Introducing: The new Reversible Suede Bomber
The new version of our reversible suede bomber jacket - reversible so you can turn it inside out at the first hint of rain - is finally here.
Much as I liked the previous version, the process of designing the Linen Harrington - essentially from scratch - was more personal and I think led to something that was unique, as well as highly functional and modern.
So I wanted to go through that process with the suede jacket, and these changes to both proportion and design were not something we could do under the Valstarino banner. So Valstar and PS parted friends, and I began the process of creating something different.
Functionally, this suede jacket is basically the same as the previous iteration. It’s just as luxurious, just as versatile, and swaps from suede outer to water-resistant inner in the same way. You pull the arms through, then push through as many buttons as you need.
But design wise, it is significantly different. It has a raglan shoulder with prominent seams. There is no elastic at the neck, only the waist. There are plunge pockets on the outer layer, with patches on the inside. And the suede is heavier, giving it a satisfying feel.
Taking those points one at a time, the raglan shoulders create an easier body shape for a lot of people to wear over a variety of weights of clothing; but actually, the reason I like them in the suede is primarily a design one. In a dark, matte material like this, they provide a nice focus, something that is distinctive but subtle.
We’ve retained the scalloped yoke on the back of the jacket from the Linen Harrington, and I like that for the same reason. The horizontal line across the back is very flattering, as well as creating another point of interest.
Using suede at the neck instead of ribbing also picks up a point from the Harrington (just without the extended closure). I find it more comfortable to wear without the elastication, and it creates a cleaner, more elegant look.
The use of plunge pockets on the outside (rather than rectangular patches) is also more streamlined. You’d think sporty raglan sleeves and a cleaner look elsewhere could be contradictory, but they sit very nicely together. (Indeed, the original A1 design design has the opposite combination.)
Having patch pockets on the inside of the jacket is also more functional than our previous iteration of this jacket, which had plunge pockets on the inside. With this version, those patches inside are effectively normal inbreast pockets, just lower, and still look good when the jacket is reversed.
The fit of the new jacket is more similar to the Linen Harrington too, in that it is blousier in the body, creating a nice flattering shape in the chest and back, sitting above a neat waist.
However, the sizing is not exactly the same. I would expect readers to wear much thicker layers under the suede jacket, so a Medium in that comes up rather bigger than a Medium in the linen.
To help everyone understand this, and illustrate the difference, I’ve taken shots here in both a Small (size 3) and a Medium (4). I would take a Medium, as I do in the Harrington, but that doesn’t mean everyone else will - I like to layer thick knitwear under mine, such as heavy roll neck, but others may not.
The shots of the jacket above are all in a Small. Lower down this article are shots in a Medium (in the sweatshirt). Directly below this paragraph are photos of both sizes, with the Small on the left and the Medium on the right. It's important to bear in mind, however, that a neater fit will very often look better when static, less so when moving.
Click on the images to enlarge and zoom.
Personally, I think a larger fit is more relaxed and elegant, but I know people are difference - it is a question of style as well as layering. And both can look great, as hopefully the more styled images everywhere else attest.
For anyone that doesn’t know, I’m six foot (183cm) with a 39 inch (99cm) chest, a 34 inch (86cm) waist and weigh 12.5 stone (79kg). As ever, the most effective way to tell your size, though, is to compare the measurements of an actual jacket in the table below, to something similar you already own.
Turning to materials, I'd say the suede of the new jacket is roughly 15% heavier than previous versions. This is not enough to make it functionally different - I still wear it the same times of the year, in the same weather - but it gives it a little more substance, which I find satisfying.
The colour of the suede is dark brown, a touch darker than our previous iteration and a touch colder (deliberately), but still that most versatile of menswear colours. The shade shown varies a little with light and shadow, direct and reflected sun, but the shot below is accurate if readers want a specific reference.
The lining of the jacket is still a highly water-resistant polyamide. Over many different versions of this jacket I’ve found this is a nice combination of weight, breathability and rain-resistance.
