The safari jacket has all but disappeared from mens’ wardrobes——even in places like Brooklyn, it seems, where anything vintage or vintage looking has appeal——perhaps because it’s almost too ‘normcore’ or perhaps because it reminds us too much of 70’s casual wear. Reason enough for its comeback, seems to me.
But despite its appeal to war correspondents as an almost obligatory uniform——think Dan Rather on the road——it’s hard to imagine quite how to wear it if one isn’t actually on a real safari. Brands have tried to bring it back; this one in gabardine is actually by Martin Margiela from a few years ago, deeply (and I mean deeply) discounted presumably because no one wanted to buy it, and even the uber-hip Japanese brand Engineered Garments made a safari jacket in seasons past. I’ve always liked them, and I’ve never been on safari or covered a war, mainly because they’re utilitarian (where else to put your eye, phone, iPad mini, notebook, etc.?) and few items of clothing work better for wearing over a t-shirt in the months when the weather is warm and chilly on the same day.
The key is to not try to dress a safari jacket up——the opposite of 1970’s GQ covers—-and to wear it with jeans and t-shirt, henley, or polo shirt. While a plain white t-shirt is always right, this striped panel rib cotton T by American Trench, spun and made in the U.S. and coming soon to their store, is just too damn perfect for a warm spring day. Perfect for pre- and post surfing, as is the jacket, an item I expect just might take off among the surf crowd before the hipsters follow suit….