The Drake's Riding Jacket is the sum of a range of influences: workwear, military, equestrian. Matthew Hranek has a detailed look.
I grew up in upstate New York, and for most of my time there I lived in duck canvas field coats. In the early 20th century there were scores of manufacturers producing all manner of duck canvas clothing for outdoor pursuits. If you were a dairy farmer or wing shooter you had at least a couple of field or chore jackets made from the hardy cloth. My personal favourites were the short hunting jackets from a brand called Duxbak, and I was also fond of the early Carhartt zip-up jackets with their cosy blanket linings and short, boxy shapes. Too often synthetic fabrics and unappealing design features have usurped the sturdy fabrics and wholesome, rugged designs of days past.
I have continued to collect – and more importantly wear – vintage outerwear of this ilk for decades. I now have my own farm in upstate NY, so they’re perfect for when I’m cruising in my John Deere Gator, or I can throw one over a tweed blazer in the fall. If I’m heading into the city I’ll often layer one on top of a Drake’s roll-neck jumper – a perfect combination.
These jackets are practical, built with purpose and just plain handsome. I’m thrilled that Drake’s has put their spin on this classic style, drawing on the equestrian world and classic militaria while keeping the styling true to its original inspiration. The Drake’s Riding Jacket is made in Italy from a herringbone cotton-linen fabric, with a short, square silhouette and brass three-bar slide fasteners allowing the sides to be cinched in. It has a contrasting corduroy collar (in the finest Brisbane Moss cord), three button-flap pockets, an internal pocket and a large game pocket at the back (better suited for a bottle of something rather than a pheasant or two).
The shape has elements of the time-tested HBT military jacket, and the length (as the name suggests) is great for being in the saddle, which admittedly isn’t a part of my world, but nevertheless I find it a comfy fit for a spin in my Landy or Gator at Wm Brown Farm. This jacket easily transitions into my urban life as well: perfect for Saturday morning market shopping, or a boozy weekend lunch at the Odeon.