The Bores jacket from Chato Lufsen: Review
Earlier this year, some readers may remember, I joined Simon and photographer Alex Natt on a jaunt to Paris. I spent the day investigating and chasing ghosts of the cult Parisian brand Arnys, visiting with their old designer Dominique LeLys at his new home with Artumes & Co; and checking out vintage pieces at the small yet mighty Chato Lufsen.
The primary purpose of the trip was to find myself a suitable replacement for the centrepiece of the Arnys catalogue, the Forestiere jacket. A big favourite of mine, the garment remains a somewhat ‘marmite’ proposition, at least for some readers.
The jacket is described quite accurately by Alan Flusser in his lesser-read Style And The Man as one of Arnys’s “most elaborate presentations; a sports coat fashioned like an artist’s smock with a mandarin collar and four pockets. It offers a stylish alternative to the conventional sports jacket, particularly if you don’t mind being perceived as a bit of a dilettante.”
Thankfully neither I, nor Mr Flusser himself, mind this potential perception of ourselves. He continues, “Arnys was for the bohemian dandy or boulevardier - such as the late Gide, Cocteau, Le Corbusier and even the rough hewn Hemingway - who preferred his fashion left-wing in expression, but Tory in quality.” Perhaps this is the perfect summation of the Arnys appeal; and far more succinct than I have been able to manage in the past few articles.
I found a close descendant in two jacket models available from Chato. To augment their selection of vintage clothes and accessories they offer a range of ready-to-wear and made-to-order garments, with plans to extend the range further over the coming years.
The ‘Bores’ style is a slightly tweaked redesign with an eye toward a more universal fit, while the ‘Borestiere’ is a faithful recreation of the original Arnys piece. I ended up somewhere down the middle, with a jacket that mixed what I saw as the beneficial elements of each.
With the initial try on of the RTW Bores coats in store, I found that neither the 56 nor the 58 gave me exactly the movement and drape I was looking for, so Christophe arranged to send toiles for the 60 and 62 to me back in England so we could work out what was best. All the other important decisions were made there and then; cloth, lining, buttons.
A week later, back in Blighty, the toiles were delivered and through the medium of iPhone pics and What’sApp the final decisions were made. I would take the Bores jacket in a size 60 (a little larger than I would generally wear) and with three inches added to the length.
These were simple and easily communicable changes to make remotely, as they were not reliant on a tailor’s skill, and needed no chalk marks or pins. I posted the toiles back and awaited the finished article.
Roughly five weeks later; the garment was delivered to my house. The first impressions were excellent; all requested details were present and correct. It was time to take it for a road test.
The tweaks made from the RTW toile to the finished article were all successful. A lovely clean drape to the front, a relaxed shoulder line without disappearing too far down my arm, and no excess folding or stingy stretch in the back. The collar sits square to the neck with no creasing or pinch.
Perhaps the only anomaly is the way the jacket chooses to hang while unbuttoned. It has a tendency to roll open to where the half lining meets the inside seam. I think this is mostly down to the light weight of the cloth, a summerweight corduroy I will cover in more detail further on.
Through repeated wears, the effect has lessened as I have trained it to sit a little better and it gets more used to my form. Fingers crossed, this will be an ongoing process.
Ordered in the spring, I was looking to augment my Arnys collection with something suitable for summer, but with an eye to cross-seasonal utility and in a dark colour. In contrast to the off-white unlined linen Forestiere that hangs in my wardrobe, which is a little overworked and threadbare.
I selected a black ‘summer’ corduroy of cotton-linen mix from Solbiati for my new one - a potentially more breathable version of the ridged cloth. As a contrast (Arnys were renowned for their colour mixing) I selected a goldenrod yellow satin-twill half lining.
I’m not convinced that my cloth selection was that successful for what I had in mind.
The cord itself is a fascinating material. Unlike the lustrous, almost velvety texture of traditional cord, this has a drier handle, more akin to a Terry cloth. It reflects and takes in light in a completely different manner, giving off a greyer, lighter sense of itself to the observer, rather than the deep hue of a cord. None of this is unpleasant, just unexpected and the handle is actually rather pleasing.
There are drawbacks to its practicalities however. Firstly, it is a cloth that attracts everything, picking up hair like a static-powered tractor beam, which is difficult to dislodge even with intensive brushing. A nightmare for long-haired-cat owners like myself.
Secondly, the weight and weave are not as suitable for summer wear as I had hoped. I acknowledge the colour selection has a role to play in this, but the record breaking temperatures in south-east England this summer did not make for the easy breezy wearing I had hoped for.
