Thursday, September 15, 2011

On the Street….Richard Chai in His Button-Up Jean Jacket, New York

Above is Richard Chai, who I’ve known for a while and who has consistently great style.  That’s not the main reason I took this photo, though; it’s also a guide to how I should buy a jean jacket.


Like almost everyone out there, I am hypercritical about how things fit on me.  Jean jackets never seem to hit me at the right place.  But then I look at this picture of Richard – who has a couple inches on me – and the jacket hits at the same place they always hit on me!  It’s making me rethink things.  Maybe I’ve been too self-conscious.  Because, really – this is a great look.


To be honest, this is the entire reason I started The Sartorialist.  I was hungry for a set of visual references.  If I thought someone was dressed well, I wanted time to look back at images and go over them – to learn why I thought that, since sometimes in the moment it’s hard to piece it all together.


Back to the jacket, though; it’s not just the shape, but the fabric.  There is an easiness, and a softness, that you just can’t get with a true jean jacket.


Thanks for the constant inspiration, Richard!


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  1. James Kent

    September 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    I always thought that denim jackets fell too short on my torso (I’m 6ft 1″) and particularly on my back.

    It looks good here because of the shirt underneath – without that it would probably make him look stretched out (as it does me) but he pulls it off well.

  2. Leoraul

    September 15, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Good to discover why you started this blog. Great things come from simple ideas.

  3. Marcela

    September 15, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I Agree, this makes sense.
    I like the look , his look. It’s great to see how much you care about not just fashion, but style, knowing that you actually take the time to consider all these things.
    By the way, if I may,
    Scott, I do think that you are being too self conscious, you have a great sense of style, and I this look would probably be great on you.

  4. JL

    September 15, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I have always preferred this length of fit otherwise it reminds me of the Jimmy Dean era.

  5. The Fancy Teacup

    September 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Such an icon. His denim button up is clean-cut and effortlessly impeccable.

    ♥, Jamie

  6. antique engagement rings

    September 15, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    I love the look and love the bracelets!

  7. YT

    September 15, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    I have to say that the look is pulled-off well because of the collar-on-collar duo. The collar from the under-shirt gives the jeans jacket more structure; while the use of basic grey compliments with the dark blue colour of the jeans jacket as a form of extension.

  8. Meredith

    September 15, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    I think he looks really nice. It seems to be more of a shirt jacket than a jean jacket – as you said, softer fabric than denim. Actually the first thing I noticed about him is that he looks fashionable but also masculine. I keep getting the comment from my blog that the men look too feminine.

    - Meredith

  9. Paul Gonzales

    September 15, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Nice cut the jacket has.

  10. MegP

    September 15, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Is that a jean jacket? It looks like a navy khaki jacket to me.

  11. Unlikely Nomad

    September 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing, I also think it has alot to do with the cool grey shirt sticking out underneath…no? Otherwise I think you are right, it would look too short. The layer makes it look cool.

  12. Gabriel

    September 15, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    It’s very difficult to find a denim jacket that fits properly — most of them seem to be too long and too baggy in the arms, and either too short or too long in the body.

    Ideally, I think a denim jacket should hit right at the waist and be worn snugly around the chest, while the arms should be cut not too flappy so you look like a troubadour, but not too tight that it prevents movement either. It seems to me that women’s denim jackets are cut this way, while men’s usually miss the mark by fitting awkwardly and stiffly.

    I really like the one you’ve captured, even though it kind of redefines what a denim jacket is supposed to look like by having a non-denim fabric and by cutting the proportions similarly to a shirt, but still keeping the details and trademarks of a “true” denim jacket. Food for thought…

  13. Thesecretcloset

    September 15, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    I agree but you forgot COLOR!!!!

  14. Lauren

    September 15, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    I think the length works here for two reasons – 1) the soft fabric and 2) the longer shirt underneath.

    The Styleseer

  15. Kevan

    September 15, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    I need a shirt like that, looks awesome!