It feels like a regular jacket lining (not stiff or less comfortable to wear) and is easy to slip on and off. But when reversed, there is still enough protection for a good walk in the rain.
As described previously, the point of the Reversible Suede Jacket is not that you use it as a waterproof, deliberately going out into a downpour. Rather it makes a suede jacket more functional, enabling you to wear it without any fear that it could start raining. It removes that fear.
On the topic of weather, I’m pleased we’ve finally managed to get the jacket out (so many delays, everywhere) at the perfect time of year to wear it.
Right now is when I start transitioning from long winter coats to shorter ones such as this suede. Maybe with a heavier knit underneath to start with; maybe with a hat and scarf. But the weather now (in the UK) is perfect.
Like the look below: a heavy sweatshirt (Real McCoy’s Ball Park) with jeans, boots, and a cashmere PS watch cap. Casual but still well dressed.
The other look shown here, at the top of the article, is intended to demonstrate how smart the bomber can go.
The combination of tailored wool trousers, neat cashmere crewneck and leather loafers is a nice example of something smart that doesn’t involve tailoring - casual chic, as I’ve accurately or inaccurately called it in the past.
Just because you’re not wearing a suit and tie doesn’t mean you can’t look elegant.
Of course, the fact both top and bottom are shades of grey makes it a tiny bit more unusual; navy or cream on top would be more conventional. And separating those shades of grey with a belt makes a big difference.
All things we’ve talked about in recent months. All things that are probably now operating at the level of the subconscious.
As mentioned earlier, with this grey/grey outfit I’m wearing a Small. With the sweatshirt and jeans it’s a Medium.
At the very bottom of the article, though, I’ve included a few images of the previous iterations of the jacket. This is purely to remind readers (or show more recent joiners) other ways in which I like to wear one. The jacket in these shots is in all cases a variation on the Valstarino, not this new version.
- The Reversible Suede Jacket is available on the Permanent Style shop now, here.
- The cost is £1125 plus VAT. The increase is unfortunately a reflection of rising costs in everything from raw material to labour to energy. But nothing else. As ever, it is well priced and I think very good value for money.
- The jacket will also be sold by the makers, Private White VC, but not for a week or so.
- The suede is reverse goatskin, with a thickness of 0.5/0.6mm
- The lining is water-resistant polyamide
- The buttons are the unpolished, two-button, buffalo-horn buttons used on all PS outerwear
- In terms of care, cleaning of suede is easier than most people think - see video here for details.
- As mentioned above, the jacket comes up a little large, to reflect how I like to wear it as well as potential layering.
- Have a look at the comparison images to see how a Small and Medium fit on me, and use the table below to compare them to a jacket you already own (always the best option, if you can).
|X-Small (2)||Small (3)||Medium (4)||Large (5)||X-Large (6)||XX-Large (7)|
Body length: From bottom of neck to bottom of jacket, including rib
Sleeve length: From bottom of neck, along raglan seam on top of arm, to end of sleeve including rib
Ribbing width: When ribbing at bottom of jacket is relaxed, stretches to 10cm greater
Note: images below are of previous iterations of the jacket, and are included merely for styling. The design has now changed.
Out of my budget but you have improved a menswear’s classic. Lovely product, well done 🙂
A very cool jacket. I think you’ve nailed form and function, at (IMO) a realistic price. Well done.
Some nice, thoughtful changes here Simon – I always found the old iteration of the bomber a little bulky feeling around the mid-section due to the patch pockets, which is exacerbated when I start filling those pockets with various gubbins. The changes you’ve implemented should go some way to rectifying that issue, even if they can’t do anything about my expanding gut.
