American Eagle Field Jacket – $69.99 ($89.95)
Upscale rugged? Refined outdoorsy? As snotty as those terms can sound (what, are we glamping?), there’s a well established pattern of dudes being attracted to stuff that blends good looks with the functionality of something made to be used “in the field”.
Pricey Red Wing work boots. Even more expensive aviation or dive watches. That kind of stuff. And it’s not usually a matter of playing “let’s pretend“… but instead the aesthetics and functionality are just too good to ignore. Besides, much of traditional men’s “sportswear” is based on a “sporting” (i.e. hunting/shooting/riding) lifestyle. Long before guys put on their finest blaze orange to head off into the woods, they wore tweed.
American Eagle doesn’t seem like the kind of place to look for this kind of thing, but their new Field Jacket is a plenty acceptable, affordable option for those who took a shine to 007’s Barbour in Skyfall:
It’s outerwear, but shaped like a 3-Button sport coat (or, as Barbour puts it, it’s a “blazer style button through“). That thing is waxed, has plenty of patches at stress points, and costs…. $600.
The American Eagle option is not waxed, comes in a rich looking Khaki (obviously lighter than 007’s while being much more saturated than your Uncle’s Dockers), and clocks in at just 10% of the Barbour’s total price.
Comparing Oranges and Orangutans here, but they’re in the ballpark…
The AE is 100% cotton and unlined. No poly in the sleeves or anything like that. The tail is short, but that just adds to the “this is really a jacket, not a sport-coat for indoor wear” type of look. The lower patch pockets and upper chest patch pocket have a good amount of room for things like small notebooks, pens, sunglasses, iPods, mobile phone, jerky, signal flare, etc… No pockets on the interior. None. Just a tonal camo print. There’s a barely-there peak lapel which will tend to stay standing up if the wind picks up and you want to keep the breeze off your neck. Sleeves have two functioning buttons at the cuffs.
Slight peak lapels. Branding is minimal.
Nicely trim through the sides and the armholes are high. Stitching at the waist might make it look like there’s a drawstring inside for cinching down, but there’s not. Size shown here is a medium, and it’s borderline too small for a 5’10” 180 lb frame (layering a thick sweater underneath might be a real challenge). If you’re in doubt, size up, but expect the sleeves to be a bit long.
Oh, and as far as American Eagle’s usually ever present logo goes? The only visible, exterior branding is on the buttons… and it’s awfully tough to see.
Comfortable to hike in, comfortable to drive in. And unless MI6 is picking up the tab on your wardrobe expenses, this’ll do fine in place of the Barbour for a casual lightweight Spring/Fall jacket.