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Texture Time

Jack Bettridge
From the Print Edition:
100 Years of Fuente—Celebrating a Family Dynasty, January/February 2012

Between super woolens, hyperfine cashmeres and even more rarified fabrics, things have been going pretty smoothly in the world of high fashion sport coats. But, as with all things fashion, it’s time for a change and things are going to get coarse—in a good way. Maybe a better description comes in the oxymoronic pronouncement of Tina Turner on her style: “nice and rough.”

A number of reasons warrant welcoming a return to texture. First of all, such redoubtable fabrics as Harris Tweeds, corduroys and herringbone weaves spell warm in the season we’re currently mired in. But more than that, texture spells style as weaves with a three-dimensional characteristic catch the eye better and create interest where the smoothest of textiles do not. This is especially true in the context of a sports coat, which is meant to add contrast, not conformity to any outfit. Your jacket should catch the eye and bring it subtly to your face. (No need to be bottom heavy and have people staring at your legs.)

Textures also tend to play well with a number of other items. They play off fancy slacks because of the innate contrast. But they also go better with blue jeans than smoother woolens (unless your intent is to create a sense of irony, but we think that died with the tuxedo-jacket-paired-with-dungarees gambit of so many years ago). A rough-hewn coat is also at home with a tie (try adding texture there as well), but doesn’t seem lacking without it. With shirts you can also go either way: contrast the fabric with something smooth as silk or rough it up with a Pendleton shirt.

Here we’ve chosen the deepest of weaves—a nubby bouclé textured jacket from George Zaharoff (georgezaharoff.com)—paired with a broad-weave shirt from Harris Reiss Custom Clothiers (646-431-9342) and a cashmere tie and silk handkerchief by Paul Stuart (paulstuart.com).

Form and function are further served with sturdier fabrics. While rarified textiles feel nice to the hand, their gossamer qualities don’t hold shape as well, so sturdy shoulders and pleasing drape don’t happen as easily. And then there’s the matter of wearability. You beat up on a tweed jacket and it just lends it character and perhaps an excuse for leather elbow patches. Catch a snag on $15,000 vicuna coat and it will only end in tears and a very expensive trip to the weaver.

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