The thing about the really classic jackets is that while they may be deemed “on point” and terribly in vogue at random intervals of time, the true greatness of them is that outside the fickle and pointless world of fashion, they are always great. Now I could have spent some time trying to work out what was deemed the “in” jacket for the coming season, but to my mind it’s going to be the year of the peacoat, the duffel, the mountain parka and the deck jacket. Much as every other year really, right?
The deck jacket is another one of those jackets with a military history, in this case developed as a utilitarian jacket for navy personell during WW2. The idea was to create a warm jacket, both wind proof and wooly on the inside, with few outside features that could snag at inopportune moments. The initial models were in navy blue, with ribbed elasticated cuffs and hem. After a short period of development they settled on the khaki variant with hidden ribbed cuffs and a drawstring to snug up the hem. Together with the throat latch this made for a jacket that kept the howling wind of the Northern Atlantic at bay.
The khaki colour allowed a more liberal and useful use of stencils to mark the jackets,typically with a “USN” branding on the front. Whether this adds or detracts to the style of the jacket 60 years later is a matter of personal taste.
There are any number of deck jackets available today, from original old jackets to highly accurate recreations through to jackets of a more evolutionary nature. I’ve dug out a selection for your consideration, starting with the original.
There are a number of original jackets around on places like eBay. Hardly surprising given the numbers that were made. Most appear more or less “patinated” and the asking price is similar to what a new reproduction will cost you, at least for the better examples. Again, probably not a huge surprise. I found this quite decent looking one after a quick look:
I think for my part at least, this may be a little more vintage than I would like, but it serves as a good lesson in what the originals actually looked like.
Available on eBay at 450 dollars.
Given that the original jackets are mostly old, moth-eaten, smelly and largely not available, there are quite a few companies that recreate the originals. This has mainly been the province of dedicated Japanese companies up to now, but we now also have a German contender.
Buzz Rickson are serious players in the business of replicating vintage garments and their deck jacket is no exception. It’s made in the correct colour of cotton grosgrain jungle cloth with an alpacca and wool mix lining. The zip is the correct Conmar brand, as per the original and it even has the original style label on the inside. Supplied with USN marking on the front. Made in Japan.
Available from Buzz Rickson at 390 pounds.
The Real McCoy is another of the serious Japanese players in the business of replicating vintage garments, and like Buzz Rickson they have put serious effort into their deck jacket. In fact, it looks very much like Buzz Ricksons effort, though they supply it without stencil markings. They also use alpacca wool for the lining and a Talon brand zip. Supplied with no markings. Made in Japan.
Available from Superdenim at 480 pounds.
Pike Brothers are fairly new to deck jackets, coming mainly from a background of vintage style jeans and workwear. Visually at least their reproduction is very close to the Japanese efforts, based on the same later evolution of the original. I’m a little uncertain about the colour of the lining, though that could be the photo. Then again, that would only matter to the most ardent of wearers. The lining is woven wool and the zipper is Talon-brand. Supplied with stencils for you to apply your own markings if you like. Made in Turkey.
Available from Pike Brothers at 299 euros.
And finally, a couple of jackets with a little more evolution in their design.
Mister Freedom describe their “Blouson de Quart” as being freely inspired by the old naval jackets, though to my mind this is pretty close to the original look. The main noticeable difference is the use of clasps instead of buttons to close up the front. The hidden qualities are more subtle, with full wool mix lining, corduroy lined collar and pockets, a sturdy MIL-spec Talon zip and the liberty cuffs with mermaid patches for when you want to cut a dashing figure. Supplied with no markings. Made in Japan.
Liverpool-based Harry Stedman have looked to Grenfell to produce their take on the deck jacket, which to me means that this is guaranteed to be a quality garment. Design wise they have gone back to the earlier design, sporting the ribbed hem. The expected wool lining is in the form of quilted wool blanket and the outside is a heavy duty cotton in a more greenish shade. Supplied with no markings. Made in London.
Available from Harry Stedman at 550 pounds.
Oh, you might be interested in these as well
In closing, I noticed something of a bargain in the the “Odd’s and ends” category over at Pike Brothers. They have a version of their current deck jacket in an earlier experimental fabric at a more than decent discount. It looks as good as the full-price version as well!
Available from Pike Brothers at only 199 euros.
And in closing, a few more vintage photos, just to help you get in the mood. If you’re planning on standing around on deck this winter, at risk of howling wind and lashing seas, accept no substitute.