A lot can be said about someone based on their choice of outerwear. After all, a coat or jacket is generally the first garment people spot at eye level, so it can really make or break an entire look. And as well all know, first impressions are everything, especially in fashion.
Of course, a key component that dictates how one chooses to top off their outfit is lifestyle, climate being the most obvious and critical factor. But outerwear has long been a sartorial signifier of profession, class and personal tastes or beliefs.
Take something as ubiquitous as the MA-1 bomber jacket, which began as a pragmatic piece for military pilots during the mid 1950s. Drawn to their workwear history and “tough guy” aesthetic, the jacket was later adopted by a bevy of subcultural tribes in the late ’70s, including mods, punks and skinheads. Today, the bomber stands as the primo choice of outerwear for fashionable folk everywhere, having been the most Googled trend of 2016, with a 612% increase in searches compared to 2015.
The bomber’s popularity doesn’t seem to be waning anytime soon, and I don’t necessarily think that it should, but I think I speak for all us when I say that another jacket silhouette wouldn’t be a bad thing for the contemporary menswear landscape. The more options, the better…right?
The FW17 fashion week circus has come and gone, so now, as we continue to dissect and analyze how the season’s biggest runway trends will pan out within the consumer market, let’s take a moment and hone in on two fads that have the greatest potential of striking gold in the street style circuit: modern business casual, something we’ve dubbed #officecore, and repurposed workwear.
While it’s still a bit early to spot any widespread traction of this post-normcore look, it’s our duty to make sure you’re ahead of the game. That being said, our tingling trend senses indicate that golf jackets, a garment with ties to both blue and white collar professions, are destined for a comeback in the forthcoming months.
Traditionally known as Harrington jackets, the style was first created in 1937 by heritage British clothing company, Baracuta. Designed by brothers John and Isaac Miller as a lightweight alternative to conventional rainproof workwear jackets, the Harrington, or its classic “G9” model, became an instant hit among golfers thanks to its airy construction, allowing them to swing their clubs with ease.
Hollywood soon took notice of the jacket, gaining cosigns from pop culture icons such as James Dean, Elvis Presley, Steve McQueen, Frank Sinatra and Clint Eastwood throughout the ’50s and ’60s. Eventually, the Harrington became synonymous with ’70s and ’80s youth counterculture – skinheads, scooterboys, mods, casuals – and witnessed mainstream revival in the ’90s thanks to musicians in the Britpop scene.
The Harrington today, however, isn’t so much remembered for its prevalence in aggro-subcultures or celebrity heartthrobs of yesteryear. When you think of the straight collared, waist and cuff elasticized outerwear now, you’re more likely to envision a shuffleboard-playing Floridian retiree or the style’s old and faithful supporter, the golfer (we Americans actually just call them golf jackets).
But when you think about it, the golf jacket has all the trappings of something fashionistas are simply obsessed with right now. It not only holds a legacy in workwear and subculture, its affiliation with frumpy dad style provides a self-ironic wink that suits the industry’s love of all things high-low. Perhaps a testament to this is Supreme, the reigning champ of cognizant schtick, who caught on early with its Lacoste-collaborated iteration last month.
To get you started on the trend, we’ve trawled through our e-shopping platform What Drops Now and rounded up a varied selection of golf jackets for every style personality.
Fan of the original, are you? Clean, simple and conservative, these jackets need little dressing up and even add a touch of dapperness if you’re more of a track pants and sneakers kind of guy.
For all you “art dads” out there. Tech fabrics, bright colors and subtle-yet-striking design patterns, these modern twists on the classic golf jacket are perfect for guys who love a little quirk in their getup.
Oh, you rebel, you. These jackets annihilate every parred-back design element of the original. I suggest taking it easy with the rest of your outfit with these statement numbers, unless of course you’re looking to rattle the retinas of every passerby you come across (aka the gamut of fashion week attendees fishing for a street style opp).
Check out the Cape Town crew who are taking back their city with golf.