Yes, good point. It means the jacket can have a little more of a blouson shape too, yet not have too much of that bulky feeling
Well you’ve done it again: this looks to be another subtly unique, best-in-class design. I particularly wanted to praise the pitch on this occasion, as you’ve gone above and beyond even the excellent previous launch posts to really convey the advantages of the new design. The sizing comparison photos and choice measurements are especially helpful. Sadly for me, my wardrobe building budget is maxed out until the end of the year, but I’m sure this will be snapped up in no time by readers old and new.
Thanks Josh, lovely to hear
Very much has a touch of 60s suede head (but with a modern touch). I have an rtw over shirt which is cut in a wide shoulder, and that width tapering into a trim waist is a fantastic shape for a man.
Also extremely comfortable .
Such an incredibly beautiful garment. Will this be available in “size 8” on the PWVC website? That is my usual size for these collaborations but I don’t generally see that particular size available on PS shop. Thank you so much.
I don’t know on their stock, but it’s worth looking at the measurements, given the points I make about the fit – it is generous, and I could wear a Small or Medium, as shown
Yes they have size 8 and I bought it from them got it delivered and it is exceptional as every other PS garment in 8 I bought from them including the blue and grey donegal’s , the wax walker…… regarding the latest reversible suede, I managed because if it’s wide cut to squeeze into it quite comfortably playing with the « excess room » available at the chest using it to shelter a close to 140 cm waist. And it is still roomy. But by Jove are those doubled sided usable buttons stiffly sawn. Overall not surprising exceptional qualities of design of the models and make. Arnaud
The polyamide lining would make me sweat profusely. My whipcord Harrington (made from Bookster) has a very similar design. Its Tattersall cotton lining is very breathable and comfortable. Barbour will change nylon jacket sleeve linings to cotton tartan for a very modest charge. Was a Ventile or another cotton lining a possible alternative for the suede bomber? It would be worth considering a future option.
Bear in mind there is a big range of polyamide linings – that’s just the fibre being used. A Tattersall cotton would not be water resistant at all. Ventile is much too stiff really.
Hi Simon. I thought that Ventile could be a bit stiff. However, my Ventile Harrington from Sunspel, made by Mackintosh, is not stiff. I’ve yet to find a polyamide fabric that does not make me sweat or irritate my skin. Your bomber’s lining will be fine for most people, just not me.
I’ve found Hainsworth’s 450g whipcord appears to be reasonably water resistant. Cording’s Basingstoke raglan coat, part of this winter’s range, is made from the same military-grade fabric. It’s certainly a robust and versatile cloth and I’ll be wearing the Harrington to travel to a concert this evening.
Thank you Gary. Yes whipcord is water resistant by virtue of how tightly it is woven, but it too would be rather heavy and stiff for the inside of a jacket.
I assume the Ventile Harrington you’re referring to has Ventile on the outside as well. It’s a little different when you have effectively two jackets – back to back – and have to be able to reverse between the two easily.
What a lovely jacket. Really well done! And so nice that you didn’t go for those quite loud Private White VC copper buttons or rivets at the back. Those are the only features I wish my Wax Walker wouldn’t have (hint for the next interation).
Very nice piece, congrats! Is the interior of the collar suede or polyamide? Can’t really tell from the pictures.
Thanks. It’s polyamide like the body
Can you give a little more about the cuffs? I dislike really tight cuffs on jackets (the Baracuta Harrington for example has over tight cuffs) yet others manage knitted cuffs to be comfortable and not tight and restrictive.
Yes, some traditional ones are cut rather tight as they really were to keep any chance of weather/rain out.
I think these are a good average, comfortable and not restrictive. They measure 11cm in the medium, with 0.4cm added or taken away up and down the size scale.
What is the material of the cuffs?
Good point, I’m just going to double check
They’re mostly cotton, with a little polyester for strength and a little elastane for stretch – 82% Cotton, 14% Polyester, 4% Elastane. Thanks
Super nice jacket :)I will probably be picking up the size 3. I am 179 cm. On the last pictures in the article from the previous iteration is that size S or M you are wearing ?
