Thursday, January 19, 2012

Erring on the wide side

If you've spun through the world of men's style lately and run across any advertising in your travels, you've likely noticed that the most popular trends (and ones that have been for awhile now) are skinny lapels and super trim cuts. The show Mad Men has had a large hand in this, but makers like Indochino have seemingly trimmed down their lapels to pencil-thin as well. I own one vintage (50s era) suit and wear it once in awhile, so the trend certainly doesn't bother me (other than the super slim fits, which don't work for me), but I also know that as a whole this infatuation will likely pass in time and things will even out. Trends ebb and flow, but the classics stick around. That's just how it goes.

Recently, I ran across a sport coat with the exact opposite problem; it had massive (and I mean massive) lapels. Fortunately, it had several other things going for it, as not only did it have an interesting pattern that I liked (a multi-color check with crosshatch overlay that looks something like a chunky hounds tooth from a distance), but it was thick as my thumb and 100% wool that oozed texture. My wife had her doubts about it, but I couldn't pass it up, and earlier this week when the temps hit low double digits, I pulled it out and let it ride.

thick sport coat

Obviously, this thing isn't for the faint of heart, and although it's dated in terms of cut, I have to admit having a weak spot for it. As mentioned above, I don't really have anything against skinny lapels, and I might as well not be biased against fat ones either.

thick sport coat and pants

To play up the texture angle, I paired it with dark green corduroy pants, a smooth merino v-neck, and a shiny silk repp tie and pocket square. The end result is... unique? Perhaps that's a bit too generous and I more closely resemble a fellow stuck in an era that's much closer to my actual birth date than the present time. Either way, I won't apologize too much.


  1. Call it what you will. I call it unique. Special. Awesome. Amazing. ***king cool, dude.

  2. Yeah, it's very cool! A great combination of color and pattern.

    Best Regards,

    Ulrich von B.

  3. A bold choice but you pulled it off. Who made the jacket?

  4. Looks great! To hell with the rest of them!

  5. It is a cool jacket, would you consider having the lapels altered?

  6. Confident bordering on brazen. Twice, three times a year?

  7. Do any of you fellows know if lapels can be trimmed back by a good tailor? I have seen some great sportcoats from past generations that fit wonderfully through the torso, but -dagnammit! - the lapels are huge. If I could take an inch off the outside edges, they would be great!

  8. JoeTheMiddleYears (and Makaga): I actually asked my tailor about altering lapels and he said that it could be done, but that it's expensive (since he would have to cut them down and completely re-sew them in line with the original stitching. Not to mention, it would take some pretty specific pressing to re-form the fabric so it would lay right. It's definitely do-able, but I'd get an estimate before snagging something.

    It's actually something I wouldn't mind learning how to do, so maybe I'll keep an eye out for a couple old dirt-cheap sport coats I can practice my hand on. If I had my druthers, I'd probably cleave the ones on this jacket off by an inch or so.

  9. I like the way you put these together, except for the shoes, I think this outfit deserves something else, oxblood longwings or penny-loafers for instance ; only my feeling.

  10. I believe we would call that pattern a gun-club check. Or possibly a district check... I'll be damned if I can tell the difference. Whenever a positive identification is made on the blogs, a naysayer appears to assert that the pattern is the opposite.

  11. Wow. That's an amazing jacket. It takes a big, bold guy to pull off a big, bold pattern like that. Of course, the Duke of Windsor would have loved it, although he might have found it slightly too subdued for his taste.

    I think the difference between a district and a gun club check is that the latter has an over-pattern in large squares, while the former does not.


    It could also be that a gun club check is a specific color combination, and district checks are everything else.

    Not sure.

  12. Sheik of Araby, Mr. Readerston: Thanks for the identification. Based on simple google image searches, it looks like and/or with those patterns. I had no idea what it was, so I learned something.

    Axel: The shoes are actually my house slippers. I'd actually worn some beeswax bucks with this outfit, but with an infant crawling around, shoes come off at the door every night after work. :)

    1. Better, even if I really think this outfit needs some shiny shoes to contrast with the thickness and kind of rawness (is this english ?) of the jacket.