One of the more iconic garments in menswear, or at least men's workwear, the chore jacket - or bleu de travail - as it was originally known, is one of those timeless wardrobe staples that has hardly veered from the original design, and this season Favourbrook has reimagined it to create our own versatile Artist's Jacket.
From our London vantage point, we need to peer across the channel to discover where the roots of the chore jacket lie. We needn’t strain our eyes too far, for it's in the majestic coastal town of Mont Saint Michel, where one of the very first manufacturers of the chore jacket still remains today. Such longevity is indicative of the chore jacket’s enduring appeal over the last 150 or so years.
NAVY VELVET COTTON
As the name might suggest, the jacket’s original intention was a strictly utilitarian one, designed to be worn by the French proletariat and blue-collar workers (hence the bleu de travail name), specifically railroad labourers and engineers in the late 1800s whose jobs required a tough yet lightweight jacket that could be easily patched up, and replete with three or four exterior pockets to carry small tools and, no doubt, a sandwich or two. It needed to withstand the rigours of daily use, hence it was typically constructed from a hardwearing cotton drill or moleskin and dyed in a ‘hydrone’ blue hue.
It would be appropriated by American railroad and farm workers too, where it was made up of durable fabrics such as denim and heavy canvas. As such, it became an icon of American workwear and has evolved over the decades to incorporate softer, more luxurious fabrics, all the while maintaining the traditional boxy cut, button front, and utilitarian pocket details.
Which is where Favourbrook's interpretation comes in. Our Artist's jacket has been cut in two colours of a luxurious cotton velvet - entirely inappropriate for the railroad of course, but we're sure you won't mind that aberration. We've also swapped out the traditional collar for our Nehru style to give it a bit more elegance. It's finished with heavy antique brass buttons to the front, and one loop of braid on the cuff. The three jet pockets complete the clean lines, while inside the jacket is lined in Favourbrook's midnight paisley with three internal pockets and no vents.
CARDAMOM VELVET COTTON
While the artist's jacket certainly conforms to the classic workwear aesthetic, don't be fooled by the moniker - this can be a smart tailored jacket when worn with a pair of tapered formal trousers. But we think that the jacket works best in a slightly more casual format, say worn with jeans, or a pair of woollen trousers and some loafers. It layers easily with casual shirts, lightweight knitwear, or even worn James Dean-style with a simple white t-shirt. If you find yourself lounging around the house, but still have a modicum of dignity left, then our Artist's Jacket is an ideal option that will work with your year-round wardrobe.