Is it a shirt? Is it a jacket? The shirt jacket is a little bit of each and has consequently been saddled with the witty portmanteau, ‘shacket’.
The shirt jacket recently gained a credibility boost when rakishly draped over the well-structured shoulders of Bradley Cooper.
Hollywood icons apart, the truth about shirt jackets is that, because they sit somewhere between a shirt and a jacket, they’re a tremendously versatile item. Shackets are ideal for spring and autumn, when the weather can turn on a dime.
In short, the shirt jacket is an all-purpose lightweight lifesaver that looks as good at the race meeting as it does in a board meeting (assuming your workplace has a fairly casual dress code).
If you’re still undecided about the look, you should note that the shacket comes in a range of styles and weights. Choose from zips or buttons, blue-collar checked and heavy, or smart-denim casual. Try also vintage herringbone or street-smart leather.
Shirt jackets present in a range of textures and weights. The wool version resembles a relaxed blazer. It defends the body against cooler weather and the natural breathability reduces sweating.
Go for neutral navy, grey or charcoal, button down the neck and add chinos and white sneakers or leather brogues.
For an outdoors look, try a sports shirt jacket. Made from polyamide and blends of lycra and nylon, the outdoors shacket takes its colour cue from the seasons: blues and reds for the spring; burnt orange and green for the autumn.
Opting for vintage suede? Pair your shirt jacket with a plain white tee and slim-fit jeans, then accessorise with suede boots.
If you’re aiming for the English country-set look, go quilted. Your shirt jacket will act as an insulating body-warmer. Mix it with slim-fit denim and a checked shirt.
The key attribute of the shirt jacket is its lack of construction. There are no shoulder pads, canvas or lining. It’s simply made from cloth that doubles up in some places to form an inner layer. Choose from buttons or a zip, wear the collar open or closed, and check the seam sits around where your shoulder meets your arm.
Chest-wise, your shirt jacket is both an outerwear or underlayer item, so it should sit flat on the chest when fastened, but allow room for items such as polos or shirts to go under.
The shirt jacket has no construction, so it can be tailored in fabrics with heavier weaves and weights:
/ Heavy wool offers the best drape and is the best formal option.
/ Heavy cotton with minimal stretch are a great casual alternative
/ Irish linen: breathable for summer but watch out for wrinkling
/ Corduroy: soft finish & good for warmth;
/ Jersey: offers natural stretch
Always cold machine-wash your shirt jacket