At Michael Andrews Bespoke, we know that board meetings and client presentations call for a crisp, commanding look. But not every occasion requires you to be so buttoned-up.
THE STORY OF THE UNSTRUCTURED JACKET
It was in the ‘30s, in the storied Rubinacci atelier, with the help of Vincenzo Attolini—a bright young tailor—that the Neapolitan, or unstructured jacket was born. Perhaps it was a moment of aesthetic inspiration, the light slanting through the window, particles of dust floating in the air—an inkling that a jacket does not have to be heavy and imposing, but could feel light, natural and effortlessly elegant.
Or maybe it wasn’t a brilliant idea, but a complaint by a customer who wanted to look stylish even in the sweltering Neapolitan summer, when the padded Roman jacket and its Savile Row counterpart—the one that has become the de facto business suit in New York and around the world—were unwearable.
Rubinacci and Attolini began experimenting with deconstructing the jacket—hence the name. They reduced the lining to the neck and shoulders and removed the padding and canvas. They tailored it to feel like a second skin, to fall over the torso in a way that compliments a man’s natural form without exaggerating it.
The result was an instant and enduring success. The Duke of Windsor was one of the first notable—and noble—figures to don one. Fashion legends of casual, rugged yet tasteful masculinity Paul Newman and James Dean wore unstructured jackets. Today, it can be found in the wardrobe of many men, especially lovers of custom suits, complementing formal attire worn professionally.
AUTHENTIC NEAPOLITAN HERITAGE
At Michael Andrew Bespoke, we craft our unstructured jackets with the same Neapolitan passion that gave birth to the first one. The welt breast pocket is modeled a barchetta, “like a boat”—with the signature Neapolitan outward curving lines—and a doppia impuntura, with a double, exposed hand stitch whose visibility demands infallible precision from our seasoned tailors: as does the rest of the stitching, both internally and externally, with nothing or very little to cover it.
The shoulders are made soft, spalla a camicia, meaning, “shoulder like a shirt,” to drape over the arms naturally. The whole jacket, constructed from one layer of linen, cotton, lightweight wool or a blend, has a dream-like lightness and can be folded up to eight times for easy storage, unlike its padded and lined antecedent.
HOW AND WHERE TO WEAR
The unstructured jacket is the perfect summer companion for those of us wanting to remain gracefully—and breathably—à la mode.
And although you wouldn’t want to sport one to an overly formal event or business meeting—depending on your line of work, that is—it would shine almost everywhere else. A summer wedding where guests are expected to look their finest is a perfect opportunity to wear one, perhaps with a linen pocket square, button-down shirt and a pair of chinos. A round-neck tie can be added for an extra touch of class.
But the beauty of the unstructured jacket is that you could also pair it with a t-shirt and a pair of faded jeans for a more casual look. You could even roll up the cuffs and mess up the collar and lapels for a more ruggedly handsome appearance.
Then, of course, there’s a whole world of possibilities in between.
The unstructured jacket is all the charm of Naples, complimenting your form while letting you breathe, giving you that elusive look: sharp yet relaxed, elegant yet casual.