The Jacket: From Necessity To Fashion

From warmth to style, the jacket is still an important part of both women and men’s fashion.

Mainly worn with a suit, a jacket can be used to compliment many styles. In fact, many men wanting to dress fashionable, wear a jacket with or without the suit.

As a part of a suit, the jacket is very important attire. The jacket is made with several materials and has evolved into several style types. In fact, it’s one of the ubiquitous pieces of clothing in fashion. 

Eddie Bauer can be accredited with designing the first recorded jacket in 1936 which was called the Skyliner. After he nearly lost his life from hypothermia on a fishing trip mid-winter, Bauer created the puffer jacket from down feathers within quilted fabric. He considered his jacket creation a personal necessity in wake of the staggering temperatures. 

Early History Of The Jacket 

The jacket originated from the early Renaissance and Middle Ages as a “jerkin.” Worn by working-class men, it was a more fitted version of the short tunic. By the early 18th century, the jacket was commonly worn by people working in agriculture and servants in urban cultures. As an article of clothing worn mid-stomach with sleeves, it didn’t take long for it to become a staple in fashion. 

1830s to 20th Century 

During the 1830s, jackets were made with a more fitted look and more commonly single-breasted as lounge jackets. The single-breasted jacket was preferred over more loose fitting editions from previous centuries. In fact, single-breasted jackets were crafted with darts underneath the arms and small reveres. Jackets with wasted pockets were a must have for middle-class men. The “reefer” jacket made an appearance in 1862 and included a double-breasted look. For country sporting activities, the single-breasted Norfolk jacket, buttoned high to the neck, became a fashion statement. 

By the end of the 19th century, the lounge jacket was the most popular type. However, one with silk lapels in the front was popularly worn as the dinner jacket. Consequently, this became a part of the formal tuxedo jacket. 

By the 20th century, most of the styles from the 19th century were still being worn. Sports jacket were introduced and worn with flannels, the Norfolk continued to be a sporting favorite, and a popular dinner jacket. When people hear the term “black tie” a jacket still comes to mind as a go-to ensemble. 

The jacket has always been popular in England with many styles over the centuries. However, the most notable design came from John Barbour which included an English luxury brand with rubber and an impenetrable barrier making the finishing cloth 100% waterproof. In fact, they were responsible for popularizing jackets that were short in the front and long in the back during early century justice. 

How The Jacket Is Worn Today 

Today, both men and women wear jackets and it’s no longer considered just formal wear. Many women and women wear jackets and jeans as casual attire. There are many jacket styles that are popular including: 

  • sports jackets
  • Harrington’s
  • leather jackets 
  • blazers
  • Anoraks 
  • bomber jackets 
  • biker jackets
  • puffer jacket 

In fact, jackets are made from many materials in retrospect of early cotton or silk including wool, tweed, hemp, nylon, and suede. 

Many celebrities have made jackets popular including the Olsen twins and Kate Moss. The jacket continues to evolve in America and among the British culture. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see women today wearing jacket with skirts and dresses. The jacket remains a part of formal and semi-informal fashion. 

As jackets continue to be a part of fashion, it’s interesting to see how the style continues to grow.