Comfortable, commanding, and classy sans any of the (dogged) symptomatic restrictions (or perceptive “stuffiness”) commonly accredited to traditionally structured suit jackets, there’s simply no denying the odd jackets nostalgia-tinged heritage draw, worldly transitional application, and universally indiscriminating capacity to flatter most any body type courtesy of a diverse range of sharply fitted yet roomy (namely in the shoulders) cuts each uniquely provisioned (as evidenced further below) to either seamlessly blend in, accommodate for additional seasonal layering, or give considerable birth for the application of contrasting pops of colour, texture and pattern as each respectively pertains to breathing new life into otherwise drab (monotone or classic workaday) ensembles or better expressing ones personal tastes and style.
Speaking strictly unto the latter, as extensions of cultivated taste and style as it were, one could certainly argue that they indeed remain unequivocal in their distinguished capacity to make a refined statement (whether overt or subtle) erstwhile proving time-and-again to be basic yet indispensable totems throughly seasoned at helping gentlemen navigate most any modern dress code with ease and an equitability of style, charm and propriety in hand.
Adjudged solely upon such merits it further stands to reason that they are perhaps the gentlemanly ne plus ultra of goldilocks accoutrements, charming vestments of repute traditionally predisposed to becoming the hardest working linchpins within ones sartorial employ on the basis of never seeming too overtly formal (those with softer shoulders are more relaxed and comfortable), casual (adding structure to an odd jacket optimizes its intelligence quotient) nor at direct fault for making one appear (or feel) overdressed at any given moment in time; Immutable golden standards of irrefutable sartorial prowess, in other words, possessive of a lively characteristic duality, deeply ingrained emotional appeal and auxiliary track-record for always playing off as smart and correct selections — for business and pleasure -- having dutifully earned both evergreen reference and a legendary iconography for good reason.
Having said that, from top to bottom the highly apotheosized quintet of quintessential odd jackets you will find championed throughout this pocket guide all fit said bill admirably and in doing have become timeless sartorial investments nonpareil beloved as much as masculine badges of gentlemanly tact and sincerity as for being icons of sartorial permanence whose endearing characteristic affectations, mercurial smart-casual confluence, and multifaceted pastiche of heritage-strewn virtues all but guarantee a gentleman looks positively sharp and well-heeled whether off to a job interview, to “woo” the love of his life, or to take the pup for a walk in the park.
Are they basic? Certainly. Essential? To many yes. Relevant? Without question.
What they are not, however, are humdrum one-trick ponies nor (worse yet) characteristically prone to leaving one sartorially unfulfilled. On the contrary, their inherent smartness and trans-seasonal versatility alone (respective of nature of wear or purposing) can be said to have ennobled them to evolve from once specialized vestments of strict social, club and sportswear affiliated uniformity into internationally civilized accoutrements of ageless repute routinely called-to-arms by modern gentlemen of all walks of life (and means) as sartorially delectable purveyors of a tactful yet indulgent marriage of casual comfort and formal elegance whose finest forms (so to speak) most often bear their fruits within the commingling of a variety of natty textures, muted (predominantly natural/neutral) tones and ever just-so slouchy (albeit always flattering) fits which — unlike traditional tailoring/suits -- champion (unbridled) self-expressionism rather than blind sartorial subservience (in design and wear) to bygone social mores.
And fittingly so as given odd jackets are now not only worn everywhere and with everything but available in a bountiful array of sophisticated and rugged forms both classically revered and newfangled alike ranging in stylized nuance from softly tailored (and oft unlined) Italian camelhair sports coats, hard-working (deconstructed) French chore jackets, and traditionally structured (English drape) navy blazers through louche knit blazers, born-again safari jackets, and layer-friendly patterned tweed sports coats — the latter of which remain the very picture of rugged elegance.
Why? Perhaps the biggest reason would be that of modern workplace cultures becoming both increasingly de-formalized and more casually de rigour with the byproduct being a laissez faire sartorial realm wherein odd jackets can reign supreme as an acceptable middle-ground (read: best of both worlds) between traditional tailoring and everyday casual attire (think denim, t-shirts, knitwear, etc.) that can offer the comfort of knitwear + the formality of a suit jacket to a generation of workers all but convinced that traditional formal wear is on the verge of going the way of the dodo and dressing to (truly) impress a lost art form (or worse yet, perceived as but socially damning posturing or posing).
