Thursday, 5 March 2015

Men's Coats for Spring: a GreyFox/SartoriaLab photo-shoot

As winter retreats and the Sun warms the Earth, we find our winter coats a little heavy and uncomfortable. I decided, with help from Sarah Gilfillan of Sartoria Lab, to look for lighter coats that can be layered according to temperature.

We wanted to try a variety of styles and approached a few brands offering an interesting selection in their SS15 collections. I was pleased at least half of them are British-made, even though we hadn't selected them on that basis.

This is the first of a series of photo-shoots in which Sarah and I show menswear being worn by older men (initially me, volunteers welcome). Most brands use very young models, discouraging the older man from trying out the products on offer.

I've tried coats I wouldn't normally wear and have been surprised by most of them. I hope that our approach will encourage you to experiment and try some of the clothes we show. If our efforts both encourage brands to use older models in their campaigns and also influence you to try new styles, I'll be very happy.

Sarah and I comment on each jacket below, giving a link to the supplier's website (or to the item itself) so that you can browse and buy. We've only had cursory glances at the suppliers' descriptions so that we can give you our own views on the coats.

I'm very grateful to photographer Nick Maroudias for the superb images and for his support for an inexperienced model. Without his involvement, this project would have been impossible. Thanks also to Jean-Pierre Agius whose help and innovative styling suggestions were invaluable.



Sarah: I wasn't sure about this jacket when I first saw images of it, but it really grew on me when I could see and handle it. I love pea-coats and the tan cotton looks fresh for spring. It goes very well with navy and white so, if you're like a lot of men with a large percentage of blue in your wardrobe, it'll make a good choice. We decided to give it a smarter feel with a chambray shirt and floral tie. 

David: I liked the colour and fit of this coat from an interesting and growing brand. Like most coats tried here, it follows the modern trend for short-fit. With well-designed and made details (like the closure to the collar) this is comfortable and well-made. It will suit most ages and body-types, making it an ideal spring/summer jacket.



Sarah: I often shop for classic, functional jackets with clients and Barbour offer a great selection. The biker style of this one gives it a "cool" Steve McQueen edge. Wear it done up and belted or open with the belt tied at the back.

David: My initial thought was that this may be too motor bike for daily wear, but I was wrong. I liked the fit, practicality and classic style of this jacket. Versatile enough for town and country wear and can be layered as the weather cools. A cool classic, but I'd like to see fewer logos; Barbour is a brand that shouldn't need to shout that loudly.

Click here



Sarah: Generally I consider bomber jackets to be a bit of a younger style, but when David tried this on I thought it looked good. Initially we tried to style it with a polo shirt for a summery feel, but it gave it too much of a mod / skinhead style, so we went back to a simple roll neck. A fine knit crew neck sweater layered over a t-shirt would also look good. 

David: My thoughts are the same as Sarah's. Care needs to be taken when wearing a bomber, but I was surprised how much I liked it. Reasonably-priced and stylishly simple, it has a mesh lining and the quality belies its price. One for you to try for yourself.

Click here



Sarah: This was the surprise of the day which ended up being my favourite. Duffle coats aren't everyone's style, but it really suited David. It's a great spring-like take on the classic wool duffle, in a lightweight showerproof fabric. It's not the first thing I'd think of buying with a client but, having seen this on, I'll definitely be more open to it in future. 

David: Again, my thoughts are the same. This was a very last-minute addition to the shoot. I requested it urgently as it offered something quite different to the other coats. I wasn't hopeful that I'd like it, but it ended up as a surprise favourite of the day, and it's British-made. Made from an Italian coated cotton, it's shower-proof and light. An interesting, practical and stylish version of the classic duffle coat. I've seen some interesting products coming from Gloverall and look forward to covering them again.

Click here



Sarah: I love the elegant shape of this mac-style jacket/coat, which would work equally well on larger guys because of the simple unfussy style. It looks great with jeans, but would also be perfect over a suit. Although the fabric is cotton it looks a bit more tweedy. I'd be more inclined to buy this with clients in autumn rather than spring. 

David: Oliver Sweeney offer an interesting range of menswear. This coat comes in many guises (including as a mac) and colours. At first glance it's wool, but it's made of a cotton tweedy fabric, ideal for milder spring and summer weather. With a clean design, nice details and (this was a pleasant surprise) a Made in England label, this was another favourite - probably for town rather than country wear. 



Sarah: An interesting and detailed jacket which fills the gap between a blazer and a casual jacket. Its the sort of thing I might buy with a client if they didn't have the need for a smart navy blazer, and wanted something a bit different.

David: I liked its cut and practicality, but was less sure about the details, in particular the numerous pockets and the perforations on large parts of the jacket. This is a collaboration with the Japanese White Mountaineering, so it's aimed at the younger man. One for you to try and make up your own mind about.

Click here 



Sarah: I like the shape, collar and detailing of this jacket. It's got quite a retro seventies style to it, so I think on an older guy it needs to be styled with modern pieces to keep it looking contemporary. 

