How To Pull Off Bold Pattern, featuring the Gagliardi Blazer

May 8, 2014 · 7 comments

in Feature

Hey Gents,

A while back, the folks at Gagliardi contacted me and asked if I’d take a look at their offering. I was immediately drawn to their beautiful lookbook and new spring / summer line.

The following is a featured post for Gagliardi. All opinions and thoughts are my contributing editor’s own. Stay tuned till the very end; the company is offering a special deal to all EG readers.

In addition to the blazer’s review, we wanted to give you a couple ideas about how to make a boldly-patterned blazer work for you. Hope you enjoy!

Take it away, Adam.

It’s important to know what inspires and drives a brand, so before we show you the clothes, we wanted to highlight a little info from their site. Instead of regurgitating information, I’ll just let Gagliardi tell their own story:

“Gagliardi embodies the timeless appeal of Savile Row but adds a distinctive Mediterranean flair and a penchant for rich colour.

The label combines the quirks of modern fashion: on-trend cuts, seasonal shades and varied textures, with a no-nonsense, old-fashioned approach when it comes to quality and craftsmanship and the use of luxurious fabrics.

The result is a rarity in menswear: realistically cut clothes that are shot through with clever little touches usually confined to catwalk collections.

You can find the brand’s full story on their about page

The Blazer (and more!)

gagliardi_products

Gagliardi was kind enough to send four products for us to check out:

(Added 5/15: Make sure to check out their behind the scenes footage of the photoshoot as well!)

Taking a closer look at the blazer…

Editor Note: you can click on most photos to enlarge them (will open in a new window)

I’ll be focusing this review section mainly on the jacket, as it has the most to look at.

Right off the bat, I have to say I’m impressed, especially when considering the moderate price of this piece.

Straight out of the package, I was thrilled to see that the jacket comes in a proper garment bag (that can actually be used when traveling as well, thanks to a few handy snaps), and (even better) on a proper suit hanger. The wide shoulders are a huge improvement over a standard shirt hanger and will do wonders helping the jacket keep shape over time.

Overall Fit

The fit is one of the most impressive things about this jacket. As a slim guy, I’ve come to find that most ‘slim-fitting’ clothing is really just…normal fitting. As in, it’s not made for large people, but isn’t truly slim.

This jacket is one of the first OTR blazers that has really felt trim – without feeling too small. The shoulders are about as perfect of a fit as you can get (remember, I’m wearing a 36, which is my standard blazer/suit size).

From the shoulders, there is a slight taper down to the midsection, which creates a flattering torso silhouette. The stomach gets a bit borderline snug, and while it works ok for me, anyone with a bit more paunch is going to see some pulling at the waist.

For me, this is a plus, as most jackets I get leave me swimming around the buttons. However, it’s much easier for a tailor to nip the sides of a jacket to take it in, than to let it out at the stomach, so this may limit some folks.

gagliardi_front_side

The sleeves are almost a good length for me—just a tad bit long—but that doesn’t bother me at all. As long as the buttons are non-functioning (which they are), minor sleeve adjustments are easily done and tend to be very affordable.

gagliardi_front_back_length

It’s the one alteration that I’ve come to expect and accept with any OTR jacket I buy. I’ll have these taken up just a cm or two.

Another aspect of this jacket that I really enjoy is the length.

I’ve been struggling lately with the tendency of brands to chop all of their casual jackets almost comically short.

Indeed, it’s been a trendy move ever since the rise of the Thom Browne school of style, but it doesn’t work for everyone and (in my humble opinion), shouldn’t be the standard that it seems to be becoming.

Fortunately, the folks at Gagliardi kept this jacket at a much more traditional length.

For me, it stops just short of my curled fingers, which I think is a perfect length for a casual blazer (though I would still prefer just a tad bit longer on a full suit).

gagliardi_shoulder_rumple

Beyond that, there are some minor rumples and wrinkles here and there when I throw the jacket on (see above photo), as they may be an effect of slightly untrue shoulder slope or sleeve pitch, but I have a feeling that as the blazer wears in a bit and takes to my body, these will become less and less noticeable.

