This is a jacket to make you cool, rather than to keep you warm. That is in no way a disparaging comment. Far from it, in fact: once the big winter freeze is over, a truly practical jacket is one that you can wear as part of your outfit, rather than over it. In the winter, you need an indoor outfit with an outer layer. But now, when outside is slowly warming up and inside is a little chilly with the heating turned off, it is much more practical to wear a jacket that works as part of your outfit, rather than one which squats on top of it like a big, woolly killjoy of a coat.
The band jacket is a stone cold classic. In fact, most of the time I am a little put off by this look because it’s a bit too cool. The band jacket – marching band jacket, drummer boy jacket, whatever you want to call it – is cool in a slightly self-conscious way, like leather trousers. But this season, the band jacket has gone all democratic. You don’t have to find one in a vintage shop in LA, because you can buy this one in River Island, or find one in HM, or – if you’ve got the cash – splash out on a divine, intricately gold-braided, navy Gucci version. This summer, the band jacket has dropped the I’m-with-the-band attitude. It’s just, you know, a cool jacket.
Still, it needs to be worn the right way. I am sure you don’t actually need me to point out that you can never, ever wear this kind of jacket with any kind of hat. (Two words: Pete Doherty.) Also, you can never wear it with leather trousers, or over a tour T-shirt. Or with a ra-ra skirt or anything vaguely tutu-ish, unless you want to look like a four-year-old being taken for brunch in Shoreditch. Also, stick to black or grey or navy. (The red ones are a bit Sgt Pepper era George Harrison.)
The easiest, most fuss-free way to wear it, is over a simple grey, black or white T-shirt. That’s what I’ve gone for, because it feels like enough. Strap on some high sandals, jam your hands in your pockets, and you’re good to go. But since the band jacket is everywhere this summer, the streetstyle-bait cool kids at fashion week were pushing it further: over a silky, pussy-bow blouse works well. It’s a cool jacket; it’s up to you if you want to make it hot.
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