Essential Outerwear: The Field Jacket

So we’re onto the second installment of the Essential Outerwear series, and today, the spotlight is on the field jacket, or sometimes more broadly called, the utility coat.

fieldedit Essential Outerwear: The Field Jacket

So what in the world is a field jacket? Well I’mma get descriptive on you: field jackets are jackets that are inspired by a type of outerwear design worn by soldiers during World War II, usually characterized by a rugged look made of waxed cotton or some sort of synthetic, donning multiple pockets, and generally in an olive green or khaki color, just like the military men wore it. To see a couple classic field jackets, check out the M65 or M43.

I love field jackets and utility coats, and they’ve become quite popular in recent years. I swear every other person on the street is wearing some sort of olive green canvas jacket, whether guy or girl, old or young. Good news is that this ubiquity has made this jacket a very seamless one to wear in any situation. You can be in casual sweats, and a field jacket won’t look out of place. I’ve also seen the other end of the spectrum where finance folks from London are layering their Barbour jackets over their pinstripe suits. I might add that it’s not a bad look.

If you’re going to get one, I would recommend getting a field jacket/utility coat in a neutral color. Think olive green, khaki, navy blue, black, gray. They look best when they’re a bit distressed or wrinkled, and they should fit well at the shoulder, but it’s not 100% necessary for them to fit too snug. For example, the Barbour Bedale is one of my favorite field jackets, and it’s actually cut in a more classic form to help make sure your movement is unrestricted while you’re hunting that deer, or grappling a bear.

These jackets can also act as great rain coats. If it’s made of waxed cotton, it’s actually meant to be worn in the rain, as the wax keeps the jacket protected from any rain damage. I will have to warn you though, they usually aren’t as warm as wool or puffer coats, and hopefully you didn’t expect them to be. They work well in the winter time, but not in below zero degree weather.

Here are two of my field jackets, one being more classically field-like (the Barbour one), and the other being a little out of the box (the Banana Republic one). I like them both a lot though:

field1 Essential Outerwear: The Field Jacket field2 Essential Outerwear: The Field JacketI love the corduroy detailing on this particular jacket. field3 Essential Outerwear: The Field JacketWear these jackets with a scarf if your neck gets cold. Looks great in my opinion. field5 Essential Outerwear: The Field JacketHere is the most common color that you’ll find a field jacket in. Olive green. field6 Essential Outerwear: The Field JacketThis one has no lack of detailing either. Leather on the collar. field7 Essential Outerwear: The Field Jacket This is actually the jacket that Bond wore in the main battle scene of Skyfall. Couldn’t resist getting it for myself as a result. field8 Essential Outerwear: The Field Jacket

Sweater: J.Crew | Scarf (blue): Todd Snyder x Gap | Scarf (black): Prada

Jeans: Rag & Bone | Jacket (blue) : Banana Republic | Jacket (black): Barbour

Now, I normally say you should spend the extra dollar in getting a piece, but honestly, with field jackets, you can find some great ones for a little less at your mass retailers like Gap or Uniqlo. Penfield also makes some less expensive ones (though they’re going to be more than what you find at Gap or Uniqlo).

In the case that you do want to spend the extra dollar, I’d say look for jackets from Barbour, Filson, or Pendleton, GANT, or Jack Spade, in that order. Nordstrom has a great filter where they show only utility coats, so I’d check that out as well.

Either way, a field jacket / utility coat is a great piece that you’ll own for quite some time, perhaps even for the rest of your life. I recommend getting one sooner rather than later, and wear it throughout the entire year. Love the ones I have, and I don’t regret a single cent in those purchases.

Essential Outerwear: The Leather Jacket

Finally, I’m starting the outerwear series I promised you all a couple weeks ago. First on the agenda… leather jackets.

leather71 1024x681 Essential Outerwear: The Leather Jacket

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’m a huge fan of leather jackets. What’s not to like? They protect you from the wind, feel great to the touch, and of course, make you look incredibly badass.

As a result, over time, leather jackets have basically become my favorite article of clothing. I’ll tell you though, the journey to get there was not easy. I don’t have the most forgiving body type, so leather jackets often looked weird on me. Sleeves would be too long, shoulders would fit awkwardly, and some reason, most jackets gave me the silhouette reminiscent of an NFL linebacker.

Also, the cost of real leather jackets were always prohibitive. If I finally found one that I liked, I usually needed to take a deep breath before looking at the price tag- mainly to prepare for shock. Usually every jacket extended well beyond the $1k mark.

leather13 1024x681 Essential Outerwear: The Leather Jacket

Over time though, I realized two things. First was that it’s not easy to find a leather jacket that fits well. This is largely due to the fact that leather jackets are not easy to alter, so the flexibility of customizing your jacket disappears. The second is that it is well worth it to spend the extra buck for a nice leather jacket, because it will last you for a lifetime.

After understanding these two concepts, I decided to first, be patient with shopping for a leather jacket. The investment would be substantial, so making the right decision was crucial. Second, I needed to suck it up and just be okay with paying the money, knowing that it would be hard to get a decent leather jacket without spending a bit more. Plus, they don’t really go out of style.

