself is vulnerable to looking dated by being characterised by aesthetic features that most people don’t use/need (belt, pockets) and consequently hard to justify as a functional or utilitarian garment. With that said, if we were to follow that logic through with everything then there’s a great deal that none of us would ever wear, and that would be a shame.

Henry

Hi Jim, thank you for your reply. To be honest I never thought I actually will wear a safari jacket as I always disliked the fit of the ready-to-wear ones, no matter who was the maker and how much handwork it had. But after being convinced by friend of mine I decided to go bespoke and now I wear them often. I developed a model as shown in photo above and now have them in several heavy Irish linen and one in Loro Piana Jersey 100% cashmere in navy (currently being made). For me a safari jacket is a comfortable yet stylish option for spring and summer wear. I like it has a proper belt with leather buckle and 4 large patch pockets which I find most useful. But again it’s just my humble personal opinion.

Ottavio Rizzo

Actually, the reason I had a Safari jacket cut is that I found its pockets really useful! (I tend not to use a bag if I’m not working nor carrying my camera)

Peter Hall

I have a pair of Teba(Michael Jondral) -one cord,one seersucker and they are excellent jackets for the summer. The style can take a while to become used to-forearms and cuffs are tight and they are cut close to the body. In that sense,they are not as versatile as ,say, a denim chore coat, or overshirt. The smartness lifts them up the smartness scale . In addition , green is a traditional colour,which is not that common a colour . I tend to wear mine with linen ,but they are smart enough for wool trousers.

Aaron

These, especially the overshirt, feel very much like the future of menswear. Not sure I’d go as far as some I’ve seen online have suggested of wearing a tie or even a pocket square with one, that feels a bit silly (especially the square) yet can certainly look smart.
I hope teba jackets become more popular. They almost feel retro, very tailoring-adjacent, yet also quite modern and less pretentious feeling to wear if you’re not used to tailoring.

Other Aaron

The future of menswear is really interesting to think about. I wonder what the ‘palette’ of menswear items in the average dressy man’s wardrobe will be in 15 years. Perhaps unstructured jackets will dominate – if only because of economic incentives (the Baumol effect suggests the Labour component of clothing will be increasingly expensive – putting pressure on designers to favor fewer steps in construction).

Martins

I do love your overshirt and plan to get brown for next summer..

also I’ve been thinking about anthology lazyman for long long time. one thing stopping me is, if I have no problem wearing sports coat under outerwear, an overshirt or chore coat under outerwear just looks weird to me.

Martins

Thank you! What do you think about their striped seersucker? Too showy? If i ever do get one of theirs i think ill go for the blue one! The cloth was really nice in person.

P.s. my wednesdays morning coffe i had to drink staring at the wall since the site was down! 🙂 i did send you screenshot on instagram. Its still not completely working, but better.

Martins

thank you!

currently all comments does not work for me. not the button not the direct address.

Martins

If I press “see all threads” button (link?) I get error message. same error message I get when I copy the address and try to directly open all comments page.

https://www.permanentstyle.com/all-active-threads

Ray_Bentos

https://www.permanentstyle.com/archive
Is still not working for me

Charles

Great piece Simon, as ever. Being a little on the short side I love a chore jacket but its unstructured style can hang off me. Also, the lightness of many of these mean they wrinkle a lot too which I think can make them look a little messy. Maybe something to add in to this piece is bodyshape?

Will

Thanks Simon – I’m more or less the same height and shape as you and have the same A shape issue with chore jackets – would you be kind enough to share where you get your alterations done for your chore jackets?

Georgios

A great article since most men i know dont wear jackets at all so all the casual alternatives are really welcome. My two favorites are the ps linen and the one on the last photo which is not available anymore. I cant remember the brand but i emailed them the last year and they dont have it anymore..

Gary

I gave not bought any of the above but have several alternatives that would be worthy additions to your list – Harringtons (Grenfell cotton, wool), paddocks (Lavenham wool) and shooting (Cording’s Wayfarer, Grenfell) and field coats (Barbour, Chrysalis). Anglo Italian has a very good selection that I’ll try on after recovering fully from my illness.

Gary

Cording’s Wayfarer, especially in moleskin, would meet your test but you may consider it to be tailored.

John Simons’ new Mingus jackets in corduroy and tweed could be worth considering. They are also on the shortlist for my next London visit.

