Words | Randy Lai
Off the back of our latest autumn collection A Moveable Feast - inspired by a bsinthe-dipped bistros, the Lost Generation and Paris in the 20s - it feels right to wax at greater length about our offering of seasonal sportscoats.
To many sartorialists, the sportscoat is one of the more enjoyable, context sensitive bits of tailoring that you can possibly own, almost always accompanied by a modicum of innate drama: perhaps explaining why the style has become so intractably associated with enjoyable occasions - à la dinner parties and autumn/spring racing - over the years.
This season, all of M.J. Bale’s sportscoats have been conceived in this spirit of conviviality: envisioned with long, Claret-fuelled repasts and social occasions in mind. Whilst the three options we’ve handpicked below are all bound to appeal to individuals with different style sensibilities (the magic of clothing, ladies and gentlemen!) each shares the same knife-sharp proportions and elegant, out-of-office look that are pivotal if you’re keen to avoid ‘orphaned suit jacket’ syndrome.
Made in a louche cross-woven wool/linen cloth, our Zarco is l ikely to hold the greatest appeal with men who believe that sartorial clothing does not (and indeed shouldn’t be) a stuffy affair. Dyed in a rich melange of garnet, chocolate and monochrome tones, this ‘statement’ sportscoat does the lion’s share of work when you’re thinking about other pieces you’re going to pull together into an outfit.
At its best layered over fine Merino knitwear and a pair of heavy cotton trousers, the Zarco is peppered with details that speak to its elegant, yet decidedly relaxed credentials: large patch pockets on the hip and a natural, subtly flared shoulder line work together to purvey an atmosphere of comfort.
Along with the rich, textually vibrant fabric, these features resolve into a garment that we think of as the perfect companion to Happy Hour - so long as we’re still talking about clothes, that is.
The Fitzgerald to the Zarco's Ezra Pound, the Vigaro is a gregarious, gun-check sportcoat we wager would have caught the eye of F. Scott himself. Cut in one of our favourite fabrics of the Autumn 2023 collection (Loro Piana’s revered wool-silk-linen ‘Summertime’) its dandy aesthetic is in fact a clever misdirect - belying just how versatile the Vigaro is for three quarters of the year.
Thanks to the aforementioned cloth, the Vigaro travels incredibly well; and the largely matte colour palette of the check encourages it to be worn in a vast array of configurations: with a knit tie, off to the races; or, if you really want to subvert expectations, with some low-tops and white denim.
Made for those at the ‘peak’ of their sartorial prowess - not our finest comedic work, I’ll grant you - the Roskin is what we in the trade have taken to describing as one of our favourite ‘hybrid’ sportcoat models this season.
Distinct in both appearance and fabrication, the first thing you’re likely to notice is the fabric: despite its buttery soft, lightly felted handle, the Roskin’s source material is in fact cotton - woven at the initial stage as a twill, before being finished in the style of wool flannel. In English? The fabric is a joyously comfortable thing to wear: lightweight, yet with solid heat-retaining properties.
Fully intent on showcasing the distinctiveness of this cotton, we opted to keep the rest of the Roskin’s details straightforward and versatile. Visually, the neutral sandy hue is a fantastic foundation for choosing your own tailored adventure; although small flourishes - namely, the AMF top stitching - mean the jacket excels when worn as simply as possible. With knit polo and equally tonal linen trousers, it’ll be akin to a burst of sunshine in the autumnal days that lie ahead.
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