Monday, 2 January 2012
Gieves & Hawkes: The perfect travel blazer 4
The Gieves travel blazer is finished and has turned out wonderfully well.
First the fit, for that is the most important thing after all. After three fittings everything on the jacket is perfect, from the shape through the waist, to the sleeve length, to the drape down the back. It’s amazing how many tailors refuse to get the sleeve length right – Kathryn Sargent joins Rubinacci on a very short list.
Kathryn also found just the right compromise on the back, by stretching the cloth slightly over my shoulder blades. We had a little more trouble with the trousers, which took all three fittings to get a nice clean front with no straining below the waistband. Then again, that’s never easy to achieve without pleats.
The style of the jacket overall is a structured one, with decent padding to the shoulder and a strong chest. But neither is as great as the Huntsman tweed jacket, and probably more akin to the double-breasted from Henry Poole. Overall it’s a very nice, English-looking jacket with just enough softness in the hopsack cloth to stop it looking stiff.
The interchangeable buttons on the cuff were achieved in the end with a strip of cloth that attaches to the jacket with poppers. Once secured in this way, the four buttons can be inserted through their respective buttonholes. The buttons on the front of the jacket are secured by metal rings, not unlike key rings, which are then covered by a placket on the inside. These are gold-plated buttons engraved with the crest of my Oxford college, Trinity. The alternative set will be brown horn.
The nice thing about patch, bellows pockets and swelled edges is that the handwork on the inside of the jacket is brought outside, without ostentation. I particularly like how the outbreast pocket looks with handkerchief stuffed in, and the feeling of stuffing the hip pockets – whether with hands or notepad.
Gieves sews a large, branded label into the right side of the chest, above the inbreast pocket, as well as the more discreet label with the customer’s details inside that pocket. I wouldn’t have opted for that had I known, but when this is the only fault you can find with a jacket and trousers, someone has done very well.
For more photos, see Andy Barnham.com. For previous installments in the Gieves series on Permanent Style, please use the search function.