Loden Coats
I wrote a post last month about a Loden coat I picked up from Aspesi, and since then, have received more emails about that it than anything else I’ve ever written. Some people want to know more about the Aspesi coat; others ask where else they can buy one. So, in an effort to put everything in one place, I thought I’d list some options here.
The term Loden refers to a soft, exceptionally durable cloth (usually green) that has a slightly hairy look. For its thickness and density, it’s great at keeping out the cold, and because of the natural oils inside the wool, it’s fairly water resistant. Most of all, however, it’s very beautiful. A Loden coat, then, is simply a garment that’s been made from this cloth. The classic model is a single-breasted garment that ends just below the knee. The back is made with a very deep center vent that swings out from the shoulder blades, and the front has a fly opening. It’s a peasant’s coat, originally worn by Bavarian farmers and hunters sometime in the 11th century. A 1956 article in Sports Illustrated had this great line about it: “Loden is to the Bavarian what tweed is to the Scot – a fabric so long indigenous to its land, of such peasant origins that it has become almost a folk cloth.”
Those origins helped make it immensely popular with European preps in the 1980s, but since then, it seems to have been forgotten (though, The Sartorialist had a great shot of a man in Milan wearing one earlier this year). It’s still a wonderful, classic coat however. You can wear it with jeans or corduroys; checked shirts or sweaters; and wingtips or boots. Everything that made it appealing thirty years ago, in my opinion, still holds – the cloth, the drape, and of course the color.   
The one I have is from Aspesi, an Italian company most known for their outerwear. The product shot on their website suggests that it’s shorter than it is. Mine comes just above the knee, and I’m of average height. I admit I wish it were longer, but on the upside, it’s slim enough to fit my unusually skinny frame, and the back comes without the center vent (something I thought might be too conspicuous for my lifestyle). Aspesi also makes two other jackets from the fabric, which you can see here and here, though they’re not in the styles I’m focusing on in this post.
For the original design, you can turn to Cordings and Schneiders of Salzburg. I haven’t handled their particular Loden coats, but everything else I’ve seen from them has been of very high quality, albeit a bit fuller in fit. Loden coats really should be worn a bit looser anyway, as you can see in their photos. There’s also Loden Haus, Born for Loden, and Lodenfrey, the last of which used to be the most popular supplier, though they don’t seem to make them for men anymore (they do for women).  In the US, you can enquire at San Francisco Clothing and Princeton’s Landau, both of whom sell quality products.
As usual, men’s coats tend to cost a lot brand new. If you can find something vintage, you’ll likely pay a fraction of the cost. On the upside, the designs of classic men’s coats have largely remained the same since they were codified. On the downside, it can take a bit more work to find something in your size (especially if you’re skinny). Easier if you’re looking for the ubiquitous pea coat or trench, but harder if you’re looking for something niche like a Loden. To start, however, you can try eBay. 

Loden Coats

I wrote a post last month about a Loden coat I picked up from Aspesi, and since then, have received more emails about that it than anything else I’ve ever written. Some people want to know more about the Aspesi coat; others ask where else they can buy one. So, in an effort to put everything in one place, I thought I’d list some options here.

The term Loden refers to a soft, exceptionally durable cloth (usually green) that has a slightly hairy look. For its thickness and density, it’s great at keeping out the cold, and because of the natural oils inside the wool, it’s fairly water resistant. Most of all, however, it’s very beautiful. A Loden coat, then, is simply a garment that’s been made from this cloth. The classic model is a single-breasted garment that ends just below the knee. The back is made with a very deep center vent that swings out from the shoulder blades, and the front has a fly opening. It’s a peasant’s coat, originally worn by Bavarian farmers and hunters sometime in the 11th century. A 1956 article in Sports Illustrated had this great line about it: “Loden is to the Bavarian what tweed is to the Scot – a fabric so long indigenous to its land, of such peasant origins that it has become almost a folk cloth.”

Those origins helped make it immensely popular with European preps in the 1980s, but since then, it seems to have been forgotten (though, The Sartorialist had a great shot of a man in Milan wearing one earlier this year). It’s still a wonderful, classic coat however. You can wear it with jeans or corduroys; checked shirts or sweaters; and wingtips or boots. Everything that made it appealing thirty years ago, in my opinion, still holds – the cloth, the drape, and of course the color.   