Sam

Whenever I wear a tailored jacket, overshirt or chore coat indoors (which is very often), my girlfriend teasingly asks if I’m going out. Of course I’ve said they’re not considered outerwear, but she doesn’t quite agree. So regarding looking odd, it matters whom you ask!

David

The indoor/outdoor distinction is a good one and it’s somewhat separate from the cut/style. A shirt jacket made of really heavy wool (the kind of thing Filson makes) is quite different from the things you describe in the article.
And a chore jacket is very similar in style to the heavier canvas barn jackets for outdoors, often with a corduroy collar (and make it in waxed cotton with a zip and press studs and you get a Barbour, suggesting there’s a lot of overlap among the categories)

Prince Florizel of Bohemia

Very useful article! Speaking of overshirts/safari jackets, may I ask you if you have any experience with Saharianas by G. Inglese? Judging from the pictures, some of designs are appealing to me. And some materials are rather interesting. And they can do MTM if I’m correct

Andrew

Hi Simon and Prince Florizel, I personally love Saharianas in the 1970s Roger Moore and Yves Saint Laurent style, with all the pockets, epaulettes, belts, etc. I think they work best worn as a shirt (usually I believe called a Sahariana) rather than a light weight jacket (often called a Safari jacket I believe) like in the picture in the article.

I think if you like the style then go for it, and I personally would not try to simplify the design by removing pockets as this would take away from the charm of the Sahariana and make it into something different, basically identical to an overshirt.

SteveB

Yes if only they had buttons/flaps & no pleat down the front sides.

Nicholas

I have had great success with Stoffa. In addition, their work shirts are so heavy, they can be worn as an informal jacket. Materials are interesting and quality outstanding. I would recommend a fitting at a Trunk show before ordering. Customer service is legendary.

Oscar

Hi Simon,
What about a worker jacket? Is it the same as a chore coat?
Cheers,

Anonymous

Thank you, Simon, a very neat summary of available options for a most viable manner of dressing for my part of the world. I never leave the house without a sports jacket and usually an unlined brown trilby, which renders me immediately over-dressed most of the time, but that’s okay. For some time, I’ve felt that a number of my older tweed sports jackets (RTW, not MTM or bespoke) are looking a bit dated as they are quite structured, particularly at the shoulders. However, I still like the fabrics. 

If I recall correctly, one of the individuals whom you profiled wrote that he takes vintage sports jackets (at this point I would say I have my own vintage!) to his tailor and has the padding removed to create a more relaxed profile.

Is that something you would recommend and if so, are there specific instructions I should provide? My tailor for alterations has retired, so I have a referral, but have not used it as yet. Thanks in advance for considering this. 

Anonymous

Wow, a real-time response probably half way across the world! What is the probability of that? Thanks very much, perhaps best left as is and wear a scarf when the temperature drops to soften things up. 

Markus

This is a very helpful article. Two comments from my side:
I completely understand that you find the original Safari-jacket cluttered. However, what works very well for me are safari jackets that have two “normal” buttoned breast pockets and two simple chore-coat like pockets on the hip (no belt and no epaulettes). This is sort of a hybrid between an overshirt and a classic safari jacket, and avoids the rather bare/plain look of the overshirt below the breast pockets. Example see here https://www.piniparma.com/products/beige-linen-wool-safari-jacket-made-in-italy
I quite like the design of Tyrolian jackets but as an urban/liberal Austrian I would never wear them. They have the same reputation here as very old-fashioned hunting tweed jackets in England and – considering our rather recent past- are often worn in urban areas only by people wanting to make a statement that they are politically on the far-right. It’s a bit different if you live in the Tyrol in the countryside, where they are common and less of a political statement.

Eric Michel

On the pictures illustrating this article, the best looking outfit is the one with the safari jacket!

Petronio

To enlarge the picture I would mention the Alpin trachten jacket (also called tyrolean jacket) which is made in a particular wool with great waterproof qualitiies. It is getting more and more popular in European cities as an alternative to tailored jacket. There is also the version in velvet for a more formal attire. I wear it in Milan from October to April and it is great in terms of functionality

Fred

What are your thoughts on wearing a tie with these options? I have seen it look great, but equally seen it look gimmicky or a bit affected. Do you have any insights into when it works and why Simon?

Alex

Thank you for the most interesting article Simon. May I ask a question on a specific jacket feature? What is the significance of three-roll-two button closure? If this intended to make a jacket look more casual in the same way as patch pockets, or is it merely just another design feature. Many thanks in advance.