To such an end trendy throwaway gambits these are not but rather evergreen wardrobing equities positioned to serve as eternally beloved rays of hope within a sea of t-shirts and denim for those of a peculiar sartorial ilk whom desire transitional godsends worth their weight in gold that prove day-in, day-out that comfort needn’t come at the expense of style nor style in the name of fashionability; Valuables of (oft) depthless riches awaiting plunder which, come day’s end, function as sophisticated levellers of the smart-casual sartorial (and cultural) dichotomy that communicates the message that not all hope nor a desire to look (professionally) respectable has been lost.
Howbeit, just how many sports jackets does a man need, and what kind/style of jackets should they be? I think it would be safe to assume that I’d strongly advocate for the five below (contingent upon one’s lifestyle and career needs of course) as the answer to both such queries.
Why? Perhaps because they (1) arguably never go out of style, (2) bespeak unto the timeless merits and lasting appeal of simplicity and ruggedly tailored elegance in design, and (3) collectively comprise of bonafide classics won’t to both transcending the age of the wearer as well as, thanks to their predominantly neutral (and often earthy) colour palettes, working harmoniously with most any and everything within a gentleman’s everyday dress rotation.
My point being: You will not regret investing in and (subsequently) wearing these wheelhouse workhorses everywhere life takes you whether on the weekend, to the office, at home, or on date night in tandem with oxfords, slippers, boots or sneakers and alongside traditional slacks, selvedge denim or even tailored joggers (however tread carefully with the last) — your options are truly boundless granted you possess a little imagination and a touch of sartorial foresight.
On that note, what should come at no great surprise henceforth is that yours truly is a unabashed champion of the humble yet invigorating odd jacket as being THE ultimate jack-of-all-sartorial-trades utility player for the modern gentleman given the finest specimens in existence therein tend to each possess a natural propensity to make for timeless investments eternally poised to continually make a (transitional) splash season-after-season if properly cared for.
For you see, from Sunday through Saturday and from sunrise through sunset there exists an odd jacket for every discerning taste, social/professional calling or eventuality, and a variety of incremental weather conditions whether one fancies an infallible alternative to a two-piece suit such as the classic navy serge blazer (with grey flannel slacks) whilst earning his daily keep, requires standalone outerwear in the vein of a natty tweed (or patterned) jacket that can capably stave off cold (but not frozen over) gusts sans needing to apply a weighty overcoat, or longs for a smart, sophisticated and nuanced layer the likes of a camelhair blazer that instantly injects a richness of character further juxtaposed by an undercurrent of class into otherwise muted or blasé seasonal looks.
Bearing that in mind, could you honestly expect anything less from these (eminently more versatile) precursors to the modern two (and three)-piece suit? From these classic gentlemanly mainstays transformed?
I for one certainly would not, especially should one factor in to the equation that before the dawn of the modern (coordinated two or three-piece) suit the odd jacket was widely celebrated as the ne plus ultra of “smart” gentlemanly accoutrements — the toast of sartorial society as it were.
A distinction it retains — in the humble opinion of yours truly — to this day not solely in name but functionality (albeit in an evolved context) due in no small part to a social trickle down effect going hand-in-hand with its protean diversification into a bonafide class of wears unto itself notably flush in a range of versatile diplomatic unifiers of geographical realms (town AND country), social classes, contemporary workspaces and all gentlemen alike.
To wit, whether originally cast, repurposed, reborn or reconditioned to continually befit the ever-evolving modern standards of dress, the revealing lesson worth gleaning forthwith is that a gentleman should never underestimate foremost articles of such storied sartorial permanence as odd jackets whose mixed pursuit utility, credible staying power and understated influential sway have elevated them to an elevated sartorial pedestal unto themselves wherein their ability to at once help stave off the chill, instantly smarten up any look, alter perceptions, flatter our best features (while likewise hiding our physical deficiencies) and ensure we all can look as dashing, smart and well-heeled as we feel comfortable and capable in both our state or dress and daily affairs remains unrivalled.
The odd jacket, after all, is all that and more, a sophisticated wardrobe linchpin and evergreen menswear fixture poised to pay lifelong dividends whose characteristic dualities enable them to fittingly toe the smart-casual line as relaxed yet steely symbols of power, style and authority framed as eternal reflections of good taste and self-respect.
