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.

Barbour Jack Spade Hopper Jacket

jackbarbour2 1024x529 Barbour Jack Spade Hopper Jacket

Barbour, as many of you may know, is one of my favorite clothing brands. I’m particularly a fan of their high quality waxed cotton jackets, which I would say are really their specialty. Plus, I trust their quality because they’ve been doing this stuff since the beginning of ages.

In case you’re not familiar with the brand, they’re most well-known for three jackets in particular, which have not changed in style for quite some time- the Bedale, Beaufort (which is basically a longer Bedale), and Barbour International. All three are tried & true, and if you’ve been searching for a field jacket, I would highly suggest one of those options.

So recently, Barbour has been taking an effort to modernize their brand a bit, and as a result, partnering up with other companies to do just that. They’re releasing collaboration pieces every now and again, and Jack Spade happens to be one of the companies they’re doing it with. Recently, they released the Jack Spade Barbour Hopper Jacket, a cool twist on their Bedale-styled jackets. This is their 2nd time doing this, and I personally think this year’s model is the coolest I’ve seen. See below:

 Barbour Jack Spade Hopper Jacket

Source: Jack Spade

I recently got my hands on one of these jackets, and wanted to share my thoughts about them with you today. Here it goes:

So as far as the quality is concerned, these jackets are pretty similar to other Barbour offerings. The waxed cotton, the detailing, the heft are all reminiscent of their Bedale in my opinion. There are a couple major differences though.

1. It’s navy, not green like most their jackets.

2. It’s actually slim cut, unlike their normal Bedale.

3. It comes with an inner vest (detachable) that has a really cool orange coloring.

4. The collar is different, it’s a club collar on this one.

Here are a couple makeshift photos of me wearing the jacket

jackbarbour6 1024x761 Barbour Jack Spade Hopper Jacket   jackbarbour3 1024x667 Barbour Jack Spade Hopper Jacket

 

jackbarbour4 1024x750 Barbour Jack Spade Hopper Jacket

Now, how do I feel about the jacket?

Personally, I think it’s great. It looks sleeker and more modern than all their traditional models. The silhouette is far more flattering, the colors are refreshing, and everything good about their normal jackets still remains.

Now here’s my one problem- the jacket is really expensive. It’s $799 at retail price, though you can get 15% off for signing up through their mailing list. This still puts the jacket at double the price of their normal models. Yes it has a vest as well, but I don’t think the vest necessarily covers the margin. You’re paying for brand and exclusivity if anything.

The good news is that this jacket will probably last you a decade, easy. Barbour does a great job of reproofing their jackets if you request it, so if the wax goes away completely, you can still restore it back to tip top shape.

If you have the money, and have been looking for a Barbour jacket for some time now, check this particular model out. It’s pretty awesome, though a bit pricey. You can find it at Jack Spade’s website.

Insta-recap #2

It’s been a little while since I did a recap on my Instagram photos, so I wanted to post some up here so you can stay up to date with my menswear adventures.

Again, I’m no Instagram master, and have found myself being rather lazy with the app, but I do think it’s a great platform to be creative on, and I’m continually learning. Some people are natural pros at finding the right time, place, and shot for their photos, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not one of those people. Either way, here they are, and follow me at @simplerman if you’re interested in seeing more.

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After a long day in the rain, it’s good to dry your clothes properly.

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Harris Tweed. They make some of the finest tweeds on earth. Rough as hell to the touch, but that’s part of the charm.

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Some new kicks. Vans Authentics for the win.

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I’m highly impressed with the fabrics and colors in this outfit.

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Gotta match the wild colors on my plate and cup. What better way than with my socks.

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Just a touch long on the sleeves, but I’m a fan of this jacket.

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Khaki pants + navy jacket. One of my favorite color combos.

And there you go. A sneak peak into my Instagram account. I’m still trying to figure out what direction I want to take my pictures. San Francisco street styles? Pictures of clothing boutiques? Outfit of the day pictures?

Anyhow, whichever way I take it, I’ll continue to make it my goal to bring you interesting, quality content. Just know that I’m still learning.

Quick looks & pleasing everybody

I was tossing and turning in bed the other day, unable to fall sleep. In situations like this, most normal people would read a book, count sheep, or just idly lay in their beds till the inevitable sleep haze engulfed their conscience.

Well, I’m a bit weird, and probably not very normal. Thus, as a sleep remedy, I decided to go into my closet and start randomly taking pieces out, just to put them together in different combinations that I thought might work out. Also, I felt compelled to add ties to the mix as well.

It kind of worked, as I was so tired of putting on and taking off clothes that I eventually plopped on my bed and immediately fell asleep.

The outcome is below. And yes, I am actually wearing pants.

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The hunter’s look.

Jacket: Barbour | Vest: Barbour | Tie: Ovadia & Sons | Shirt: Brooks Brothers

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The formal look.

Jacket: Black Fleece | Pocket Square: Nordstrom | Shirt: Brooks Brothers | Tie Bar: Thetiebar | Tie: Theory

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The ultra-hyperextended neck look.

Jacket: John Varvatos Collection | Shirt: Black Fleece | Tie: Drake’s

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The cold day layering look.

