Waxing Lyrical: A Guide to the Coverall Jacket
Some things are great year-round, but really come into their own at this end of the year. A cozy taproom corner, woods carpeted with leaves, vacant beaches, soup, and of course, outerwear.
A couple of years ago, we began to think about that English classic, the wax jacket. We all had a model hung on the back of a door somewhere, but for one reason or another we weren’t completely happy with them. It’s tempting to think that there’s little that can be done to improve on the original design of the wax jacket, but we had a few ideas, and so decided to throw our cap into the ring.
There’s no sense in reinventing the wheel, but by returning to the standards of manufacture and quality we are accustomed, plus a few tweaks to bring the design in line with our sense of relaxed elegance, we’ve created what we think is the ideal wax jacket. An item of clothing that is synonymous with function and protection from the elements – designed to be worn out and worn in.
1. We sought out the driest wax cloth we could get - a 8.5oz premium waxed cotton from a historic mill in Dundee, the best possible fabric for the job. With a crisp finish, the requisite heft, but with the correct drape. It also ages in just the way we like it, with the immediate feel of a well-loved favourite.
As Creative Director Michael Hill puts it: “It's the kind of outerwear that patinates beautifully with wear, goes with everything, and keeps the rain out.”
2. The Coverall has a fair amount of volume in the body (as any piece of outerwear should) yet retains a clean silhouette throughout the shoulder and sleeves, allowing it to be worn over anything from a tailored jacket to a chunky submariner.
3. The Coverall certainly has no shortage of storage, with three voluminous gusseted patch-and-flap pockets on the outside, reinforced and grommeted with snap fastenings to keep one’s valuables firmly in place. Two large pockets are situated inside – another handy place to store essentials.
4. Waxed cotton may be perfect for keeping the inclement weather out, but isn’t great against the skin, so we looked to our brushed Oxford cotton shirting (where else?) for a cosy and breathable lining. Add a light quilting and you’ve got a lining that matches the rest of the jacket for luxury and longevity in equal measure.
5. The hardware on the Coverall doesn’t pull its punches. The two-way zip features pre-blanked brass teeth mounted and fixed on tape one by one. The particular polishing of the teeth allows for a smooth chain, and does away with the need for a storm fly covering, allowing the brass finish to stay resplendent no matter how much wear it sees. The same is true of the brass snaps, which are further coated in liquorice enamel.
6. The finishing touch and focal point for our Coverall, we opted for a heavyweight 8-wale corduroy woven in Yorkshire, and added a enamel snaps on the throat latch and just below the collar (an often overlooked part of the front fastening) so there’s no pesky gaps when the wind kicks up.
Since launching the Coverall jacket as a studied combination of archival examples of waxed country attire, it has become very much a member of the Drake’s family, part of our DNA, or as we like to say, perennial. We’ve made iterations in lighter weight fabrics for the warmer months, a longer variant for those great British downpours, and even a cropped wader version, just because we thought it looks great.
It matters little if you’ve never hiked the Trans Pennine Trail or cast out over Loch Leven, the Coverall is perfect for pastoral and metropolitan pursuits alike. As apt for a stroll around the city as it is an expedition into the wilderness. A functional and stylish piece of outerwear with more than a little bit of rural élan - you’ll find yourself reaching for it time and again.