For a versatile jacket, look to blue collar

I appear to have a bit of a thing for blue jackets. Off the top of my head I count 9, some of various types, but most of a quite similar type. The type in question is what some would call a chore jacket. Some would class it as retro workwear inspired. Others may pedantically throw out words such as unstructured cotton twill with a vintage chunky silhouette. Or something to that effect, you’ll recognise it when you see it, right?

five in blue

I published the above photo on my Instagram recently, really just as a fun way to show 5 of the jackets. It inspired me to do a short series presenting each one, as for all their likeness they are all also somewhat different. If I do have a rule for my collection it is that I don’t have two items that are too similar (and as I write this I already know this statement is going to be made a point of sometime soon, where the discussion will revolve around just what “different” is).

The roots of this style of jacket have their roots back in the early 1900’s, with both French and American variants being quite similar. We’re talking the workwear of the manual labourers and farmers, the blue jackets that gave the name to the blue collar workers. It was all about fulfilling a simple function, to provide a durable jacket with the necessary pockets. Similar in function to denim jeans really, it wasn’t about being pretty or stylish. Fabric wise the norm would be a rugged cotton canvas or denim. The styling would include a collar, two decent front pockets and one of two breast pockets. And variations on this, naturally.

jacket 1 cropped

These days it seems every brand around does a variant of this classic style. It comes down to finding one that fits satisfactorily, has the fabric and colour you like, at a price that seems fair. I’ll be presenting a few of mine over the next weeks, though my selection is neither exhaustive or particularly numerous!

To kick things off this week, I’d like to revisit a jacket I reviewed a month or so back, by Realm & Empire. A really nice piece with excellent details and different enough to make it interesting. And the price is decent as well. Have a read here.

Next time, the Tender 980.


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