So, whether you count yourself as a proponent of the odd jacket or not, I for one cannot more wholeheartedly recommend investing in this well-turned out collection of crowning (jack-of-all-trades) jackets post haste.
To such an end, and with the temperatures currently oscillating between a genteel warmth and a sharp bone-chilling frost, the golden foliage of autumn long ago having departing us with reckless haste, and the holidays but a fleeting blip in the rearview mirror, without any further or ado here is a definite pocket guide detailing the 5 most iconic trans-seasonal odd jackets whose equitability of enduring style and characteristic substance positions them amongst the foremost wardrobe investments a gentleman can make — bar none.
All things being equal, the only question that may perhaps remain is whether you prefer commissioning something from this legendary roll call that is smooth or natty, sleek or capacious, distinctively smart or downright casual?
My advice? Invest with respects to the descending order presented (starting with the navy blazer) or however you see fit as there is no right nor wrong way to approach odd jacket cultivation per se…just what is best for ones needs (+ tastes).
Odd jackets, after all, are preeminent sartorial tacticians skilled in not only rakishly bridging the omnipresent smart-casual sartorial divide but in instantly smartening up of ones appearance and naturally accentuating a gentleman’s best features whether by means of broadening the shoulders, trimming the waist, or even smoothing over/cleaning up ones lines respective of ones type of physique or the presence of unique familial traits/physical peculiarities (think sloping shoulders, longer limbs, etc.).
Inasmuch at their finest when purposefully cut to at once flatter any distinctive physical strengths one may possess whilst likewise masking any glaring deficiencies/physical oddities therein, it warrants note that the 5 odd jackets presented above all perform exceptionally in such a regard whilst boasting enduring legacies illustrative of versatile garments that stand second to none in making every discerning gentleman look and feel as good as they are won’t to performing as superlative investments of the highest sartorial order. Ergo, superfluous aesthetic dressing nor luxury wardrobe gap fillers they are not, but rather highly coveted symbols of genteel style worldly revered for their traditionally staged characteristic masculinity, inherent rakish charm and palpable democratic appeal.
To wit, each transformative stalwart championed above arrives not solely with a crowning heritage draw in hand but in a variety of ageless, heirloom quality forms and modern silhouettes which together have seen fit in uniquely positioning them to be amongst the hardest-working, most flattering and reliable wardrobe capstones one could invest in today with the promise of receiving nothing less than a lifetime of wear in return.
With that in mind as well as the reality of “dressed down” modern workplace cultures not only becoming increasingly de rigour but at the influential forefront of reshaping the (ever-evolving) ideals of contemporary dressage, one could certainly levy the argument henceforth that odd jackets have never been more dashing, germane, utilitarian or primed for immediate adoption than at this very moment in time.
Well, that could be on account that each of these failsafe sartorial assets slyly occupy that hallowed goldilocks space between being too distinctively casual (read: hoodies, crewneck sweaters, et al) and too traditionally formal (i.e. suits) from which so many either aim to master or are tasked with navigating today. Or, perhaps it is because they provide both traditional and eclectic dressers amongst us alike with an opportunity to either step out of our comfort zones, think beyond our suits, or to emotionally express our differing (professional, leisurely and casual) states of sartorially inspired prowess however we see fit upon wholly respectable vessels of considered notoriety that are universally renowned for being amicable to boundless experimentation (within tasteful reason that is) .
Cast in such a vein, nit should be readily evident that o longer are odd jackets weighed down by outdated sartorial precepts, their once specialized sportswear heritage, the predominantly stiff silhouettes of the days of yore that offer little by way of comfort or appeal (being marked instead by deconstructed forms which offer better ease of movement/more casual clout), nor are they singularly referred to as old world signifiers of bygone social class/club membership in wear; On the contrary, today’s best respectably merge comfort, form and function whilst gifting us considerable birth to tastefully experiment with seasonal texture, colour and layering depths in a manner otherwise unsuitable upon traditional (formal) tailoring.
