Drake’s corduroy Mk.I Games Blazer: Review 

Friday, December 9th 2022
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This is the Mk.1 Games Blazer from Drake’s in russet corduroy.

To be honest, I’ve lost track of the numbers and which style each is, but the important thing is that this one's a fairly regular jacket with notched lapels - not the version I’d known best previously, with peak. 

All the other details are really just details - patch pockets, flaps, lack of lining. Particularly as that choice is often driven by the material itself - with this corduroy there is no need for any lining, as the reverse is so smooth; a hairy tweed is rather different. 

I also think it’s best to think of this style as lying somewhere between a jacket and a chore coat on our recent list of tailoring alternatives

While it has regular lapels and rounded fronts (two of the usual properties of a jacket) it also has no vents, no buttons on the sleeve and twin-needle seams (all more common on a chore). 

It's also cut a little short and square and, more subtly, has no internal structure - nothing in the collar, lapels or chest - and therefore no real shaping. 

As with a chore, this throws all the emphasis on the material, and this heavy cord is really nice. An English eight-wale, it’s strong but not stiff, and I've already seen mine soften over the first dozen wears.

In fact cloth choice might be the biggest strength of the whole Games range. This mid-brown colour is the perfect shade, as are the dark brown and the olive. I’m even tempted by the corn colour, which is striking but not too saturated. 

The navy tweed they’ve just brought out in the Mk.VII (single breasted, lined sleeves) is exactly what I would have chosen, as is the melton in the double-breasted Mk.III. There’s even the mid-grey herringbone I’m always banging on about as the most versatile jacket. 

They’re heavy - the tweed is a 14oz Harris - but that suits the style. They’re not a jacket replacement in the sense of something to wear around the office, as a modern replacement for a suit. 

Rather they're closer to outerwear, which is how most men who don’t normally wear tailoring would probably wear tailoring - not layered underneath an overcoat, but layered on top of a shetland or a sweatshirt. 

Instinctively, this role for the jacket is also reflected in how I've found I wear it. 

Over knitwear, yes, as with the Rubato lambswool crewneck pictured. With a warmer shirt, a hat and a scarf to make it more winter-friendly, rather than a coat. And while the down-gilet-over-the-top look is too much for me, I understand the motivation - it makes sense over this kind of chunky material.

I always wear the collar up - it’s what I’d usually do with a chore, and the lack of internal structure plus the thick material makes it feel natural. 

I wear it undone most of the time. Given the lack of shape and structure, there isn’t that much to be gained by buttoning that waist button

When I do button the jacket it’s against the cold, and while I’m likely to use the waist button, it looks just as good with the top button instead - plus the functional button under the chin perhaps.

Finally, I use the hip pockets a lot. The material can clearly take it, and the cord also makes it a little awkward to use trouser pockets if the jacket is buttoned.

These are all things I would naturally do with a chore. 

So where does this type of jacket fit into a wardrobe? 

I think it’s for the guy who wants a piece of outerwear that is casual but can be worn with flannels and jeans. Perhaps he's tried chore jackets but found them too simple, square or straightforward. 

Not for the kind of guy who works in an office, in tailored trousers and smart shoes, and wants a jacket to go with them. He should try the pieces labelled ‘tailored jacket’ at Drake’s. Not necessarily to buy that one (I’d nudge him towards made to measure in any case), but to notice the difference in style, cut, structure and resulting smartness. 

As a reader pointed out recently, it is definitely easier to wear a tailored jacket with jeans and casual trousers than most people think. I want to help with that and never lose that. But I also know there will be many men who want a jacket that is precisely this casual. 

Drake’s is expensive these days. This jacket is £795 and that’s a lot for a cord jacket, even with the store, service and styling that I’m very happy to pay for. 

This puts me off some of the tailoring, but I’m more willing to pay for clothes that feel unique - where I can’t get the same thing anywhere else and can ‘feel’ more of the design. I think the Games blazers fall into that category, as do the Drake's suede chore jackets.

