The Transitional Shirt Jacket

The weather’s still pretty chilly where I live, but in a month’s time, it’ll hit those cool temperatures that’ll remind us summer’s not too far away. If you have a very casual American sense of style, a good garment to rely on for such transitional periods is the shirt jacket. The term “shirt jacket” can be pretty nebulous. I’ve seen Italians use it to refer to things many would just consider outerwear. Here in the States, however, it commonly refers to shirts that fit like jackets, and have a certain outdoorsy, workwearish, lumberjack-y feel. They’re not for everyone, to be sure, but if you want something very casual to wear with jeans and boots, these can be fairly useful on casual nights while strolling through the neighborhood.

The most well known in this field is probably Pendleton’s board shirt, which from my experience fits kind of baggy, but you can have a tailor take in the sides a bit. Filson’s Jac-Shirt is somewhat similar, but is made from a more substantial cloth. For something a bit more “fashionable,” you can consider Apolis, Orlebar Brown, Barbour, and United. Engineered Garments and Woolrich Woolen Mills can also usually be relied on for good options, although this season, I’ve only seen ones made from shinier fabrics (which may or may not suit your style). I also like Aspesi’s many takes on classic military designs. They’re slimmer fitting than what you’d typically find in military surplus store, and while they’re inspired by military garments, they won’t leave you looking like Robert De Niro from the film Taxi Driver.

All of these brands are a bit expensive, but they’ll come down 50% or more by the end of the season. If you’d like something more affordable now, there’s Club Monaco and Penfield. The second is particularly good to check in with every once in a while if you’re on a tight budget and in need of some outerwear.

Another option is to just use a moleskin or chamois shirt as a layering piece. LL Bean’s mainline has a very well priced one, and it fits surprisingly well. I’m a size 36 chest and fit nicely into their extra-small. My only complaint is the tonal buttons, but you can easily swap those out to something more agreeable if you’d like. Filson also seems to have a nice moleskins option, though I’ve never tried it. If you’d like something slimmer, you can try LL Bean Signature’s chamois shirt. The cloth isn’t as heavy or thick as their mainline chamois, and the cut is considerably shorter, but it could give a slightly more fashionable look to someone with a slim build. Epaulet also has a really nice looking moleskin jacket, though I admit I think people should at least give the LL Bean’s moleskin shirt a spin before they jump on a pricier option.

London Fog: The Thrifty Trench (and Mac) Coat
Since spring technically started a week ago, that means it’s time to transition away from heavy wool overcoats toward coats that will protect you from rain showers. 
Derek wrote up a great post on where to find a high-quality trench or mac, and I disagree with none of it. But if your budget is significantly smaller or you’ve struck out trying to snag a vintage one thrifting or on eBay, then consider a cheaper alternative: London Fog. 
The company started in 1923 and eventually provided clothing for the U.S. Navy in World War II. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt in the late 1990s and currently its name is being licensed to put out products with its label, but having seen their current products in person I think the retail price is far too much for the quality. 
The good news is that you can find legions of their vintage coats in thrift stores. And if you can’t make it to a thrift store, you can pay a bit more and check eBay — just search for “London Fog trench" or "London Fog Mac”. The one I found above is $35 shipped and has a zip-out liner, too. 
Admittedly, these aren’t as nice as a Burberry or Aquascutum, but they function perfectly well and should hold you over until you find something nicer.
Currently, the three I found thrifting are sitting in my closet and I wear them every spring. I believe I paid somewhere between $5-$10 each. 
There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to stay dry on the cheap. 
-Kiyoshi

London Fog: The Thrifty Trench (and Mac) Coat

Since spring technically started a week ago, that means it’s time to transition away from heavy wool overcoats toward coats that will protect you from rain showers. 

Derek wrote up a great post on where to find a high-quality trench or mac, and I disagree with none of it. But if your budget is significantly smaller or you’ve struck out trying to snag a vintage one thrifting or on eBay, then consider a cheaper alternative: London Fog. 

The company started in 1923 and eventually provided clothing for the U.S. Navy in World War II. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt in the late 1990s and currently its name is being licensed to put out products with its label, but having seen their current products in person I think the retail price is far too much for the quality. 