Aaron

I think my favourite ever explanation of a three-roll-two was Hugo Jacomet’s in this video.

Alex

Thank you Aaron. “This is useless, this is why we love it”!

DrPeter

A good discussion. I would like to add that there are various shirts and jackets from military surplus sources that share many of the attributes that you have mentioned. I have square-tailed shirts of hard-wearing olive and khaki drill with two pockets (with or without flaps and buttons) that serve as overshirts. I also have field shirts/summer jackets with thinner material (relative to the field jackets like the M-65).

And lastly, military uniform jackets (dress jackets with four pockets and brass buttons) which can be worn over a T-shirt or shirt, but these often come with various insignia attached. While I have not seen these latter being worn commonly, I think it is something that may catch on. And it is permissible, as long as it is not being worn as part of a full dress uniform — or as long as someone isn’t try trying to masquerade as a member of the military! At least, that is what people I know in the service here in the US have told me.

DrPeter

Thank you. I do have a khaki and an olive Army jacket of the kind you mention, both made out of ripstop cotton. Mine do not have the slanted top pockets, which is fine by me since I prefer the standard, non-slanted top pockets.

I find most of my military jackets in Army/Navy surplus shops here in the US, or in vintage or antiques shops. The prices are a fraction of what some of the European shops (like Broadway and Sons) would charge for these items. And they are often new old stock. Unfortunately, a lot of the old Army/Navy shops have closed down now, so they are hard to find. But one doesn’t need too many of these items since they are so hard-wearing.

Bernardo

Hello Mr Crompton, If you wanted to buy one unstructured jacket, which one would it be?

Dave

Maybe Manish Puri could do a guide to brands of unstructured jacket?

David

Hi Simon,

Nice to see you’ve included Teba jacket. I’m from Spain and I’d like to mention Bel & Cia in Barcelona as one of the best places for a Teba. They offer RTW in tweed, knitted wool, cashmere and also linen/cotton/silk. Prices start from around 1100€. MTO is also possible.

Though Bel is located in Barcelona, it’s more common to see Teba jackets in Madrid and more popular for gentlemen older than 60.

There’s another popular teba maker which is Justo Gimeno. From Zaragoza but they also sell online on sites such as Michael Jondral. Can’t talk about the quality though cheaper than Bel.

I think (not sure) in the past you mentioned you didn’t like teba jackets that much. However, a few days ago I saw a story on your Instagram wearing a teba. Please, may I ask you why have this changed?

Cheers,

Ram

How do you feel the quality of Justo Gimeno? They are rather tempting in a lovely Fox gunclub fabric. Similarly with houndstooth.

Ram

Thank you! And sorry for double posting. I believe I checked on a different devices
(iPad and iPhone) and as I didn’t see this as pending thought it may not have went through. The internet at home has been bad of late.

And thank you Marcos for your review!

Marcos

Hi RAM – and Simon,

If I may, I’ve written a full review on my own experience with Justo Gimeno and their Teba.
Enclosing the link: https://www.lesindispensablesparis.com/fashion/teba-jacket

Thanks for this article, Simon.

Cheers,
Marcos

Robert

Appreciate the link. Justo Gimeno was referenced in a couple MF offerings so this review is quite helpful. Thanks.

Peter Hall

I usually wear mine unbuttoned. I think they look better like this. Nice article Marcos.

Stevenson

Do you still wear the red suede Drakes overshirt? I really like that piece. Wondered how it’s held up over the years. What size did you take in the end as I tend to wear the same size as you.

Gary Mitchell

I do own and like chore coats, I have the same Drakes heavy suede (not in red) and love it but the safari sneaks ahead for me. I can throw on a safari with tailored trousers shirt and tie yet use the same jacket with jeans and shirt, or t-shirt or polo or nothing underneath. Never with beige chino but other colours yes. One of my jackets is an original Abercrombie and Fitch (before the loud music and models that sell) its patched and worn yet works in all settings. Something odd that I love them and have maybe a few too many including bespoke old RRL British military type. I would not say I wear them so often but I always enjoy it when I do and its another one of those outfits that always draw compliments for some reason. Maybe its the white hunter in Africa vibe who knows eh. Point is I would feel more comfy in safari than any other jacket mentioned.

Ben

Not sure that cataloguing and ranking these styles serves much of a purpose. Once you dip into the “casual jackets” category the possible styles are endless and any attempt at comprehensiveness appears parochial and Eurocentric. And the rules of formality are much less rigid or useful.

