It’s the middle of summer and it is hot and sticky. The last thing anyone wants to do right now is put on any additional layers of clothing. Sure, you might throw on a light weight cardigan or sweater in the evening if the temperature dips down low enough, but for a lot of us even a t-shirt seems like too much clothing on most days. That’s why it would be downright crazy for me to discuss outerwear right now, specifically jackets.
But guess what?
That’s just what I’m going to do!
When it comes to jackets there are a lot of different types, each with its own purpose. There are hunting jackets, pea coats, trench coats, overcoats, and windbreakers just to name a few. My aim for this article is not to discuss each one of these jackets; that would be too much for one article. What I do want to do, however, is introduce you to a particular type of jacket that can elevate your style. In fact, you might even be able to wear it out on one of those rare cool summer days.
So exactly what jacket am I talking about?
The Field Jacket
The origins of the Field Jacket can be traced back to 1941 with the introduction of the M-1941 (also called the Parson’s Jacket) by the United States Army. Since then, the army has come out with several different iterations of the same basic jacket, with the most famous (or infamous) being the M-1965 Field Jacket.
The M-1965 Field Jacket was issued during the Vietnam War and became iconic when Robert Deniro wore it for his role in Taxi Driver as Travis Bickle.
The purpose of the Field Jacket was to give men greater flexibility for the different conditions encountered in the field of battle. I guess someone figured out that not all wars are fought in the extreme heat or extreme cold.
A traditional Field Jacket is going to be made out of cotton and will come in a sort of drab olive or army green colour. There will usually be 4 patch pockets on the front of the jacket, although earlier editions of the jacket didn’t have any pockets at all. Today you can find Field Jackets in an assortment of different colours and made with a variety of materials.
In my opinion, a Field Jacket is an excellent piece for your casual wardrobe. You can easily throw it on top of a t-shirt and pair of jeans for a great rugged casual look. However, what’s awesome about the Field Jacket is that it can also be worn with more formal clothing as well such as a button up shirt and tie along with a pair of chinos. This will give you the much vaunted “high-low” look that stylists talk about endlessly today.
In regards to sizing, make sure that you find a jacket that fits! A real, bona-fide Field Jacket will be cut a little bit baggier than the standard cotton jackets you see in the store, so be aware that you might need to make a trip to the tailor. Fortunately, I’ve noticed that more and more companies are coming out with Field Jackets that fit a lot trimmer so make sure to shop around.
In terms of material and colour, I say stick with the basics – you can’t go wrong with a cotton Field Jacket in a drab olive colour. In fact, if you can find an original (or replica) M-1965 Field Jacket, even better. These types of jackets have so much built in character that they are hard to beat.
A Field Jacket is a great piece of outerwear that can upgrade your style. It’s versatile enough that it can be worn in a variety of ways, from dressed up to dressed down. In my opinion, very few pieces of clothing exclude rugged masculinity like the classic Field Jacket, and that’s what makes it a style essential for me. I highly recommend that men invest in a quality Field Jacket, you won’t be disappointed!