Tag Archives: Odd Jacket

The Odd Suit In Relation To The Odd Jacket…

I’ve received a bunch of feedback from last Thursday’s Odd Jacket post and as a result a bit of clarification and further explanation is in order.  A lot of the questions and comments centered on the use of a suit as separates and if that could be considered an odd jacket in itself.  With that in mind I introduce the concept of the odd suit.

What is an odd suit?

An odd suit is formed when you take two suits, split them up and then wear them in combination with each other.  The key factor in this is that the fabrics of the two suits have to be very similar to one another for it to be termed an odd suit.  The obvious benefit is four looks out of two suits – as you see below it’s another reason why a basic navy and grey should always be your fist two purchases:

N + N-G

1) Navy suit                                                        2) Navy jacket with grey trouser

Grey + G-N

3) Grey suit                                                        4) Grey jacket with navy trouser

Here are some other options in terms of colors and types of cloth:

odd suit

Where does the odd suit sit on the formality scale?

The odd suit sits in the second position in terms of business norms.  The full suit on the left is obviously is the most formal option while the odd jacket and trouser look on the right sits in the third position.

formality scale

Why would you choose to go with the odd suit?

The first reason is practicality and is important for those readers who are building their business wardrobe on a tight budget.  For those starting out often two suits is all that they can afford; two suits with four looks allows you to make it through the work week without having the same look twice if you’re office is dressed casual friendly on Friday.  Keep in mind the focus should be to arrange your looks so that the same pants are not worn on consecutive days – this is crucial for extending their life.  We don’t worry about the jacket in the same way as it usually is hanging on your door for most of the day.

Beyond practicality I have two main reasons that I like to go with the odd suit in certain situations.  The first is because it’s slightly less formal than a full suit. Depending on your profession or the context of a given meeting sometimes a full suit sends the wrong message. An odd suit fits the moment where you need to be perfectly put-together yet you don’t want to overpower the situation.  On a personal level I will often go with the odd suit for meetings with clients in the creative fields – be it marketing, advertising or design.  These environments are slightly more casual and as such require a look that is slightly turned down in relation to a law or accounting firm.


The second reason is visual interest.  In the standard business outfit you have 6 elements – jacket, pant, shirt, tie, pocket square and shoes.  The most dominant aspects are the jacket and pant; by using two colors in the base we have more options in terms of multiple color combinations.  Another way of looking at it; the full suit is no-nonsense simplicity whereas the odd suit is all about creative opportunity.  The image below is an example of this  – Maciej from Zaremba in Warsaw in fact takes it to the next level by introducing a third base element with the vest.  It was visually interesting enough that he chose to forgo the pocket square all together!


At a minimum it gives you a touch more freedom to express yourself – play with it and see what feels right.  As always I look forward to hearing from you. Perhaps more than any other post I’d love to see what odd suit combinations you wear on a daily basis – please feel free to send them in!

Take care and thanks for reading.



Sometimes you just have to be special to pull a look off…

With the arrival of spring we’re beginning to see a the first shifts in how many of us dress – a key element of that being guys desire to look casually put together. One of the biggest mistakes guys make in this department is going for the t-shirt and odd jacket combination.  This is a high degree of difficulty look to pull off with any success and for 90% of us we should just stay away.

That said there is a very small fraction of guys out there who can pull it off – here are two examples.  If you don’t  do it with this type of swagger and panache then don’t do it all all.

t-shirt and jacket #1

Which begs the question: what is the intangible quality that these two have that the vast majority of us do not?

For me it’s the ‘je ne sais quoi’ effect – I don’t know what it is but certain guys simply have a look and feel about them that enables them to push boundaries in a successful fashion.  I know it’s not fair but if you have any doubts about your “intangible qualities” then play things safe and make sure you have a collar on that shirt!


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.