  16. NYCboy

    September 15, 2011 at 7:56 pm

  17. Ashley

    September 15, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    I understand that you’re looking for denim, and you can find some nice soft versions. Have you considered finding a linen jacket cut in a jean-jacket shape, in a dark color like navy? That would give you the softness. Just a thought.

  18. AnthonyC

    September 15, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Your extended commentary is really illuminating, interesting and sharp. Fashion is so driven by hype, marketing, gloss, fluff – it’s good to be reminded – for those who care – of the essential reasons why people dress well. Cheers!

  19. Bohemian Style

    September 15, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Jacket is fun but I too love the look of his bracelets.

  20. msim

    September 15, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Great cut and colour. Spot on.
    He is also so beautiful, it almost hurts to look at him.

  21. The Photodiarist

    September 15, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    the jacket seems less a structured denim jacket and more shirt-like . . . which is why I like it.

  22. aam

    September 16, 2011 at 1:42 am

    RE: visual references.

    That is why I visit your blog.


    September 16, 2011 at 3:50 am

    Fantastic string bracelets!

  24. Flower Diamond

    September 16, 2011 at 4:04 am

    mmm, yes, GREAT jacket. great look. layering , colour.,done up top buttons=just totally works.

  25. clarity enhanced diamonds

    September 16, 2011 at 7:22 am

    I love his look..a great look for fall.

  26. Milena

    September 16, 2011 at 7:42 am

    I really love how he’s dressed! The jacket is AMAZING as well as the string/bracelet around his wrist.

  27. Tinny

    September 16, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Out of all the images put up today this one strikes me the most. Looking closely now, I am able to discern why. The bold look appears to be assembled in the most subtle and understated of ways. The contrast between the dark denim shirt/jacket and the light grey shirt worn underneath is interesting and makes this look complete. Also I do love the wrist decoration and earrings – This guy exudes cool!

  28. Maryli

    September 16, 2011 at 9:41 am

    I think that length will work great, especially with layering it the way he does.

    P.S. Visual reference is exactly why I love your blog. It’s saved my ass more than once in those circumstances where I’ve bought a piece but really had no idea how to pull it off. Like “that looked great on the rack/model, but how do I wear it in real life? Lemme go check The Sartorialist!”

  29. Emily

    September 16, 2011 at 10:06 am

    He is handsome. I am very grateful that you post a diverse group of people on your website because it has increased my self confidence. I live in a midwestern city where the ideal of an attractive person tends to be stuck in a cookie cutter, so it is really great to see people who look different.

  30. Lovely

    September 16, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I have started looking/reading your blog almost everyday for a year now because I find such inspiration that you have set out for. I believe I’ve taken much more confidence into what I buy.

  31. Inga Byleckie

    September 16, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    And that is why I wish you ONCE in a while would take pics. of women over 50! I could use the inspiration.

  32. Nicole G

    September 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    I think Richard looks amazing. So relaxed, so carefree, so true to self. His jacket fit is perfect. He exudes a confidence that I find so attractive in a man. Who is to say what is in style? But what is important is that a man or anyone for that matter wears their OWN style. And wears it well.

  33. Henry

    September 16, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    I want this jacket, exactly the same colour and fit, where?

  34. Linus

    September 16, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Cool dude and nice jacket.

  35. Fotautomat

    September 16, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    You can never go wrong with any adaptation of the trucker – here in a oil coated looking fabric, deep indigo… PERFECT for this fall. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

  36. sammoran

    September 17, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    I agree that this length is perfect for him, and would be for you as well, but please only in this beautiful fabric, not (Levi’s, Lauren) denim. It is the stiff structured nature of a jean jacket that makes you self-conscious when it is truly too long–your instincts are correct, not insecure.

  37. Julie & Anker

    September 17, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    You can get a jacket like that on a Danish new mens wear brand- go check it out! And thanks for a great blog with constant inspiration!

  38. Sabrielle

    September 17, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    He’s a stylish cutie pie… i just got butterflies.

