It's simply amazing. Made of dark navy flannel, it is super soft to the touch. The gusseted pockets are a very nice touch and add subtle character to the front. I love patch type breast pockets, especially when their gusseted.
click images to enlarge
The sleeves also have French cuffs, lending the jacket a bit of a casual feel, like that of a smoking jacket.
If the front has subtle character, the back is outright crazy. Along with some pleats along the shoulders, it has fairly long bi-swing back gussets at each shoulder blade, allowing for improved arm movement. If that isn't enough, it also has dual vents.
While the outer flannel material is a bit boring, the interior lining will make your eye bleed.
This is a custom-made piece and has no union tag. Amazing quality, fantastic flannel, and great styling. A superb specimen of the 1920s sports coat.
Except for one thing: it's date 1968.
That's right, this 1920s style sports coat was made the same year as the Battle of Khe Sanh, the Tet Offensive, and the My Lai Massacre. RFK and Martin Luther King Jr. were both assassinated the year this coat was tailored. Apollo 8 orbited the Moon.
How does a 1920s style sports coat get made 30-40 years after that style died out? Well, firstly the 1920/1930s style of clothing was making a comeback in the late 1960s and some of it was quite authentic, as this sports coat shows. Natural fibers were often used in these 1960s reiterations before the polyester craze of the 1970s took hold. So perhaps it was made by someone trying to keep up with the new fashion of the time, which was the old style of the 1920s.
Or, maybe, as this was a custom piece in a larger size, an older plumper man who longed for his younger years and styles had this piece created. I recently discussed this sports coat with a fellow vintage aficionado and expert who, upon learning the date, related the story of an old tailor in New York City in the 1960s who made absolutely perfect reproduction pieces for a specific client, often out of vintage 1920s and 1930s fabrics. Those 1960s-made pieces would be nearly impossible to differentiate from original pieces if it weren't for the 1960s dates on the tailor's tag. Remember, there were still plenty of tailors in the 1960s who used the old school techniques often seen in suits and sports coats from the 1920s-1940s.
I like to think that the second possibility is the correct one, that an elderly man longed for the "good ol' days" of his youth and therefore commissioned something familiar and at the time, surprisingly, in fashion. Maybe he had a sports coat just like this one when he was a youth.
Who knows? All I know is that this is one fantastic piece of vintage, with a twist.