Review: Realm & Empire patrol jacket

Drawing their usual inspiration from militaria found in the IWM collection, this season Realm & Empire are all about the LRDG, or the Long Range Desert Group to give it it’s full name. This was a small group of allied soldiers that operated behind enemy lines in the desert of North Africa during the WW2. I’ll give you a tip for a great book at the end.


One of the new anoraks from R&E this season is the Patrol jacket. The military inspiration is perhaps a little less obvious than for other pieces in the collection, but if you look closely there are cues. The pockets, three on the front and single on the arm, are straight from WW2 uniforms. The two lower pockets also have openings to warm your hands, which turned out to be a blessing on the icy day I took these photos!

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The buttons are the standard issue R&E uniform-style buttons, fastened with a loop of fabric rather than being sewn on. This appears to work well, as I’ve yet to had one come lose on any of my R&E garments. Makes a nice detail as well.

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The raglan sleeves have some nice details in the stitching, as does the hood with the elasticated cord drawstring, with both leather stoppers and the hangman’s noose at the end. I do have a soft spot for these knots, as even if they have very little functional value, they provide an interesting detail (and the opportunity of learning some knotsmanship (no, that isn’t a real word, though I’m sure there is a word for it) if it ever comes lose!).

There is also a drawstring around the waist with the same brass eyelets, elasticated cord and nose knots at the end. The brass YKK zip is also a nice touch.

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The cuffs have an unusual turn-back detail I’ve never come across before, though I imagine the functionality is such that it can be turned down to provide more protection for the back of the wearers hand.

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As usual for the higher end garments from R&E each piece has a unique military-style issue number, revealed by peeling back the strip of fabric.

The fabric on this jacket is described as being a lightweight performance fabric. The label declares the fabric as 70% cotton and 30% nylon. I’ve not had a chance to test it in the rain (and no, I’m not about to do another shower test, thankyouverymuch), but it certainly keeps the cold wind out.

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There is an obvious comparison to be made here with similar jackets from Nigel Cabourn. R&E make this one in China, which accounts for the competitive price of 195 pounds.


  • Well made lightweight anorak
  • Military-styling, but not overly so
  • Competitively priced


  • No particular failings





Available direct from Realm & Empire at 195 pounds. I had a word with the good people at R&E and they have given me the code WELLDRESSED16 to share with my readers. This gives you 20% off everything in the new collection. You may also like to sign up to their mailing list at R&E. I find they offer up some good deals throughout the season to their subscribers!

Ah, the book! Yes, indeed. If you have an interest in WW2 and enjoy a riveting read, try “Killing Rommel” by Steven Pressfield. More info here, and naturally available from the usual suspects. I enjoyed it massively.



  • Andrew 30/03/2016 at 11:45

    I notice the jacket is a little long on the arms for you. I have slightly shorter than average arms and pretty much every jacket (except Japanese ones) are too long in the arm for me so this aspect of a garment is important. This has only become a problem in the last few years as it looks like there was a general shift to a longer arm length in how clothing was sized. Have you noticed this also?

    • Well Dressed Dad 01/04/2016 at 12:00

      We may have to accept that the shift to longer arms may have less to do with makers changing their standard for sizing and more to do with our bodies getting a bit older and less standard! I know I fit a lot better in medium sized garments when I’m at the lower end of my weight scale, and find I might need larger if I’m heavier. Naturally, a size large will then have longer arms to go with the increased chest size… I think the moral may be to stay trim! 🙂

  • Rob 15/07/2017 at 12:49

    I love my Patrol jacket. I picked it up for £65 in their sale. What a bargain. My only complaint is it’s not at all waterproof. In fact it seems to drink water. Five minutes in the rain and I’m soaked to the skin. Clearly not design for the rain even though they often advertise this jacket on FB saying how great it is for the UK summer. I beg to differ!


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