I did try the Games trousers that match this jacket by the way, but didn’t take to them. 

I think it’s great that Drake’s break them up with this way, and you can buy both, one or the other. They do them in materials - linen, cord, canvas - that I’ve always recommended as best for a ‘three-way suit’.

But the trousers felt a little lower in the rise than with previous iterations, and I didn’t like the single pleat. That thick cord is also an easier sell in an outerwear jacket, but a little more specific in a trouser. 

Other clothes pictured:

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Stephen

Hi Simon,
I have a MK4 which has flaps on all the pockets otherwise same style/fit, in a line/cotton mix. This was for similar use to that which you described, for the warmer months. Especially with a Breton T-shirt underneath or an OCBD. I remember running the idea by you in early spring, so a belated thanks for your advice at the time.
I am very tempted by the cord version given how useful the summer one turned out to be. I agree the cord version is a little on the expensive side for a cord jacket, and also agree on the things that sit around it. Still I think it should be around £100 less.
Do you have a view on which is the most versatile colour. I’m edging towards the russet, however I do really like the dark brown, but feel it looks a little too much towards a velvet jacket for the use you have described. Any thoughts appreciated as always.
Thanks for an informed and interesting article.

Stephen

Hi Simon, re my earlier comment please could you advise:
Do you have a view on which is the most versatile colour.?
I’m edging towards the russet, however I do really like the dark brown, but feel it looks a little too much towards a velvet jacket for the use you have described? Any thoughts appreciated as always. I’m hoping to go shopping in the coming days!
Best

Stephen

Thanks Simon. Always appreciate your perspective and pragmatism.

Aaron

Still I think it should be around £100 less.”
When they did their website update recently they upped the price on a lot of their products by £75. It’s definitely made it a lot harder for me to justify buying it, even as a special thing.

Stephen

Hi Aaron, I totally agree. It’s a shame as I really like Drake’s clothes and felt them a “relatively affordable luxury”. I suppose it does make the purchase a bit more considered. I expect their sourcing and logistics costs have risen and perhaps they have been holding off on price rises, so now needed a substantial rise to restore margins, but without knowing the background, it feels some pricing is a bit arbitrary.
That’s said I still am liking the cord jacket!

M

I agree, I used to buy Drake’s fairly regularly but the prices have become extortionate IMO.

blueboy1967

Hi Simon,
This corduroy looks like a really versatile piece, particularly, as you note, when there is no need for formal office attire. I guess it could be worn with jeans and chinos with equal success and as outerwear or under one of your wax jackets, for example.
However, I have been tempted by mid-grey herringbone or Price of Wales tweed on numerous occasions and struggled to think how I might use either except with jeans. You mention that you think it is the most versatile jacket so I wondered if you could comment on the variety of uses (or send me packing to a prior article if I have missed it).
Thanks,
Damian

blueboy1967

Thanks Simon.

I guess Navy corduroy trousers would also work and my ecru jeans.

I noticed you prefer the idea of herringbone to PoW – less formal and more versatile?

Sebastian

Speaking of colour, that olive PS scarf looks terrific here together with the brown corduroy!
What kind of colours on a scarf would you say is going to be a good match for the PS Donegal overcoat in brown?

Cheers

Sebastian

Thanks!

Ed

I agree regarding the trousers – found them a bit too low in the rise, but I like the design. And, even though the waist fit, it still felt tight – perhaps the cord itself being quite heavy, or maybe a common feature of cord trousers?

Gary

A few weeks ago before my illness, I tried on a tweed Games Blazer in my usual size and it was huge on me. My suggestion would be drop at least one size, possibly two if a trim fit is desired.

Pleased that you agree that Drake’s prices are now OTT. The fit would have to be perfect to justify such a huge outlay on a casual jacket so I chose the Ivy jacket from John Simons at around half the price. Like the Games jacket, there is also a good choice of Ivy jackets Harris tweeds, corduroy or linen.

Jackson

Would you say there were many differences between the games jacket and the Ivy jacket overall?