Construction

As far as construction goes, Gagliardi does not disappoint. Things could be a little neater, but in a world where you tend to pay for what you get (at best), Gagliardi fully meets the expectations for a $370 jacket.

As for the cloth itself, it is a mix of wool and cotton, which lends to a lighter, definitely more spring/summer feel.

Yes, it is a bit heavier than a linen/cotton blend, but I’m guessing that this combination will be more resistant to wrinkles, and will extend the wearability of the jacket further into the spring and fall seasons.

Still, the looser weave, inclusion of cotton, and unlined finish will keep you pretty cool and breezy all summer.

Visually, with a patterned jacket, construction becomes very important in matching patterns. It’s very difficult to match a plaid across seams, especially where the sleeves meet the shoulders, and Gagliardi appears to have done a great job.

There’s a bit of a mismatch at one of the waist pockets, but it’s barely noticeable, and not something that will stand out or really detract from the wearability of the jacket.

gagliardi_pattern_matching

Getting a little closer, the seams do all appear to be straight and neatly done, with negligible loose threads or unfinished edges. The jacket is half-lined, meaning the lining only covers the upper shoulders and the insides of the sleeves.

gagliardi_liningI have a little bit of beef here, as I’m not sure why the decision was made to use different fabrics to line the shoulders as opposed to the sleeves.

Also, I’m not sure what the lining is made of, but it feels relatively low quality. It’s not a huge deal, since the presence of the lining is minimal, but it does lend to a bit of a scratchiness in the arms, and a less smooth feel when wearing the jacket in general.

That said, the unlined portions of the jacket look to be well done, with all the edges properly taped and no rough or unfinished aspects.

Of course, the true test of construction is the test of time, and how well the seams and fabric hold up to throughout regular wear. We shall see!

The Little Details

I’ll just take a few minutes here to point out some of the styling details that Gagliardi included.

Pockets: Patch pockets keep things a bit more on the casual side. Again, they did a pretty darn good job with the pattern matching. At the chest is a standard welted pocket. Nothing crazy, which is how pockets should be done.

Buttons: The buttons seem to be made of plastic, and to be perfectly honest, are one of the only parts of this jacket that feels kind of cheap. I’ll most likely be swapping them out for something a bit nicer whenever this goes into the tailor.

gagliardi_sleeve

Non-functioning Sleeve Buttons: Does anyone else hate it when brands include functional sleeve buttons on jackets that aren’t custom fit?

Sleeve length is the one area that I pretty much always count on getting tailored, and functional buttons can make an easy, cheap alteration difficult and expensive. Fortunately, Gagliardi did everyone a solid and kept their cuff buttons non-functioning.

Vents: When it comes down to it, vents are really a matter of preference (although gents with large posteriors may prefer a single vent). This jacket happens to come with double vents, which is all good with me, as that is usually my personal choice.

Elbow Patches: Not seen as often on more traditional blazers, Gagliardi included elbow patches on this jacket (and a few of the others that they offer as well). I find that elbow patches can often be garish, but are a nice touch when done well.

These hit the right notes, in a subtle color (looks to be chambray-ish, if that’s a thing), and well placed (nothing worse than an elbow patch that hits mid-forearm).

Style, and How To Wear It

Obviously, this jacket is a bit of a step outside the box from your standard blue and grey suits and sport coats. The plaid pattern is a bit bold, but don’t let that scare you, as this piece is surprisingly easy to wear.

As with any patterned item, the key is to ground the jacket and keep your other choices much more subtle.

whatToWear_chino

Gagliardi does you a favor by keeping the colors neutral, which means that this will wear well with lots of other solid colors.

In the spring, I see myself wearing the jacket with navy or maroon chinos to give a bit of darker contrast. Come warmer days, I’ll swap out for lighter (and lighter-colored) pants, probably opting for more khakis, off-white, or white chinos.

