The Shirt Jacket

Words by: Andrew Hodges

I find it hard to dress for the weekend. For me the work week is easier. Suit and tie. Or trousers, odd jacket and a tie. But what to wear on the weekend? What to wear on those occasions when an odd jacket it too formal? What to wear when running errands or walking the dog? The temptation this time of year is a pair of jeans and a fleece pullover. In the summer it’s shorts and a t-shirt. For a long time I have striven to rise above those temptations and I think I have finally stumbled upon a solution: the shirt jacket.

A shirt jacket is, as the name implies, a cross between a shirt and an odd jacket. Because it is unlined and unconstructed, a shirt jacket provides pockets without the weight or formality of an odd jacket. Those bellows pockets are great for a man’s paraphernalia: keys, cell phone, sunglasses, lighter.

sj-noiretMy inspiration came from Will Boehlke who blogs at A Suitable Wardrobe. He has written several articles about his various shirt jackets that are made from tweed, flannel, cotton and linen. Michael Alden at The London Lounge has also written about his version of the shirt jacket that was inspired by the late French actor Philippe Noiret (pictured).

My first shirt jacket, in a brown tweed, arrived last week from Hemrajani Bros Ltd of Hong Kong. I made mention of this order in my article of October 19. It was with some trepidation that I tried on my new shirt jacket given the mixed success I have had with made-to-measure clothing; however, I could not be happier. The shirt jacket fits well and is quite comfortable. I foresee that it will be a very versatile article of casual clothing. I’m already thinking ahead to a version in flannel, and maybe a couple in linen for summer.


I wore the pictured outfit while doing some Christmas shopping over the weekend. With the brown tweed shirt jacket I wore dark blue jeans (J. Crew), a made-to-measure blue royal oxford dress shirt (Modern Tailor), navy and white polka dot day cravat (Beau Ties Ltd of Vermont) and brown suede monk-strap shoes (Alden).