The one I have is from Aspesi, an Italian company most known for their outerwear. The product shot on their website suggests that it’s shorter than it is. Mine comes just above the knee, and I’m of average height. I admit I wish it were longer, but on the upside, it’s slim enough to fit my unusually skinny frame, and the back comes without the center vent (something I thought might be too conspicuous for my lifestyle). Aspesi also makes two other jackets from the fabric, which you can see here and here, though they’re not in the styles I’m focusing on in this post.

For the original design, you can turn to Cordings and Schneiders of Salzburg. I haven’t handled their particular Loden coats, but everything else I’ve seen from them has been of very high quality, albeit a bit fuller in fit. Loden coats really should be worn a bit looser anyway, as you can see in their photos. There’s also Loden Haus, Born for Loden, and Lodenfrey, the last of which used to be the most popular supplier, though they don’t seem to make them for men anymore (they do for women).  In the US, you can enquire at San Francisco Clothing and Princeton’s Landau, both of whom sell quality products.

As usual, men’s coats tend to cost a lot brand new. If you can find something vintage, you’ll likely pay a fraction of the cost. On the upside, the designs of classic men’s coats have largely remained the same since they were codified. On the downside, it can take a bit more work to find something in your size (especially if you’re skinny). Easier if you’re looking for the ubiquitous pea coat or trench, but harder if you’re looking for something niche like a Loden. To start, however, you can try eBay

Season 2 Episode 4 Clothing Credits

Introduction

Overcoat - Vintage by Capper & Capper

Scarf - Courtesy of Christine Cariati

Hat - Courtesy of W. Bill

Q and Answer

Coat - Polo Ralph Lauren

Sweater - Vintage

Tie - Cordings

Shirt - Thin Red Line

Pocket Square - Put This On Gentlemen’s Association

Scarf - Courtesy Christine Cariati

Hat - Courtesy W. Bill

Trousers - Pro Tailor, Los Angeles

Shoes - Vintage Florsheim

David Saxby

Suit - High Society Tailor (cloth by Molloy & Sons)

Cuff Links - Vintage

Shirt - Thin Red Line

Tie - Vintage Carroll & Co.

Square - Put This On Gentlemen’s Association

Green Corduroys for Fall
I’m personally not one for unusual trousers. Some men can pull off loud colors and vivid patterns with aplomb, but they’re few and far between, and I’m not one of them. The one exception I make, however, are green corduroys in the fall.
If you’re just getting your first pair of corduroys, I recommend ones in a dark shade of russet brown. These can be successfully worn with almost any kind of autumnal clothing you can imagine – grey shawl collar cardigans, green waxed cotton Barbour jackets, navy flannel shirts, and brown suede shoes. They’ll be soft, comfortable, and a touch warm.
If you’re getting your second pair, I recommend wheat. Anything that resembles something like the muted color on your standard pair of chinos to ones that are just a touch more golden. If you hit the right shade, and be sure not to veer into something too yellow, these should be about as easy to wear as your dark brown pair.
Once you’re on your third, however, I suggest considering green - something like British racing green or olive. These are slightly more daring colors, but still feel reasonably conservative. Like dark brown and wheat, green is an earthy color that feels very seasonally appropriate in the fall. I wear mine with navy or grey sweaters, the kind with a very heavy texture such as Shetland or lambswool, or with a gun club sport coat, pale blue oxford cloth shirt, and brown slip on shoes, like you see above.
If you’ve never bought corduroys before, take care in paying attention to the size of the wales. These are the ribs that make up the fabric’s signature texture. Something with thicker, more widely spaced, plush wales will look a bit more old-fashioned; something very fine will look close to velvet. A mid-sized wale is a safe bet, though I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wide wales either. Those will look quite comfortable and traditional, and if you don’t wear them in an overly baggy cut, they won’t look too frumpy. My green corduroys are somewhat wide waled, actually, and cut on the fuller side of slim. Corduroys are of course a country garment, but in green I think they’re especially rustic. Country clothes, in my opinion, always look better when they’re cut slightly fuller than city clothes. 
You can pick up decent corduroys at any number of places. Cordings, Pakeman, and Hoggs of Fife have very nice traditionally cut models, while Epaulet’s and Howard Yount’s will run slim. There’s also Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers, who will have different models for different fits. The upside to them is that you’re more likely to live near one of their stores, so you can check out their products in person. However, I’ve also found that the other suppliers are happy to give you measurements if you enquire. 
(As an aside, if you haven’t read Jesse’s address to the Corduroy Appreciation Club, you really ought to read it. It stands out in my mind as one of the funniest clothing-related things I’ve ever come across. Corduroy Now, Corduroy Forever!) 