David

in drawing these distinctions, also worth considering who would make the different types of garments. A shirt jacket with no structure at all would best go to a normal shirt maker. Presumably the same for things like a safari jacket. Simon – I recall Budd made you a very nice one in linen.
For a Teba and anything more structured than that, presumably you need a normal tailor.

Michael Powell

The unstructured sport jacket is a great way to dress up, without dressing up.It’s perfect with chinos or jeans Add a long-sleeve sport shirt or a Polo, some desert boots, and your ready to go.

Michael Powell

“you’re” (I need to turn on the auto-correct)

Lindsay McKee

I currently have one Berghaus and one Ragatta fleece, and I wish to move a notch up the scale.
Can you please advice me on types or makers. Not necessarily luxurious.
Many thanks
Lindsay McKee

Alex

As the owner of a Patagonia Better Sweater, the performance isn’t better than any other fleece and it pills a lot. A Luca Faloni cashmere zip top is much warmer and more satisfying.

Alex

Sorry if the comment was unhelpful. Given the nature of the forum, I had assumed the query related to using it for casual wear (which many people do) rather than a hiking trip. For hiking I wouldn’t recommend the Patagonia fleece given it’s heavier than a normal synthetic North Face or Berghaus Fleece. Icebreaker do nice merino fleeces for outdoor activities. Obviously there are pros and cons to wool and synthetics.

Kev F

Depends what function you would like them for, Lindsay but have a look at Norrona, Klattermusen and Arcteryx. Fjallraven have a good range of non-synthetic clothing that are very durable and in more subdued colours. There’s a good UK make Jottnar but they have a limited range. Not cheap but these are made to work in cold, wet conditions and are durable.

Lindsay McKee

Many thanks to Kev F and of course Simon for these very helpful responses.
Lindsay McKee

Gary Mitchell

Been wearing fleece for its true use since the early ’80’s and Im convinced, based on perfomance alone, they are all pretty much the same… That being said I wont wear cheap ones; cant go wrong with Patagonia or Arc’teryx for looks and style and those small differences that make the difference. Best fleece ever? Helly Hanson double pile field jacket in green which used to be the byword for excellence in/under uniform (sadly a rare beast now) Current favourite is a sleeveless lightweight one from mont-bell, one pocket and stuffs small for emergency use. As with so many things it can depend on what its use will be and of course personal preference. Dont forget Arc’teryx pretty much design without compromise for mountain/outdoor adventure wear and their prices reflect this; why buy something designed for Annapurna when you only use it in Kensington? Why? Because its cool! Mind you, cant ignore Patagonia’s ethical approach to all thier products.

Peter Hall

Paramo have a good range-especially if you like smocks. Excellent company for recycling and ethical employment.
Mountain Equipment for high spec technical clothing, but use a great deal of synthetics. Their stuff is bomb proof and very highly regarded for down clothing. Also very active in the Fair Wear Foundation.

Lindsay McKee

Many thanks to Peter Hall & Gary Mitchell here.
Lindsay

Jamie A

Hi Simon. Great timing. I recently browsed Merchant Fox’s teba jackets and wondered what they are. Now I know. Thanks!

Ram

Lovely summary, Simon! I confess to being fond of the safari jacket but I also think it’s not easy to get right, in terms of fussiness. Oddly I tend to wear mine a lot during summer especially with the sleeve rolled up a bit with a t-shirt underneath. And just for reasons of slouchy comfort.

Some others I suggest looking into are jackets/overshirts from Japanese brands such as Haversack and Studio D’Artisan. They’re admittedly a ‘look’, as you put it but are quite fascinating if you have a thing of wabash fabrics, Asian tunics and the like. Some of them also go quite well with both tailoring and silk pajamas at the same time (if that’s your thing).

351E97F7-5A7A-4E36-B2DA-20E870A78031.jpeg
Ram

Happy to be of any assistance. Might I also take this opportunity to ask what you think of the quality of Justo Gimeno Tebas?

Gabriele

Hi Simon, completely unrelated but I have a suggestion for an article: down vests. I think it would be interesting to have a comparison of the various brands and get your take on how to incorporate one into an outfit. Cheers!

Markus

Would be great to include down jackets and parkas as well, at least for those of us who live in colder climate.

