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MWD: MEN'S JACKETS NOW & THEN

04.02.14

SS14's coats and jackets have arrived, offering a whole host of inspiring and exciting outerwear designs. And, though all of the pieces feel relevant for the season ahead, each design is steeped in tradition. Read this week's menswear diaries to discover our guide to men's jackets, now and then.

Prince Charles in Papua New Guinea, 1984

ON SAFARI

Like many of menswear's stalwarts, the safari jacket began life as a military garment. Typically constructed from lightweight dill cotton and featuring epaulettes, a belted waist and four bellows pockets, the style first appeared on the British Armed Forces in the tropics during the late nineteen century.

Fast-forward over 150 years and the garment has become beloved for its combination of classic and casual style. Gracing the backs of some of menswear's enduring icons (Clark Gable, Yves Saint Laurent and Roger Moore were all fans) and becoming the clothing de rigueur on the African Savanna have helped the piece to achieve a longevity which spans three different centuries. Though the style has been re-imagined countless times, nostalgic notions of days spent hunting big game remain inseparable from the jacket's design DNA.

On Reiss: The Patriot leather jacket retains the key elements of the safari jacket, but has been designed with the modern man's wardrobe in mind. Lightweight dill cotton has given way to luxurious and opulent leather designs, while three bellows pockets and gleaming gold hardwear go hand-in-hand to add a fresh aesthetic edge.

Steve McQueen & Natalie Wood - 'Love with the Proper Stranger', 1963

A TAILORED TRENCH

Like its name suggests, the trench coat's provenance lies in wartime dressing. Designed from durable, waterproof cotton, the very earliest iterations of this style were adopted by members of the British Army thanks to the piece's highly-practical design. Hallmarks are generally agreed to be a double-breasted, wide lapel design, a storm flap and pockets that button-close, with a length sitting anywhere from above the knee to mid-calf.

Thanks to its utility-meets-aesthetics allure, the trench has scant fallen out of fashion's favour since it graduated from the wardrobe of the military man to the wardrobe of the modish man.

On Reiss: A classic concept made relevant for the modern man, the Sphere trench coat observes tradition but offers a new take on the style. A closely-tailored silhouette combines with instantly recognisable design features and a subtle navy hue which results in a modern, pared-back interpretation of a style staple.

THE MODERN MAC

Named after its Scottish creator Charles Macintosh, the mackintosh – or now more commonly mac – was been warding off petulant raindrops since 1824, and is considered to be the world’s first waterproof coat.

Originally composed from completely rubberised material, the design has undergone many changes since its initial design, but its essence and original purpose endures. A single-breasted button front closure, clean, minimal design and, of course, a waterproof fabrication are the mac’s defining features.

On Reiss: The Curzon Mac is a modern rendering that pays homage to this classic style's best features. You'll find undercollar melton, a concealed button placket and a contemporary fit which is ideal for wearing over your tailoring.

THE BLOUSON

Taking its name from the act of blousing that occurs on a drawn in waistband, the blouson is a short jacket that fits snugly round the waist. Other design features synonymous with the style include slant hip pockets, knitted cuffs and a lightweight, waterproof fabrication. Now an indisputable part of contemporary menswear's canon, the jacket was created by factory owner John Miller in Manchester, England in 1937.

Forming the foundation of many of today's men's casual jackets, the design has become an icon of menswear re-imagined and re-purposed many times along the way. Gracing the wardrobes of everyone from Steve McQueen to Barack Obama, it's hard to think of a more beloved style in menswear.

On Reiss: Epitomising laid-back luxury, the Cramont blue suede blouson is a trans-seasonal style staple with endlessly versatile sartorial credentials. The inky blue hue is a reliable choice, while subtle perforation detail adds a directional aesthetic.

THE LEATHER JACKET

Like so many other menswear stalwarts, the leather jacket began its life as a garment worn by military and members of the airforce in the early 1900s thanks to its practical qualities. Now though, it's more likely to be seen on the streets thanks to its enduring cool appeal.

On Reiss: The Gentry leather jacket boasts an iconic silhouette and a luxe fabrication. Ideal for slotting into the contemporary man's wardrobe, this investment piece is sure to become a integral part of your clothing repertoire for years to come.