The Natural Shoulder Jacket & Southwick

There are lots of details associated with traditional American jackets. They are typically undarted, single vented, with patch pockets and have a 3/2 roll, but none of these details are quite as important as a natural shoulder. As it would turn out this is one of the hardest details to find today. I was recently on the hunt for a new blazer with all of the details that I mentioned above and was having a difficult time. After my hunt was over (I ended up with a Brooks Brothers 3/2 1818 Blazer) someone asked me why I had not taken a look at Southwick and the only answer I had was, “I didn’t think of that.” Disappointed in myself, I reached out to Southwick telling them about my troubles and they ended up sending me a beautiful Harris Tweed Sport jacket in their Cambridge Model.

Southwick unbuttoned

Southwick Jacket with CordsTie & Jacket

First, let me provide a little background on Southwick. They have been manufacturing American styled, natural shouldered jackets in the USA since 1929. The company has been and is still located in Massachusetts. They distribute their garments through retailers. You can find the menswear store nearest you that offers their clothing on their website (Southwick).

The Cambridge model is the essence of Ivy League Style. This jacket has all of the bells and whistles; Hook center vent with 5/16 top stitch, 2 button sleeves, patch and flap pockets with a wonderful 3/2 roll, and yes, a very soft shoulder. Needless to say the jacket is undarted and single vented as well. The Cambridge model is trimmer and shorter than their other sack model the Douglas, but is still very much a traditional sack cut. Even though the jacket is trimmer than the Douglas it is not fitted. It reminds me of the sports jackets that I see while scouring over college yearbook pictures from the early 60’s, especially in Harris Tweed.

Southwick & ShetlandShetland and Sport Jacket close-upHarris is the tweed of all tweeds. The Harris Tweed industry was kick started by Lady Dunmore in 1846 and has been around ever since (Learn more here: Harris ). It has also been part of traditional American style from the beginning. Tweed jackets found themselves at home on college campuses across America during the time that classic American style was being defined and for good reason. Tweed, especially Harris is a handsome fabric that can withstand rough treatment and allows itself to be dressed up or down. In fact, I wore it to a more formal event where I received countless compliments and I threw it on over my Shetland for warmth on a sunny winter’s day to head over to the coffee shop and get some work done. It worked perfectly in both settings.

Harris Tweed Close-upA beautiful example of Harris Tweed

Overall I was very impressed with this jacket. I was a little worried that the Cambridge model would be too fitted and not sack like at all with a Thom Browne-ish length. When in reality the jacket seemed like someone dusted off an old pattern rather than updating one. Most important of all the jacket has a very soft natural shoulder and personally I love the lapel roll which a bit more pronounced than most current 3/2 jackets. This jacket has left me longing for another which is all that you can ask, long live the natural shoulder jacket.Southwick Tweed and J.Press TieJ.Press Tie with Southwick Tweed

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

9 Comments on "The Natural Shoulder Jacket & Southwick"

  1. Ambrose says:

    How much should I expect to pay for the Cambridge? Thanks.

  2. Steve E says:

    I guess you know that BB purchased the company a couple years ago. I havn’t heard anyone say that the quality has suffered as of yet. Looks great on you. I’d like to get one for myself soon.

  3. oxford cloth button down says:

    @Steve E – Thanks and you should do that!

    @Ambrose – I think that a lot of the cost will depend on the fabric. I would call the retailer closest to you that sells Southwick. They should be able to quote you a few prices.

  4. Duke of Welllington says:

    Greetings from the land of the ice and snow (Ontario, Canada),

    Great sportjacket, combos, and overall blog.


  5. Ashley says:

    I’m obsessed with that jacket. It is absolutely divine.

  6. Torekf says:

    Great looking jacket! You say you “reached out to Southwick” which “ended up sending you a beautiful Harris Tweed Sport jacket in their Cambridge Model”. How exactly did you manage that? I thought Southwick only deals through retailers?

  7. oxford cloth button down says:

    Torekf – Thanks, I appreciate it. You are correct that Southwick does not sell direct, but I was really interested in this model and sometimes, and only sometimes being a blogger has its perks.

    Ashley – Thanks for your kind words.

    DoW – Thank you my friend!

  8. Paul says:

    Really late to the game but amazing jacket. I think you are one of the few who have posted how the southwick Cambridge model looks when worn. In your honest opinion which sport coat do you feel is more “ivy?” The 1818 sack blazer by brooks or the southwick Cambridge ? Thanks!

  9. I agree with Jerrod that Southwick nails American tailoring and style – I really love the natural shoulder in almost all of their models (they offer one “European” rope shoulder model). I am more of a Grafton guy (peak or notch lapel, fully lined, 1/2 lined or unlined) for general wear and a Cambridge Shawl collar to change it up (a bit slimmer profile than Grafton… which itself is slimmer than the Cambridge).

    If anyone wants to pick up a Southwick jacket or suit at a very fair price, check out Tailored Forward. We are just getting started (this is a hobby side project for me and a buddy) and you can order shirts or outerwear online. Suits and jackets are done through email/ phone/ etc for now while we build out the site.

    Expect to save $1000 or so on MTM and almost that much on stock size options. All models available, feel free to ask me any questions you like.

    Thanks – and Have Fun!

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