The Suede Jacket Crisis

I think that there comes a time in every man’s life when he wants a suede jacket and I am at that point. I have found myself staring longingly at suede jackets online for about 3 months now. I have yet to make a purchase and I think the biggest reason is that I question if I will wear it which relies heavily on the, can-I-make-it-look-cool question.
Suede Field Jacket BrownI have identified two types of suede jacket that may work for me. One is a safari style jacket and the other a baracuta jacket. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, primarily around length. I think that length is important here, because of how I intend to use my suede jacket which is casual. Yes I will wear it to work, but I am more excited to wear it out casually on the weekend.

If you are wondering I am leaning towards the baracuta style. I have one now (not suede) and I get a lot of wear out of it so I know that it will work well both casually and at work. Where as I think the safari jacket will work well at the office, but I think it may come off a little to 70’s funky casually (especially if I paired it with my Wallabees). This segues to another question about footwear. Again, not an issue at the office. Luckily for us penny loafer work with everything, but what do I pair it with when I am not at the office?
O'Connell's Goatskin Suede Baracuta - BuckThe big question I keep coming back to, is are suede jackets cool? I am not asking in the, “Are they trad?,” sense of the question, but rather can they be pulled off well. I harp on this because I struggle to recall a single time that I have seen man in a suede jacket and thought, “Wow, that looks great!” Most of the time I tend to focus on the jacket. So it is more like, “Wow, what a great suede jacket!

This another post where I could use reader feedback. Have you ever bought a suede or even leather jacket?  Do you wear it a lot? What do you pair it with? Was it worth the investment? Any buyers remorse?

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

13 Comments on "The Suede Jacket Crisis"

  1. Joel Vau says:

    Does not seem at all preppy to me. Although, among the best things the suede jacket has done for Americans is to provide the laughs in an all time great episode of Seinfeld. Master of the House . . .

  2. Tim says:

    Have you considered the potential third option of a suede trucker jacket? Personally, I’d take one of those over the other two. As nice as the Golden Bear/Baracuta harrington-style suedes are, I think they’re probably harder to pull off. The safari style I’d discount just as being naff. The trucker is obviously a casual jacket but I have seen them worn in a smarter way, even to the point of with a shirt and tie and 5ey are more flexible in what you can wear them with on your lower half. Selvedge jeans and sneakers, fine. Grey flannel trousers and brogues, fine, chinos and loafers, fine. Have a look, you may be surprised. I’d start with the Lee version and go from there.

  3. Pat says:

    If it helps I owned two suede baracuta jackets since the early 80s, both came from Brooks Brothers.

  4. Bag of Coins says:

    I struggled with this same issue and, after several costly experiments, reluctantly concluded that suede jackets weren’t for me. Similarly, I’d narrowed my options down to a shirt-jac (I’d wear over an OCBD or chambray shirt) or a Baracuta style jacket. The shirt-jac felt too contrived and in “Baracutas” I looked too baggy and formless and 80s-Dad-looking (my inspiration had been something like Armie Hammer’s suede jacket from “The Man From Uncle”). I also wanted to use my suede jackets for casual events but regularly found myself choosing other jackets because I was too concerned about getting the suede stained by rain, drinks, coffee, etc. (and I used Allen Edmonds suede protector). So I got rid of my suede jackets and the only non-footwear suede I own is elbow patches on sportcoats.

  5. Pat says:

    I bought a PRL suede jacket in snuff of eBay for ~$50. Not exactly a baracuta jacket although it fits short like a baracuta. It has two zip breast pockets and in general has cleaner lines and shape than a baracuta. I love it, looks like the kind of thing a movie star would throw on for a late afternoon ducati ride to the cafe. Not ivy/trad/prep, but cool.


  6. Joel says:

    Polo Ralph Lauren has been selling a Suede Skeet Jacket, as they call it, for quite some time now. I’ve been eyeing this jacket for a few years but have held off, because a) the pricetag is not the most forgiving, and b) the reasons you mention…

  7. Jon DiBenedetto says:

    I’ve always loved suede jackets~ more than cowhide leather jackets actually. I have a military inspired one by Valstar and a blouson ‘dressier’ on I got on sale from Maus and Hoffman. I like both of the jackets you featured but think the bottom one would fit in your wardrobe much more easily.

  8. Murph says:

    I don’t have experience with suede jackets, but of the two styles you’re considering (Harrington vs. safari jacket), I agree with you wholeheartedly. The Harrington style is much more appealing to my eye. Another option for you to consider that I do have experience with is the leather bomber jacket. I have a vintage A2 style jacket made by LL Bean that I got off of ebay a few years ago. I don’t wear it too terribly often, but it looks nice with OCBD and chinos in my opinion and I think it would nicely fit the casual role you’re looking for.

  9. Jason Sebacher says:

    Can’t help but think of one of my favorite George moments:

    And I’ll tell you something else, I’m not even going to ask you. I want to know. But I’m not gonna ask. You’ll tell me when you feel comfortable. So what was it? Four hundred? Five hundred? Did you pay five hundred for this? Over six? Can’t be seven. Don’t tell me you paid seven hundred dollars for this jacket! Did you pay seven hundred dollars for this jacket? Is that what you’re saying to me?

    You are sick! Is that what you paid for this jacket? Over seven hundred? What did you pay for this jacket?! I won’t say anything. I wanna know what you paid for this jacket! Oh my God! A thousand dollars?! You paid a thousand dollars for this jacket?! All right, fine. I’m walking outta here right now thinking you paid a thousand dollars for this jacket, unless you tell me different.

    Oh, ho! All right! I’ll tell you what, if you don’t say anything in the next five seconds, I’ll know it was over a thousand.

  10. oxford cloth button down says:

    So much great feedback! I appreciate it all! Also, I will admit that Seinfeld probably plays a role in my wanting suede jacket as his suede jacket collection was vast and I watch an episode almost everyday.

  11. JJ says:

    Tough crowd here. The safari suede jacket is awesome, quite stylish but not trendy. I say buy it and don’t look back!

    Trad aesthetic is more about solid quality clothing that will stand the test of time. Adding some touches around the basics shows one’s personal style. This is a great safari jacket! I’d argue that by trying too hard to follow strict ‘Trad’ rules, one’s Traditional American wardrobe is at risk for becoming a bit cartoonish. Have confidence in your style, but the jacket and enjoy it!

  12. Sartre says:

    Love them both. And ridiculous to think they are not trad or preppy. My father (Yale ’49) wore a version similar to the O’Connell’s jacket for 20 years. Envision this jacket with a pair of khakis and oxford grey Shetland sweater: completely and utterly classic.

  13. Sartre says:

    Incredibly, a quick Google search turned up the jacket my father owned. It was from Deerskin Trading Post, a catalog my mother was much addicted to, and is the one straddling pp. 12-13. Only $16.95!!!

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