Selling Short: The Shrunken Jacket Image Contest

As “Take Ivy” and countless other photographic documents reveal, jackets were worn on the short side in the declining twilight of the Ivy heyday.

But the short jacket’s current hold on the marketplace has all the earmarks of a fashion trend we’ll be laughing at years from now, the same way we laugh at the giant lapels of the ’70s, the big shoulder pads of the ’80s, and pretty much everything from the ’90s.

The photo at left is from Thom Browne’s Spring 2013 collection. The outermost item adorning the model’s torso bears marked similarities to a conventional sport coat, including lapels and a vent, even if its length more closely resembles that of a vest.

And so it is under the inspiration of this image that declares open a contest to see if a reader can produce a photo of a shorter jacket.

Historically jacket lengths have varied, though most experts advise that they reach the finger knuckles. Trendy jackets have lately climbed north of the wrist, are now at the forearm, and, as all fashion ends in excess, will likely reach the elbow by the fall of 2014.

Here’s how to play:

1) Use the leave-comment feature to paste a link to a photo of a short jacket that has appeared on the Internet.

2) The jacket should be from an American brand and be at least tangentially related to neo-prep or traditional American clothing, to be determined by the judges of

3) The jacket can either be from a brand or worn by an individual who in the parallel universe known as conventional taste, for example, would normally take a 42 XL, but as a fashion victim acting in staunch defiance of sartorial logic, not to mention the sense of proportion bequeathed to Western Civilization by ancient Greece, has opted to wear a 42 (or more likely a 40) XS.

4) The posting of the image must verifiably date from the calendar year 2013, which is another way of saying it should be current.

5) The jacket must be intended to be a suit jacket or sportcoat, with lapels and breast pocket and other distinguishing features including sleeves, which are conspicuously absent from some of Browne’s jackets  (at least it eliminates the need to choose the number of cuff buttons). Sweater-jackets and lapeled windbreakers, should such things exist, do not count.

6) Finally, server jackets and boleros are also disqualified from entry.

The contest will close at a time as yet to be determined. The winner will receive his choice of a belt donated by the newly launched preppy belt brand Asher Riley, because, hey, what goes better with a short jacket than a stylish belt? — CC

34 Comments on "Selling Short: The Shrunken Jacket Image Contest"

  1. Yes, I immediately thought of Eric as a candidate. He provided the lead image to our Halloween post last year (and took it in good fun, by the way):

    Why do short jackets happen to good people?

  2. My entry:

    And question: Any idea where those belts are made CC? Are they US? The contact email for the company ( brings up all sorts of weird stuff on Google like a party equipment rental service in Alabama and numerous posts looking for cheap belt supplies and manufacturers in China . . .

  3. I believe this is a Canadian brand, but I figured I’d give it a shot anyways:

  4. Another from our good friends at York Street:


    Not original prep, but you could argue he has some new prep stylings. Big fan of Billy Reid

  6. I surrender!! Nothing will come in shorter than Thom Browne’s look that you have posted above!! With regards to “laughing at this years from now,” I have been laughing at this look/brand since launch, but give Mr. Browne high marks for salesmanship!

  7. Hm, macaronis.

  8. Gentleman Mac | February 21, 2013 at 6:38 pm |

    Does anyone have any pictures from “real life” of folks wearing Thom Browne’s suits, like the one in the posting?

  9. @Gentleman Jack

    Excellent question! And the person who produces such shall win the above costume…..and the belt?

  10. Forgive the miss, Gentleman “Mac”

  11. I’ve already put in my entry (I still have a hard time believing that the tuxedo jacket is Hickey Freeman (I guess I should have mentioned that in the initial post)) but to respond to Gentleman Mac:

    Someone on the street actually wearing Thom Browne.

  12. Just realized the last pic I posted was from Zara which is a Spanish brand, and this doesn’t qualify. However I found this gem in Brooks Brothers Black Fleece collection.,default,pd.html?dwvar_FK00015_Color=NAVY&contentpos=14&cgid=0717

    Dare I speak the blasphemy that I think I could find a better use for my $1,400 than to spend it on a Brooks Brothers suit? Sadly, in this case I am afraid it’s true.

  13. Christian | March 1, 2013 at 7:40 am |

    DCG is the winner!

  14. Mitchell S. | March 2, 2013 at 8:52 am |

    @Christian: I beg to differ over your choice of DCG as the winner. According to the fourth contest rule: “The posting of the image must verifiably date from the calendar year 2013, which is another way of saying it should be current.” DCG’s entry dates from 09-11-2012.

  15. Christian | March 2, 2013 at 8:59 am |

    Yes, Mitchell, you’re absolutely right that I’d forgotten my own rule. And your image I indeed considered the next shortest (I’d actually originally planned that image for the lead of the story). Without a tape measure who’s to say which is actually shorter, but I gave the nod to DCG because of the extra-short sleeves on that jacket.

    Contact me via email to claim your prize, and I’ll make it up to DCG myself.


  16. Mea culpa! It was the spring ’13 collection shown during fall fashion week, whoops!

  17. I find it interesting that there is such disgust for the length of a T.B. jacket. I’ve read throughout these pages that this fad will soon pass and we will all look back on this as one giant silly mistake in fashion history and we will no doubt return to the classic oh-so-amazing length of the traditional jacket. The only thing wrong with that theory, imo, is that the “traditional” length makes most men look short and dumpy, whereas the shorter jacket makes men look taller and less heavy.
    I’m a firm believer that extra fabric = extra girth.

  18. OA,

    Why then are short jackets always possess a high button-stance and paired with low-rise pants? Both serve to make the torso look disproportionately long and the legs short.

    There absolutely is a place for Thom Browne-length pieces, and that is on the backs of shorter gentlemen, for whom this trend truly is helpful.

  19. Dan,

    Low-rise pants? On the contrary…T.B. trousers are cut with a very high rise.

  20. I don’t know how I missed Thom Browne turning the male form from wispy waif to hulking mass.

  21. OA seems to have meant “high crotch” rather than “high rise”.
    TB trousers are definitely low rise.

  22. The approx. front rise on T.B. trousers is: 11 1/2″ (some are 12″)
    That’s not low in my book.

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