It’s been argued that men are, by nature, collectors. That humans have a biological drive to accumulate things, and that drive is stronger in men. It’s even been suggested that men collect things in order to attract mates, to demonstrate their ability to amass resources. I can tell you, as someone with both a mate and a LOT of resources in the forms of clothing, books, and records, these things are not correlated.
In fact, amassing any more resources in those portfolios may well drive my partner away. There’s one category in particular in which I’m a little over-invested: olive outerwear. At last count, I have an olive duffle coat; an olive baracuta-style jacket; an olive work jacket; an olive field/safari jacket; and a commissary’s worth of surplus/vintage: an olive fishtail parka; an olive M-51, an M-65, AND an M-43; an olive wool CPO shirt; an olive flight jacket; TWO olive deck jackets; and an olive peacoat. And yet, I’m still looking at other olive outerwear, and strategizing how I can get it into the house and work it into the wardrobe without my wife noticing.
My olive overabundance is the natural result of years of abiding by the rule: For outerwear, when in doubt, go olive. Navy? Potentially more versatile, but olive has more depth (and to be fair, variation–a lot of shades can be called olive). It’s maybe the perfect complement for indigo tones. Black seems like it would be more broadly wearable, but when I have to choose between black or olive coats and jackets, I’m almost always going olive. With tailoring, especially khakis and tweeds, olive adds a little milsurp edge — think of the legitimately iconic Bruce Boyer image or of mods in big fishtail parkas over angular, trim suits and narrow trousers; with black it offers contrast while still fitting in a sort of “cool guy wandering through a barren dystopia, maybe taking some film photos, I dunno” way. My wife’s a big fan of that vibe. BIG fan.
I narrowed my list of imminently marriage-threatening outerwear down to seven choices this year. These are not military surplus, good deals at flea markets, or surprisingly reasonable. Those would require some counseling, maybe, but not prompt a call to a lawyer.
1. Evan Kinori Bellows pocket coat ($525) — Kinori’s designs are simple but elegantly minimal versions of familiar silhouettes, like this cotton twill military jacket differentiated by its oversize pockets. The kind of pockets you can use to justify the jacket to your partner: “Hey, you don’t need to bring a purse, I got it!”
2. S.E.H. Kelly corduroy workcoat (~$500) — Similarly, this heavy corduroy jacket (lined… in corduroy!) fits squarely in the fancy workwear category my partner loves so much. You can tell your partner the price in pounds, it’s a smaller number. (pictured at top of post)
4. Noah Eisenhower jacket ($558) — This shorter, boxy jacket will mix up the silhouettes in your closet, plus, you might be able to convince your significant other you bought a cheaper surplus military piece, not a post-Supreme, New Romantics-riffing jacket made in Italy.
5. Junya Watanabe x ArkAir jacket ($665) — Wives and girlfriends love collaborations between designers and practical brands like ArkAir, English makers outerwear for special ops-type military outfits, because you get access to that hard-earned practicality without any of the value. This JW version has more big pockets and a plaid panel on the back.
6. Engineered Garments x Barbour Highland parka ($1000) — “Why settle for a normal Bedale when you could get this waxed fishtail parka, which is lined in cozy synthetic pile? I’m serious, why?” – me to my wife when she points out I already have a Barbour jacket.
7. Berg and Berg Nisse Harris Tweed raglan coat ($975) — This belted, raglan shoulder coat is technically called bottle green, but the tweed looks olive enough to me. No wait, it’s bottle, I don’t have any bottle green coats. Yet.