  39. Eugen

    September 17, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    All confused here (as I am swedish): never heard of “Jean jacket” cos I always use/write “jeans jacket” so now I learned something new, wow !!!
    Personal opinion: long and bulky not cool, agree with a reader above, nicer short and tight! BUT ofcourse all depends of if you are a tall or short, skinny or heavy! Have a nice sunday!

  40. Martine

    September 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    I think the jacket is far too short on him. That works out OK because he has a shirt underneath, and its not really a jacket, but its not how I think a jean jacket should look. It should be at least three inches below the natural waist of a man. On a girl its perfect shorter, but not a guy.

  41. Monique

    September 19, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Thanks for the constant inspiration, Scott!

  42. Lindsey

    September 21, 2011 at 2:12 am

    Photos (and explanations) like this one are the reason I visit the Sartorialist. You have a wonderful eye for the way people wear clothes, not just the fashion itself. Some people are excellent wearers of clothes and the rest of us can learn from them.

  43. rei

    September 21, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    “I was hungry for a set of visual references. If I thought someone was dressed well, I wanted time to look back at images and go over them – to learn why I thought that, since sometimes in the moment it’s hard to piece it all together.”

    This is so relatable! Often i catch a glimpse of another person and think, THAT, that’s how i’d love to dress. But it’s so fleeting, i’m unsure of the exact pieces, just the enviable quality of how they all work together.

  44. Weiss Michel

    September 25, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Very in order, well done.

  45. Name*Geovanny C.

    October 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    What I like the most about this look, is that the jacket looks like a shirt. It looks super comfy. Even though the jacket seems to be fit a bit snug, it looks great on him.

  46. Rechelle

    October 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    I absolutely adore a man who can pull off a masculine accessory! The effortlessly tied rope compliments his dark jacket, modern James Dean. Love it!

  47. María frm ch

    October 30, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    You are so honest that it is imposible to be wrong. And you are soo right about the material, that would not happen with real denim.

  48. fredrick

    January 13, 2012 at 9:57 am

    i’m a little taller too, but i also find that leaving a somewhat-cropped jean jacket open, with a fitted tshirt and skinny pant always works for my style. add a boot. maybe a loafer. splash of color. always nice.

  49. Micheal

    February 3, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    This Man should have a sword! A Japanese Denim warrior.
    -Is this the correct picture? As Scans and things change here on this site as with the photo’s? For me this is not Denim but then again I am from the old school of style mixed with the mod. Love the blue clothe, but the greatest swindle to this to date in me Head is, Denim, this was, and is a gift to all and not selective group with money or designers.
    Never buy expensive Denim ever!,
    Next, fit first, quality of clothe ; do the research!!!!!!!First rinse,second raw etc., design;personal.

  50. El Wonger

    February 19, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Hey Scott,

    I was going through a couple of your old posts and found this.

    I noticed that you mentioned how jean jackets never seem to hit you at the right place – echoing a similar feeling I used to have.

    With two exceptions, most off my off-the rack jean jackets (including my beloved Levis), fit like a box. Vintage denim jackets seemed to be especially difficult to fit (I’m very broad across the shoulders, but narrow in the waist, so I can’t fit slim cuts well and regular cuts hang loose like a sail through the body).

    However, after reading an article on the exceptionally lovely jean jacket from ‘Drive’, I realized that there wasn’t any reason we shouldn’t be applying the same solution to our jean jackets as we do with the rest of our clothing( That particular jacket was an old Levis Trucker jacket from the ’50s that had been extensively nipped and tweaked) .

    With my tailor, I’ve raised/tightened armholes/cuffed /slimmed sleeves and body, and made a wide range of adjustments to my taste to assemble a nice range of denim jackets to choose from.

    As a result, I’ve pretty much been sporting a Carl Chiara/denim-inspired wardrobe for the last few months.

    You’ve probably already thought of this, but I thought I’d drop you a note, just in the off-chance, you hadn’t.


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