Jackson

Which do you prefer personally?

D

Did you take your usual chest size?

Jim

I found the same thing. It’s shame because I have nowhere left to go size wise. Unfortunately I am no longer a drakes customer purely based on the sizing.

CJ

I likewise cannot make anything work for me from Drakes due to the sizing.
Accessories/Footwear of course are fine.

Christoph

It’s nearly $1200 in USD, which is absolutely crazy for a casual, unlined jacket.

Kingstonian

Christoph,

In the UK it is still the geography teacher look.

I don’t like corduroy for jackets anyway. If I did, I am sure I could pick up an inexpensive, unstructured one that does not cost a fortune. However, it seems others do not baulk at the price.

Aaron

Thinking them of more as outerwear than a unstructured, casual form makes me like them more and makes me see more of a space for them in my wardrobe. I’ve seen and appreciated many pictures of them but seeing you put it in words like that just made it click.
Re made-to-measure for starting out, I think an article, maybe by a guest writer, on more ‘budget’ (£500-£1000 range?) MTM options for those looking to get into tailoring more. So many other sites are American and only give only American options.

Aaron

That makes sense. I think even an outlying view of what’s available, quality of some of them (e.g. I know Moss Bros have MTM but I cannot find people’s experience of it, no idea if it is value for money etc). I’m considering SuitSupply but all the cloths seem so lightweight, and a lot of people have said they have a tendency for trousers to be too short and too slim. I guess that’s the price you pay for budget though.

Martins

Suit supply never appealed to me for those reasons… hovever spier mackay seems better… at least couple pieces a season seems decent… contemporary trousers doesnt seem too skinny, last year got decent gunclub harris tweed, this year grey herringbone harris tweed and 8 vale dark brown corduroy. Heavy minnis flannel suit/trousers also was available this season.

Jackets are slim, so i had to size up and take 2″ off the sleeves, so still not perfect but id say a big step up from cheaper ralph lauren/hackett and the likes…

Robin

That’s the look most of your readers, I would presume, wear most comfortably and most often on weekends .

You’ve nailed it very well with the jeans and scarf .

There’s been rather a lot of cord this year and very often it’s a cord suit. I think that’s just too much texture.

More like this please.

Peter Hall

I definitely think that this (jacket as outerwear) is the way that tailoring will remain relevant we naturally evolve from chore coats and work wear into a slightly smarter style.
It’s the home many have found for heavy tweed or cord . I find them so useful and easy to smarten up with scarfs, hats etc or dress down and equally at home with derbies or work boots.

Peter

Great look with the scarfs. If this is the size 40 then the back length is only 28.9 inches – don’t you find that a little short Simon?

Eric Twardzik

I’d sworn off unstructured jackets after acquiring and dispensing with several that were rather flimsy (and very #menswear). My mind was changed when J. Mueser made me one of their unstructured Campania jackets in a heavy patchwork cord, whose heft provided a drape and structure of its own. Now I think it’s imperative for an unstructured make to balance that with substantial material.
Im curious Simon, did Drake’s say anything about whether the sleeves of this model can be let down? I’ve always been keen on it but assumed not; and I don’t believe they are offered MTO.

Matt L

I’ve been waiting to see you cover Drake’s jackets for a while, thank you! I’m not sure if I’m a particular fan of this one, as you mentioned it feels quite expensive for what it is. It’s very close to being a chore coat with a few nudges towards a tailored jacket, particularly in the photos where you have the lapels covered with a scarf. It doesn’t really seem worth it. Their Mark 7’s look a lot more appealing.

Markus

It certainly is a versatile jacket, even though the brown is to warm/rich for my taste.
However, the price seems a little stiff. While I have a similar Boglioli jacket, somewhat more slim fit, that comes with a similar price tag, I find – at least on the continent – that you can buy such jackets on YOOX on 50%ish sale, while this never seems to be the case with Drake’s.

