Deck jackets are totally “on point” and “in” this season

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The thing about the really classic jackets is that while they may be deemed “on point” and terribly in vogue at random intervals of time, the true greatness of them is that outside the fickle and pointless world of fashion, they are always great. Now I could have spent some time trying to work out what was deemed the “in” jacket for the coming season, but to my mind it’s going to be the year of the peacoat, the duffel, the mountain parka and the deck jacket. Much as every other year really, right?

A deck jacket in it's original scenario, on a Navy boat during WW2.

A deck jacket in it’s original scenario, on a Navy boat during WW2.

The deck jacket is another one of those jackets with a military history, in this case developed as a utilitarian jacket for navy personnel during WW2. The idea was to create a warm jacket, both wind proof and woolly on the inside, with few outside features that could snag at inopportune moments. Initial models were in navy blue, with ribbed elasticated cuffs and hem. After a short period of development they settled on the khaki variant with hidden ribbed cuffs and a drawstring to snug up the hem. Together with the throat latch this made for a jacket that kept the howling wind of the Northern Atlantic at bay.

N1 deck jacket from the Korean war period.

N1 deck jacket from the Korean war period.

The khaki colour allowed a more liberal and useful use of stencils to mark the jackets,typically with a “USN” branding on the front. Whether this adds or detracts to the style of the jacket 60 years later is a matter of personal taste.

Paul Newman looking suitable iconic in his deck jacket.

Paul Newman looking suitable iconic in his deck jacket.

There are any number of deck jackets available today, from original old jackets to highly accurate recreations through to jackets of a more evolutionary nature. I’ve dug out a selection for your consideration, starting with the original.

James Dean takes his turn in promoting the deck jacket.

James Dean takes his turn in promoting the deck jacket.

Vintage originals

There are a number of original jackets around on places like eBay. Hardly surprising given the numbers that were made. Most appear more or less “patinated” and the asking price is similar to what a new reproduction will cost you, at least for the better examples. Again, probably not a huge surprise. I found this quite decent looking one after a quick look:

An original, vintage deck jacket, showing use.

An original, vintage deck jacket, showing use.

I think for my part at least, this may be a little more vintage than I would like, but it serves as a good lesson in what the originals actually looked like.

An original deck jacket in good condition can fetch a high price among those that appreciate originality.

An original deck jacket in good condition can fetch a high price among those that appreciate originality.

Available on eBay at 450 dollars.

Modern recreations

Given that the original jackets are mostly old, moth-eaten, smelly and largely not available, there are quite a few companies that recreate the originals. This has mainly been the province of dedicated Japanese companies up to now, but we now also have a German contender.

Buzz Rickson

Buzz Rickson N1 deck jacket in khaki colour with USN stencil applied.

Buzz Rickson N1 deck jacket in khaki colour with USN stencil applied.

Buzz Rickson are serious players in the business of replicating vintage garments and their deck jacket is no exception. It’s made in the correct colour of cotton grosgrain jungle cloth with an alpacca and wool mix lining. The zip is the correct Conmar brand, as per the original and it even has the original style label on the inside. Supplied with USN marking on the front. Made in Japan.

Available from Buzz Rickson at 390 pounds.

Real McCoy

Real McCoy deck jacket, true to the original and without stencil applied.

Real McCoy deck jacket, true to the original and without stencil applied.

The Real McCoy is another of the serious Japanese players in the business of replicating vintage garments, and like Buzz Rickson they have put serious effort into their deck jacket. In fact, it looks very much like Buzz Ricksons effort, though they supply it without stencil markings. They also use alpacca wool for the lining and a Talon brand zip. Supplied with no markings. Made in Japan.

Inside and outside, true to the original design.

Inside and outside, true to the original design.

Available from Superdenim at 480 pounds.

Pike Brothers

The Pike Brothers N1 deck jacket. Supplied with stencils for user application.

The Pike Brothers N1 deck jacket. Supplied with stencils for user application.

Pike Brothers are fairly new to deck jackets, coming mainly from a background of vintage style jeans and workwear. Visually at least their reproduction is very close to the Japanese efforts, based on the same later evolution of the original. I’m a little uncertain about the colour of the lining, though that could be the photo. Then again, that would only matter to the most ardent of wearers. The lining is woven wool and the zipper is Talon-brand. Supplied with stencils for you to apply your own markings if you like. Made in Turkey.

Available from Pike Brothers at 299 euros.

Evolutionary examples

And finally, a couple of jackets with a little more evolution in their design.

Mister Freedom

The Mister Freedom Blouson De Quartm, no stencil and clasp closure.

The Mister Freedom Blouson De Quartm, no stencil and clasp closure.

Mister Freedom describe their “Blouson de Quart” as being freely inspired by the old naval jackets, though to my mind this is pretty close to the original look. The main noticeable difference is the use of clasps instead of buttons to close up the front. The hidden qualities are more subtle, with full wool mix lining, corduroy lined collar and pockets, a sturdy MIL-spec Talon zip and the liberty cuffs with mermaid patches for when you want to cut a dashing figure. Supplied with no markings. Made in Japan.

Fancy cuffs can be turned up for when on shore leave.

Fancy cuffs can be turned up for when on shore leave.

Available from Mister Freedom and Maritime Antiques & at around 900 dollars.

Harry Stedman

Harry Stedman deck jacket.

Harry Stedman deck jacket.

Liverpool-based Harry Stedman have looked to Grenfell to produce their take on the deck jacket, which to me means that this is guaranteed to be a quality garment. Design wise they have gone back to the earlier design, sporting the ribbed hem. The expected wool lining is in the form of quilted wool blanket and the outside is a heavy duty cotton in a more greenish shade. Supplied with no markings. Made in London.

Harry Stedman deck jacket.

Harry Stedman deck jacket.

Available from Harry Stedman at 550 pounds.

Universal Works

Universal Works N1 deck jacket.

Universal Works N1 deck jacket.

Similar in colour to the Harry Stedman version we find the olive N1 deck jacket from Universal Works This one is the alter non-ribbed version with pretty much the expected details. An extra front pocket has been added for practicality. The outer shell is a cotton twill and the wool lining is synthetic, as is the lining. Again, no markings on this one. No word on where it is made, though it is available direct from Universal Works at a reasonable 195 pounds.

Twill outside and a little lighter weight insulation.

Twill outside and a little lighter weight insulation.

Oh, you might be interested in these as well

In closing, I noticed something of a bargain in the the “Odd’s and ends” category over at Pike Brothers. They have a version of their current deck jacket in an earlier experimental fabric at a more than decent discount. It looks as good as the full-price version as well!

pike_brothers_1944_n-1_deck_jacket_khaki_1_id_1615

Available from Pike Brothers at only 199 euros.

And in closing, a few more vintage photos, just to help you get in the mood. If you’re planning on standing around on deck this winter, at risk of howling wind and lashing seas, accept no substitute.

Photo of a vintage deck jacket in use from Life Magazine.

Photo of a vintage deck jacket in use from Life Magazine.

Crewmen on a navy ship during WW2, enjoying the utility of their deck jackets.

Crewmen on a navy ship during WW2, enjoying the utility of their deck jackets.

Keeping warm in a deck jacket, but probably freezing cold ears!

Keeping warm in a deck jacket, but probably freezing cold ears!

 

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1 Comment

  • Ian 24/10/2016 at 15:05

    Just picked up a nicely done (and reasonably priced) one by C.A.B. Clothing from a shop here in Tokyo. Good quality Japanese twill face fabric in khaki. Never heard of C.A.B. but they are from Nagoya and apparently started out as a major military surplus supplier pre-war.

    Reply

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