The men’s shirt jacket – and why you need it

The men’s shirt jacket has in later years become as common in the modern man’s wardrobe as a pair of black oxfords. It’s not only a great piece due to its versatility but also a cornerstone when you invest in your must-have garments. The shirt jacket, also referred to as the chameleon of the wardrobe, works just as good for a day at the office as on a dinner out with your friends. It is perfect for casual occasions but still leaves you feeling well-dressed.
In this article we will walk you through all there is to know about the men’s shirt jacket.

What is a shirt jacket?

The definition of a shirt jacket may vary depending on whom you ask but the simple answer is that it’s exactly what the name implies, a mix between a shirt and a jacket. It’s often characterized by its classic camp collar but in contrast to the shirt it does not achieve the same formality, instead, a shirt jacket becomes more subtle and casual.
A shirt jacket is truly the perfect in-between garment. Perfect during transeasonal periods like fall and spring, but also the perfect balance between casual and formal when a suit or jacket might be too formal. Due to its versatility and stylish but yet relaxed look, the shirt jacket can be worn both inside and as outerwear and has become a to-go piece for many men, all year round.

Shirt jacket wool cashmere light grey

The design and construction

Just like the classic shirt the shirt jacket also has full buttoning all the way down to the end of the garment, but often larger buttons to create a feeling that it’s more of a second layer or an outerwear garment. Another thing these two garments have in common is the cuffs and the similar button at the end of the sleeve.

A shirt jacket can be perceived as more of an outerwear garment and the big patch pockets is a good example of why. This particular design of the pockets is both practical but also gives it a more casual approach. A third pocket, the chest patch pocket is also added for the same reasons. On a classic blazer, you often see a welted pocket but on a shirt jacket, there should always be patch pockets to achieve the casual yet elegant style.

To create a more relaxed expression, they are always delivered completely unconstructed, something taken directly from the shirt’s construction. Despite this, a so-called “skinning” is always added to both the collar and cuff to get a little extra strength in the garment. This skinning also contributes to the garment lasting longer over time as the collar and cuff of both a shirt and a shirt jacket are two parts that wear easily.

How should a shirt jacket fit?

Given that the shirt jacket for men is a hybrid between a shirt and a jacket, it is very important to consider the balance when combining these garments. You want to take the best part of the blazer and shirt to create this unique new go-to staple piece.
Just as for the jacket it’s very important that a shirt jacket fits perfectly over the shoulder area. It’s important for creating the right balance and proportions in relation to your body.

A shirt jacket can definitely be considered as more of a casual garment which will reflect on the fit. It’s usually a slightly more straight and relaxed silhouette and the comfort of the garment is always the most important thing.

We also prompt for a more spacious fit when it comes to shirt jackets foremost from the aesthetic perspective but
also because it’s easily combined with layers upon layers. Therefore, it’s important to allow for a little extra space in the garment so it’s not perceived as too tight. In that case, you will miss out on the comfort, and that, we, of course, want to avoid at any cost.

Regarding the length of a shirt jacket, it is incredibly important to achieve the right balance and proportions. There are a couple of ”rules” to keep in mind.
A shirt jacket should never be longer than a jacket and it should not be shorter than a shirt that is worn untucked.
If the shirt jacket is slightly too long it may seem like it’s a little too big. Basically, because you as the wearer will be perceived as shorter.
The same issues, but the other way around, is of course if the shirt jacket is too short. It will look like you are bigger than you actually are and the jacket will look too small.

How should I style a shirt jacket?

Just as mentioned before the men’s shirt jacket is truly the chameleon of the wardrobe and the possibilities to match and style are almost limitless. We dare to say that it’s almost impossible to do it wrong. But of course, you still want to choose the shirt jacket based on the type of context in which the garment is intended to be used, but the most beautiful thing about the shirt jacket is that it has the ability to transform into the garment you need.

  • Let’s say you are going to wear the shirt jacket foremost in a work environment, then a good choice is to combine it with a pair of fresco trousers for a more formal look. You can easily complete the look with a white royal Oxford shirt and a pair of penny loafers.
    To achieve a slightly more relaxed look and modern take on the classic menswear uniform it’s a good idea to choose a navy shirt jacket.
  • Are you planning to have a drink or dinner in town with your friends? A great choice for that type of occasion is to go for a more relaxed approach and choose warm, earthy tones for your men’s shirt jacket. Pick a cashmere and wool shirt jacket in beige herringbone together with a pair of off white chinos in heavy cotton twill. To top it off you can go with a beige cashmere sweater and a pair of brown suede loafers.
  • Are you going to take a Sunday walk in the park and would like to feel relaxed but at the same time not lose your personal and well-tailored style? The men’s shirt jacket is the answer. A great choice for a relaxed approach is an olive cotton shirt jacket combined with mid blue jeans. Thanks to its matte surface it’s a versatile piece and is really easy to combine. You can easily go for multiple layers and wear a pique shirt and a knitwear underneath. Throw on a dad cap and you will achieve a classic, relaxed, Sunday look.

Can I wear a shirt jacket all year round?

Yes, you most certainly can. Since the actual garment isn’t defined by the fabric but the design you have plenty of options which makes the shirt jacket incredibly suitable all year round.
Approaching fall, a flannel shirt jacket or a corduroy shirt jacket are two great options. During spring and summer, we would instead recommend investing in a linen shirt jacket.
If you prefer to choose one shirt jacket that will work all your round to get as much use out of it as possible, it’s always a good idea to invest in a cotton shirt jacket.