Decades ago, I owned a washable skirt suit (an agnès b. black and white pin-dot poly that looked like heavy silk) and since knowing that such a thing is not only possible but brilliant, I have wondered, Why don't they make more washable jackets? So practical (sleeve edges seem to soil immediately), better for the environment, and terrific for travel.
You'd expect to find some at travel specialists' sites, but I do not look best in unmitigated menswear, such as the blazers sold by TravelSmith. (If you do, check the All-Seasons Blazer.)
Even fabrics that are usually washable (cotton twill, denim, polys) are labelled Dry Clean Only; while I confidently use the delicate cycle-plus-mesh-bag method for a blouse, jackets often contain interfacing or finishes that won't withstand a bath.
Fall's crop is turning up a few possibilities.
Ponté (a poly/rayon/spandex knit) to the rescue, but not all ponté jackets are washable. Lands' End's ponté jacket comes in black or red, with nautical buttons and striped lining; price, $150:
A good ponté piece travels impeccably, looks fresh and dries overnight; low-quality ponté feels stiff as a bulletproof vest.
Neither is denim necessarily washable! From J. Crew to Victoria Beckham, I found denim jackets that demand dry-cleaning. Really, would you pay over $600 for denim and then want to re-invest? But the Amanda blue denim at Boden is machine washable, with a current cut and degradée effect, at a decent £55 (sale price), in UK sizes 6 to 22.
Denim is cotton, but cotton that traverses winter. So do some heavyweight cotton knits, but again, some will not withstand the machine. ModCloths is a favourite source of my girlfriend Marina, who alternates their pieces with thrift shop finds. She pointed me to the jaunty navy Ahoy Blazer, which has appealing feminine details and can be hand-washed; price, $70. (Also available in cream and red.)
Garnet Hill's heavyweight Colette cotton knit jacket is washable, and comes in stripe or pewter, up to size 18; price, $150.
Even more rare are jackets of washable wool or wool blends. Boden's Emilia biker jacket looks cool over a long top; they say you can hand wash the 30% wool/70% cotton fabric and that's good enough for me. Price, £89.
Eileen Fisher devotées will find this washable wool interlock is worth the $298 price tag; you could spend that much in a year or two, drycleaning its ethereal seasalt colour. Wool interlock is a needle's breadth away from a knit; maybe I just need a sweater jacket?
I am still looking; why, on a planet awash in every synthetic known, amply-supplied with denim and at least some washable wool, are so many jackets (and other pieces) dry-clean only?