It’s a different fit and sizing with those David, so not really relevant
Great product. If I had not already a dark brown suede bomber I would be tempted.
The reason for my message, however, is a different one. Somehow, I seem to remember from a comment of yours that you may offer a workwear chino (beige, sand) in the future.
If this project is already in development, may I ask about weight (grams) you are thinking. Depending on weight, this is a product I would very likely want to obtain.
We are, but it’s taken three years already so I wouldn’t hold your breath! Fabric weight not confirmed either
Thank you. It sounds like quite a project.
Congrats, what a killer piece. The dark brown suede Valstarino is a timeless, must-have classic. I have one and love it. Still, I can’t help but wish that the collar were suede instead of elastic, and that the hip pockets were less bulky. Kudos to you for detecting those shortcomings and correcting them to make the ultimate suede jacket.
Thanks, lovely to hear
Sorry, one quick point on the side-by-side shots meant to illustrate size differences: In the top shots, you’re wearing jeans on the left and flannels on the right; in the middle and bottom shots, you’re wearing flannels on the left and jeans on the right. That leads me to believe (correct me if I’m wrong) that you’re wearing the small with the flannels and the medium with the jeans, and therefore the top shots should be reversed so that the small consistently appears on the left and the medium consistently appears on the right. Thanks.
Yes you’re right, good spot! I’ve corrected that now
Very nice jacket Simon! Despite, suede jacket seems to be not my style (yet 😉
How would you compare your jacket with the existing Private White bomber jacket?
Ours is more of a blouson/bomber shape – bigger in the body for the reasons described. It’s slightly heavier in the suede, and of course is reversible which of course involves rather more work
Beautiful looking jacket, and perfect for London weather. My only reservation is with the lining. The weather where I live is not quite as unpredictable as it is in London, and although the lining you chose is practical, I love the feel of an unlined suede jacket…
I’m curious about the thinking behind the collar design here. Don’t get me wrong–I like the collar here very much–but why go with this design as opposed to something like this on The Armoury’s Wright Jacket:
The bigger collar on the Wright is arguably more flattering as it creates breadth at the shoulders and a more pronounced “V” beneath the face. Again, I like the collar here but I’m curious to learn more about why you chose this particular design among other options. Thanks.
Good question. That kind of fold-down collar design on the Wright jacket is nice, but it’s a very different style. It’s aiming for something a little smarter, less sporty, perhaps more vintage also in some respects. I like the cleaner aesthetic of this style of collar, on a bomber jacket like this.
This looks great as a suede jacket and you’ve obviously put a tremendous amount of thought into it. I’m still not sure about the reversible polyamide lining though. Would it be better just to accept that any outerwear gets exposed to the elements? Suede is not really that delicate, especially with a waterproofing spray.
You’re right, it’s not as delicate as most people think. But at the same time, you wouldn’t want to be in rain for any length of time in it, and the nice thing is that in this material it just feels like a regular lining. There’s no obvious downside or anything that noticeable, yet you have the benefit if you want it
Wow. Impressive Simon and looks equally at home with both jeans and flannel. Your jeans, are they your Rubato pair? If so, what size did you end up going for and now you’ve worn them for a while was your sizing correct? I remember reading somewhere your comments re fit but I can’t seem to find it….
Yes they are. I went with 32, which was a little snug to start with but then relaxed a little and are now perfect. Definitely the right call
Interested to know your thoughts on jean sizing.Would you usually recommend going a size down in quality denim jeans?I note that you state you’re a 34″ waist yet chose a size 32″ in these Rubato jeans.
No, not really. Most sizing works out that way, with trousers as well as jeans. I’m a 32 inch trouser in almost everything, but my actual waist measures 34.
Thank you for that Simon and I went with your advice. They arrived today and fit like a dream! Tell me, do you plan on having yours hemmed? If so, then where would you go to have them done? Or do you simply wear them with a cuff?