Yash

Hi Simon,
Helpful article. I have always found these categories difficult to distinguish apart from the unstructured jacket which I have a few of.
How would you categorise the A&S Airmail flannel jacket? I purchased this earlier this year and it buttons to the top like a chore and is squared off at the bottom but has turnback cuffs too. Perhaps a hybrid with a lean towards…??
Thanks
Yash

Simon

Helpful article, thanks! It got me thinking about how much cloth can change the formality of these jackets. For example, a chore coat in denim would lead to some pretty casual outfits, no matter what the name “Canadian tuxedo” would have one believe…

Tim

Regarding the safari jacket, and it’s most famous wearer – James Bond (the Roger Moore variety), most of his Safari Jackets, were in fact, Safari shirts made by his shirtmaker – Frank Foster.
And they’re awesome.

Eitan Marks

Hi Simon and fellow readers,
Ever since I discovered the Teba jacket a few years ago (from that article from Derek Guy’s blog, I think) I have found it to be a really versatile jacket for everyday. Because of its combination of sport coat and overshirt elements, it is a good way to have something that performs the role of a sport coat in an environment where a blue blazer or a sport coat would be too much. I can just roll up the sleeves and leave it unbuttoned, where it totally can pass as a shirt jacket or sport coat, or pair it with a dress shirt or even a tie and it looks totally appropriate where a sport coat would be necessary. Being that I live in a hot climate most of the year, a linen Teba is actually wearable most of the year, and can be washed at home rather than dry cleaned. I think that a lot of the future of tailored jackets lies in this direction, for their functionality and ability to be worn when a proper tailored jacket would be harder to pull off.
Also, here are some bonus photos- I bought my first really good Teba jacket from you at your popup at Fortnum & Mason a few years ago, and now it’s faded and patched pretty much everywhere, but it’s my favorite jacket even though I have since acquired many more. How great things age indeed!

-5965075478513563183_121.jpeg
Max

Love, Love, Love – this article!
Two things that poped up in my mind:
How to you see knit “jackets” in this regard? (something like this: https://imgur.com/a/rTO3cWW )
Also is there a sort of lexicon or book about more in-depth information about this sort of clothing categories? 🙂
kind regards
max!

Ed

Totally off topic, but do you have any advice on politely declining to wear the same suit at a wedding? Some groomsmen are wanting to look the same but I have a nice suit already. Isn’t life a b**** sometimes?

Kingstonian

You forgot Nehru jackets which are now being promoted by rather traditional menswear companies.

I would never wear one myself. I think a traditional jacket will make a comeback. I don’t want to look like a French workman or that dreadful Monty Don character either.

Safari jackets are great for Summer. They wear cool and you still have lots of pockets for stuff.

Ram

Just wanted to chime in with some thoughts on styles with more specific associations such as variations of the Nehru jacket.

Oliver Spencer has been promoting it for some time as an artists jacket of sorts, perhaps extending vague associations to Corbusier wearing Forestière and such. I think similar jackets have also been promoted as painters jackets and there was also the Bakers Jacket from Universal Works which looks much like any chore jacket to me. I doubt they could replace tailoring but I also wouldn’t say they look so out of place.

But when we go to more eccentric items such as S E H Kelly’s Cook’s Jacket and Pajama Jacket, I share the same apprehension. As someone who can barely cook, it feels like cosplay or being an imposter. Someone was saying that rowing blazers are another where there is still some “club” association though I feel that it’s not necessarily true anymore.

As a gent of Indian origin I feel at ease wearing a Nehru jacket, even a proper tailored traditional version of that but I would never wear a Tyrolean jacket or a kilt or a full yukata. This is another place where I feel it’s good to draw a line for men though women can pull of some traditional dresses such as the cheongsam with much more ease.

In short, I think it depends entirely on to what degree you take them and whether it goes naturally with your background and personality.

(I seem to be particularly fond of this topic. Never imagined making so many comments on a single topic.)

robert e gault

I live in a temperate climate and love my shackets/overshirts. Tired of shopping …trying to find the right item, in the right cloth and the right style I now buy material and have my tailor sew the items for me. Light tweed for spring/autumn, heavier cotton as we approach summer and then linen overshirts for summer. Easy and inexpensive to have made for me…..unlined, unstructured and I get to choose the details to truly make it my own.

Dan

This is a timely article. I was just in London recently, and tried on just about every chore jacket that I could find, and never quite finding it, but I hold out hopes. I did end up taking home two Drake’s Games Blazers, which felt right in the sweet spot for me between “almost tailoring, but not at all fussy” and the sort of workwear comfort zone I occupy much of the time. I like how you’re wearing the red (is it suede?) jacket over the Merz sweatshirt and the faded denim. That would suit me.