The upside of this is that the extended high temps through autumn (currently still in the unseasonably high teens in late October) mean that the jacket has stayed practical further around the calendar than I would have imagined. The swings and roundabouts of climate change, I suppose.
Christophe runs a straightforward and streamlined operation as the sole employee and operative of Chato, and appears to maintain a good line of communication with his workshop in France.
All dates given were adhered to, no hiccups in the process occurred at all and coat was delivered as ordered in every respect. The combination of his excellent service and my poor ordering choices will have me returning for extra custom without a doubt.
Both the Bores and Borestiere jacket are made in France and cost €790 for off-the-peg in seasonal cloths. Made-to-order iterations can be ordered from €990 with made-to-measure starting at €1090. This baseline covers cloths from most of the major cloth houses.
Price-wise, this places the Bores way under the original Forestiere, which commanded the princely sum of $950 even in 1996, when Flusser’s Style And The Man was originally published. Let’s give him the last word: “Arnys is probably the most expensive menswear store in the world. Quintessentially French in its unabashed celebration of the eccentrically epicurean in male adornment.”
For the whole outfit, I put together a suitably dressed-down monochrome look that reflects my daily attire:
- The black beret, black and tan patterned neckerchief and scarf woggle are all from my own AWMS range.
- The shirt is Bryceland’s Farmer’s Smock in white linen; a long knee-length shirt that I am wearing tucked in.
- The trousers are a well-worn sample of my upcoming ‘easy pleated’ trouser in black seersucker.
- The sandals are from Soloviere. It’s pretty clear they took more than a little inspiration from Adret’s similar model, but on a slightly wider last, and more crucially, in a colour that Adam does not offer in his range.
It look fantastic on you. Christophe is always very helping and he knows really a lot about Arny’s.
Interesting article .
I looked at the photos and thought “his broken all the rules “
jacket is long , makes him appear short
It has no shape
BUT who cares !!! He wear it well and he loves it !
Personally , I think it’s such a practically jacket but would have liked to see it more tailored .
Would it work better if the waist was a little tucked in ?
I’m currently aspiring towards a Bavarian jacket but am conscious it would help if I lost afew pounds before buying one.
having read PS for possibly a decade I’ve noted the cycles of you (Simon) writing articles where you’ve held by interest (bespoke , MTM, technical issues around cloth and cutting etc ) and completely lost my interest (vintage , crocodile skinned shoes) .
With that in mind it occurred to me that this article with a ‘guest’ writer reviewing a product is possibly another avenue to explore .
Maybe get a ‘guest’ to commission a MTM and give their views on it .
It’s not that I’m tired of you but I think PS needs to grow beyond one person .
Sorry , the coffees’ kicked in .I’ll shut up now !
Keep up the good work !
No worries Robin – we have actually got a group of guest writers now, maybe you missed some of them. There’s Tony, but also André Larnyoh, Manish Puri, Christopher Berry, Aleks Cvetkovic, Jason Jules. We’ve deliberately done this to broaden the styles and experiences.
Perhaps have a look at those writers if you’re interested.
On the Bores, no you wouldn’t want shape in the waist I don’t think, if that’s what you mean
I never got the appeal of both Arnys and the Forestiere. It often seems very aspirational to me as in wishing to look like some rich French guy (clearly not in Tony’s case though), and as a supposed signifier of stylistic knowledge. In any case, I believe the smock-like cut only looks good on older and bigger men, but isn’t flattering on a slim or athletic body. Julien Scavini has some variations that are slightly closer to a sports coat, and more suitable for younger and/or slimmer men (e.g., this one in a similar fabric as the jacket in the article: https://www.scavini.fr/produit/tybourg-velours-large-cote/).
I certainly agree with Felix. Having a similar build to Tony, it’s really difficult to find quality clothing. Most rtw and mtm blocks are too small, not across the waist but over the shoulders.
This is not merely a question of weight, just a general thickness in upper arms,shoulder and back. To that end, the trend of workshirts etc as certainly helped, but finding a good drape is very difficult.
Nice point about the impracticality of black outerwear-we have a dog. I agree that clothing suitable for autumn and spring is having an extended use period, whilst season clothing-very hot/very cold , is having a shorter season.
Have you tried Austrian hunting jackets from brands such as Schneider’s or Habsburg? They could have the shoulder room and lightweight construction that may work for you. Take a look at the Westley Richards website for starters.
Felix – as an older, bigger man that is some of the appeal to me. I suggest reading the previous article on Chato and the differences between their Bores and their Borestiere jacket as those are exactly the questions of fit they are trying to address. Tony
Yes, I see. Well, it certainly suits you well! Good that these days there are many options on the spectrum between classic sport coats and overshirts.