Joel

Totally agree on the paying the Drakes premium for more thing’s unique to them, and typically only during their sales or second hand. Otherwise it’s out my league. They do a nice job though with their offerings and in a way, I just like getting fresh ideas from their looks. Take some leave some.

H

It’s a beautiful color. I belive the fabric is Brisbane Moss 3101X. But this midbrown color is unfortunately not on their website and not on their swatch card. Maybe it’s custom only for Drake’s.

Charles

This is a piece I change my mind about a lot. I like a chore jacket and in many ways the games blazer is a step up in terms of the style and fit. But I still can’t find it in myself to buy cord. I just can’t see the gap in my wardrobe and I fear the dreaded “geography teacher” look!

CJ

This is a great response Simon; it’s the execution of the whole rather than any single piece. You’ve said it before and doubtless you’ll say it again!

Ross

A term I’ve heard to describe these jackets is “chore blazer”, which is perhaps a bit more specific than simply an unstructured jacket. It is like like a jacket in that is has the lapel and the curved opening at the bottom, but the fact that it is unstructured, has patch pockets, a higher button stance, and can be buttoned up to (or close to) the collar all bring it closer to a chore coat.

Something that is equally casual but of a distinct aesthetic would be a knit jacket, which is closer to a cardigan but with distinct lapels.

I can confirm that one of these jackets in a grey wool is quite versatile (even living in a very casual Ameican suburb) having worn one for two years now. I’m curious though, Simon, where have you mentioned the versatility of such a jacket before?

William Kazak

A nice jacket. Your description has me thinking about a blazer/ jacket that I found while thrifting. It is branded as Armani Jeans. It is oversized, slightly long in the length of the body. It is half lined, natural shoulder and pockets with flaps. A heavy woven fabric of some kind, unlike Harris Tweed. I purchased it because I can easily wear a Shetland with it. I can put my hands in the jacket pockets if I want to. I can wear it with chinos or jeans. Really versatile. I can wear it most anywhere I routinely would wear a jacket. It seems to work well when the temps are around 45 and higher. I can wear the collar up and button up all three buttons at the same time if it gets windy and cold. Kind of an unusual find for me. 65 Percent wool and 35percent rayon.

Michael

Would you wear a with (a relaxed) tie?

Dan

You’re my favourite blogger Simon!

Michael Powell

Mid-brown cord jacket – check. Light blue Levis – check. I’ve got both, but I didn’t think to wear them together. I’ll give your look a try.

Noel

I have a heavy cotton beige version I bought a few years back. I’ve bought both jacket and trousers but I rarely used them together. Given how casual the jacket is, the suit looks a bit unusual, almost as if it were a suit with a chore jacket. It’s somewhat difficult to wear. Perhaps this is all in my mind of course.

Noel

Yes, indeed, a darker colour like your chore ‘suit’ works better. It stands out less and the darker colour makes it looks a tad more formal and less out of place even if it’s still an unusual combination.

Misbah

I do like the blazers rich colour and think it works well with sweatshirt and scarf, but too much a clash with the jeans. Conversely, to my eye, the outfit without the blazer all works as well. I guess I’d swap the jeans for something else.

Alexander

I for myself find it hard to get the appeal of this no-man’s-land between tailoring and casual wear (in Austria we say „it’s not meat and not fish“ so basically nobody can say.) First the look is not for me, and second after Monday to Friday in tailoring I embrace the clearly different look and feel of casual wear. It is relaxing and comforting.

Kenneth

Good morning…simon you gave me an excellent idea..yesterday in stead of wearing a suit for church..i worn a cord with a combination of a winchester shirt..tie vest.. thank you and enjoy the week..peace and cheers…

Ed

I stepped into a shop on Saville row for the first time and was drawn to this exact jacket. Its been 6 days and it’s still on my mind. I don’t earn very much so any tips on justifying the purchase to myself would be much appreciated.
The corn colour seems remarkably versatile (for such a bold colour) and I truly cannot think where to find or even how to make something quite like it.