Gus Walbolt

All I’m buying the last couple years have been alternatives to the traditional tailored sport coat. I now have shirt jackets, tebas, safari jackets and most recently a Fedelli cashmere knit soft jacket (feels like a sweater) with a standup collar. They have all been a welcome change yet still have plenty of style, especially when paired with scarves, turtlenecks or polos.

Richard

Two things Simon and both completely off topic, I’m afraid. A while back you mentioned about new Oxford striped button downs coming soon. Are you able to offer any update? Secondly, until relatively recently, I have been using both bio and non bio washing detergent, seemingly unaware of any difference between the two. Is bio as harsh on clothes as I’ve since read?

SteveB

I do like the more casual & lighter overshirts, chores etc for many reasons as others have stated, however, for me I want a flap pocket &/or with button to secure wallets/mobile securely. Open pockets are OK for hands but not much else of importance. Ideally a safari for longer trips or an overshirts with double button pockets to free up trouser pockets & have no need for a bag is ideal. I
I have a Drakes heavy linen overshirt that had two buttoned flapped hip pockets & two open chest pockets ( one internal ), shame no one else seems to see the need for buttons in their designs. Something like a jungle jacket but more like an overshirt would be perfect. Any designs like this on the horizon Simon?

SteveB

Hi Simon,
Flap pockets with buttons are ideal on chore jackets, especially at chest level & some can cater for phones & passports ( but not if in a leather holder with other papers – that’s when a safari with larger hip pockets with button & faps works well ). As mentioned Drake’ s did buttoned hip pockets in the past & I have a couple but the chest is open which reduces it’s utility.
Thank you for the referrals which might be an option. Otherwise I’m considering safari jackets from Wesley Richards with Grenfell which is more of an outerwear than a chore & one more pocket than my Shooter & therefore extravagant to my mind.

SteveB

That looks more like it, thanks Felix, 👍 Steve

Ned Brown

My Teba, bought at Bel 3+ decades ago, is indispensable. I recently had some holes patched. The pockets are the best feature. They can easily hold a carton of 12-guage shells, or other stuff. Love it.

AA

Hi Simon,
Thanks for the overview of possible jacket alternatives.
I understand that the dress codes are evolving and that tailored jackets are becoming both irrelevant and economically ineffecient (the cist of a tailored jacket is at least 2x higher than that of the simply cut shirt-like garment).
However, I feel that all these models, with their straight cuts (=lack of waist), square bottom opening (no curve), lack of structure to shape the chest and shoulders do not flatter modt men’s fugures. At least on me, with my tall height and quite a long body with relatively short arms, they make me look out of shape, unfit, too boxy. There is no dynamism in shirt like jackets that diagonal lapels, slanted flap pockets, rounded openings provide. The tailored jacket looks organic and dynamic, sexy. The boxy overshirt looks unhealthy (waist to hips ratio of 1), ill proportioned, a foreign object on the body. It is simply not beautiful. The lack of a stand uo collar does not frame the face.
On the other hand, a well fitying sweater or a cardigan retain that organic feel of a jacket and are,in my view, superior altetnatives from the aesthetic standpoint. If a more rigid top is desired from practicality standpoint, I feel that cropped jackets (a bomber, a trucker-cut jacket or a harrington/biker type jacket) that end their square bottom hems around the waist line and, as the result, retain more of a shape, are more elegant than longer overshirts.

Markus

Dear Simon,
I am thinking of buying a chore-jacket suit. See https://www.portugueseflannel.com/collections/suiting-aw22
Would you consider this style as too exotic? It certainly has the advantage of being able to wear the jacket and trousers also as separates.
Kr Markus

J. Vantaa

Hi Simon,

I just indulged myself by impulse buying a cafe racer (leather jacket) as I’m starting to wallow in early stages of midlife crisis. And as I see it kind of shares the same purpose as the listed items here, I once again dared myself to ask some questions here.

So how would you style a cafe racer, and to same extent maybe a classic biker jacket too, to make it fit to more of a classical gentleman’s style and to downplay the certain notions these styles hold as I wouldn’t necessarily want to project an image of a divorcee in a new sports car?

Thanks in advance.