The good news is that you can find legions of their vintage coats in thrift stores. And if you can’t make it to a thrift store, you can pay a bit more and check eBay — just search for “London Fog trench" or "London Fog Mac”. The one I found above is $35 shipped and has a zip-out liner, too. 

Admittedly, these aren’t as nice as a Burberry or Aquascutum, but they function perfectly well and should hold you over until you find something nicer.

Currently, the three I found thrifting are sitting in my closet and I wear them every spring. I believe I paid somewhere between $5-$10 each. 

There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to stay dry on the cheap. 

-Kiyoshi

Green Jackets

I think winter has arrived in some parts of the country, but here in Northern California, it still feels like fall. So if it’s not too late to post, I’d like to give a recommendation for green jackets, which I’ve come to realize feel just right around this time of year.

By green jackets I mean four-pocket M65s, easy-fitting waxed cotton jackets, thick Loden wool coats, or some kind of casual outerwear piece made out of olive tweed, like you see above. These have a wonderful autumnal feeling, and can be successfully paired with year-round pants such as chinos or jeans, or something more seasonal, such as corduroys or heavy woolen trousers. In addition, green jackets are a nice way to pick up the natural colors around you in the autumn, as well as add a bit of a country look to your ensemble. While I’m suspicious of men who dress a bit too country in the city, adding a green jacket to a pair of jeans, flannel shirt, and heavy leather boots is a nice way to lend a gentle rustic touch without looking like you’re about to go duck hunting on Main Avenue.

So, try wearing a green jacket this fall.  

(Photos by Barbour, Nitty Gritty Shop, and Da I Net)

Toad from To The Manor Born wants you to thrift him a polo coat.

Three Post-Christmas Sales

Brooks Brothers’ after-Christmas sale has started, and if you shop today, you get an additional 20% off. That puts the jacket you see above at $191. I bought it last year for about the same price and it’s a great piece. It fits slim and the corduroy mockneck collar is a nice, unique detail (the first reviewer’s post says everything well). The product shot isn’t that compelling, but if you can find it at your local Brooks Brothers store, I encourage you to try it on. 

Additionally, CLAD Men has discounted some items by 60%. Most of the brands are a bit iffy, but they carry Incotex, DS Dundee, Bill’s Khakis, and a few other worthwhile companies. These Incotex flannel trousers, for example, are about $110 right now. Incotex has a really wide range of fits, and I don’t have any personal experience with these, but shipping is free and returns seem easy. 

Finally, the Dandy Store has a 30% off storewide sale. I don’t know where they source their ties, but their socks are from Bresciani, one of the best men’s hosiery companies in the world. That gives me a bit more confidence in their other products. 

Q and Answer: What Size Overcoat Should I Wear?
William asks: If I wear a 38 regular blazer, what size overcoat should I be looking for? 
You should look for your suit and blazer size when buying an overcoat. Manufacturers size with the expectation that you’ll be wearing an overcoat that you’ll be wearing an overcoat over a suit jacket or sport coat. If you wear a size 38 jacket, you’ll want a size 38 overcoat.
If you don’t expect to wear the overcoat on top of another jacket, you may want to consider sizing down one size. And of course you’ll always want to try on or check measurements, as they vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. While the vast majority of brands size overcoats by coat size, it’s not universal.
Generally speaking, you’ll want the chest of the overcoat to measure 2” larger than your actual chest size for a snug fit, and 4” or so larger than your actual chest to fit over a suit jacket.

Q and Answer: What Size Overcoat Should I Wear?

William asks: If I wear a 38 regular blazer, what size overcoat should I be looking for?

You should look for your suit and blazer size when buying an overcoat. Manufacturers size with the expectation that you’ll be wearing an overcoat that you’ll be wearing an overcoat over a suit jacket or sport coat. If you wear a size 38 jacket, you’ll want a size 38 overcoat.

If you don’t expect to wear the overcoat on top of another jacket, you may want to consider sizing down one size. And of course you’ll always want to try on or check measurements, as they vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. While the vast majority of brands size overcoats by coat size, it’s not universal.

Generally speaking, you’ll want the chest of the overcoat to measure 2” larger than your actual chest size for a snug fit, and 4” or so larger than your actual chest to fit over a suit jacket.