I’d have them done at Clutch Cafe
Hi what is the rib material made of? I found the Valstar’s wool/acrylic mix to be a bit itchy especially on the neck so glad that the neck ribbing is gone now.
They’re mostly cotton, with a little polyester for strength and a little elastane for stretch – 82% Cotton, 14% Polyester, 4% Elastane.
I can’t help but suspect that you’ve actually revealed another item in these photos…
Beautiful garment with thoughtfully designed details! I’ve placed an order without hesitation. Would you mind sharing your thoughts on thr polyamide lining and how it compares with the loro piana storm system fabric used in previous iterations? Is it of similar weight, breathability, and feel?
Sure Bernard. The choice was largely one of price. Loro Piana had more than doubled in cost over the period of doing the product, so we trialled alternatives and noticed very little difference in the water resistance or breathability. Given how much more expensive everything else has become, we decided that cost wasn’t really worth it.
Hi Simon, youve often said that suede shoes are good in the rain so why wouldnt the same be the case for a jacket?
Because the reason suede shoes are good in the rain is because the alternative is calf, which can be permanently damaged by salt stains and welts. If the alternative in a shoe was a rainproof material there wouldn’t be an issue
Personally I’m not a fan of raglan shoulders as, contrary to what other folks think, I find the lack of shoulder structure less flattering on most men whose shoulders are not broad. Makes the shoulders of many guys slopey and narrow, and often times lends to a pear shape torso, especially when pockets in the mid section of a short jacket tend to flare out. Perhaps menswear guys think it is casual elegance, but it’s just not flattering. Whether a jacket or bal coat. I say this from personal experience and seeing a lot of men on the Internet look similarly. My wife has made the same observation, and she has a great eye for fit and proportions. Thank God she has talked me out of many a raglan sleeves where I had to try and convince myself they look good, although deep down I knew it wasn’t the case. In any event, just my view.
Thanks Teddy. I think there is less of an issue with that on a shorter jacket, and the pockets aren’t going to create that bulkiness at the waist as they’re not patches any more.
But I think this is also largely a question of style – a double-breasted, inset sleeve coat is always going to be more flattering in the sense of making someone’s shoulders appear wider, their waist appear smaller, for example. Those that like raglan coats are aware of that, but prioritise the style that they like, because it looks more relaxed, has that laidback flow to it.
Physical flattery is always a factor, and something a lot of men underestimate, but it’s also only one factor, as I’m sure you’d say too.
Let me echo the compliments on the thoughtful design and the choice of color, which is attractive and versatile. It looks like a jacket well-suited to travel. Would that I could find something like it in my size here in the States.
Keep up the good work!
Thanks John. I presume you know you could ship it to the US if you wanted one?
Simon thats a really great jacket. For what temperatures is it designed to be used, assuming that someone would wear it with at least a t shirt and at most a thick sweater ?
This is always a bit of a subjective area, as it is a bit personal, but I’d say quite a wide range, from about 5-7 degrees (now in the UK) up to something like 15
Hello Simon, congrats to you and PWVC for this – it looks lovely. The move away from patch pockets was a great idea – as another reader commented, they do add bulk to blousons like this. I have your linen Harrington and love the relaxed/fuller look. For me, this should not be a slim fitting garment.
Just wondering what your current thoughts are on wearing this with suede shoes (looks like black calf shoes in this post). Certainly I wouldn’t pair it with suede shoes and PS tote, but would it work with suede shoes without it being a look?
Definitely this is one I will like to try before buying.
Good idea John. It’ll be in the pop-up in March if that helps at all.
I think it’s fine with suede shoes in the same colour – see the bottom image on this post for instance.
Hi Simon, I received the jacket a few days ago and wore it yesterday. It is lovely as I expected. It feels luxurious and warm against the wind once I fastened up the buttons. I’ve always wanted a brown suede blouson-styled jacket but have always found it was too short for me. However, this jacket seems to be well balanced. I’m looking forward to wearing it more!
