Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Style: The Problem With Short Jackets

I have noted for a few years how men's tailoring is fast becoming very fashion forward. Whenever I browse magazines or visuals online I find that men's clothes are becoming tighter and shorter. I think at the rate we're going very soon it's going to be stylish to be naked, because the clothes are going to be so tight they'll give a painted-on effect. This brings me to the subject of today's post: short jackets. It appears to be a trend that won't go away, but, short jackets seem to be very normal in menswear today. Images like the above make me cringe because I can't help but feel slightly naked or exposed on their behalf. This absolutely can't be right especially at a time when we're trying to encourage more men to dress presentably. In my view, the fit of a jacket, whether a suit or sport jacket, should be traditional and proportional.

Traditionally, the length of men's jackets was measured by the length of their arms up to the middle of their hands, where the fingers bend at the knuckles. If one's jacket could be cupped at the hem then it was the correct length. Proportion, however, seems to have negated this theory because we come in different shapes, sizes and lengths. Arms that are long will, most certainly, exaggerate the length of a jacket if the cupped hand measurement is used. Therefore, proportion should be given a lot of consideration because it takes into account the body's proportions as a whole. I am very much in favour of this theory because it ushered in a new way of measuring a jacket's length by ensuring that the posterior is covered. Makes a lot of sense. The above image illustrates this point rather poignantly. The jacket is expertly cut, nipped elegantly at the waist, with a beautiful drape -front and back- however, it is awfully short, exposing both the posterior and crotch. In this instance if the jacket were as long as where the fingers bend inwards/ hand cups, it would make a world of difference. But some men prefer their jackets this way and some designers conceptualise around this aesthetic.

Traditionally and proportionally the short jacket syndrome can be overcome by unmasking its flaws: It is not flattering at all; it doesn't look good, not in a traditionalist's point of view. Think of how trousers are also becoming shorter and shorter, soon we're going to be in shorts suits. The man with a bigger midsection and conspicuous hips is going to be exposed. A tall man in this kind of jacket is going to have his upper body cut shorter and the short man will be even shorter, as though he is wearing something not meant for his age. This is why, because of my long arms, I use the proportion theory; as long as my posterior is covered then the jacket is long enough. My arms are longer than my posterior so going the traditional route will result in an ill-fitting jacket. I use the proportion theory as my rule of thumb; it'll work for some and for others it won't, however, let us consider how both theories work in relation to each other and therein you can strike a  balance.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

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