Gaylord’s Custom Camel Jacket
I’ve done a lot of thinking about “essentials” recently. This whole #menswear movement of the past 10 years or so has been driven in part by the mantra of “buy less, buy better”. It proposes that one can look great if they spend their money on a few of the right things. I wholeheartedly support this idea, but it has tended to make the discussion a little less exciting. I can only stand to see so many guys in a navy blazer and grey pants.
The swamp of essentials talk seems to disregard the fact that what you “need” in your wardrobe completely depends on what you want to look like. For example, a polo shirt may be an simple and easy shirt to look good on a regular basis, but I simply don’t like polo shirts. Thus, they are not essential to my wardrobe.
True personal style, then, means making your own essentials, finding what is both versatile and expresses how you want to look. This means walking a fine line between the simple and the expressive. Too simple is boring and too expressive drowns out the rest of an outfit. It would be hard, for example, to make bright pink shoes into a personal essential. A variation on a classic, however, can replace that classic in a wardrobe if properly executed.
This jacket is a case in point. Custom made, presumably for a Japanese guy, by Gaylord’s Custom Tailors in Iwakuni, Japan, it has a very distinctive look. Complete with wide lapels, deep patch pockets, pleats extending from the shoulders, and most importantly, a number of seemingly adjustable buttoned pieces. It has a sort of 1970’s-dandy/annoying-guy-in-a-Woody-Allen-movie vibe to it. It even has two loops sewn into the lining below the armpits, presumably for a cane (or gun).
That being said, I love the look of this thing. It’s distinctive and funky without being so over the top. And the quality of the fabric and tailoring is top notch, possibly the highest quality jacket I have yet to thrift.
Wearing this jacket isn’t really as hard as it looks. I tend to sober up the rest of my outfit to balance it out: I avoid loud ties, shirts, or shoes. That being said, most of my wardrobe is pretty subdued, so I don’t have a problem not looking like Pooty Tang. Anytime that I could wear a traditional camel hair jacket, I can wear this.
The best thing about the heavyness of this jacket’s fabric is that it’s warm and comfortable without looking super “rumbled”. As much as I like a casual look, sometimes I like to look both comfortable and sharp. This thing lets me do that all damn winter which means added versatility on the formal/casual spectrum.
One of the best things about second hand shopping is that its very hard to stay on-trend. If you can find clothing that is relatively subdued and well fitting, being in or out of style is never a problem. I can see myself wearing this jacket for some time.