The tour jacket, mk. II

The tour jacket. Made for spring-time touring. Or perhaps not. But it is made for being out and about: the sort of thing that tends to happen in spring. Has internal shoulder straps, see, which means it can be slung easily onto the back and worn a bit like a backpack. Saves lugging it around under-arm. Handy when cycling — grand tour or otherwise.

The new tour jacket continues the theme of the dry-wax mac of last month, with a high-end pin-dot wool-cashmere collar sitting atop a practical and hard-wearing cotton body.

With the top button done up, the tour jacket has a neat collar; when undone, as below, it opens up, lapel-like — sometimes called an Eton collar.

People playing close attention will realise the tour jacket debuted this time last year. In response to comments of those that gave it a go back then, some changes have been made. Progress. So, the collar has been tweaked — a notch and top-button making things, well, a bit more buttoned-up. The cuffs have been adjusted, too, with a button-and-loop fastening ramping up wrist-region tightening. And, the handiwork of the new North London factory, it is better made; draping better, with a finish that is that much cleaner.

Some things are the same as last year’s model. It is a five-button jacket, short, slightly boxy. It has dual-use pockets on the front, into which hands can be shoved from top or side, and an internal chest-height pocket with slim pencil compartment. It keeps the internal shoulder strap, too. Wouldn’t be the tour jacket without it. The strapping, an inspiration from hunting garments or yore, means the jacket can be slung over the shoulders and worn like a backpack. Handy when the weather takes a turn for the half-decent — as at time of writing — and you don’t want to lug it around under-arm. One slight change to last year is that the strap is a now permanent fixture, sewn into the internal side seams and looping through the neck-loop. Less to fiddle with on the move.

The internal straps: there if you need them — as here, where they allow the jacket to be hitched up for hands-free carriage when cycling. Whereas last year they were buttoned in, this time the straps are sewn into the internal seams.

The cloths, collar and body, hail respectively from West Yorkshire and Lancashire. The wool-cashmere pin-dot — made in a very short run, to order, and comprising several shades of green and off-white — raises the tone, and the corduroy — 11-wale needlecord, 100% cotton — is soft, durable, and one of those cloths for which “gets better with age” was likely coined. Buttons are large and made in the middle of England; horn, matte tortoiseshell, with all the natural colours that come with being a wholly natural product.

The jacket is the first to be available not only in the online shop, here, but stores in Japan. Useful to know, next time you’re knocking around 東京都港区南青山. It will also be hanging in the new workshop on Boundary Street, ready for test-runs, at the end of March. Stock willing, of course: the dusty green corduroy is an end-of-line cloth — the mill’s last few meters — so only eight tour jackets are available this side of the planet.