Saturday, January 3, 2009

Perry Ellis

There are few OTR companies today that can accurately copy the belted and action backs of Golden Era suits. One of those companies is Perry Ellis.

And this company does it with regularity. While many modern OTR companies have tried and horribly failed to create a working belted back, it seems that Perry Ellis has done it's homework. Creating a good belted back jacket is not an easy task.

While I will not go into great depth as to what makes a belted back (I'll leave that for a later post), I will say that its location on the jacket plays a vital role. For example, notice the rather crazy 1930s belted/action back jacket in the advertisement below.

click to enlarge
The belt is located at the wearer's waist, or roughly half way down the back of the jacket. In order for a belted back to nip the waist and provide ease of movement it must be located at the wearer's waist, neither higher nor lower. Unfortunately for us today most companies that try the belted back tend to locate the belt too low, down around the hips where it provides absolutely no waist suppression or ease of movement.

Keep this in mind as we examine a Perry Ellis jacket.

This jacket was found at Younkers, on sale for $50. While I'm a size 38R the smallest left was a 40R but it's a fine fit, though 38 would have been perfect.
A couple details. It has a working ticket pocket as well as working cuff buttonholes, two on each sleeve. It also has a patch on the right shoulder, giving it a travel/hiking/shooting jacket feel. It is fully lined with three internal pockets and sweat guards under the armpits. Neat little details make this jacket.
click to enlarge
Notice that the belt sits at or ever so slighly lower than my waist. This helps create the slight waist suppression.

Breast pocket showing the working gusset.
A medium weight twill material. The jacket itself is rather heavy thanks to the full lining.

This is not the only belted back jacket that Perry Ellis offers. At this link you will find another very vintage single-breasted peaked-lapel jacket with a nice belted back. The windowpane fabric pattern also adds to the overall look, as does the high button stance and short skirt length.

I would not hesitate to purchase another Perry Ellis jacket. This company seems to have done its homework and for that it should be commended.

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