David: A British-made jacket (in Manchester) from the successful Private White V.C. Although I've been to their factory and supported them on the blog for some time, this was the first time I had had the opportunity to try on one of their products. The faux-suede looks and feels like the real thing, lacking only the supreme flexibility of the best suede. I liked the quality and superb detailing, including the characteristic copper P.W.V.C. zip and well-shaped shawl collar. Different and stylish.

Click here 



Sarah: An easy to wear versatile cotton field jacket, which you can layer up with chunky knitwear whilst it's still cold, but will work equally well with lightweight trousers and t-shirts for cool summer evenings. It's a flattering shape for very slim guys as the epaulettes and pockets all have a broadening effect. 

David: Another good value jacket from John Lewis, this reminded me very much of a US Army surplus combat jacket I wore while a student in the seventies. I liked the back detail and well-made nature of this jacket. Being who they are, John Lewis don't feel the need to undermine the simple design with logos and other geegaws; hooray.

Here are links to some of the other clothes that I'm wearing:

Brogues - Loake
English-made jeans - Quantock
Shirts - Tripl Stitched
Tie - Dancys
Socks - Marwood mohair
Watch - vintage Tudor Submariner

NOTE: Our next shoot, in March/April, will explore men's summer blazers, suits and jackets. Please e-mail me or Sarah if you would like your products to be considered for inclusion.

If you, as a blog reader, have any suggestions for items you would like to see featured in these shoots, please get in touch.


Tony Lupton said...

Autumn/Spring jackets! As much as I'll ever need in subtropical Brisbane. I particularly like the Realm and Empire Peacoat - very nice. I look forward to the Summer edition of this post, which will be even more relevant to me. Thanks, Tony.

Oliver Long said...

Wow, every one of those outfits is perfectly spot on!! TWO THUMBS UP! 👍👍

Oh, and you look great... you don't need to recruit a model. ;)

Bridget Gray said...

Great piece David!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post. Thanks for taking the time to show so many jackets. The pea coat is something I wouldn't think to pick up but after seeing the pictures I may get one - agree that the colour is great for Spring.

Chris Parkinson-Brown said...

What a super little posting - very informative and thought-provoking.
My initial reaction was that one or two of the pieces might be more "Summery" than "Springy" (given that Spring in Britain can often bring some of our most inclement weather), but I guess the point is that one can add layers as required.
Loved the Private White jacket. Would the collar be a true shawl collar, or could it be folded down in more conventional mode? And what about the faux suede material; do you feel it might be a little sweat-inducing in comparison to the real thing?
Anyway, thanks for an interesting posting.
Chris Parkinson-Brown.

Anonymous said...

I can only echo the positive views articulated above. Some great jackets and styling amply demonstrating that us older guys can look good when dressed casually.

Grey Fox said...

Many thanks for the comments so far. Chris, the collar does fold down very neatly, that may show in an image on PWVC's site.


Anonymous said...

I have to say I like the Realm & Empore pea coat, the Gloverall and the John Lewis the best. The Barbour with belt I also like, but wouldn't buy it for the logo; can't stand logos, and I've noticed even in eyewear, they are everwhere, particularly on the temples.

I've had an old bomber, tan/olive green, foundin a thrift store years ago while on a business trip. Love it, but never know what to pair it with, so I never really wear it. The bomber here, albeit blue, has given me inspiration to give it a try this morning at my children's violin recitals! Just for fun.

I actually really like the Barbour with belt. Too bad for the label. Too mainstream. They should definitely not move in that direction.


Anonymous said...

Hi Grey fox

The best for me are the Realm and Empire peacoat and the John Lewis field jacket. I'm not a big fan of waxed coats. But those two look very good.


Juteman said...

I love the look of the Oliver Sweeny jacket, but it's a pity the Tan version is made from cotton only.

shaun brown said...

An excellent article and very timely! I use your site and The Sartorialist for inspiration as at 44 with three young children and a passion for clothing my budget doesnt stretch far.eBay has been my saviour and with research and careful buying of quality pre loved items,especially coats and jackets,i can afford the things i want.The Gloverall Duffel prompted this post as i have a slightly shorter version in Navy that cost me around £20 last year and is a well made,durable coat that will get a lot of use this spring.I know you have written articles in the past regarding ebay purchasing and i would like to back that up for your followers.If you have an idea of the style you want and with a bit of brand research around sizing and a bit of patience you can indulge yourself without depriving the children of new school shoes.Keep up the good work.

Chris Parkinson-Brown said...

Thanks for your info. about the Private White jacket, I'll take a look at their website.
Chris P-B.

Anonymous said...

Love the diversity of comment here.. Wish there was a similar blog for women

Anonymous said...

...meant to add would love to see these shoots feature a bulkier frame too. So many men, whilst not exactly overweight have put on a few pounds by this stage in life. Grey Fox def someone to aspire to but not often a possibilty for many!

Jamie said...

Nice collection. I really liked the fact that they used someone who is not in his 20s as the model. It looks good to have variety in that too.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...