And the result? A diverse range of sartorially stoic, seductive and informed smart-casual odd jackets for most any occasion armed with transcendent fortitude, multipurpose utility and universally flattering character that pay equal respects to the past (through enduring aesthetic nods to their pioneering sportswear forebears) and present (via increasingly louche, casual and relaxed contemporary tailoring casual cadences) rather than fish out of water impulse buys or outdate classics that either simply fall in line with outdated ideals of classically staged sartorial protocol or that (worse yet) cater to the capricious vicissitudes of modern trendsetting; A best of both worlds selection of alternative smart jackets difficult to ignore that are seasoned in helping one remain rakishly attired (and aligned with most professional protocol) at all times so as to better reflect upon the pressing modern desires to appear at once smart and authoritative yet at ease and approachable all the same.
Tack on to that mouthwatering prospect the capability to be dressed up or down with little effort and it should be of no great mystery as to why those before you today have become significant cogs within most every gentleman’s wardrobe for they alone will all but ensure you maintain a prevailing sense of respectability in dress no matter where life leads you.
Inasmuch, and in everyday wear, won’t to developing a unique characteristic patina over time all the while imparting an authoritative yet relaxed form of sartorial nonchalance at but a moments notice, come day’s end what these five legendary odd jackets all ultimately possess is an enduring sartorial palpability fittingly underscored by a prevailing characteristic verve truly worth celebrating and wearing for time immemorial whether one fancies sporting his with or without a tie, in tandem with a traditional dress shirt or turtleneck, or perhaps either as professional layering pieces (with cardigans, overcoats, gilets, etc.) or even standalone outerwear whenever the inclination (or need) arises.
To just such an end, this superlative collection of odd jackets is not only infallible but one that covers most every conceivable base in due course of best positioning a gentleman for success no matter the occasional eventuality, weather condition or professional engagement at the wait. Predicated upon time-tested marvels truly deserving of pride of place within the scope of any modern gentleman’s everyday wardrobe, it stands to reason that one would certainly be hard-pressed to find a more exquisite contingent of equally smart, clean and authoritative trans-seasonal superstars.
In any event (and by a variety of measures) a collection strictly curated for those who cherish tradition, style and craft above all else, the conclusive takeaway herewith should ultimately be that odd jackets are — when the collective dust settles -- amongst the foremost investments every gentlemen who is serious about remaining sharp, stylish and warm during the colder periods of the year can make whether they fancy themselves as classic navy blazer clad gentlemen or heritage Harris Tweed sports coat donning aficionados (or a sprinkling of one-and-all); It is, intrinsically, a collection for those who would rather not resort to wearing blasé athleisurewear (read: joggers and hoodies), heavy duty outerwear (in warmer climes) or a traditional two or three-piece suit on a daily (or even intermittent) basis.
On that note, do take to wearing yours with upmost confidence, pride and unwavering comfort in whatever capacity you see fit whether as fully fledged standalone outerwear in warmer A/W climes, as key winter layering foundations transcribed for wear beneath an overcoat/gilet or above a choice selection of lightweight (naturally fabricated) layers such as waistcoats, cardigans and dress and casual shirts alike whilst on the job, or even while taking brisk strolls with the pup in the park, going pumpkin picking/carolling, or when trying to impress come date night — the choice is yours.
In having said that,, it is my singular hope that this feature (and its panoply of inspired looks) will at the very least help you better master the art of dressing smart in even the most trying (and socially unjust) conditions or likewise challenge you to seek out the pleasurable reassurances present within odd jackets that fittingly share many similar characteristics with even the finest suit jackets in existence — from exquisite cloth and fine workmanship through excellent fit and an assiduous element of lasting respectability.
With that in mind, and whether adjudged by the standards of yesteryear, today or tomorrow, these 5 beacons of permanent style will continually (and undoubtably) earn both their keep and vaunted positioning within menswear’s sartorial Valhalla as consummate bridges between workaday suits and weekend wear that remain sartorially imperative, eternally seductive, and delectable paragons of casual sophistication, traditional ceremony and permanent style that (when well-cut and classically styled) can truly take a gentleman anywhere — ad infinitum.
Self-indulgent sartorial (smart-casual) comfort food par excellence indeed.
So, whether it’s cold outside or not, here’s (figuratively) raising a glass to the many enduring characteristic merits of the odd jacket and investing in "jack-of-all-trades" vestments that can most assuredly take a gentleman anywhere.
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