Best Sportcoat / Blazer
Note: Navy is the classic color and Wool is the best material (acceptable any time of year unlike cotton, tweed, seersucker).
Best Value: J. Crew Ludlow blazers off [eBay]. Frequently $90-150 when at J. Crew’s best sale would be $180-220 minimum.
About fit: Go get measured and go to a J. Crew store and try one on.
JCPenny Stafford Slim-Fit Hopsack Blazer [JCPenny], Stafford Camel Hair Sportcoat [JCPenny]. But the JCPenny blazers don’t run very slim fit. Look for promotion codes for JCPenny, usually at least 15-20% off.
Premium: Polo Ralph Lauren [RalphLauren]
Jackets (Ski or General)
Classic Style Jacket: J. Crew Barn Jacket [eBay]
Active All Purpose Jacket: Arcteryx Gamma LT for a softshell – not for severe down-pouring weather, but more breathable than Beta SV. Compared to Gamma MX, Gamma LT is more of a shell (doesn’t have the inner felt lining of the MX) to give you versatility of wearing in warmer temps or choosing what to wear underneath for warmth. Gamma MX is surprisingly slightly softer than the LT but they’re much softer than the SV series. Gamma MX has slightly more pockets (chest, arm) but unnecessary for most people.
Active Severe Weather / Ski Jacket: Arcteryx Beta SV – Alpha SV does not have handpockets and is moreso for climbing than all purpose. Highest quality goretex that blocks out all weather. Beta SV is longer than the Beta AR so it can be used for ski, slightly more weather resistant and durable than Beta AR.
Dedicated Ski Jacket: Flylow Quantum Pro Jacket [Backcountry], lesser known but cheaper and better quality than Arcteryx. Other similar brands – Freeride Systems, Trew, and Strafe
Secondary Ski Jacket: Arcteryx Rush Jacket (more ski specific than Beta SV – has powder skirt and recco reflectors, Sabre AR is lighter and more packable but less durable and less weather resistant than Beta SV and Rush)
Active Pants / Occasional Ski: Beta AR for tighter all-rounder than the Sabre AR. Zeta is older and not as breathable.
Dedicated Ski Pants: Sabre AR Pants (these are loose so you can layer and are better for dedicated skiing), Patagonia Primo
Don’t get: Mountain Hardwear (not as durable), Marmot (not as durable), Orage?, Armada?, Peak Performance?, Saga?, Underarmour?, Helly Hansen Alpha Lifaloft and Northface are also decent mass produced brands but not as high quality. Columbia (not durable), Descente (Japanese brand, sporty not classy)
Super Anti-Cold Winter Parka Coats:
It’s difficult to stay stylish and still be a winter coat. Puffer jackets are not as classy as can be. We recommend the longer length parka. If your environment isn’t extreme cold and if you enjoy / are willing to layer, you may not need to get the expensive brands. Note: You don’t want to size down, because the down needs room and loft in order to retain heat, it shouldn’t be compressed.
Under layer – 100% merino wool base layers is the best for anti-cold.
Feel Warmer – It isn’t so much your Body Fat % that matters as it is how much fat you’re consuming in a day. Try eating more fat/fish oil supplements/etc or cheese and see if it keeps you warmer. “When your body is exposed to the cold it is reticent to burn fat for warmth because it’s worried about the potential for hypothermia. But giving your body some dietary fat to burn, it signals to your body that more fats are on the way so it’s okay to burn some body fat for warmth.”
Value – Men’s Alpha Industries Slim N-3B Parka [Amazon, Alpha], “Replica Blue” and it’s great, but a lot of people get it in Sage Green which looks great too, and then of course you have Black, which looks amazing if you have a very black wardrobe
Fjallraven Greenland Winter Jacket – [Amazon]
Mid-level (Most Recommended) – Arc’teryx Thorsen Parka $800 (Men’s) and Centrale Parka (Women’s) is the warmest urban coat they sell. Fully waterproof due to the goretex (this adds $100 to the price of any coat). The Thorsen is like a revised Arcteryx Therme – Thorsen is longer, less baggier and more slim fit, better fitting hood (Thermes’ was too big), more functional bigger pockets, 35% warmer, definitely worth the $150 over the Therme. Do not get the Camosun (Patera for Women) as it is too crinkley and less classy, more sporty (better for ski/snowboard), less warm (trimmer fit than the Therme). Canada Goose is not waterproof goretex, it is only water-resistant (treated heavy canvas) and it is heavier in order to get similar level of warmth (lower quality down).