Green Corduroys for Fall

I’m personally not one for unusual trousers. Some men can pull off loud colors and vivid patterns with aplomb, but they’re few and far between, and I’m not one of them. The one exception I make, however, are green corduroys in the fall.

If you’re just getting your first pair of corduroys, I recommend ones in a dark shade of russet brown. These can be successfully worn with almost any kind of autumnal clothing you can imagine – grey shawl collar cardigans, green waxed cotton Barbour jackets, navy flannel shirts, and brown suede shoes. They’ll be soft, comfortable, and a touch warm.

If you’re getting your second pair, I recommend wheat. Anything that resembles something like the muted color on your standard pair of chinos to ones that are just a touch more golden. If you hit the right shade, and be sure not to veer into something too yellow, these should be about as easy to wear as your dark brown pair.

Once you’re on your third, however, I suggest considering green - something like British racing green or olive. These are slightly more daring colors, but still feel reasonably conservative. Like dark brown and wheat, green is an earthy color that feels very seasonally appropriate in the fall. I wear mine with navy or grey sweaters, the kind with a very heavy texture such as Shetland or lambswool, or with a gun club sport coat, pale blue oxford cloth shirt, and brown slip on shoes, like you see above.

If you’ve never bought corduroys before, take care in paying attention to the size of the wales. These are the ribs that make up the fabric’s signature texture. Something with thicker, more widely spaced, plush wales will look a bit more old-fashioned; something very fine will look close to velvet. A mid-sized wale is a safe bet, though I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wide wales either. Those will look quite comfortable and traditional, and if you don’t wear them in an overly baggy cut, they won’t look too frumpy. My green corduroys are somewhat wide waled, actually, and cut on the fuller side of slim. Corduroys are of course a country garment, but in green I think they’re especially rustic. Country clothes, in my opinion, always look better when they’re cut slightly fuller than city clothes. 

You can pick up decent corduroys at any number of places. Cordings, Pakeman, and Hoggs of Fife have very nice traditionally cut models, while Epaulet’s and Howard Yount’s will run slim. There’s also Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers, who will have different models for different fits. The upside to them is that you’re more likely to live near one of their stores, so you can check out their products in person. However, I’ve also found that the other suppliers are happy to give you measurements if you enquire. 

(As an aside, if you haven’t read Jesse’s address to the Corduroy Appreciation Club, you really ought to read it. It stands out in my mind as one of the funniest clothing-related things I’ve ever come across. Corduroy Now, Corduroy Forever!) 

Put This On Season Two, Episode 4: Eccentric Style

Put This On, a web series about dressing like a grownup, visits London, where we visit with a few of the distinctive personalities that help make London a special place.

Guy Hills makes tweeds with the colors of the London streets- including reflective stripes for cyclists.

David Saxby went from being a vintage dealer to recreating traditional styles in his own factories with the workers who’d been laid off as clothing manufacture left England.

We visit Cordings, an unusual outdoor clothing store that Eric Clapton felt so strongly about he bought it.

And we learn a few ways to tie a scarf. Plus our sponsor, Mailchimp, and of course Rudiments with Dave Hill.

This is the fourth episode in our six-episode second season. In this season, we visit the three greatest men’s style cities in the world, as chosen by our readers - New York, Milan and London.

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Watch it elsewhere:

Vimeo / Youtube / iTunes


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Buy Season One on DVD for $16

This episode was supported by our viewers and by Mailchimp.


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Executive Producers: Jesse Thorn & Adam Lisagor

Director: Benjamin Ahr Harrison

Host / Writer / Producer: Jesse Thorn

Rudiments: Dave Hill

Producer: Kristian Brodie

Director of Photography: Charlie Cook

Sound: Kristian Brodie

Gshen, the maker of those handmade ties we talked about, found this really great video of Eric Clapton talking about his love for Cordings, traditional clothing, and country attire. It’s an absolute must watch. 

(Source: youtube.com, via gshen65)

It’s On eBay
Cordings Norfolk Jacket
Before you bid, ask yourself this question: how awesome am I?
Buy It Now for $239, or Make an Offer

It’s On eBay

Cordings Norfolk Jacket

Before you bid, ask yourself this question: how awesome am I?

Buy It Now for $239, or Make an Offer