I bet this will also look great with my light blue, oxford-cloth trousers.

whatToWear_shirts

As for shirts, again, the key will be to keep it simple.

I’ve been wearing this with a white, button-down collar shirt, and I don’t think it will get much better than that.

The crisp brightness of the shirt brings a bit of a more polished edge, while the button-down collar keeps things from looking too stuffy, or out of place with the inherently casual jacket.

You’d do just as well with a light blue or red/pink shirt as well, and I’m thinking a darker, more saturated blue shirt could add some punchy contrast.

The Other Products

gagliardi_accessories_bothLoafers

While the jacket was definitely the focus of the selection they sent, the other items are not to be overlooked.

First up was a pair of blue suede driving shoes. These are listed on the site as just casual loafers, but they are definitely shaped and constructed like driving shoes.

The toe is pretty round (maybe even a bit stubby), as drivers tend to be, and the sectioned rubber sole is definitely characteristic of a driving shoe as well.

Personally, I’m not a big driving shoe kind of guy, but if that’s your thing, I think these make a great option.

The leather itself feels rich and the nap of the suede is soft and luxurious. The color is even and deep – I’d love to have this leather for a pair of brogues!

My go-to size is a 10D, and that worked well here, so I’d say it fits true-to-size. On my feet, the shoes were quite comfortable, with proper cushioning on the sole and no weird pinching or rubbing.

The one downside I found (if you can call it that) was that the penny strap across the vamp is glued down, rather than just attached at the sides. Really, this will go unnoticed by most, but if you’re the type that likes to use the penny slot, you’re going to be out of luck.

Necktie

They also presented a silk tie in a pink and navy stripe. The tie is 100% silk, and ties and drapes very well. The width is perfect, if you ask me – not so wide as to be bib-like and impossible for a skinny guy to wear, but not falling into trendy-skinny territory either.

I don’t wear a ton of pink, but I like the color scheme and pattern. Again, it’s all about the balance – bright enough to be interesting, but the way it’s rooted in classic stripes and grounded by the neutral navy will keep you from looking like a peacocking dandy.

Pocket Square

Last, the pocket square was really quite nice. Also 100% silk, the square is one of the thinner ones I’ve felt, and I actually think this makes it a bit easier to style (no bulky lumps in your chest pocket).

The pattern is a very vintage-feeling paisley on a dark blue background, and while very visually interesting and complex, will actually be pretty versatile, especially if you have a nice number of solid or more subtly patterned ties and shirts in your arsenal.

Wrap-up

Overall, Gagliardi comes out strong with this selection. Granted, the pricing isn’t necessarily cheap, but it’s on par with Suit Supply, and probably less expensive than J.Crew. For your money you get a solid jacket.

The fit is really the knockout here, but the fabric takes things up a notch in a subtle-yet playful plaid and a slightly elusive cotton/wool blend – you’d have to go bespoke to find these combinations many other places.

With only a few letdowns (some that are easily remedied, such as lower-quality buttons), and free shipping (a huge bonus from a European company), Gagliardi clocks in as a strong contender for a ‘statement’ spring/summer piece that will toe the line between versatility and personality.

And while the jacket is definitely the highlight of this particular experience, the accessories are worth a look too.

In general, Gagliardi does a fine job living up to their promise of combining “the quirks of modern fashion’ with ‘a no-nonsense, old-fashioned approach…to quality and craftsmanship.” You can find the blazer on their website.

For EG readers: use code “effortlessgent15″ and receive 15% off your purchase.

Thanks, Adam! Over to you, readers.

Are you considering adding an interesting, boldly-patterned blazer to your wardrobe this summer? Let’s hear how you’d wear one in the comments below.

About

Adam is the founder and editor of Wide Eyes, Tight Wallets, a men’s style blog focusing on budget-conscious tips and advice.

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