Very few brands do casual and dress clothes with equal aplomb. Hackett is one of them. Their Fall/Winter 2011 collection in particular has been on my mind a lot lately, so I thought I’d dig it out for some highlights and to show you what’s been inspiring me as the mercury drops.
A suit and a casual jacket are two very different animals. Cut, cloth, styling, etc. are all distinct for each. Same goes for chinos and flannels. The list of brands that get one right is small enough to begin with, but even fewer can produce clothes all the way across the dress-casual spectrum successfully. Ralph Lauren is probably the best example, making everything from T Shirts to Tuxedos lust-worthy. I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch (nor am I the first to suggest this) to say that Jeremy Hackett’s eponymous brand could be called the British counterpoint to Lauren’s Americana.
In particular, I love the way Hackett have styled their casual pieces and dressier pieces together to create flexible, wearable looks. The quilted jacket and chinos play down the spread-collar shirt and tie perfectly. As a graduate student I could easily wear this to both class and the bar.
There’s no denying the 60s cool influence in some of the looks, but unlike most “retro” dressing they’re mostly wearable and don’t make you look like a Mad Men extra. Which, by the way, is a terrible thing to look like, no matter what the PR parrots are squawking. The plaid sport coat and turtleneck reminds me very much of something Tom Stubbs or Nick Tentis might wear. Both stylish gents indeed.
Lastly, some of the knits really caught my eye as great layering pieces for this time of year. The banker-stripe knit waistcoat was a highlight along with the handful of knit-jackets worn with shirts and ties. I am a big proponent of using things like hefty shawl collar cardigans as jacket replacements in situations when you want to wear a tie but keep things from looking too formal. Dinner with some friends, a day on the town, or simply a trip to the local are all good enough reasons for me.
So while I find most lookbooks and their excessive art direction to be a distraction from the pursuit of dressing well, I think Hackett’s got it spot on. Clean presentation, you can actually see the clothes, and they are styled in a way meant to inspire real wear. Here here.