Spring Essentials: The Norton Jacket

Spring Essentials: The Norton Jacket

Spring is the perfect time to reintroduce to your wardrobe the genre of short cropped jackets. With little need for big overcoats now, the cropped jacket comes into its own as a masculine silhouette that's really easy to style. The most well-known of these jacket types is of course the trucker jacket, an emblem of Americana and a symbol of stylish workwear.

This season, we've paid homage to the trucker by way of our Norton jacket. Drawing inspiration from the western nuances of the trucker, we've meticulously crafted the Norton jacket in a new trio of fabrics, each with a very different character. Up first is the Penpol cloth, a technical cotton fabric from Italy that is showerproof and perfect for the early weeks of spring and the hottest days of the summer, given that it's incredibly lightweight. Next is a 100% linen version that we have produced on two fun summer colours: mauve and olive green. Linen is one of our favourite cloths to work with thanks to its textural qualities and that natural slubby finish. Finally, we've also create a single indigo-dyed denim Norton jacket, which boasts a seriously rich blue hue.

 
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Why We Love The Norton Jacket

 

Put simply, it's a breeze to style. The trucker silhouette obviously gives it a classic blouson shape which is inherently masculine, while the turn-down collar affords the jacket some formal structure, despite being relaxed. We love the fact that you can wear it with a t-shirt and jeans for an off-duty look, or you can pair it with tailored wool trousers and a turtleneck for a more refined autumnal fit. It works with denim jeans especially well, too. In recent popular culture, Jeremy Allen White's character, Carmy, in the hit series The Bear, is partial to a wool trucker, often pairing it with a simple white tee and jeans for a really rugged look. But these summer styles can be worn just the same, with a tee or polo shirt offering a nice laid-back look.

 

 
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The History of the Trucker Jacket

 

While the genesis of the denim jacket is indelibly linked to the American West, the fabric itself was born in the French city of Nîmes, lending its name to the cloth (albeit anglicized as 'de Nimes'). The tale of the jacket begins way back in 1853 during the frenzy of the Gold Rush when a enterprising bloke called Levi Strauss (you might have heard of him?) opened the doors of his haberdashery store in San Francisco. Initially offering robust cotton trousers for miners and gold prospectors, Strauss's venture took a significant turn when a customer named Jacob Davis reinforced the seams and pockets with copper rivets.

 
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This innovative design was patented and mass-produced, marking the inception of a success story. Soon after, Strauss recognized the potential for a complementary upper garment. Despite the end of the Klondike Gold Rush in 1899, rugged workwear had carved a niche in fashion. Consequently, in 1905, Strauss unveiled the 'Levi Blouse,' bearing the code 506. Like its denim-clad predecessor, this blouse featured a sturdy, unsanforized 9oz denim, a cropped, boxy silhouette, and front double pleats (expandable with a pair of scissors if needed). By 1917, the 'blouse' had been rebranded as the 'Number 1' style in the Dude Ranch Duds Western catalog, which ultimately gave rise to the modern 'Type I' label. Types II and III followed, each with its unique characteristics.

Throughout the 20th century, these jackets held steadfast in the realm of men's fashion, retaining their rugged utilitarian charm while becoming symbols of rebellion, counterculture, and, eventually, high-end fashion. Few garments have been imitated as relentlessly as the trucker jacket, and few have withstood the test of time so resolutely.

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