Work jacket in cotton sail-cloth in slate blue

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Work jacket, made in London, with cotton sail-cloth — a hard-wearing but soft canvas — from Scotland, and horn buttons from the Midlands.


The work jacket fits true to size — but note that it is one of the more short jacket styles in these parts. The mannequin is as standard a 38 chest as ever there was, and therefore wears a size S.

To fit chest 36 38 40 42 44
Pit-to-pit 20 21 22 23 24
Shoulder 18 18½ 19 19½ 20
Sleeve over shoulder 30 30½ 31 31½ 32
Back length 27½ 28 28½ 29 29½
The work jacket is a five-button number, fairly short and mostly straight in the body, and a casual all-rounder. It has a collar of middling size, with gently rounded points, which is cut such that it caresses the neck when up, but sits pleasingly proud and round when down. No sloppy concavity here.
The buttons on the jacket are horn, and are dark in colour and matte in finish and large in size. Being as these buttons are only a step or two from nature, each is different to the next, in terms of shade, marking, and hue. They are each anchored by a little matching backing button at the back.
The jacket has what looks like a classic set-in sleeve, such as you might expect on most jackets of this type ...
... but on further examination, it is evidently anything but. The sleeve is partially open, see, at the armpit. This is entirely hidden from view when arms at ease, of course — but nevertheless, it's a kind of cutting-edge-in-1890 source of ventilation for an otherwise doughty and durable jacket.
The jacket has many pockets — some more obvious than others. The main pockets are large, spanning almost the entire front. They're best thought of as buckets for all and every belonging, and the insouciant stuffing of hands. Firm little stitches, here and there, help keep everything in check.
There is a chest pocket on the right, mirrored on the left by the stitching of an internal pocket (which, sandwiched between the two layers of the jacket, is accessible only by digging around, and is thus best thought of as two-thirds secret.) Both are strengthened at points of wear and tear with bar-tacks.
There's also a pocket — a jetted one, this time — on the inside of the jacket. This one is just the right size for mobiles and plastic cards. It makes for five pockets in total, which is about three-eighths of the jacket's surface area.
There are button-tabs at the sides of the jacket, at waist height, for adjusting the fit. Some like it boxy, some like some shape: the work jacket tries its best to satisfy all.
The sleeves are a standard sort of width, but they taper sharply at the elbow and fasten snugly around the wrist with gusset-type cuffs.
The back of the work jacket is lined, halfway down, with the cotton sail-cloth. This double-layer of cloth, here and elsewhere, makes for a sturdy and hard-wearing barrier from the wind and rain. It also keeps the internal workings of the jacket out of sight, and thus ensures the inside is as tidy as the outside.
The cloth is a canvas, with all of the bobbliness that that entails. It is 14oz in weight, which is moderate, but after weaving it is washed with some rigour, and is thus much softer in handle and drape than you'd expect. No stiff-as-cardboard canvas, this, then: a soft, pliant wearing-experience awaits.

As worn

The gent here is 6'2", 11½ stone, and as standard a 38 chest as you could meet. The jacket he's wearing here, then, is a size S, and the shortness in the sleeve is down to the gent (long arms predict intelligence) rather than the jacket.

Makers of

The jacket is made by an outerwear factory in north-east London. It is specialised skill, assembling jackets from thick and heavy cloth. The idea is to make something which truly lasts — all highly durable making techniques, heavy fusing, and turned seams — without the result being stiff or bulky.
The cotton comes from Scotland, from a mill on the coast, where the making of heavy, waxed, and otherwise element-proof materials emerged in hand, centuries ago, with local seafaring trades. Industry-strength cottons finished in industry-leading ways is very much the order of the day here.
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."

So they say

Yet another beautiful (and functional) thing.

Feedback from a chap in London, who picked up the work jacket in heavy cord in October 2018.

As with my overshirt, I am very pleased with the work jacket, too. Your things are very distinctive, without being at all gimmicky, and are beautifully made. Thank you.

On the heels of an overshirt acquired one week earlier, this gent bought the jacket in melton in August 2017.

After a brief detention in a mountain-top post office, the [work] jacket has arrived and is unsurprisingly delightful.

This gent bought a rare thing indeed — the jacket in wool-angora — in September of 2016.