Monday, July 8, 2013

Just Madras: Beating the summer heat in style

Nothing says summer more than madras.

The lightweight cloth, which came to prominence in the Subcontinent during the days when the sun never set on the British Empire, is a warm weather staple for discerning gentlemen — in particular those of an Ivy-style persuasion.

When worn with a plain or small-scale check shirt, simple knit necktie and loafers — with or without socks — madras makes for a perfect suit or sport jacket when the mercury in the thermometer gets higher than the upper-70s.

Unless you have a large amount of disposable income, it doesn’t make sense to commission madras in made-to-measure or bespoke for something that will be worn only a few times every year.

One of the off-the-peg options comes from the aptly named Just Madras, which sells a sport jacket, shorts in four varieties and accessories such as belts and bowties.

Unlike other options, the range from Connecticut-based Just Madras is made in America, which is only appropriate considering madras is very much the epitome of summer high-prep.


Stocked in regular sizes 38 to 48, the Great Island patchwork madras sport jacket sells for $250. It features a single vent, surgeon’s cuffs and jetted besom pockets. Strangely, the jacket lacks a breast pocket, which isn’t without precedent historically, but is virtually unheard of today.

From a quality perspective, the jacket is of solid quality. However, it has several shortcomings that make it difficult to recommend at present.

The full interior lining puts it at odds with the whole purpose of madras, which is reserved for occasions on the warmest of warm days. Additionally, the jacket’s overly structured shoulders are an oddity.

And while the surgeon’s cuffs are a nice detail, they can make sleeve alterations very difficult. As an aside, the sport jacket fits reasonably well, though the 38-regular was fairly trim, minus the overly padded shoulders, and fit more like a size 36.

In responding to questions about the sport jacket’s design, the propitiators of Just Madras said they would consider these revisions when it comes times to finalizing the design for spring/summer 2014.

The bottom line: In addition to natural shoulders and adding the aforementioned missing breast pocket, patch pockets and a classic three-roll-two lapel would make the Just Madras patchwork madras sport jacket ideal for almost any social outing of the summer calendar.

As for the shorts, stay tuned to for a full review in the coming days.

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