So, my next favourite of 2015, what might that be? I’d have to say that Gloverall and their 1951 collection was one of the high points of the Autumn/Winter collection. The combination of vintage auto racing, the mod-styles and the generally classic looks with lots of duffle, tweed and classic cuts really does it for me. I’ve already reviewed my 1951 duffle coat, so while it is one of my absolute favourites, I’ll not give it another go on the grandstand. Instead, this is about the jacket I got at the same time, yet have not mentioned till now. Well, apart from a few photos on my Instagram feed.
The Gloverall Racing Monty, also from the 1951 collection, also with the classic jute and wood toggles on the front, even with similar styling to the duffle coat, yet an entirely different jacket. Given all the similarities, how can this possibly different to the duffle, you say? Well, whereas the oversize duffle is made of a thick wool mix, the Racing Monty cuts a slimmer figure and is made from bonded cotton.
The “1951” branding is a lot more subtle than on the duffle, with just the single small round label on the arm.
Bonded cotton says raincoat to me, and I was really thinking more of Spring when I got the jacket. As winter turned out though, it has become one of my most frequently worn jackets. A reasonable length, rain and windproof and with a working hood makes for a flexible usage pattern. Or as your dad might say, “It’s a sensible jacket, lad”.
The bonded cotton used by Gloverall is more flexible than the usual Mackintosh fabric. It feels more like Ventile, or a thick cotton, to the touch. Both inside and outside have a nice smooth feel to them. The same racing stripe trim as used on the duffle livens up an otherwise all black jacket here. Did I say all black? Only on the outside, only on the outside. The inside is all bright red! Very daring indeed and I like it.
There is no lining inside, so this is a jacket for a range of temperatures. I’ve been using varying grades of wool sweaters underneath and found it a practical jacket. Given how bonded cotton is a fabric that doesn’t exactly breathe, it is handy that there are some decent vents in the armpit area.
There are two front pockets of a decent size and a single smaller inside pocket. The inside pocket is large enough for a phone and has a snap button closure. If I could voice one point I’d like to see improved it would be the addition of press buttons to close the front pockets. The utility value of them is somewhat reduced by the flaps not having a positively reinforced closing action, if I can drop into engineers speak for a moment.
A design difference from the duffle is that here the hood is removable, using snap buttons. The hood design itself is the same, with adjustment by use of snap buttons on the sides, as was the way of the original duffle coats. Under the collar there is also a throat latch that can be unbuttoned and used to provide extra protection for the neck. I’ve tended to wear a big scarf and haven’t tested this function.
Whether the removable hood is an advantage or not is debatable. When removed it does clean up the collar considerably, but having a fixed hood does make for a generally cleaner and less fussy collar area.
Gloverall jackets are made in their factory in London and as with the duffle the work that has gone into this jacket is quite splendid and the attention to detail is superb. All open seams are bound or felled, so the inside of the jacket is as tidy as the outside. There are no taped seams, such as you’d find on a Mackintosh, so the Gloverall might be slightly less waterproof when totally immersed in a downpour. In use though I can’t see this being any issue.
- A great classic style
- Excellent materials and construction
- Great all-round jacket
- Made in Britain
- Could use snap buttons to close the front pockets
I see that the bonded cotton version of this jacket is sold out now, but the waxed cotton version is still available and 50% off in the Gloverall sale puts it at 225 pounds.
To be honest, there are still quite a number of pieces in the 1951 collection I’d like to buy…