The Final Jacket: So Close

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No matter how much time you spend thinking about the instructions to give to your tailor, there will always be something you forget.

I had been thinking about the Norfolk Blazer for months, considering peak lapels, two buttons and additional pockets before I decided on my final design. (See previous posting.) Those months were almost feverish at certain points, as I debated which elements in the jacket would give it exactly the right balance between formal and informal.

But I still forgot to specify the cut around the waist and the finish at the front.

The problem was that I used an image from a style forum to demonstrate to Edward Tam what I meant in terms of a belt that overlapped across the front and fastened with two buttons. While I pointed out that there were several things in the image that I wanted differently, I didn’t specify the two points above. I assumed that in these areas he would follow the designs of previous suit jackets and only make the additions I described.

So when I tried on the final Norfolk Blazer it was rather fuller than I expected around the waist. This was because the design in the picture had a less tapered waist, no doubt more practical to the Norfolk’s normal outdoor pursuits. The belt was the correct length, cinching in the waist to my preferred size.

And the jacket finished with square fronts at the bottom, as in the picture but unlike a suit jacket, which would always be curved. I hadn’t even noticed this about the picture, but now it was pointed out it seemed obvious. The angle here was even mirrored in the squared-off patch pockets.

So my first prototype is still in Hong Kong, having the waist taken in an inch and the jacket fronts rounded off. I’ll include a picture in the next post.

In the meantime, my lesson from this is to always use an item you have had made in the past as the base for any commission. I’ll have jacket number two, but in brown with peak lapels, for example. Or shirt number three in a pale-blue herringbone.

You always need a base item because there will be many items you will forget to specify otherwise. No matter how many lists you make.

The mistake I made was not giving Edward a base – so he used the picture instead. Still, no harm done, just a few frustrated days while the final Norfolk Blazer catches up with me.


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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.

Comments

  1. toad says:

    A very nice jacket none the less. These were very popular in the midwest US in my youth. (early 70′s). I haven’t seen one since.

    I’m looking forward to the finished product.

  2. DaveStPaul says:

    Mr. Crompton:

    Boy am I glad I found your site. I’ve been trolling the web-o-sphere for days, trying to find a tweed herringbone hacking jacket like the one I have (and love) but which no longer fits. You’ve shown me the obvious answer: take my old coat to a tailor and ask for a new one! I’m even in Hong Kong now, so I don’t hurt for options. Thanks for your site!