The Deconstructed Gentleman: How to go Smart Casual the Cool Way

deconstructed jacket

What is a Deconstructed Jacket

The deconstructed jacket is the last stage in the evolution of the gentleman’s wardrobe. The shape and fit of the contemporary jacket is the result of history, costumes, culture and society itself: the jacket changed together with the gentleman’s mentality. We went from the medieval armor, to the jerkin, and then from the manteau to the justacorp, and the tail-coat, then came the Norfolk jacket.

It’s been a long and windy road since then, but we all know that the most difficult roads often lead to the most beautiful destinations. In this case the yellow brick road lead to Saville Row, where Frederick Scholte - the Duke of Windsor's tailor - basically defined the sartorial look of the contemporary man.

The deconstructed jacket is the lightest sort of jacket a gentleman can wear today; ça va sans dire: the lightest the fabric, the better. The purpose of this kind of jacket is to keep you as fresh as possible.

Some claim that Boglioli “invented” the deconstructed jacket, but Paolo Boggi is of a different advice, in his book “A Suit to Read” he asserts that he was the one who actually put together the very first deconstructed jacket.

Regardless, there’s nothing new under the sun: everything has been invented already. The motto applies to menswear as well. Each and every single item we wear was originally created for a purpose. Style must be practical, otherwise it’s just fashion. The Deconstructed jacket is still a jacket, yet the complete absence of canvas makes it less formal than any other jacket or blazer.

The bespoke windowpane trousers were made by my friend Marian Vitel, tailor in Rome.

 

Why it is a Must Have

Consider this the border between shirts and jackets. The reason you need at least one deconstructed jacket is that the day will come when you will have to attend some sort of business meeting en plen air but the hot weather will make it hard for you to even think about wearing a jacket. Now, if you do attend the rooftop cocktail party without a jacket, you’ll look under-dressed and nobody will take you seriously. Yet if you, on the other hand, do have a nice deconstructed jacket in your arsenal, you will be able to attend the same event and shine like you are supposed to, because the deconstructed jacket is cool and hip.

 

How Can I Dress It Up or Down  

Not all that glitter is gold, though. You cannot really have it both ways: it’s either you dress formally, or you dress casually. Do not be fooled, you can only dress a deconstructed jacket up till a certain point. It will always stay in the business-casual ball park, no matter what you do. This means that you can dress this sorts of jackets down much more easily. The most formal deconstructed jacket belongs to a suit, has jet pockets, regular lapels, three buttons on the torso and four on the sleeve. Fabric is also important: obviously, a linen suit will always be less formal than a suit made of wool. If you do manage to find a nice deconstructed suit made of Tasmanian wool, you have almost squared the circle. I know a place: the Sartoria al Corso. In that case, work on the accessories to take away the attention from the unpadded shoulders and the general slack feel of the jacket.

In case you wan to dress it down, instead: easy as pie. The bolder the colours, the easier it gets. Dandy gentlemen nowadays have no problem wearing a mustard jacket, for example. Wear suede loafers for a touch of Pitti feel, together with flamboyant hats of various shapes and materials, fun socks, braces, walking sticks and colourful pocket squares and le jeux son fait!

 

OUTFIT #1

As I said, it really does not get very formal with deconstructed jackets. In my opinion, in fact, - even though this is is not an exact science - a deconstructed jacket is, first and foremost, a sports jacket. In this example, we are dealing with a two-buttons sports jacket in St Tropaz blue with notch lapels and patch pockets that I have worn over a white Pima cotton with shirt with an Italian two-buttons collar. The seven folds silk regimental necktie is from the Tie Shop Rome. The knot couldn’t be anything else than a four-in-hand, the only knot an Italian gentleman could and should use. As you can see, the tie bar has been properly placed (it is tilted downwards) and it has been inserted between the first and second button of the shirt. I picked a white pocket handkerchief made of silk and a classic Tv fold for the occasion. The boutonnière is off white and the cotton five pockets off-white trousers display an orangey shade. The Fedora is made of Raffia palm. The wristwatch is a vintage Rolex Oyster day-date.

 

OUTFIT #2

It gets even less formal: the yellow, deconstructed sports jacket is more slack than the previous one; it is still made of cotton, but we are dealing with a go-to-hell jacket now. This is from one of my favourite Roman brands ever, Ame Delan. Look at the boutonnière! Patch pockets are a must. I worn it without a necktie, over a white, sleeveless cotton shirt. The key to sporting this sorts of jackets is to allow it enough room in the ensemble. He is the elephant! Notice, in fact, the grey trousers (also from Ame Delan). White and grey go well together with yellow because they are neutral colours. The white basket hat made in cotton is sporty and fun, the swatch automatic doesn’t take itself too seriously, it gives the outfit another dandyish touch. The red Wayfarers from The Cassette Company are a bold statement with those mirrored lenses. I thought the white pocket square was the only option here, given the fact that this is already quite an outrageous looking outfit.

 

OUTFIT#3

In the other picture you can admire a masterpiece of a deconstructed jacket which does not belong to me, alas! It weights less than 400 grams and it was made by the Sartoria al Corso with of one the very best Loro Piana's summer fabrics, which is Tasmanian wool and silk. As you can see, the wonderful shade of Navy Blue is bewitching and I can assure you that this jacket is so comfortable that you will soon forget the very fact that you are, indeed, wearing it. This pictures were taken at the beginning of July and the weather was extremely hot. Yet, the jacket provided protection from the sun, but at the same time did not prevent the breeze to caress my skin.

 

Conclusion

To be honest with you, it would be useless to ask for my opinion on the matter, since I am unashamed of letting you know that I am a huge supporter of deconstructed jackets, the sportier, the better. My style is slowly but surely becoming more and more Dandyish, while I grow older. You would think it should be the other way around. Perhaps it’s the dreadful middle-age crisis. I’ll probably acquire another sports car soon, perhaps a cabriolet. I’m reading Oscar Wilde, I’m starting to appreciate the famous “little things in life”. If you are on the same page, by all means, join me and a bunch of other forty-something chaps in this quite amusing fashion endeavour. Let’s make a bold statement, like the suffragette did! To paraphrase Howard Hughes, the deconstructed gentleman is the way of the future!    

 

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About The Author

Andrea Loquenzi HolzerRoman-born style blogger, image consultant, and personal shopper Andrea Loquenzi Holzer, a.k.a “John Cravatta” (instagram: john_cravatta) blogs at “A Gentleman in Rome” (www.agentrome.com). Former wonder boy of Italian politics and journalism, he left the scene very early on in his career, claiming to be “extremely skeptical” about mainstream media outlets and the political scene itself. Before dedicating himself entirely to the world of style, he has published extensively for several different media outlets in Italy and abroad (such as L’Occidentale, Longitude, and Pj Media) on the subjects of politics, economy and history. He holds a degree in International Development from “La Sapienza” University and a Master Degree in European Studies from the “LUISS Guido Carli” University.<

2 Comments

  1. Well written and I love the history lesson. Being in the states – I love the opposite of athleisure, since that’s most of what I see.

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