Field jacket in cotton airweave in navy

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Buying

£410.00

Field jacket, made in London, with a substantial (320gsm) but breathable cotton from Lancashire, horn buttons from the Midlands, and leather lacing from a tannery in Derbyshire.

Sizing

The jacket fits true to size, but for a slim fit, consider going down a size. The wooden man here, for instance, has a chest of 38, but no shoulders of which to speak, so is wearing XS.

XS S M L XL
To fit chest 36 38 40 42 44
Pit-to-pit 20½ 21½ 22½ 23½ 24½
Back length 29½ 29¾ 30 30¼ 30½
Sleeve from   centre-back 33½       34       34½       35       35½      

Caring

The field jacket is mostly cotton, yes, but several aspects are not. The leather drawstring, for example, and the horn buttons. Thus it is best to wash it only by hand, in lukewarm water, and to avoid the washing machine at all costs. Dry-cleaning is the second-best option.

A four-button jacket, this, with a stand collar, five pockets, and a drawstring waist. That's it, in simple terms. But this is also a jacket with a few surprises up its sleeve (and side-body and shoulder). The drawstring, for starters, which is hidden at the front below two large, floating chest pockets.
The drawstring is leather, and emerges in the front sections of the interior of the jacket. It is loosened or tightened with the aid of a sliding knot. It doesn't have to be tightened, of course, in which case the body hangs untrammelled, or it may be tightened to its zenith, pulling in the waist section no end.
The airweave is a reproduction of a cotton favoured by the British Army in the middle portion of the last century. It is strong and hard-wearing, and made with long-staple cotton yarn for a clean drape and smart lustre. Has an open weave, too, for good heat-transfer and excellent ventilation.
Four buttons adorn the front — although when fastened are concealed from view by virtue of the fly-front. They are made with horn, are pretty large, and have a matte finish. Being as they are made with natural horn, each is different from one to the next, as if spotted and streaked alpha-keratin snowflakes.
The collar fastens with two small press-studs. It is cut to sit away from the neck at the front, just a little, so never rubbing beards up the wrong way. And unlike such collars do sometimes, it never sits convex or collapses on itself. Instead, it is always round, skimming the sides of the neck and the nape at the back.
The field jacket has a patrol pleat at the back — shooting shoulder and action-back are other good names for this type of thing. And call it what you will, it permits an excellent degree of forward movement. Hidden from view, an elastic panel runs across the upper back, so it snaps back into shape post-stretch.
The field jacket has a secret. It doesn't have a shoulder seam. Instead, thanks to a most unusual method of assembly, it has a very adventurous body seam, which runs along where a shoulder seam would ordinarily be found. And, rather than looping around the pit, this seam makes a b-line for the body ...
... where it is interrupted by a chest pocket. This has a bellows construction, held to the body only at the top: hanging freely and doing what gravity tells it when the wearer bends over. It is bisected by a pleat, which in a pleasing flourish of alignment, runs atop the above-mentioned front body seam.
Lift the chest pocket up and what do you see? The drawstring channel. Bar-tacks, meanwhile, are rife. They strengthen all points of stress to ensure the jacket can be used fairly heavily for a fairly long time without complaint. The base of the patrol pleat, for instance, and at a multitude of points on the pockets.
The cuffs fasten with a single press-stud. They're quite tight. There's a pleat at the front of the sleeve which helps with that.
The jacket is fully lined with a slinky satin, making donning and undonning it a breeze, and helping to reduce friction with whatever is worn underneath. There is also one additional pocket on the inside of the jacket — a classic in-breast pocket, on the left side as worn, for mobile phones or wallets.

As worn

This gent is 6'2", nearly 12 stone, and as standard a 38 chest as you could ever wish to meet. Here, he is wearing a size S, and the fit is just right.

Makers of

The jacket is made at an outerwear factory in London: the best, many agree, in the capital. The jacket is cut by the hands of a cutter with some 30 years in the trade, and sewn by one of four seamsters whose meticulousness and pursuit of perfection would be caricature were the end results not always so good.
The cloth is woven by a mill in east Lancashire: in a region of the country which was once red-brick cotton-mill chimneys as far as the eye could see. More or less the last of its kind, the mill has forgotten more about cotton than most will ever know — a fact born out by the quality of its work.
The horn buttons were cut, shaped, and polished by the last such factory in Britain (now defunct). It was part of a tradition in the Midlands first linked to the meat industry of the 18th century. "It is no easy task," said William Hutton in 1780, "to enumerate the infinite diversity of buttons here in Birmingham."