Tag Archives: 5 Tips To Nail The Odd Jacket

5 Tips To Nail The Odd Jacket

Over the past few weeks the focus has been on achieving the perfectly fitting pant; we now shift upwards and look at the jacket from a few different perspectives. We open by discussing the odd jacket; arguably the most important – and versatile – piece a man can have in his wardrobe.

In general men are wearing fewer suits today, but many guys retain the need for a jacket to elevate their appearance in certain professional or social settings. This is where the odd jacket checks into the game.


5 Tips To Nail The Odd Jacket:

1. Get the cloth right.

Before anything else remember it’s an odd jacket – meaning the pants don’t match. There should be no confusion thus the texture and pattern of the jacket needs to be clearly different. In saying that though the two pieces need to compliment each other; as a rule they should at least be within a rung or two on the formality scale.

A great way to show this is via the very dangerous suit jacket with jeans look:

Odd Jacket

Suiting is made of worsted wool which is treated to be smooth and luxurious in its hand; jeans on the other hand are the complete opposite hence the two don’t necessarily compliment each other which can result in a forced and disjointed look.  The fellow on the left is clearly in a suit jacket thus a few rungs away from his jeans; the one on the right gets a pass though as his jacket is of a rougher texture making it more casual in nature.

With that in mind always be thinking about texture, weave and pattern.  The odd jacket allows for a perfect amount of flair in terms of selecting interesting and rougher cloth.  This is due to the fact that more often than not our pant choices are relatively neutral.  Flannel has a level of surface interest that allows it to walk the line between formal and more casual.  Hopsack, sharks-tooth, mohair are good options as are subtle patterns such as a herringbone or hounds-tooth.  On the more casual side you can look towards tweeds as well as cotton and linen for the warmer months.  Here are a few examples:

texture and pattern

2. Get the color right.

Keep in mind the opening point above – the jacket needs to be clearly different than the pant. The cloth selection assists with this as does the colors we choose. I’m a big fan of monochromatic looks but you must always walk the line carefully.  A subtle color change in combination with very different textures works well; so to does a stark color change in combination with a subtle textural difference.  Part of what is so fun (or infuriating!) about the odd jacket is playing with these little nuances.

For the best results and by far the easiest to execute I suggest shades of grey, navy and brown.  I’ll throw olive in there as well though I get that it might be a stretch for some!  Here are a few examples to help you envision some different looks:



Brown (1)

3. Get the proportions right.

I’ll start by saying you can cut an odd jacket closer than your typical suit jacket.  This is because you’ll likely wear it unbuttoned more than done up; this being simply the nature of a more dressed casual look.

Next is to pay attention to the relationship with the pants – specifically with the rise and the mid-section as a whole.  In today’s style as pants move towards the casual end of the formality scale they typically start to have shorter rises and lower sitting waists.  The result is longer cut jackets look proportionally off as there is too much space between the bottom of the jacket and bottom of the crotch.  Take a look at all of the examples I’ve used in this post – the majority have the end of the jacket and bottom of the crotch being essentially even.  Start paying attention to this aspect of your look as nothing can make a man look more awkward!

4. Get the pants right.

As we just learned it starts with the rise – the shorter it is the shorter the jacket will need to be to compliment it.  As a pant gets more traditional and longer in the rise; the longer the jackets length can become.

In terms of choices I’ll suggest five key pants for pairing with odd jackets:

  • Mid Grey flannels – perhaps the most underrated and important pant in a guys wardrobe.  Walks the line between rugged and formal depending the shoe and jacket combo it gets paired with.

grey flannel

  • Charcoal wool – done in a textured cloth that has some visual interest this is a serious workhorse.  There is essentially no combination of odd jacket you could come up with that couldn’t be paired with this pant.
  • Brown – done in wool, moleskin or cotton.  The richness of brown allows for a wide array of cloth choices; each bringing a different level on the formality scale.  If your jackets are based in the grey, navy and brown world making great pairing will be easy.

Brown wool

  • Navy cotton chino – a classic that works just as well in combination with a brown lace-up as it does with a pair of white leather trainers.  This type of versatility enables a wide selection of jacket types to work perfectly for any professional or social occasion.
  • Olive cotton – as discussed last week this is the new third color.  Gets pretty close to its navy counterpart for the level of versatility though keep to the lighter shades of brown with you shoes.

Olive Cotton

Lastly – I can’t help but throw in a wildcard; the white pant.  Anyone who has spent time in Italy during the summer will know that this pant is everywhere in that country.  As someone on the paler side of the complexion scale I’m still unsure if I can pull it off; anybody with olive or darker tones I say go for it as it does look great!

5. Get the mood right.

This element isn’t often touched upon as its hard to nail down exactly what makes a look work. What is certain though is that the odd jacket is all about versatility – it could be thrown on to elevate your look for an impromptu business meeting or it can do the opposite and reduce the formality of a look.  What I mean by this is that an odd jacket is less formal than a full suit hence you can play with the mood you are going for while keeping yourself relatively high on the formality scale. Here is a perfect example:

Formally odd

It can also take a very casual and playful look and give it just the right amount of panache for a dinner party or a late afternoon event – the images below are two great examples:

Causal jackets

When used to its fullest potential the odd jacket is easily the most transformative and versatile piece in your closet – regardless of whether it’s the cooler winter months or in the heat of the summer.

I’d love to hear your opinions on this post – did I get it right or are there a few elements I left out?  Comment within the blog, send me an email or even give me a ring – your feedback is important so please don’t hesitate.

Thanks for reading – take care.