Amazing, so lovely to hear that Jack
For year I’ve struggled to find casual outwear that fits me well, I’m slightly shorter (5’8) and have broader shoulders. I have a flight jacket from stoffa, which I got MTM, but find the versatility of it to be limited to specific styles of clothing. Do you know of any other MDM brands for casual outwear?
If you like leather, suede or shearling, then Cromford in London or Melina in Naples certainly. I’ve covered both extensively if you want to look them up
Jeans with a belt? Nothing is sacred any more on PS… 🙂
Ha! True Alexander, I liked it here as something to break things up visually, even though I wouldn’t usually wear one (in fact would more rarely do so with just a shirt)
If wearing with a sweatshirt, do you recommend tucking it in a bit to avoid showing below the jacket?
Not really. Sometimes I might tuck it, but very rarely. The sweatshirt should be the length you want anyway
Hi Simon, i have a very specific question, which i hope you don’t mind me asking.
I have been looking for a casual jacket to go with workwear-inspired looks – jeans/chinos, sweatshirts etc. and had settled on The Real McCoys Field Sports jacket. I think you’ve seen this before, in a lovely navy wool (https://therealmccoys.com/products/field-sports-jacket).
However, this suede bomber might work just as well with workwear, and suit slightly more dressed-up clothing us well, such as you show here. Do you think the PS bomber would pair well with workwear, and would i be loosing anything by opting for this rather than the wool Field Sports jacket? Apart from the price difference of course 🙂
Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated!
I don’t think you’d be losing anything really Rob, no, it would just be a question of which style you prefer. The McCoys will be a bit more casual but also a bit more vintage looking, whereas the bomber is a little smarter but also a different style – a finer material, a slightly sleeker look. I think that style angle is the most important difference
Many thanks, that’s great food for thought. I think it would be best to try both before making a decision.
On that point, do you happen to know whether PWVC and Real McCoys plan to open physical stores again in London? If PWVC do, it would be great if they could have one size of each PS outerwear available in store for try-on.
Neither have immediate plans I’m afraid.
We will have all our collaboration products in our next pop-up, at 20 Savile Row, March 29 to April 1
I apologize if this has been answered elsewhere, but does the special waterproof lining on this jacket add weight or insulation, or make the jacket less “breathable” (to the extent that word can be used to describe a suede bomber)?
It’s very water-resistant, not waterproof, just to note – see points in the text about that. But no, it doesn’t really make that much difference to breathability. The lining was chosen to balance some breathability in there, and suede is not that breathable to start with
Very helpful, thanks so much
I’m inclined to buy your new suede bomber, since I find the new silhouette much more appealing than the previous Valstarino style, but there’s a doubt in my mind. I wear dark brown suede shoes (either loafers or chukkas) most of the time, those being my favorite style of shoes. Would you recommend the suede bomber as a good casual jacket option even for someone who wears (almost exclusively) dark brown suede shoes?
Thanks in advance for your always honest opinions.
Yes, I think it still looks good – eg see bottom image on this post
Another great Permanent Style piece of clothing. I’m sure it will get compared to the Valstarino, and I find it better to Valstar’s suede jacket in multiple ways.
The suede is more substantial, which I like. And the cut is more comfortable and not as slim as the Valstar… which really is too slim to layer with a sweater, and isn’t too forgiving of weightlifting. The side pockets make for a better profile than the external pockets of the Valstar, which can look a bit anachronistic.
This doesn’t get into the reversible aspect of the jacket, which I haven’t had a chance to try. Wearing it, I would never know the jacket is reversible, which is as it should be – a feature that is used as needed, but is otherwise in the background. But I’m sure it will come in handy, as I’ve been caught out in the rain with suede jackets often enough.
I’ll be putting up my Valstar, which never really fit me that well in the shoulders or chest, for sale this weekend. Great job, Simon.
Wonderful, thanks so much Craig, that’s lovely to hear – particularly given the specific feedback