Brooks Brothers Friends and Family Sale

Brooks Brothers’ Friends and Family Sale begins this Thursday. Nearly everything in their stores will be discounted by 25%. It’s not the deepest discount of the year, but it is a chance to get basic items - Brooks Brothers’ forte - that otherwise don’t go on sale.

There are a lot of great choices. I like their lambswool Fair Isle sweaterarray of scarves, and waxed driving jacket. Of course, you can get very similar jackets through Barbour, but I like the corduroy mock neck collar on Brooks’ design. If you’re on the market for sport jackets or trousers, check out Brooks’ slimmer lines in the Fitzgerald and Milano cuts (eg. this Fitzgerald corduroy jacket and Milano fit flannel trousers look excellent). Lastly, these chukka boots could work quite well for much of the year, and these dot repp ties are very versatile. Of all the ties on the market, I actually think Brooks’ ties, at least when they’re on sale, offer one of the best price/ quality ratios on the market. 

If you’re thinking about getting something, I recommend going in now and having a sales associate put something on hold for you until the day of the sale. If you can’t make it into a store, check their online store between 12am and 3am EST on Thursday. It usually goes live online then. Both of these tactics are great ways to make sure you get the size that you need. 

Lastly, be aware that you can get an extra 15% discount if you open up a Corporate Card and make your purchase on the card. Not all sales associates will stack these two discounts for you, but I’ve found that most do. 

(Special thanks to a reader named Kevin for notifying us about this sale)

Q and Answer: How To Get the Stink Out of a Barbour Jacket
Warren asks: I bought a Barbour jacket on ebay a while back, and unfortunately it’s  got a musty smell.  I’ve been hanging it in my garage for most of the  spring, and put it outside on sunny days in an attempt to let the sun  clear the smell out… but the musty smell remains.    Any ideas on how I could get rid of it?  I’d like to avoid having the scent transfer to my other clothes…
There’s a reason that an English farmer keeps his Barbour in the foyer by the back door and not in his coat closet. Barbour jackets are musty.
Partly this odor is due to the proofing itself - the wax sealed into the jacket that keeps it waterproof. Partly this is due to the fact that the jackets can’t be washed without ruining said proofing.
It’s not usually an overwhelming odor, and for a lot of folks it just reminds them of the great outdoors. For others, it’s a dealbreaker.
There is one way to dramatically reduce the smell, if you so chose. You can have the jacket cleaned and re-proofed. In the United States, the primary company that does this work is New England Reproofers. They’ll strip the jacket, clean it, then re-proof it. The cleaning costs $30, and the reproofing costs $45. They’ll also repair your coat for you if it needs it.
Just remember: even sparkling clean, Barbour jackets have a smell.

Q and Answer: How To Get the Stink Out of a Barbour Jacket

Warren asks: I bought a Barbour jacket on ebay a while back, and unfortunately it’s got a musty smell.  I’ve been hanging it in my garage for most of the spring, and put it outside on sunny days in an attempt to let the sun clear the smell out… but the musty smell remains.   Any ideas on how I could get rid of it?  I’d like to avoid having the scent transfer to my other clothes…

There’s a reason that an English farmer keeps his Barbour in the foyer by the back door and not in his coat closet. Barbour jackets are musty.

Partly this odor is due to the proofing itself - the wax sealed into the jacket that keeps it waterproof. Partly this is due to the fact that the jackets can’t be washed without ruining said proofing.

It’s not usually an overwhelming odor, and for a lot of folks it just reminds them of the great outdoors. For others, it’s a dealbreaker.

There is one way to dramatically reduce the smell, if you so chose. You can have the jacket cleaned and re-proofed. In the United States, the primary company that does this work is New England Reproofers. They’ll strip the jacket, clean it, then re-proof it. The cleaning costs $30, and the reproofing costs $45. They’ll also repair your coat for you if it needs it.

Just remember: even sparkling clean, Barbour jackets have a smell.

It’s On eBay
J. Press Peacoat
I’ve long been an advocate for actual vintage naval peacoats, rather than designer knock-offs, but this is a beautiful jacket. The fit’s about a 42R, I’d say.
Starts at $100, Ends Monday

It’s On eBay

J. Press Peacoat

I’ve long been an advocate for actual vintage naval peacoats, rather than designer knock-offs, but this is a beautiful jacket. The fit’s about a 42R, I’d say.

Starts at $100, Ends Monday