Coat vs Jacket and the Male Peacock

Tracy Popken

Often I'm writing an invoice for alterations and can't decide. Was that a coat or a jacket?

Being an professional, I hate to sound like I don't know what I'm talking about, and some of my more sartorial clients care about such distinctions.  Clothes are their passion! 

Being from the south, we use the words interchangeably, probably because in our everyday lives the two really are interchangeable.  The weather rarely gets so cold that a light jacket over a sweater can't handle the chill just as well as a winter coat.    And there, in those common phrases - light jacket and winter coat -we sort of have our answer (with the help ofGoogle.)  A jacket is hip length or shorter.  Generally a jacket is lighter weight, like a suit jacket.   A coat is longer than your waist, perhaps knee or calf length.  Think of it as a shortening of "overcoat" which is that heavy large thick coat you could layer over your suit on a rainy snowy night.  So, in my head from now on I'm going to think "over coat, suit jacket."  

A minor distinction, but the little things count, and learning those little things makes life a bit more fun in my opinion.

On the subject of suit jackets, I liked this article by BofF on modern peacocks and dandies, inspired by the street style surrounding the Italian menswear show Pitti Uomo. 

“It’s more seductive than an advertorial because it’s someone like you,” said Flaccavento. “It’s not someone with a super perfect body, not a model, not a 16-year-old dressed in something that has been tailored and adjusted by stylists… Street style is more penetrating. It’s shot on the street in natural light. It’s rougher, easier to emulate; you think, ‘Oh I like that, I can do it as well.’ There’s a sense of belonging to a tribe of very elegant people. It is a formal show and the look carries an attractive narrative from the 1950s. And I think there is another element,” he continued. “Often you can see pictures of people standing at fashion shows in Paris or Milan or wherever and, I mean, you might think these people are, matter of fact, gay. At Pitti, it always looks like they’re trying to seduce women,” he said, underscoring the appeal of Pitti’s peacocks to a relatively wide range of heterosexual male consumers.

I love a man in a suit, and I love when a men is creative in his clothes by layering his patterns and colours,  carefully chosen accessories, and tailoring his fit perfectly.  It's so beautiful, and yes, sexy.  Personally, I can't stand the hip hop snap back sneaker style, so I'm thrilled that creative well tailored men's style is having a resurgence into the mainstream!   I love that tailored menswear has it's own language of pattern and colour that's different from womens wear, that more often utilizes the resonance of contrasts.   I can be so gorgeous.   The view from my cafe seat scoping out men on the street is about to get way better, and it looks like I may be tailoring a lot more jackets and coats in the next few years.

photo by Tommy Ton at Pitti Uomo

photo by Tommy Ton at Pitti Uomo