Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Claghorn, May 21, 2014.
That tie knot!
DC that is the best fit I have ever seen. Colors, fits, and style. Just fantastic
I almost always think DC has too much padding in his sport coats.
I can see that however he pulls it off perfectly. They dont look overly padded as I have seen from previous posters. It looks well proportioned to DC
Sir, that is an exceptionally good-looking tie.
As do I, but he's stated that's how he prefers his jackets and he's knowledgeable enough to know what he likes.
A general argument for less shoulder structure in countrified jackets: I think the built up structure of a jacket makes it seem more formal. Or at least, it evokes the garment's military heritage. This isn't ideal for a jacket intended to be on the more casual end of the spectrum. I'm sure there are a lot of British tweed jackets/suits with shoulder padding and extension--but I don't think this is ideal*. It strikes me as internally inconsistent and perhaps a step frozen in the evolution of the garment.
*My own tweed suit has moderate shoulder padding. And I love more formal fabric (e.g. stripes) made up in a casual cut. So. You know. I'm plenty inconsistent in my tastes.
That's nicely articulated, Clags. I'm finding that I still prefer a bit of structure in my country jackets, but that I reach for those with less padding and no extension much more often than those with strong shoulders and extension.
I wonder if the seemingly inconsistent aesthetic you describe derives from competing images of masculine tailoring (strong, full shoulders and chests vs. light, natural, and less structured torsos) rather than a spectrum of formality. I'd have chalked this up to nationality except that my most structured jacket is Corneliani and my least structured jacket is Samuelsohn. Otherwise, you're right--the "feel" of highly structured country clothes doesn't seem consistent with their uses.
I just think DC is quite broad, so, if the jacket had less padding/structure, and perhaps a roped shoulder to add visual height (like how it helps short men), it would make his body look less boxy.
While I agree with the comments about DC’s jacket, I think in other respects the category “English country jacket” is far too broad to permit generalizations of certain sorts.
What all “country jackets” had in common is that they were created to be worn outdoors in a climate that was often rather cool, and in particular were meant to be worn when pursuing an outdoor sport—they were “sport coats” in the true sense of the term.
Beyond that, the structure and cut was determined by the particular sport for which a jacket was intended, and would reflect the status of that sport in the English class system as well. This is why one needs to distinguish, at very least, between jackets intended for riding and jackets intended for non-equestrian outdoor sports.
The equestrian jacket reflected both the practicalities of designing a coat which would be comfortable while riding and which also reflected the influence of the military officer’s (especially cavalry) dress uniform and the "structure" associated with it. It is in part from that influence that the tradition that all buttons (and there would be three or more often) of the equestrian jacket remained buttoned at all times. Try sitting down with a jacket with a low buttoning point and you’ll see how uncomfortable and intrusive that would is. This is why buttoning points on riding coats tend to be quite high (I’ve seen examples where the lowest of three buttons is positioned at the natural waist. Bear in mind that in proper position the riders hands are precisely a bit-width distant from each other and that the upper arms should be in light contact with the sides of the body, and you’ll understand the functional reasons for the other characteristics of the jacket: cut short and close to the body, wide open quarters, and slanting pockets.
“Country jacket” for other outdoor sports were very different because the sports were very different. The last thing you would want while swinging a shotgun or casting a fly is a close fitting jacket. Hence such things as action backs, box pleats, pleated patch pockets to accommodate shotgun shells, pipe and tobacco, a sandwich perhaps, and so forth.
I’ve been using the past tense here because these days makers of “country jackets” are free to mix and match any of these features. I agree with Claghorn that some combinations don’t make sense to me, though it doesn’t bother me at all when other people like and wear them. The one that makes the least sense to me is a heavy tweed jacket of a clearly non-equestrian cut with wide open quarters. The whole purpose of such a jacket was to keep one warm, and for that purpose open quarters simply don’t work.
I’ll refer people to some of EFV’s tweed fits for examples of contemporary jacket styling which doesn’t commit the contradiction of wide-open quarters. He’s from Sweden, of course, and no doubt grew up knowing what such a tweed jacket is for.
To be clear, my argument is separate from DC's preferences.
It's about evolution though. The initial purposes of most of these jackets are now largely irrelevant to how they are perceived. Really, a simplified formality spectrum is really the most salient gauge of an outfits internal consistency. I'd argue that |structure = perception of formality| is something which exists outside of tradition. People wear comfortable clothes when they want to relax (casual setting). This is probably universal. Thus, clothing which looks more comfortable probably also looks more casual. Compare Tira's totally unstructured Kent Wang pieces to David Reeve's English beauties and tell me that Tira's suits don't look more comfortable. I'm not saying they are; a good tailor can make anything comfortable. But Tira's look more comfortable. Why? They are looser and less structured.
What we do inherit from tradition, as well as modern media (indirectly from tradition), is that certain fabrics/patterns are more formal while other fabrics/patterns are more casual. This perception still exists (unlike an outfit's equestrian roots) and is therefore still relevant.
That being said, there may be people of a certain generation or people within certain social circles in England for whom the tradition is still relevant.
Edit: oh, and to be clear, I'm not expressly referring to English country jackets. Though much of how we evaluate the formality of a fabric probably derives from English tradition.
Actually, so far as I can tell, we're not disagreeing at all.
What I consider when selecting what to wear:
1. Is the fabric appropriate for what I am doing? (i.e.: I don't wear tweed to dinner. City be damned.)
2. Is the weight of the fabric seasonal?
3. Is the pattern (if any) in good taste? (Admittedly somewhat subject to debate.)
4. Is it traditional?
Tradition plays a role for me, but it is last for a reason. In today's world, when fewer people wear tailored clothing to do anything outdoors, and when traditions are nodded to, sometimes disparagingly, I think that there are other concerns which count for a whole lot more. That said, a healthy knowledge of tradition does enable one to break with it at appropriate times and bow to it at others. Ignorance is never bliss.
Two final comments, then I’ll shut up. I promise.
(1) My main problem with heavy tweed jackets with wide-open quarters, expressed above, is functional not historical: tweed is meant to keep you warm in cold weather and open quarters work against that.
(2) For some, knowledge of the history is an intellectual pleasure whether it influences one’s own dress or not. I enjoy looking at jackets and other items of apparel and being able to recognize their DNA, so to speak, even the “junk DNA.” Liking stuff like that is probably how I ended up in the profession I’m in.
Separate names with a comma.