On an unrelated note, in one of the pictures for socks you sell on your website, you are wearing some nice low-vamp opera slippers in black calf. Very nice – who made these?
Those are custom via me, AWMS. Black calf.. simple.
Please contact me at [email protected] if you’re interested.
Thanks a lot, Tony
My jury is definitely out with this one….part of me can’t work it out so its ner fish nor fowl but the other part of me likes its casual relaxed style. Maybe this is one not for me, but I can nod approvingly from afar if I see someone wearing it.
Are the buttons standard for the Bores jacket, part of a Chato Lufsen range that a customer can choose from or supplied by Tony?
Gary – these are Chato’s in house buttons.. the elephant being a bit of a talisman for Christophe. He has a range of more traditional ones to choose from as well.
Thanks for that Tony. The elephant buttons add character, and perhaps some subtle branding, to the jacket.
A very inspiring piece on a lovely jacket. I say this being older, a slimmer shape & thereby having a different & more fitted style. It certainly captured for me a pre Great War age where even casual clothes had some subtle character even when the remainder of the garments were monochrome, understated , corduroy & less fitted; the lovely striking lining, the neck fastening & especially those aged elephant buttons make the jacket have more character without being loud.
What other colour combinations do you think you’d wear with the jacket for your accompanying shirt & trousers? Do you envisage a lot problems associated with black or would you intend breaking or stretching these ‘rules’.
Brilliant article. Worth reading alone for the brilliant phrase “Left wing in expression – Tory in quality.”
And yes, I like the jacket and although it’s not my particular cup of tea – it does look great on Mr. Sylvester.
What particularly peaked my interest was the cloth. I’m currently considering having yet another corduroy suit made by A&S and am wanting a three seasons weight in either a colour way that I would describe as either ‘Dusty Black’ or ‘Dusty Charcoal Grey’.
Although this cloth might fit the bill, it’s a little difficult to tell from the photos. What thinks Mr Sylvester ?
Personally, I wouldn’t, based on my experience with the cloth in this instance. Maybe a lighter weight needlecord might fit the bill better?
Good luck, Tony
Looks great on him! Bit of a “dandy Chairman Mao” look to it which I like very much. Debout les damnés de la terre!
This and the prior article “Dominique Lelys and Artumes : The Spirit of Arny’s” are my two fav PS posts. I recognized the English & Italian aesthetic thanks to PS, but French was elusive. I couldn’t move beyond the tight black Galleria Lafayette suits with blue ties worn by 90% of the French men. The Tourdesol scarves & Teba’s on offer at Artumes and the featured picture of Thomas Drach with Dominique have lent a new framework. It may be slightly historic, And country. But I think these looks are fabulous. And at least to this eye seem very French.
Hi Simon and Tony,
One aspect of PS that adds a lot of value (such as exposure to new ideas) and interest is the continual increase in the breadth of subject matter.
Tony, whilst not a style I would personally wear it’s a look that you absolutely nail. In my opinion it’s a example of when one feels right and confident in something, that shows through and it looks good.
Have you tried the old fashioned sticky roller thing for the hairs – although I get its not a permanently fix. And we don’t have pets so it’s just a thought.
On the fold by the inner seam of the lining (this is something I have experienced), I tend to fold one front side of the jacket / coat a fair way behind the other when on the hanger and even better in a hanging garment bag. By no means a silver bullet cure but I do find in my experience does help a bit over time.
All the best to you both.
Thank you Stephen, Sage advice, I’ll give it a go!
All the best, Tony
As an aside, The Merchant Fox has a collaboration with Chato Lufsen offering a Borestiere jacket on their website. They are RTW with two fabric choices for those who might be interested.
Isn’t that collar more like the one on a teba jacket? I thought Mandarian ones had a bit of a dip in the middle?
I can’t see myself ever wearing it but I think it looks great on you.
Hello, Tony, thank you. I was looking forward to this article.
Thanks Tony for this. Just on the shoes, I think the correct attribution should be to the Peshawari/Afghani chappal. The design has been knocked off before as well, look here.
I’m aware of Chappals, and my friend Moteen Abassi pointed out the similarities of those traditional sandals to these. However, the genesis of Adam’s original design for Adret came from an illustration by Lawrence Fellows in an issue of Apparel Arts in the 30s. It’s a much more straightforward design than a Chappal, with no buckle and full heel cup rather than a back strap.
A little bit too studied and try-hard for my personal tastes. But obviously for this author it’s the Real Deal.
Don’t think anyone else can comfortably pull off this look.
Simon, am I correct in thinking that you have commissioned black tweed and cord jackets? Will a review be coming soon? I’d love to know how you find these.
Yes and yes, cheers Ant