Substitutes – Arcteryx Ceres SV (or Firebee AR for women) + Fission SV underneath would be the warmest system, however, the Thorsen is good for most temperatures above 15 Celsius and is classier looking instead of puffy looking.
Patagonia Tres in One – Womens
Expensive/Overpriced – Canada Goose – Chateau Parka $1200 (slim fit so size up one if you’re trying to layer a lot) or Citadel or Langford – Canada-Goose. Suggest a parka (longer) over the CG Chilliwack Bomber. Alpha Industry isn’t warm enough, Woolwich is too boxy (not slim fit)
Nobis Higgins (Nobis is more expensive than Canada Goose but more slim and stylish, popular in Canada), Nobis Cartel.
If you live in an arctic climate, the Arc’teryx parka won’t be warm enough sometimes whereas the CG Chateau covers all but the coldest days (below -15F). Also, the CG Chateau has a superior, deeper hood, warmer wrist cuffs, and an oversized zipper – better for the arctic. Arc’teryx uses less down, higher loft so can feel just as warm, such as compared against the Langford.
Don’t Get: Moncler (too expensive), Theory (expensive and not super warm), jackets with lots of seams (even if down, the jacket will get cold at the seams), Outdoor reseearch is much less durable than Arcteryx, Parajumpers e.g. Gobi (not as warm due to being more for fashion, but still ugly style), Nobis
Stick to navy or camel
Value Peacoat: a US issued Pea Coat from [eBay]
Sterlingwear’s Authentic [Sterlingwear]
Don’t get: ASOS, Uniqlo (boxy), J Crew University Slim (boxy not slim)
Expensive: Billy Reid Bond – $695 [BillyReid]
If you have a navy buddy, they can order one online for you via [NexwebUniforms] for $145 (or even go to your local recruiter’s office and get them to order one for you if you come with cash + $20). Or if you have a local army surplus store you can check there. They also sell them on the AAEFES website, but they are reproductions, not legit US Navy (NEX) ones
Camel Hair or Cashmere Coat
Crombie – [Recommended] $500 Unsurpassable in terms of quality and value, far better than anything from Ralph Lauren. Classic British overcoat and cloth. Currently closed due to Covid.
Suit Supply – Good price and good material, but looks very thin and not great looking
Burberry – Expensive and only see dark camel
Best Value: Aero leather (get FQHH front quarter horse hide, don’t get mid-weight HH) [Aero Leather Clothing]
Expensive Custom for Riding:
Vanson custom [Vansonleathers] (more stiff, more protective for riding gear)
Out of Business: Temple of Jawnz – their main draw has always been the MTO – made to order aspect (you measure yourself and give them your exact size), not the quality of the leathers or the craftmanship. they had great designs such as the MDR (minimalist double rider), ToJ0 or the Varsity or the BDR (band collar double rider), $800 price range but of course not as good as $1500-1600 jackets
Don’t get: Wilson Leather (less expensive but way less quality), Lost World (shiny coating but besides that, superb top-of-the-line, leather may be more durable than Aero but worse customer service)
Other Jackets (not great styling but semi popular)
Pointer Jacket (don’t get Carhart)
Filson Mackinaw Cruiser (don’t like the pockets style)
Best Full-Zip Hoody, Hoodie
These can layer underneath the Gamma LT. Choose a similar color to match!
Arcteryx Kyanite (Fortrez and Delta MX are discontinued sadly) – difficult to find in good colors
Patagonia R1 Air – R1 Techface is too baggy for layering and less warm and less breathable but more weather resistance. R1 Hoody Fleece is comfy but pockets aren’t zippered, and Air is more comfortable, more warm.
Outdoor Research Vigor Full Zip – Budget option
Heavy Hoodie – Patagonia R2 Techface – For thicker layering or a warmer hoodie than the above options.
Suitsupply (get fitted in a nearby retail location)
Kent Wang Polos [KentWang]
Best Button Down Shirts
Joseph A Bank – bad / thick so make you sweat
Best Value – Jomers $30, different colors
Carhartt Kyoto $108
Gitman Bros Vintage $160, different colors
Engineered Garments Chambray Workshirt
Momotaro brand at Okoyama Denim $135
Eastman Leather or American Classics London – US Navy repro
Underwear: Bonds Hipster trunks (or Ex Officio Amazon?)
Best Cuff Links
One could wear cuff links all the time with their cuff links shirt. Even if with jeans. Some recommended classic styles are steel knot cuff links or mother of pearl.
(Research In Progress)
Mission Belt [Amazon]