Coat: Hugo Boss | Knitwear: Banana Republic | Shirt: Black Fleece | Tie: Theory

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The overcoat with suit look… or as I like to call it: blue steel look.

Coat: Banana Republic | Jacket: John Varvatos Collection | Shirt: Ben Sherman | Tie: Ben Sherman

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The Looper-ish look.

Jacket: Theory | Shirt: Armani Collezioni | Tie: Thetiebar

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The blue, blue, blue, and blue layer look.

Coat: Black Fleece | Jacket: Levi’s | Shirt: Brooks Brothers | Tie: Ovadia & Sons

My first thought was to put these photos on reddit, mainly because I was curious to see which outfits vibed well with the huge crowd over there, and which didn’t. I put the album up on reddit in the morning, walked away from the computer for about an hour, and then revisited its status shortly afterward.

Apparently the album became quite popular in that hour, ultimately hitting the first spot on /r/malefashionadvice, receiving thousands of up-votes, and getting more comments than I could read.

Turns out that pretty much every single look was simultaneously criticized and praised, showing how incredibly different peoples’ tastes are. Some people said my Barbour look was the best, while others thought it was the worst. Some argued that leather jackets should never go with ties, others said leather jackets looked best with ties. Let’s just say there was a lot of noise, and it taught me a valuable lesson.

The lesson is that you aren’t going to please everybody with your look, no matter how great it is. Sure there are rules that you should follow to look better overall (for example, getting things that are more fitted to your body), but even then, you just aren’t going to win everyone’s approval, as everyone’s tastes are different.

I put together 7 very different outfits, and for each outfit I got hundreds of different reactions. At first, I took each comment constructively, learning from what people had to say. Later on though, all I ended up really caring about was my own opinion, especially after seeing how much contradiction there was about what people thought was right and what people thought was wrong.

I think the best thing is for you to feel confident in the clothes that you wear, and present your unique style to the world expecting nothing in return. Sure, positive reinforcement may help you feel better, but ultimately, I think the most attractive thing about someone’s style is how they own their look. The swagger and confidence they have in wearing what they are wearing. The great thing is that no one can help you own your look, only you can.

Anyhow, sorry to go on a rant there, but I hope I was able to at least provide you with some ideas for outfits. Oh, and just kidding about the pants comment I made above. Commando all the way.

Ask me: wave #4 (closet purges, best fitting brands, etc.)

Hi folks! Time for another edition of “ask me.” First off, please continue asking away since I’m here to be your resource, and am more than happy to help out where I can. Second, really sorry if I’m sometimes a little late in answering your questions, life’s been a bit hectic recently, but I promise to get to every single question I can.

Here are a couple select questions that I’ve gotten that I thought I would share with everybody:

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I’ve started to understand style a lot better in the last six months or so. Unfortunately, all the clothes that I own don’t really fit the way I want them to, according to my newfound knowledge. Do you think I should just purge everything? – Steve

Great question Steve. I’ve had this dilemma in the past as well. There was a point where I looked at my closet and felt like only 1/10th of it was actually wearable anymore. This was due to two reasons. First, I had just lost about 15 pounds, and most of my clothes simply did not fit. Second, I thought it was finally time to do away with hoodies and baseball caps, since I wanted to have a bit more refined sense of style.

In these situations, I don’t think it’s a good idea to completely purge your wardrobe at once, as it takes a lot of time, effort and money to recoup from something like that. Instead, I would do a basic purge of items that you know you won’t wear anymore, and then start replacing one piece at a time. If you have a coat that you’re not a big fan of, go ahead and buy another one that you actually do like, and replace your old one. Keep going on like this once in a while, when you happen to be shopping, or have a little more disposable income, and in no time you’ll have a wardrobe you actually enjoy, and one you’ll cherish for the long haul. In the meantime, try and be creative! Mix your old clothes in with the new, and create new combinations of outfits. You might find that your old clothes actually look pretty great in the right context.

f11 rick owens armor Ask me: wave #4 (closet purges, best fitting brands, etc.)

Thanks for the blog man, it’s awesome! So my question is, do you think that dressing really too well as a man might give off the impression that you might be gay or metro even if you’re not? I want to dress better, but I don’t want to give ppl the wrong idea. – Brian


First off, be confident in your sexuality man! If you’re straight and you know it, that’s all that matters. Plus, who says that a straight man can’t look dapper too?

Now that being said, I think I know where you’re going with that question. There is certainly a point when someone can look too polished, too clean, and too meticulous with their clothing. This can potentially give off a sort of non-hetero impression to others, not that there is anything wrong with that. Also, going skinny as opposed to slim, wearing flamboyant colors and patterns, and showing a lot of skin can all contribute to you looking more “metro” as well.

For that reason, if this is very important to you, and you want to maintain a clean, good look while still having no one question your straightness, I’d stick to more classic colors and patterns, wear slim-fitting but not skin tight clothing, and exercise proper skin discretion (not wearing shorts & shirts that are too short). Also, if that’s not enough, maybe adapt a more rugged style, wearing more Barbour and Filson, and less Margiela and Rick Owens.