Paul

We, your readers, would like more Drake’s reviews. There brushed Shetlands for instance. Please consider doing more of this kind of thing in the future.

Anonymous

Interesting color (colour)/fabric as it seems to be almost a dark chocolate tone in photos 2 and 5, yet more of a lighter, nearly honey tone in numbers 3 and 6.

James

I love the idea of these casually tailored jackets. Not many options in the market for something like it at this quality. I did try one of these and I found the hip pockets a bit too far back on the hip which felt awkward placing my hands inside them. I also thought the collar didn’t hug the neck very tightly and the lapels wanted to stay open and not lay flat across the chest. I realize exact fit is not paramount with kind of garment but it bugged me enough from pulling the trigger.

Andreas

Hi Simon, I am debating between commissioning a dark brown corduroy suit or a grey herringbone tweed suit. Which one do you think is more versatile/would you go for? Thanks.

Martins

last year I was really looking at brown double breasted corduroy one. it even was on sale for 500£. didn’t buy because it has a ventless back and when I went to drakes store, they didn’t have any in my size to try on. after reading this, went to store again, and I’m sold. thinking about it as a blazer, not really. but thinking about it as a 2 in 1 it’s pretty great. pop the collar up and it’s a chore, pop the collar down and it’s a casual jacket. love the olive, mid and dark brown. not sure about navy and tweed. I can never get around super casual material in smart colours. I’m definitely not paying 800£ for it, but if I can get one for 500£ish, I’ll do my best to snag one

Martins

one thing I was really curious about.. you wrote that you made a mistake with your William crabtree jacket because it’s too bright and yellow… here you say you’re tempted by corn colour. drakes corn is BRIGHT.

Tom

Hi Simon, I’m looking to get a Rubato crewneck and I like the fawn, but I’m doubtful what chino colours it pairs well with. I guess beige is too close, but do you think olive (light or dark) or khaki would work well? The stone colour would be more versatile I guess? Thanks for your advice!

Chip

Hi Simon,

Any view on the newer Drake’s/ALD Games Blazer collab particularly in the relatively lighter cloth offering.

Will

Great review! Thanks for the review of this jacket. I’ve been fascinated by the Drake’s Games suit offerings for a few years now, but have yet to buy one because of the price. I am a work-from home professional artist, and don’t get many chances to wear tailoring for work, but I enjoy dressing up more on the weekends. However, I think the Games suits might be a good choice, specifically for the casualness you mention here and will continue saving up to purchase something from this line in the near future.
While their corduroy Games looks amazing, I live in the Southern US and feel as though buying one in one of their twill or cotton/linen varieties might be a more versatile choice to wear throughout the year.
I would like to second the call here for more reviews on Drakes’ off-the rack offerings, especially their suits, if you get the chance.

Jack

Hi Simon, if I already own a navy 11oz tweed bespoke Neapolitan jacket, do you think the navy 14oz Harris tweed Mk.VII games blazer could be worn differently, which could make it a good investment?

Many thanks,
Jack

Jack

I certainly enjoy wearing navy as it goes with almost everything so well. But navy seems pretty smart, even if it’s in tweed, so I am just concerned that I would not be able to take full advantage of the games blazer, i.e. casualness.

Jack

Thanks, Simon.
Do you think this brown prince of wales checks blazer would work fine in an urban area such as London?
https://www.drakes.com/collections/blazers/products/brown-prince-of-wales-check-harris-tweed-games-blazer-mk-vii

Jack

I see. Thanks, Simon.

Simon

Thank you, for this review. I bought one of the corduroy jackets this week, and I agree with your observations. It is surprisingly versatile as a casual piece and as a smart casual jacket to pair with flannels. I also like being able to consider 3-way suits. I wear size 40 UK jacket, and 30-31 trousers; suits off the rack that don’t separate jackets and pants are a no go for me.. I would say however, that Drake’s sizing runs quite large. A 38 jacket at drakes is equivalent to a 40UK or IT 50 in many Italian designers.