J. Vantaa

Styles are miles apart, yes, but in case of my soft lambskin jacket it has little to no outdoor use except maybe as a windstopper of sorts. And I try to actually pull it off as a casual replacement for tailored jackets as I do with some chore coats and the like already. As an actual leather jacket I’m actually quite partial to heavy leather six days trial kind, but it’s a very different beast altogether (and one my wife wholeheartedly detests).
However, that piece actually was pretty much what doctor ordered, except the racer might be tad harder to pull off with my dignity intact. Thanks!

Scott

I just took the over shirt plunge, in large part because of this article. My Foreman Flannel from Private White is on the way! I discovered PW thanks to PS and own two jackets already so, this will be interesting.

Alan

I feel like a safari jacket can avoid looking fussy or like you are off on a safari adventure by loosing the epaulettes and belt, and being in a more urban colour than the traditional khaki. The example pictured in the article doesn’t look too fussy to me for precisely those reasons, it just looks like a slightly more tailored version of an overshirt. I have one in a mid-weight charcoal herringbone jacketing fabric that I wear with everything from jeans to tailored wool trousers. It doesn’t feel particularly fussy to me, just like a more casual and practical alternative to a sport coat.

NickD

Simon, if you don’t mind, what’s the grey sweatshirt you are wearing with the jacket at the top? I’m trying to find some classic, simple quality sweatshirts.

NickD

Thanks Simon.

Hilary Richard Lambert

I’m lucky enough to own a variety of such casual jackets, several Teba’s in a variety of classic colours and materials plus cotton and linen safari type jackets tailor made in Spain. Spanish men have long embraced this way of dressing. Glad it’s now spreading to other corners of the globe.

Jonas

Great article!

– How should one think about the lenght of overshirts and chore coats? I feel that RTW overshirts vary a lot. Some end almost at the hip, like a short jacket, while others are longer, like a field jacket or sports jacket.

Spencer

Minor feedback on the website: it’s a small detail but something I’ve noticed not just on this article is that sometimes the formatting and spacing of how the site is displaying (on my iPhone) are such that if I look at one of the subsection titles such as where it says “Overshirt” in bold in the middle of the article, I cannot tell whether the picture just above the title is at the end of the previous subsection or is part of the heading for the Overshirt section. So unless I am already sure which is which, I don’t know if the picture is an example of an Overshirt or (after scrolling up to check) a chore coat. Hope that makes sense!

Andrew

Simon,

There’s one thing I’ve been pondering on this general topic, and I was curious what your thoughts might be.

Some background: My daily outfit usually consists in an Oxford shirt tucked in to chinos, with no jacket. But it always feels slightly “off” – specifically something feels off about the silhouette. It is as if a shirt tucked into pants (with no jacket) creates a silhouette in the shape of an “A” (pants enveloping the shirt at the waist, since the shirt is tucked, and so a wider lower half). I wonder if there is just something more pleasing about the opposite silhouette (V-shape), where something on the upper half of the body drapes past the waist, enveloping the pants. Of course, if your shirt is tucked in, then this will have to be something in addition to the shirt.

I went through the Lookbook with this in mind, and I noticed that in almost all the photos, you are rarely wearing just a single piece of clothing on the top half. In addition to the Oxford shirt, polo shirt, etc. that you might be wearing, there’s usually something like an overshirt, or a cardigan, a blouson jacket, a formal jacket. (There are exceptions, of course.)

Perhaps some sort of jacket (or jacket substitute) is the solution to this silhouette problem. Am I on base with these thoughts? Thank you for all the work you put into this site, as it has put me on the path to dressing better. Cheers!

Anonymous

Hi Simon,

What are the details of the red jacket that you are wearing in the first photo? It’s a truly stunning piece.

Ross

Great article.
I wonder if you are working towards a “if you only had only five non-tailored jackets” type of article. Certainly the topic of casual outerwear is of perennial interest here, but the terrain of casual coats/jackets is so varied that it is difficult to come up with a map that is both concise and yet adaptable to many different lifestyles.
In such an article I could see items from this article filling one or two slots in the capsule. A blouson might be another.
I don’t know whether such a condensed list as possible for the general case, but articles like this certainly help me figure out what would fit into my own wardrobe.

Peter Hall

Always interested in your thoughts, Simon, but,as you say, lifestyles and taste are so varied.
As is the weather. My waterproof , lined Harrington (virtually unused this year) has suddenly become essential during the recent awful weather. I’d certainly find a casual winter capsule of great interest.