The Odd Jacket


So, you ask; what is an “odd Jacket?” It’s really just a clever term for any sport coat, blazer, or other jacket that is not part of a suit. The odd jacket, long a versatile weapon in many a man’s wardrobe arsenal, has finally come into its own on the fashion front. In catalogs and stores blue blazers, tweed hacking jackets, corduroy sport coats, and linen jackets abound.

I have always been a bit of a sucker for jackets. To me, they add that extra bit of personality that cannot otherwise be attained; like the Ivy League college professor strolling across campus, leather case in hand and wearing a slightly battered Harris Tweed jacket. I actually saw that once at Harvard (no, I didn’t actually go there). It was like a scene out of a movie. Without the jacket however, his overall look would have suffered – it just wouldn’t have been the same.

Odd jackets can help you finish off your look in several ways. As we now move into autumn, we also move into odd jacket weather. Depending on your mood and what sartorial message you are trying to convey, they can dress you up or down, polished or scruffy.

Classic Preppy
When looking to create a studied prepster look, a la Ralph Lauren, focus on the layering. You don’t want too much going on, just enough to generate a textured history: grey tee shirt under a checked oxford, under a light sweater vest, surmounted by a chunky olive cord blazer. Details matter with this kind of look, so finish it off with slightly worn khakis, tartan ribbon belt, and vintage watch. Heavier brogues or classic loafers round out the outfit. Earthy tones should drive this fall look.

Urban Cool
For a refined city look that speaks of dressed down formal, think about a more finished jacket; maybe the coat from your favorite suit. Stores like H+M that sell affordable suit separates, are a great resource for this kind of look. Take your finely tailored jacket and pair it with a good dress shirt and modern, dressy jeans. Shirts with spread collars are best as they don’t look like you forgot your tie. The goal is to create a balanced presentation between the casualness of the jeans and formality of the jacket.

Classic Dress
If you are looking for an office appropriate outfit that falls somewhere between a suit’s full-on formality and khaki’s casual attitude, the classic combination of a sport coat and trousers is always right. Contrast is key, so grey flannels and a chocolate brown cashmere sport coat paired with a lightly checked shirt would fit the bill.

However you want to wear your jacket, be comfortable but also be aware of scale. Match finer weight trousers to finer weight jackets; heavy cords and tweed jackets. Just play around and enjoy the versatility that the odd jacket offers your wardrobe.


Chris Hogan, an association executive based in Washington, D.C., blogs at A lifelong interest in style and clothing led to sales and management positions at several Ralph Lauren stores and an active wardrobe consulting practice


  1. I’ve always wanted a madras cotton jacket. That really is the “odd jacket.” It screams vintage country club eccentric. I’m just waiting for right deal. And summer to come along again!

  2. Words of advice to all men out there: Just look at Ralph Lauren ads and emulate religiously.

  3. Angela: I agree completley! Ralph Lauren looks amazing on men! Have never seen anything better!