Classic styles: the Norfolk jacket

One of the most characteristic sportscoats ever invented is the Norfolk Jacket. In this article we feature the history and style of this classical British garment.

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History of the Norfolk jacket

It is uncertain what the origin of the Norfolk Jacket is. One theory claims that it was originally invented in the 1860’s as a hunting jacket by the 15th Duke of Norfolk. The other theory claims that the origin comes from the Coke of Norfolk and his estate, where noble gentlemen came for hunting.  However, there is no real evidence that supports either theory. In any case, its roots are in Norfolk, England and it was popularized by the Prince of Wales. From the 1860’s the Norfolk jacket was used for outdoor and sporting pursuits, like hunting, cycling and golf or as casual day wear by gentlemen of leisure when vacationing in the country. From the end of the 19th century young men started wearing the Norfolk jacket in town.

Style of the Norfolk jacket

The Norfolk jacket is a single breasted jacket with three or four buttons, large patch pockets and box pleats on the front and back. The jacket also has a full- or a half belt made from matching fabric, notch lapels and a single vent. The Norfolk jacket is usually made from tweed or woolen fabrics.

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Epilogue

The Norfolk jacket is rarely seen anymore and if so, mostly by vintage lovers or modern day dandies. As a bespoke tailor we pride ourselves that we are able to tailor this classical jacket, as can be seen from the modern Norfolk jacket which we made for one of our customers from a cashmere corduroy in the beautiful color Merlot (see pictures above).

An Unlined/Unstructured, Fused, Semi Canvas or Full Floating Canvas construction for you?

De Oost Bespoke Tailoring is a house of craft and passion so we can tailor using several ways of construction. This is a short explanation about the 4 common methods used by Bespoke Tailors.

 

Full Canvassed Jackets

Traditionally, men’s suits were constructed with a layer of horsehair canvas underneath the wool fabric shell. This canvas holds the shape of the suit and keeps it from sagging or deforming, much like the foundation of a house keeps it upright. The canvas is cut to the jacket’s shape, then the wool is stitched to the canvas. Over time, as you wear the jacket, the canvas conforms to your body’s shape, creating an excellent fit.

The canvas lining allows the suit fabric to drape naturally, allowing a clean, well put-together look. It takes years of training and additional hours of handwork for a tailor to be able to craft this the correct way.

Half Canvassed Jackets

Between the two extremes (fused and full canvas) lies a compromise – the half-canvassed jacket. Half-canvassed jackets have canvas material running only through the chest and lapels of the coat. Past that point, the jacket is fused.

Half-canvassed jackets have several benefits. First, they generally have a lower price than a similar fully canvassed jacket. Less handcraft means a lower overall cost to you. And because the top half of the jacket is not fused you’ll not run into any bubbling problems as you might in a fused jacket. This adds to the lifespan of the garment. Finally, the canvassing provides the proper base for the jacket to drape naturally across your chest, rather than appearing stiff and lifeless as many fused jackets do.

Unlined - Unstructured Jackets

When your suits aren't just for business and formal occasions then having them tailored Unlined or Unstructured is a good option. It gives the wearer the most natural look and freedom of personal expression.

By removing the interior lining, shoulder pads, and the canvassing, the jacket wears more like a shirt than a suit coat. This allows for more movement - comfort, a more casual appearance, and a more natural silhouette for the wearer - all of which help bringing the jacket down to the less formal level of the wardrobe. More often than not it is seen on lighter, summer-weight fabrics. Part of it because lighter weights of wool and materials like cotton and linen are more prone to wrinkle in the first place, another reason is that by removing the lining it allows the jacket to wear much cooler. Natural fibers breath but this is obstructed by the satin lining, even a light-weight jacket with a full-canvas construction wears much warmer in the summer.

Deconstructed - Fused Jackets

Many suit manufacturers no longer use a canvas interlining in their jackets. Rather, a fusible interlining is glued to the wool shell of the suit. And while this does an adequate job of keeping a jacket’s shape, it often creates an unnatural stiffness in the jacket, making a fused jacket appear lifeless compared to a similar canvassed coat.

What is sometimes problematic with fused jackets is the fact that the glue degrades over time, or may come unstuck during the dry-cleaning/pressing process. Where the wool detaches from the fused backing, the fabric ripples around the chest and lapels, a phenomenon known as “bubbling.”

Differences: In the full canvas Jacket, you can see how the jacket is composed entirely of cloth and horsehair canvas. The fabric is stitched directly to the canvas. In a half-canvassed garment, fusible extends the entire length of the coat. However, the garment is stitched to the canvas material, assisting in the proper shaping and providing life to the coat. In the fused jacket all the way to the right, the fusible interlining is glued the entire length of the coat.

If you want to know what the best construction would be for your garments and your personal style needs/ideas? Then feel free to contacts us for personal advice.

Elements of a bespoke suit: The cut, the single or double breasted, the buttons and the lapel.