As a result, here are the two I ended up with:

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 Sunglasses: Ray Ban | Shirt: J.Crew | Jeans: Rag & Bone

Belt: Hugo Boss | Jacket (Black): Theory (similar)

Jacket (Brown): Levi’s Made & Crafted (similar)

So this is an outerwear series in preparation for winter. You may be asking why leather jackets are part of that list. Well, leather jackets are actually appropriate year-round, and winter is no exception. Especially in cities like San Francisco, leather jackets work great during the colder months, especially when paired with a scarf and sweater.

They do well against the wind as they’re not porous, they are great at insulation (depending on the type you get), and the style is not only appropriate, but encouraged during the fall and winter months.

Get one if you have the opportunity, you won’t regret it.

Photo Credit: Chris Eldredge

Essential Outerwear

09 yves saint laurent coat 1109 lg Essential Outerwear

Source: Esquire

There are a number of reasons why I enjoy fall the most when it comes to menswear. Among those reasons, one in particular is my love of outerwear. My favorite category of clothing, hands down.

Well the good news is that there are a variety of different types of outerwear to choose from come October/November. The bad news is that this “unleashing of the bulls” per se, can get a bit overwhelming- you’ll have a hard time figuring out what coat to actually buy.

dark shades men coat pitti Essential Outerwear

Source: Trashness

To make things a little easier, I’ve outlined what I consider the essential outerwear list. This doesn’t mean you need to own every piece on the list, but choosing a couple from here might do your wardrobe some good. In no particular order, here they are:

1. The Peacoat

2. The Field Jacket / Utility Coat

3. The Trenchcoat

4. The Leather Jacket

5. The Topcoat

6. The Cold Weather Coat

In the following weeks, I hope to delve a bit deeper into each of these jackets/coats, and let you know why I think they’re awesome pieces to have in your closet. Keep an eye out, and also let me know in the comments below if there is anything specific you’d like to know about each item.

PS: I realize that I never finished by accessories series (only went through about half of the items on that list, here’s part 1 , 2 , 3). That’s definitely going to be intermingled with this series!

 

My question to you: Puffer vests

I’ve been meaning to talk about this subject for quite some time. Puffer vests.

 My question to you: Puffer vests

Some part of me really likes them, and finds the look quite appealing. The other part of me wonders why they’re so popular when they’re functionally kind of awkward. If it’s cold enough to be wearing a puffer anything, I would imagine that it’s best to put on a puffer coat/jacket that covers the sleeves. If it’s not cold enough to be wearing a puffer anything, then wouldn’t it make sense to just wear a lighter jacket?

Again, I’m a fan of the look, but this thought makes me hesitate on getting one for myself. And I’m also not talking about those thinner quilted vests, but rather the type of vest that makes you look like Marty McFly or the Michelin Man.

Maybe it’s for the layering aspect, where you can layer a vest underneath another jacket or coat, but not deal with the sleeve bulk? Or perhaps it’s just an easier piece to put on above your sweater? Whatever the case, would love to hear from you guys why you would or would not wear a puffer vest. Lay ‘em on me!

In the case that you are pro puffer vest though, here are a couple that I’m a fan of:

$50-100 : Uniqlo Ultra Light Down , Banana Republic Grey Flannel Vest , Kane & Unke Colorblock Vest

$100-200 : North Face Lindero , Ralph Lauren Elmwood

$200-500 : Canada Goose Lodgewood , Gant Rugger Down Vest

$500 + : Moncler Hooded Vest , Burberry Crosby

Wearing sport coats casually

Sport coats are technically supposed to be part of a casual outfit. In the old days, it used to be that on the days that one was not wearing a suit, it would be customary to relax at home with a sports coat on instead. Boy have the times changed. Today, the moment you put on a sport coat, you’ll get plenty of questions asking why you’re so dressed up and formal, not dressed down.

Overly casual dress has become the name of the game, and thus I see far less sport coats worn in public. Instead, a weekend outfit would more likely be comprised of a North Face jacket, distressed jeans, and Vans than a sports coat and chinos.

The traditional way to wear a sport coat would be to wear it as an odd jacket that pairs well with, but doesn’t match your trousers. For example, people will often wear navy sport coats with grey flannel trousers. Or maybe heavy brown tweed sport coats with tan khakis.

Well, even though the times have changed and people aren’t wearing their sport coats as traditionally as I would prefer, I still think there are plenty of ways to wear them casually, all without looking like too much effort is being put forth. Here’s an example of how I would wear a sports coat fairly casually:

tweed2 Wearing sport coats casually

I’m wearing this Harris Tweed sport coat with a pair of dark denim, a casual button up, and a brown belt. Since the jeans, shirt, and belt all scream casual, I thought putting a tweed sport coat into the mix would be a good way to dress the outfit up, but still remain relaxed.

tweed1 Wearing sport coats casually

Tweed is a good material for the fall, and can look a bit less dressy when compared to a worsted wool jacket that looks like it came straight from a suit. For this reason, tweed allows you to dress down easier than other sport coats probably can.

This applies to materials like seersucker and corduroy as well (tweed and corduroy are more for the winter, cotton and seersucker are more for the summer).

