All those old adages about children needing structure, well, they’re probably true. But you’re all grown up now, and the story has changed. It’s time to embrace the unstructured life… at least when it comes to your sportcoat collection.
Long a staple of Neapolitan tailoring tradition—one that’s thankfully, and finally, become widely available stateside in the last few years—the unconstructed jacket is marked by a few defining features. Foremost among those: a soft shoulder. That means none of the padding that creates the strong silhouette typical of, say, English tailoring. Instead of enhancing and smoothing the lines of your shoulder, an unstructured jacket will follow them. It’s a more relaxed look, and it’s only bolstered by the lack of the internal canvassing you’ll find in a structured jacket. Throw in the fact that they’re generally unlined, save for the arms (all the better to slide your own in and out easily), and you’ve got a sportcoat that’s inherently more casual than its built-up cousins.
Which is really the beauty of the thing. Instead of thinking of it like a piece of formal or business wear, think of it like a cardigan. Wear yours with an oxford cloth button-down and a pair of chinos, or toss it on over a tee and jeans—either way, it’ll look just as great. Hell, you can even pair it with shorts, since the lack of lining makes an unstructured jacket particularly well-suited to the warmer months. And if you get too hot, just take it off, bunch it up, and shove it in your bag. Since there’s no internal structure, there’s no harm done. When you retrieve it later, just shake it out, hang it up, and feel free to skip the steam press. Remember, you’re living unstructured now (plus, your jacket will look even better with a few well-placed wrinkles).