For variations in form and function when it comes to men's clothes, always look to outerwear. That's because so much of it is handed down to us from specific uses, typically relating to sports or the military. Soldiers gave us trench coats, sailors passed on pea coats and horsemen handed down their hacking jackets and polo coats, etc. One top garment that we hope will gain more traction—even while it's not as ambitious in terms of being activewear—is the estate jacket that Paul Stuart, the New York City menswear mecca is now showing.
The name conjures up an image of the kind of garb that the lord of Downton Abbey would throw on before going out to survey his fief. And that would be a good use for it—except that so few of us own estates anymore. The jacket could almost be a shooting coat, but it lacks such utilitarian detail as leather shoulder pads and cloth rings to hang shotgun shells from. No, the estate jacket can't claim much pretension of specialized function, unless that's how you would categorize kicking around the outdoors and looking great. But for that use, this jacket is suited to a T.
The estate jacket doesn't stop there, however. It has the kind of town-and-country styling suitable for urban use as well. It also has the makeup to bridge three seasons—from late fall to early spring—without looking out of place in any. Although it probably won't cover your suit jacket, it's sophisticated enough to show off in more casual office settings. And its insouciant demeanor is perfect for nightlife.
Paul Stuart sources its version ($1,387) from the realm of landed gentry—England—and outfits it with a range of fine details. Made of formidable wool, it comes in an outdoor-appropriate olive houndstooth check. The interliner is rainproof and microsuede covers the collar and trim. The front closure is a wind-resistant zipper paired with snaps, and snaps also secure the pouch pockets. In the back, the side vents can be unsnapped, so you could, in fact, undo them, mount your horse and survey your estate.