The donkey jacket is rooted in donkey jackets of yore: a two-tone number, and a workwear mainstay in England through most of the last century. It is a five-button jacket, whose upper half is one cloth, lower half is another, and whose big departure from its ancestors is a seamless shoulder.
The donkey jacket has a very substantial collar. It is pointed with round corners. It may be worn all the way up (as left) when it hugs the neck at the back and sides, and really cuts out the cold. Or, of course, it may be worn down (as above). Even then, in repose, it stands proud, rather than limp and apologetic.
The buttons on the jacket are large, solid horn — dark in colour and matte in finish — and each is a little different from one to the next. They are in that regard as if alpha-keratin snowflakes — such is the beauty of being a product of a high-grade natural material, rather than, say, a plastic replica.
There are five pockets at the front of the donkey jacket. Most obvious of them are the jetted flap pockets, which are at waist height. You can't miss them. Below them, out of sight, are warmer pockets (below) which are built into the side-seams, and are chief candidates for plunging in hands.
There's a pocket on the chest seam, too — a small one, handy for keys, coins, matchboxes, etc.
There's no shoulder seam on the jacket. No armhole, no raglan, no nothing. Good for keeping out the rain, then, and so aiding and abetting the sail-canvas. The complete absence of a seam also means that the jacket has the softest imaginable shoulder: for better or worse, it rolls over the natural lines of the wearer.
The jacket is lined halfway down the back with a smooth and slinky satin, cut as a single panel. It helps with sliding the donkey on and off, being as the outer cloth has the potential for friction. The sleeves, too, are lined with the same cloth.
Inside, the jacket has a chest pocket on the left-side as worn. Handy. Perhaps more importantly, though, the inside of the jacket is faced with an extra layer of outer cloth — meaning that, when fully done up, there are several layers of thick cloth between the chest of the wearer and the harsh winds of the world outside.
The wool melton is a replica of cloth woven by the same mill, on the same premises, over half a century ago for the British Army. It is heavy, sure, but with tremendous drape and flow. The yarn from which it is woven — of British sheep — is worsted-spun, hence is more lustrous than usual.
The sail-cloth is a high-count canvas, with all the subtle bobbliness that that entails. It has a weatherproof finish and is densely woven, so is excellent in the rain. It is also hard-wearing, and is very much in the "gets better with age" category. Impressively rich, deep colour, too: well done, dye-works.