If you have been following me on Instagram, you may recall several of my stories on designing a summer safari suit/ jacket.
In brief, the concept behind this creation is that it would be a casual suit which could also work beautifully as statement pieces on their own. After all, chances of wearing separates in summer are even higher than during the colder seasons.
Now, instead of the bold color palette which I notoriously chose for some of my existing pieces, I've come to the conclusion that the design should be subtle in its tone; and more importantly, it should have more of a historical basis to it (as they tend to be timeless too!)
Thus, while the garment would be in a muted dark olive green shade, the jacket features the safari-style pockets and the trousers come in a Ghurka style; both echoing with each other exquisitely in rather colonial imagery.
In any case, now that I've just had my first fitting with Whitcomb and Shaftesbury, I'm pleased to announce that I can finally update you on the making progress of this marvelous piece.
To start off, this is particularly exciting as this is the first suit that W&S made for me after all. Nonetheless, the biggest issue we had during the first fitting was the suit's proportions.
The truth is, since the measurements for the jacket were taken very briefly during the same process which I did for my polo coat, it is inevitable that some tiny details were overlooked as a result.
Consequently, as you could see in the picture above, the jacket appears to be oversized in multiple aspects.
The coat length, for example, extends way beyond my hips; making it rather disproportionate for someone who has relatively shorter legs already.
Nonetheless, as always I would say this is no big deal as long as you spot it during the first fitting. In here, simply by shortening the skirt of the jacket for 2-3 inches would suffice, as demonstrated in the picture below.
In this light, this means all the pockets on the jacket would need to move upwards as a direct result.
The chest pocket, in particular, was what came straight to my mind as I was putting on the jacket. It is simply too low regardless of the proportions.
On the positive side, however, I must say that I'm quite satisfied with the size of the pockets. Nothing dramatic that interrupts the harmony between different parts of the jacket.
Meanwhile, there are also some interesting changes going on at the shoulders. While W&S is renowned for its rather soft and natural shoulders, we did something unusual here.
Considering how my shoulders are rather narrow, Suresh suggested that I could have the jacket shoulders further extended to create an impression of a stronger upper body.
To put this into perspective, this would mean lengthening the shoulders into the armholes, for about 2/3 of the current canvas as shown above.
It is easy to get reluctant to such proposals considering the aesthetic of the jacket would be fundamentally altered; say, it would be more difficult to pair it with chinos or denim trousers given its structure.
On the other hand, however, I am rather intrigued to see how this safari jacket would end up looking like with more drape and a sharper silhouette along the chest; so I gave it a go.
With the shoulders of the jacket being extended, it is best to also balance the bottom so that the garment would be proportionate as well.
What this means is that in contrast to the straight closed quarters (the opening from the buttoning point) that you could see in the pictures, they should be more cut away and opened.
With that said, I should also say this is also a matter of personal taste as well. So it is not a rule that one needs to strictly follow.
In any case, it still wouldn't be wide-open like an Anderson & Sheppard or a Liverano & Liverano jacket. But it would have a nicer X-shape curve than the current model and is closer to what I envisioned originally.
Finally, one last detail which I thought it would be interesting to share is on the silhouette of the trousers.
For some of you who have been following the blog for a while, you may recall that I have previously had a pair of trousers commissioned at W&S and the result is almost perfect.
However, with more wears I've realized that due to my natural posture (that I tend to press my knees backward hard when I stand), the trousers' clean leg line may sometimes be disrupted when it reaches that area.
It is a rather tricky issue I have to admit since you tend to stand differently at different times. But hopefully by allowing more room at the back for this upcoming pair of trousers would improve this situation.
The cloth I've chosen for this piece, by the way, is from Ariston's Breeze bunch. It is a mohair-wool-silk blend weighting at about 270g.
Though I have initially envisioned the piece to be in a heavy Irish linen material or perhaps a wool-silk-linen blend, the complexity of this fabric is too exceptional for it to be missed.
More importantly, the mohair aspect of the cloth also allows the garment to shine impeccably under bright light while it remains to be quite resilient. Needless to say, this is indisputably a stunning piece to wear during the upcoming Pitti Uomo.
In any case, check back later for more images of the finished garment.
Photography by The Suitstainable Man team