At Last, the Norfolk Blazer

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It was great to hear so many readers interested in my Norfolk Blazer project – an attempt to design a cashmere jacket that could equally well go with the smartest of ties and occasions, as with the coldest of outdoor excursions.

The addition of elements of the Norfolk jacket to a classic blazer was not straightforward. My tailor Mr Tam looked perplexed on more than one occasion. And as regular readers will remember, the final product lacked in a few areas, having both square fronts at the bottom of the jacket and a roomier fit more suited to hiking than dining.

The lesson from that experience was to always make one previously commissioned piece your archetype, from which the new commission is instructed to deviate in some ways. That way you guarantee that any specifics not brought up will be presumed to be the same as the archetype.

Mr Tam made the adjustments I requested, however, and sent the finished garment through the post. It arrived yesterday, and I show two pictures here for those that were interested.

I apologise profusely for the quality of the pictures, which had to be taken with a simple pocket-sized camera. My only consolation is that most internet pictures of one’s own clothes seem to have this jacket-in-the-headlights look.

The first shot shows the jacket in a formal setting, with the belt tucked away at the rear (it could also be removed entirely). The second shows it set up for an autumn stroll, belted and with the collar up. As previously mentioned, it also buttons underneath the collar with a working buttonhole and hidden button, providing a single, clean barrier when the other three buttons are also fastened.

The only aspect of the jacket not caught here is the action back, a single bellow in the centre of the back.

To my eye, and so far, it seems to perform the functions desired of it. By balancing patch pockets with 100% cashmere, and a smart navy colour with a belt in that navy, it bridges two worlds and two uses.

One final point on postage. Many of these items delivered from Hong Kong or the Far East are sent using EMS, an international speed post system. EMS uses ParcelForce in the UK, as it has no offices of its own. This is not advertised anywhere, however, and if your jacket is held on with customs charges (as mine was) it is not easy to find out which Post Office will be holding your item. In this case, it was not a Post Office at all, as ParcelForce uses its own depots. That’s where I found it, awaiting customs payments.

Just in case it happens to you too.


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Simon Crompton is a journalist and a style enthusiast living in London, who blogs at permanentstyle.blogspot.com. He has too many suits.