2019 Coats & Jackets

A Jacket for Town and Country

By G. Bruce Boyer

Jul 13, 2022

A Jacket for Town and Country

For when the forest is more Bois de Boulogne than the Tetons, we've got the perfect jacket.

The British fashion historian James Laver was the first to advance the theory that most menswear in the modern world, i.e. since the 18th century, developed from two sources: either warfare or sport. It’s a theory that makes a good deal of sense when you think about the various items in a man’s wardrobe, from the trench coat and thesportsjacket, chukka boots, the variety of knitwear, today’s popular M-65 field jacket, and the blazer are the most obvious, but even the traditional white tie and tails were originally designed for riding, and that includes the top hat itself (an early crash helmet).

Of course Laver hadn’t given any thought to prole gear, work clothes such as denim jeans and French sanitation workers coats, but let’s not be picky. The reality is that any number of stylish and very useful coats are now being seen in both town and country wear that fit Laver’s idea as appropriate alternatives to the now-more-dressy sports jacket and top coat. Coats with throat latches and zippered sleeves, dozens of large and small utility pockets with velcroed flaps, adjustable hoods, reinforced elbows, and clip fasteners presumably for your Swiss Army knife. They’re designed to give off an air of rugged activity, even though most of that activity might be going to and from the office.

May I suggest something a bit different. Drake’s heavy wool, three-pocket jacket seems a slightly more sophisticated version of these casual jackets. There’s a simplicity of line to the silhouette, nicely echoed in the clean design of the pockets, the single-button cuffs, the bi-swing blade pleats that good hunting coats have always provided for comfortable movement, and the large collar that can be effectively turned up against the wind. 

The heavy twill wool cloth comes from the Casentino region of Italy, where legendary rustic coats known for their durability and beauty have been made for centuries. All in all, this rather chic outer coat is something of a paragon of modern design. And, oh yes, almost forgot, there’s two interior “poacher” pockets, an authentic enough detail, but more suitable today perhaps for dog leash or monogramed flask than game. Drake’s calls it a “Keeper's Coat”, I prefer to think of it as an urbane alternative field coat, a worldly windbreaker if you will.  For when the forest is more Bois de Boulogne than the Tetons.

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