As long as you do those types of things and remain confident, you should be just fine. Also, nothing wrong with people asking if you’re gay because you wear nice clothes, since it might be more of a compliment to your style than anything else. We all know gay men can dress well.

band logo Ask me: wave #4 (closet purges, best fitting brands, etc.)

Can I ask what your go-to clothing companies are in terms of fit? I think I have a build similar to yours and I usually can’t find very well fitting clothes. – Young

Sure man, not a problem. In terms of pure fit, I do have some companies in mind, though I will say it’s not so cut and dry due to possible inconsistencies in fit even within the same brand. Also, I’ve made a larger habit of altering my clothes recently. I never used to do it before, but now that I know how effective and cost-efficient it is, I try to alter anything that I feel doesn’t fit well, regardless of brand.

I would say my best fitting brands would be the following, in price-point order:

1. Ben Sherman

2. Theory

3. Black Fleece

4. Band of Outsiders

5. Thom Browne

Hope that helps!

Alright fellas, keep asking away! And as always, stay dapper.

Insta-recap

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a bit of a newb when it comes to social networking. However, I will say, getting familiar with Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. for the first time, has brought a new element of interest to my life. Particularly Instagram, because it allows me to share some photos that I normally would keep to myself. In case you don’t use Instagram, here’s some recent pics of mine. I promise they’ll get better with time.

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This is me getting excited about finally owning a pair of suede New Balances.

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A little collar fun- add some spice to your life.

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Ovadia & Sons tie that I’m a fan of.

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Showcasing my love for tartan, and Barbour.

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My thought on what a proper casual pocket square should look like.

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Early Christmas.

Also, would love to get feedback on what types of pictures people would want to see. I’m all ears.

Jackets, my favorite

I’d have to say my favorite article of clothing is the jacket. Always has been, likely always will be.

Why do I have such a fascination with jackets? Because they not only keep me warm, but they also are the most noticeable article of clothing one puts on. I mean seriously, a jacket goes on TOP of everything else, covering any clothes you are already wearing. It’s also one of the only articles you can take off or put on multiple times in a day. It allows you to effortlessly change your look whether you’re outside or inside. Make sure you have an awesome one in your wardrobe.

Here are some jackets that I personally like, all different styles:

jacket brands Jackets, my favorite

Just quick comments on the photos above.

Trenches make you feel boss, and will never go out of style. This is especially true for Burberry , since they invented trenches. Stick with tans, greys, blacks and navys, and make sure to find the right fit, since they’ll last you a lifetime.

Parkas, like the wings + horns one above, are extremely versatile, and can be dressed up or down effortlessly. They protect you from the rain, and are quite utilitarian, with the pockets and all.

Matt Bomer from White Collar pulls this jacket off awesomely (is that a word?). I’ve always had a hard time finding leather jackets that fit me well, but the day I do, I hope it looks like the one above, simple and slim.

Lastly, I think John Varvatos makes some really creative, and quality jackets in his mainline collection. If you’ve got some $, or rather, $$$, I would take a peak; you might find one that sings to you.

In terms of brand recommendations for jackets, it really depends on the price range you’re looking at. Jackets can get astronomically expensive, because designers know they can charge a hefty fine on them. They usually are constructed with thicker fabrics, have a lot more variance in design, and are bought more sparingly, thus people are willing to splurge more.

I recommend spending a bare minimum of $50 on a jacket. I don’t think that’s unreasonable, because it will last you a long time if you buy the right one.

At the $50-$100 range, I would probably recommend Land’s End or Banana Republic with a coupon (easily accessible). Many snobs will gawk at anything from GAP Co., due to their mass production and inconsistency of quality. However, I think that you can get some great jackets here that are stylish and will last. I have a jacket from BR that looks like the parka above, and I love it. People compliment this jacket all the time, and I got it for around $80 bucks.

At the $100-$200 mark, I like Topman and Diesel. I am going to say that these two recommendations are mainly based on look, rather than quality. Not saying that the quality is bad by any means, but just know that I put a bit of weight towards design. I also have to plug in The North Face & Patagonia, where it’s function rather than fashion.

When we get to the $200-$400 range, this is where I think one should spend to get a quality jacket that will last. Brooks Brothers and Polo Ralph Lauren have very high quality jackets, and have obviously been in the business forever. In this range, my highest rec goes to Barbour since they make a damn solid jacket, and you’ll notice the quality is exceptional.

Between $400-$1000, many jackets start to look absolutely amazing. However, you are now heading into brand name snobbery territory, so watch out!  Brooks Brothers Black Fleece and Ralph Lauren Black Label are two of my favorites.

$1000+: My favorite looking jackets come from John Varvatos Collection, Dior Homme, and Paul Smith Main Line. All three make very sleek, trim, European style jackets that I think can elevate your look. Be careful, as clearly you’re spending a lot for the brand name, rather than the pure functionality of the jacket. Hey, but if you have the cash, why not right?

I’d recommend picking up a solid jacket for the fall. Whether you buy a parka, trench, leather, or wool jacket, find one that helps identify your image. It will get noticed.