Sports Coat: Michael Bastian (similar) | Shirt: A.P.C. (similar)

Belt: Club Monaco | Jeans: Tellason

Now, technically you could still dress this type of outfit down even further, going with a T-shirt or sweater instead of a button-up shirt. I say go for it as long as everything looks nice and fitted to your body. Not my first preference, but I’d say it’s fair game. All I’m really trying to say is that the sport coat was, is, and always will be an amazing piece in menswear and because people consider it too formal today, it is utilized far too sparingly.

If you have to dress a sport coat down to feel comfortable wearing it out, do so, as I think it will still elevate your style game. You’ll get much joy out of wearing one, I promise.

Peacoats, and Bond… James Bond.

The cool breeze of winter is approaching. You’re trying to stay warm, but it seems like your trusty old jacket just isn’t doing it for you. Guess what? It’s time to bust out the classic winter piece… the peacoat.

bond1 Peacoats, and Bond... James Bond.

Many of you probably own a peacoat or have owned one at some point in your life. If you don’t or haven’t, I would highly recommend going out and getting one before the start of the winter. It’s an incredibly functional and timeless piece of clothing that I think every man should own, regardless of age, stature, occupation, etc.

In case you don’t actually know what a peacoat is, let me help educate you. A peacoat is a wool (or wool blend) outer coat that was originally worn by sailors in the Navy (but obviously worn by just about anyone now). Peacoats generally have broad lapels, double-breasted fronts, metal, leather, or horn buttons, and go down in length to your upper thigh. They are also most widely available in their original color, navy, but can also come in black, charcoal, mid-grey, tan, etc.

So now that you know what a peacoat is, let me tell you why I think they’re awesome. First off, peacoats keep you warm. Real warm. Generally made out of a thick wool or wool blend, peacoats are meant to help you get through the hard winter times. I mean if they worked for naval officers out on the arctic sea, why can’t they work for you?

Second, peacoats are extremely classy, and can help elevate your look to the next level. Whether you’re wearing a T-shirt or full-blown tuxedo, the moment you put on that peacoat, you’ll look more sophisticated and classy than you did before. I know, I know… it’s a more casual coat, but as long as the body of the coat is longer than your jacket, I still think it can work well with formal wear.

This brings up my third point. Peacoats are versatile. They can work on top of virtually any outfit, as they can be worn both casually and formally. Layer it on top of your henley, or use it as outerwear for your suit! A peacoat will do just fine in both situations.

bond45merge Peacoats, and Bond... James Bond.

Now, just because peacoats are awesome doesn’t mean that any peacoat will do. I highly recommend putting a little bit of money behind one of these to ensure quality, as almost all designers will make a peacoat, and some will be of terrible quality. Personally, I think $200-$300 is a sweet spot for a solid peacoat, and I swear it’ll be worth it. The Schotts ones below will probably give you the best bang for your buck, quality-wise. Also, I would stick with navy or charcoal grey in terms of color. Lastly, make sure the coat fits nice and slim on you. You want the coat to still flatter your body and fit immaculately. Keep it relatively snug, but also make sure that you can fit a sweater or jacket underneath.

Here are some peacoats that I would recommend at different price points:

~$50-$100: Uniqlo Peacoat , Topman Peacoat

~$100-$200: J. Crew Bayswater Peacoat , Banana Republic Peacoat

~$200-$400: Schotts Peacoat , Diesel Wittory Peacoat

~$400-above: Maison Martin Margiela Peacoat , Burberry London Peacoat

So you’re probably wondering why the title of this post mentions James Bond. Well first off, I think James Bond is an amazing fashion icon, especially with Daniel Craig running the show. If you need some fashion inspiration, just watch a Bond movie and you should be set for a while; I know I always am. Second, the peacoat that I’m wearing in the pictures above is actually the same peacoat Bond wears in his latest movie Skyfall. The makers of the coat, Billy Reid, released a limited supply of them to the public right when the movie was released, and I was lucky enough to get in the first batch. Check out some of the details on this thing:

bond23merge Peacoats, and Bond... James Bond.

Just a couple thoughts on this peacoat. First, I do think the quality is great. It’s a pretty expensive coat ($695 MSRP) so I fully expect it to be, and thankfully Billy Reid didn’t disappoint. The wool is nice and warm, the cut is slim and fashionable, and the leather trimming is beautifully done.

With that being said, I may not end up keeping the coat for a couple reasons. First, I’m not much a fan of the lapels. I think they can look great on a lot of people, but to me they jut out a bit too much. Let’s just say that when the collar is popped, my side profile is less than flattering. Second, the coat is a tad big on me. The sleeves are way too long, and instead of ending at my upper thigh, the body of this peacoat goes down to my mid thigh, and I think that might be longer than what I would consider ideal. A slightly taller man would probably love it though. Lastly, the peacoat is unlined. Nothing wrong with unlined coats, but I prefer a layer of thinsulate so that my arms don’t itch from the wool.

Anyhow, the next shipment of these babies starts in January so keep a look out in case you’re interested. It’s an excellent coat and I would highly recommend it if you like the look.