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What's the deal with Polo Ralph Lauren Linen Jackets?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
In an effort to enhance my spring sport coat collection, I picked up three "Polo" RL linen jackets on ebay. The jackets are olive, navy and a medium blue/grey with a nice herringbone pattern.

After they arrived, I couldn't help but notice how heavy these things are. I've never held a linen garment as heavy as these SCs in my life! I'm not aware of linen being a fall/winter garment so what could be the point of making a summer garment so heavy that it can't be worn during the time of year it was intended for?

Then again, maybe that's why they were all on ebay in the first place........
post #2 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebonyman View Post

In an effort to enhance my spring sport coat collection, I picked up three "Polo" RL linen jackets on ebay. The jackets are olive, navy and a medium blue/grey with a nice herringbone pattern.

After they arrived, I couldn't help but notice how heavy these things are. I've never held a linen garment as heavy as these SCs in my life! I'm not aware of linen being a fall/winter garment so what could be the point of making a summer garment so heavy that it can't be worn during the time of year it was intended for?

Then again, maybe that's why they were all on ebay in the first place........

Are they lined? I've seen quite a few linen jackets that couldn't possibly be worn during the summer. I assume these are made for the shoulder seasons...late spring and early fall.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
1/2 lined. Basically across the shoulders and the sleeves are lined as well.

Hmmm, I'm not much for wearing linen in the Fall either but I guess I will now. Is this something new to means fashion. I've been around for awhile (52) and I'm not particularly new to dressing well or trends in menswear. The wearing of linen in the Fall isn't something I've seen before.

I guess I must have missed or thing or two because these jackets can't possibly be intended for summer wear.
post #4 of 10

I don't have an answer for you, but I also own a linen jacket (part of a suit actually) that is very heavy feeling.  The matching pants, as well as another set of pants (linen/cotton blend), are very heavy too.


I have another pair of linen/cotton pants that are much lighter.  I've also seen/felt linen garments that are of similar light weight at thrifts (but not found any that fit right or I am interested in wearing).

 

I also was quite surprised at the heaviness of (some of) the linen garments.  Linen still breathes well, so it's not the same thing as a heavy flannel or wool....but I can't help feeling it'd be a "cooler wear" if they were lighter.

 

One of the downsides of ebay purchasing - you can't get a real feel for the fabric before hand.

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebonyman View Post

I guess I must have missed or thing or two because these jackets can't possibly be intended for summer wear.

Apparently you've never experienced a Seattle summer.
But yeah, they are pretty heavy weight.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zippyh View Post

Apparently you've never experienced a Seattle summer.
But yeah, they are pretty heavy weight.

That's a good assumption because I have not.

Funny thing is, I have wool sport coats by David Chu that are clearly intended for the Fall and Winter and they are less than half the weight of these linen jackets!
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebonyman View Post

In an effort to enhance my spring sport coat collection, I picked up three "Polo" RL linen jackets on ebay. The jackets are olive, navy and a medium blue/grey with a nice herringbone pattern.

After they arrived, I couldn't help but notice how heavy these things are. I've never held a linen garment as heavy as these SCs in my life! I'm not aware of linen being a fall/winter garment so what could be the point of making a summer garment so heavy that it can't be worn during the time of year it was intended for?

Then again, maybe that's why they were all on ebay in the first place........

I have posted about this phenomena of over constructed linen suits and jackets several times. Makers seem intent on building linen suits and jackets that "feel substantial" rather than lightweight. I think this is because, until recently, linen wasn't very mainstream and mainstream customers equate lightweight with poor quality and limited durability (neither of which is true with linen). The result is fully lined suits with heavy stabilizing fusing and made from materials like herringbone patterned Irish linen (heavy weight linen weave). The end product is somewhat less wrinkle prone and feels, to the uninitiated, like it will be more durable, but these overbuilt abominations are nearly impossible to wear in high-humidity, high-heat environments, pretty much defeating the whole purpose of linen garments.

 

Recently I purchased a linen suit ( http://bit.ly/12FZRnt  ) from Suit Supply that I have been pretty darn happy with (once I had my tailor fix the sizing). It's definitely more "fashion" than my usual BB and PS stuff, but it is actually lightweight and very comfortable (even in full 3 piece form) during these worst days of NYC summer weather, despite having a full lining. Also, regardless of what I feel is far too short a jacket (the SS Lazio pattern is for a short jacket), people keep complementing me on the suit. That said, this SS example was the only one I could find (without going MTM or bespoke) that I consider livable after looking at a half dozen brands. As a result, I just had my older linen (properly half-lined) suit refitted as I suspect finding reasonably priced and wearable linen is only going to get harder.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the in depth response Mister Fu. I think it really is dependent on the brand. I recently purchased a Facconable linen jacket that it also unlined like the Polo SCs but is reasonably light weight.

Several years ago, I purchased a linen suit from Daffy's that was very light and tailored quite well. It wrinkled real good by the end of the day but what the hey, that's what linen does!

I just think it's nuts to produce spring/summer garments in material that weighs as much as Harris tweed!

Considering that most "mainstream" consumers would not even consider a linen suit as an option, why use cloth or construction with them in mind???
Edited by Ebonyman - 7/3/13 at 10:41am
post #9 of 10

Regarding the wrinkling, yes it's definitely what linen does but my experience is that it's mighty easy to iron, even (especially...) an unlined jacket.

 

As a consumer, I'd rather deal with the wrinkles and gain the benefit of a cool wearing garmet than having the manufacturer try to limit the wrinkles but make the garmet less cool.

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
^^^
Agreed.
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