There are many possible variations in the choice of the style, the garments and the details of a suit. Of course, during your appointment at De Oost we will make sure you make the right decisions. This will result in an exactly right fitting suit, that has all the details you have asked for. To give you an impression of all the possible options, we will share some of our knowledge in this blog.

The Cut

The silhouette of a suit is its outline. Tailored balance created from a canvas fitting allows a balanced silhouette, so a jacket does not need to be buttoned and a garment is not too tight or too loose. A proper garment is shaped from the neck to the chest and shoulders to drape without wrinkles from tension. Shape is the essential part of tailoring that often takes hand work from the start. The two main cuts are:

  • Double-breasted suits, a conservative design with two vertical rows of buttons, spanned by a large overlap of the left and right sides.
  • Single-breasted suits, in which the sides just meet at the front down a single row of buttons.

Double-Breasted

Double Breasted  Unlined Hopsack Sports Jacket.  Click here to see the complete portfolio .

Double Breasted Unlined Hopsack Sports Jacket. Click here to see the complete portfolio.

The term double-breasted refers to a coat or jacket with wide, overlapping front flaps and two parallel columns of buttons or snaps. In modern double-breasted coats, one column of buttons is decorative, while the other functional. The other buttons, placed on the outside edge of the coat breast, are either decorative (non-functional) or functional, allowing the overlap to fasten reversibly, right lapel over left lapel. To strengthen the fastening, a functional inner button, called the jigger, is usually added to parallel fasten the over-lapped layers together from the inside. The original double-breasted jacket has six buttons, with three to close. This originated from the naval reefer jacket. The four-button double-breasted jacket that buttons at the lower button is often called the “Kent”, after the man who made it popular—the Duke of Kent.

Single-Breasted

Single-Breasted Blue     Mohair Suit.   Click here to see the complete portfolio.

Single-Breasted Blue Mohair Suit. Click here to see the complete portfolio.

The term single-breasted refers to a coat, jacket or similar garment having one column of buttons a narrow overlap of fabric. In contrast, a double-breasted coat has a wider overlap and two parallel rows of buttons. Single-breasted suit jackets and blazers typically have two or three buttons (jackets with one or four buttons exist, but are not common), and a notch lapel. However, from the 1930’s onwards, peaked lapels, often on a single button jacket, have been variably in fashion, and this is now a classic. The width of the lapels is one of the most changeable aspects of this jacket, and narrow peak lapels on single-breasted jackets became popular during the 2000’s. Good tailoring anywhere in the world is characterised by strongly tapered sides and minimal shoulder, whereas often rack suits are padded to reduce labour. More casual suits are characterized by less construction and tailoring, much like the sack suit is a loose American style.


Jacket Buttons

One Button. 1-button Mid Grey Jacket.
Two Buttons. 2-Button Blue Sharkskin Suit With Champagne Lining.
Three buttons. 3-button Classic Wedding Suit Full Canvas French Cavalry Blue.

Most single-breasted suits have two or three buttons, and one or four buttons are unusual. Placement and style of buttons are critical to the overall impression of height conveyed by the jacket. The centre or top button will typically line up quite closely with the natural waistline. Double-breasted jackets have only half their outer buttons functional. The second row is for display only, forcing them to come in pairs. Rare jackets can have as few as two buttons, six buttons are typical, with two to button; the last pair floats above the overlap. The three buttons down each side may in this case be in a straight line (the ‘keystone’ layout) or more commonly, the top pair is half as far apart again as each pair in the bottom square. A four-button double-breasted jacket usually buttons in a square. The layout of the buttons and the shape of the lapel are co-ordinated in order to direct the eyes of an observer. For example, if the buttons are too low, or the lapel roll too pronounced, the eyes are drawn down from the face, and the waist appears larger.


Jacket Lapels



Jacket lapels are the folded flaps of cloth on the front of a jacket or coat, and are most commonly found on formal clothing and suit jackets. Usually they are formed by folding over the front edges of the jacket or coat and sewing them to the collar, an extra piece of fabric around the back of the neck. There are three basic forms of lapels: notched, peaked and shawl. Notched lapels, the most common, are usually seen on business suits. Peaked lapels are more formal, and nearly always used on double-breasted jackets or coats. Shawl lapels are even more formal and you will hardly ever see this kind of lapels on anything other than dress wear.

Notched Lapel. Navy Herringbone suit with notched lapels, slanted pockets, purple lining and three kissing buttons.
Peak Lapel. Mohair Suit Steel Blue 2 buttons peak lapels slanted pockets.

Shawl Collar. 1-button contemporary suit jacket navy blue with shawl collar slanted jetted pockets and 3*2 waistcoat.


In case that you choose to have a garment tailored by De Oost, everything is possible. The parts of the suit covered in this blog are mentioned to give an impression of the possibilities. In case you have a question about a specific desire, do not hesitate to give us a call (+31-(0)20-6815792).