Shirt jackets: Ease with a little attitude

Hovering at the edges of my style-sense for the last year: the shirt jacket or "shacket", a portmanteau that makes me envision a female shack. (Nancy Friedman of the blog fritinancy writes about the word here.)

The piece, heavier than a shirt, can be worn either indoors or out, depending on fabric and weight. A few, like certain useful scarves, can hop between both. Easier to wear than a strictly-tailored blazer—a garment which still telegraphs authority—the shirt jacket manages to be more detailed than a sweatshirt while still retaining its ease.

Let's window shop!

Clockwise, left to right:

1. Yorkway corduroy shirt jacket from Madewell, my favourite for the eminently useful side pockets, and the plush, machine-washable midweight fabric. Made in Standard and Plus sizes; the $CDN 152 price includes duties, a useful way to represent price for those who shop internationally. Other colours, too.

2. Boiled-wool Peak Pitch Jacket from Sea Salt in 60/40 wool-viscose (dry clean only); price, about £130. This one is fairly short. The mood is calm, effortless but not workwear-functional.

3. Arket's entry is an unusual plaid, and extra points for that neat matching at the pockets; this is a synthetic/wool blend that can be hand washed; price $US 129. Limited sizes.

4. Also from Madewell, the Cohancy bonded flannel shirt jacket, handsomely merges menswear with a softer cut, and is also washable.  (I am tempted to order just to see this "bonded flannel".) Price, $CAN 237.

Readers with a bust are muttering "Chest pockets, no thanks!", but if a plaid is matched, I think they work, and of course you aren't stuffing those pockets with extra gear.

The style shows up as strictly outerwear, too, like this J. Crew quilted puffer shirt jacket with Primaloft lining, price, $US 144. Machine washable. May be hard to wear with checks and pockets on top of all-over quilting, but it's a fresh option if you're looking beyond the ubiquitous Uniqlo down.

The grandmother of all shirt jackets is the Pendleton Retro '49er, which I remember from my youth,  and have nearly bought oh, about a dozen times. Pendleton formerly offered at least three different plaids, so I could never decide. Now, it's down to one, a perfect Dark Academia palette.

The modern version is slightly trimmer than the original, but still produced in pure wool milled in the Northwestern US (but, it seems, sewn overseas.) If you tuck a small scarf at the neck, Mom reminds me, you would need to dry clean only at the send of the season. Price, $US 239, in sizes from XXS to XL.

The thought of spending another muted winter in fleece makes my shoulders sag. In a shirt jacket with a skirt or any kind of trousers, and brogues one has made an effort. Add pearls or your favourite necklace, now there's an individual


I love the shape, fabric and pockets of the Madewell jacket; unfortunately there are no colours I wear (I'd love a darker green). It is a very reasonable price; hope there are other colours soon.
Laura J said…
I knew these as barn jackets…I like the cut of the madewell but agree the colours don’t work for me either..
I’ve been doing twinsets recently…partly because the temperature during the day can vary a lot!
Leslie M said…
I’m partial to the corduroy jacket in pink. I would just wear it as a shirt and might have an Hermès scarf that would give it a jaunty feel and much needed color during the dreary months. Pendleton jackets and board shirts are very cozy. I have a plaid board shirt that I wear as an open jacket in autumn But, you better be sure because they charge shipping outbound and inbound. Their sizing is usually pretty generous and consistent, so I can expect to get a merino long sleeve something each year. I just spied a purplish crew neck on sale!
Jane in London said…
Interesting selection here - that Sea Salt one caught my eye, and I see that have it in a nice blue/grey that might be more practical for a dry clean only piece. Rather tempted there.

I never wear cord, as I don't like the way it rubs against itself when you move around. Odd, I know, but we all have our little foibles! But the colour of that cord one is lovely.

I'm also not a fan of tartan on me, which has often ruled out this sort of garment for me in the past. I remember my sister and I almost ordering "hostess kilts" (full length) in the 80s from the now long-defunct Scotch House in Knightsbridge.

We had chosen our grandmother's tartan for the kilts and had even got as far as agreeing on the lining fabric when we came to our senses and realised that these garments would not do anything at all for us! I suspect only the tall and willowy would have looked good in them. I love tartan, but just not on me...

Jane in London
Abigail said…
Back in the late 60's or early 70's I was given a used blue and gray version of the Pendleton jacket. I wore it for several years before passing it on, still in good condition. I gave it up only because I had gained too much weight for it to fit. I loved that jacket and always look longingly at any pictures of the style.
Abigail said…
lagatta à montréal Did you see the Madewell jacket in green? It is flannel, not corduroy.
Duchesse said…
lagatta: Though hailed as a trend there is always some version of this garment around. Simons have some too.

Laura J: There is a soft spot in my heart for twinsets, though I have but one.

Leslie M: For years Pendleton did not even ship to Canada, so my family in OR helped out. I agree sizing is generous, cut for grown women. That current '49er jacket is really tempting.

Jane in London: Hostess kilts, Scotch House! We may have crossed paths. I ordered a standard-length kilt while on a work assignment to London in the early '80s, but when it was delivered, I felt like it was too 'schoolgirl' on me. Might have worn it three times. I can carry only minor swaths of tartan (a tucker cashmere scarf), but I like it. This Totty Rocks belted trench...

Abigail: There is just something about the '49er. Thanks for your reference re the Madewell option. They do good-looking outerwear and have expanded their size range, XXS- XXL.

DeborahM said…
So interesting - we just went through a shacket surge in our extended family - here everyone went with the Anian version:

Most of us went with Melton wool which is a nice heavy (slightly stiff) wool, perfect for wet west coast.

I am interested to look at the other options here - the Madewell might make a nice change from the wool.
Laura J said…
DeborahM: I didn’t know about this company. Looks like a useful source and Canadian…thanks for link
Jane in London said…
Duchesse - yes to the Totty Rocks coat!!

So funny that you also succumbed to the siren call of The Scotch House! There was that terrifying chap in charge of The Tartan Room, who got out his register to check which tartans one was entitled to wear...

I know what you mean about the kilt; somehow, although lovely, they don't altogether work for most of us. Also, a traditionally-constructed kilt is 1) awfully heavy and 2) hot as Hades to wear. Terrific for a chilly baronial hall in the Trossachs, but probably a bit over the top for London ;)
DeborahM said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
DeborahM said…
no edit function I can see so deleted previous comment with error:
I have my mother's college version of a Pendleton jacket from the early 1950s that I still wear - she was in the midwest US and the jacket was made by another company but she always called it her Pendleton.

It has its original mother of pearl buttons and elbow patches that I added after wearing holes into it.
Duchesse said…
DeborahM: You could say it's in your genes! Thank you for the Anian link, the melton cloth shirts with snaps are wonderful. I have a melton coat made in Brittany, a single layer. It repels rain yet breathes, unlike rubber-coated outerwear, and its dense weave blocks wind. So IMO melton cloth is magic material! Local makers who serve maritime environments are great sources for such things and I'm delighted to have a Canadian source. (My coat goes into a snap-box from spring till fall because moths do love this stuff too.)

Jane in London: The man who served me called me "moddom" and referred to me as an American though the order was to be sent to Canada. I never got as far as the book; I immediately specified Black Watch because I thought the dark colours would be slimming, ha! You are right, there was so much fabric those deep pleats they could have made me a suit instead. They did have good classic cashmere.

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