Thursday, April 3, 2014

The summer blazer (and suit!) you'll want from L.L. Bean Signature

Unless you’re reading this from the Southern Hemisphere or the highlands of Scotland then chances are you’re moving the tweed jackets to far corner of the closet as the warm weather comes after a brutal winter.

Of course, a lightweight, unstructured tweed jacket can extend the tweed-wearing season a bit further, but many will instead choose a simple, but elegant seasonal blazer or sport jacket — whether pure cotton, pure linen or a blend thereof.

PHOTOS courtesy of L.L. Bean Signature.

One such jacket is the Thomaston from L.L. Bean Signature ($199; available here with free shipping-and-handling), an offshoot brand of Maine outfitter L.L. Bean. The Thomaston blazer is available in a full range of sizes and comes in the colors khaki, navy and something called “soapstone.”

While no provenance is given for the 100% cotton twill cloth, unlike last year’s Baird McNutt Irish linen offering, the slim-fit jacket, featuring a very preppy hook vent, was designed by an “Italian patternmaker,” according to L.L. Bean Signature.

The non-functional cuffs are also a sensible choice as too many off-the-rack jackets are ruined with real surgeon’s cuffs, which can be a nightmare for all but the best tailors to adjust if the sleeves aren’t an exact fit.

With matching cotton twill pants — only available in khaki and navy to the disappointment of “soapstone” patrons everywhere — the Thomaston is transformed from being a seasonal blazer into a cotton suit that can be worn to the office, in the pews on Sunday and at the country club.

A navy cotton suit is particularly under-appreciated by discerning gentlemen despite being smart in every sense of the word. Even here in Michigan, wool is impracticable for much of July and August, when temperatures are regularly above 80 degrees.

The only downside may be the straight fit of the pants, which, at least from past L.L. Bean Signature pants, requires some significant alterations for those on the shorter side wanting a trim and tapered look.

Otherwise, worn as a blazer the Thomaston, in khaki or navy, works with a variety of outfits from denim jeans to go-to-hell madras pants.

PHOTO courtesy of Instagram.

Styling tip: This lad gets it right. Wear a linen or cotton pocket square in a slightly disheveled manner. Also, don’t forget the knit necktie if wearing the Thomaston as a suit. For something bold — as in most likely not appropriate for work — wear suede loafers sans socks with a pair of shorts.

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