Are Field Jackets The Next Motos?

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I was in Whole Foods the other day, the spiritual home of Sturdy Gals. We do love our organic cauliflower. I surveyed, as politely as I could, what everyone was wearing.

Universally, those women who looked comfortable, appropriate for grocery shopping but still stylish, were wearing field jackets. Otherwise known as utility or military-style.

I’ve loved my J. Crew jacket. My only reservation was the length, as occasionally I found myself tugging the hem downwards. Guess what? They now make it in a long model. The hood is detachable.


Sort of like Coke, if it sells well, create variations. Although I am not compelled to wear a baseball cap, no matter Jenna Lyon’s genius.

Field jackets work like Coke in other ways, i.e. you can now find Pepsi, R.C. Cola, and Whole Foods Cola. Hmm. I suspect you get my goofy point. Options abound. For example,

Fashion at 50+ requires a fairly strong sense of self, and a good visual imagination, to get rid of cues meant for other demographics

Field jackets are the 21st century cousin to moto, lighter weight in both material and cost. A hint of tough, a dash of tomboy. Killer worn with dangling earrings. A piece to be grabbed from the back of a chair as you rush out the door, and thrown off easily when you come back home.

There’s a meta-benefit to wearing category items with names, like Field Jackets. Their known set of characteristics lends structure, meaning, and therefore style, to otherwise casual outfits. See? Sturdy Gals have a few tricks of our own. But we share because our moms said to, and because hey, friends are more important than fashion.

Field Jackets for 2017

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  • The waxed-cotton Barbour field jacket is very popular here, for both sexes, as is the quilted equestrienne jacket, which is kind of a grande dame version of the field model.

    Can’t see buying a maternity field jacket- why not borrow a man’s for a few months? Because no matter what the salesperson says, a woman does not feel great in her maternity clothes after the event.

  • Okay, at first I was all “A field jacket? I’m too old for a field jacket!” But you’ve talked me into one to go with a white tee and jeans (I AM too old for the skirt, although it’s too cute). And those flats…I want those flats.

    11:44 am
    Lisa said...

    @Jan’s Sushi Bar, You’d look great in this.

  • I don’t know if they are the next moto, but they are everywhere. The originals have a high degree of utility and their fashionable cousins are practical if they keep the utility of the original.

    I greatly enjoy your burgundy comment, oh so very true.

    11:44 am
    Lisa said...

    I’ll drink a glass of Malbec to you:).

  • I have one in khaki that I bought in England in 2006. I love it and wear it every year when the weather starts to change. Unfortunately, the fall transition zipped by Chicago this year, and these style coats are already too lightweight for the current temperatures. So back in the closet mine goes until spring rolls around.

  • Talk about timing!
    I tried on a khaki field jacket yesterday and dismissed it because it was too long.
    I could be very comfortable in a shorter version and can see myself wearing it often.
    Your Mother is so right Lisa…Sharing is good and Friends are more important….
    Thank you :-)

  • Oh year, the longer length. And with this deft stroke, you’ve completed the out-and-about look you started with those sweat pants. Crossbody BV from front of your closet, or the old Coach from the back. Black moto boots with pants legs stuffed inside. Very cool.

    9:07 am
    Flo said...

    That’s “oh yeah, the longer length”

    What I really mean is oh yeahhhhhh!

  • Yes! I finally gave in and bought one this spring when I found one that worked well with my (not much of a) waist. Vancouver/Canada’s Aritzia make some good versions, and mine is one of theirs. Surprising how often I grab it. Almost as much as my moto. . . ;-)

  • I will admit it’s positively scary how many I own, and have collected over the years. Mostly Barbour, whose logo I don’t mind. Some great choices in this post.

  • Further proof that what goes around comes around! I’ve had mine since we first discovered shopping at the Army Surplus post-Woodstock. If you had second-sight (sadly not me) you would need lots of closets for everything you were smart enough not to throw out.

    11:48 am
    Lisa said...

    I still have my denim overalls but am not tempted to wear them despite the trend among the young:).

  • I’m not really a “moto” jacket fan – I do love a leather aviator jacket though.

  • I could almost be persuaded that I need an oxblood field jacket, but in reality they are too stiff and they tend to make me look boxy. I do have an ink blue field jacket-ish vest that I got from a Chinese seller on Etsy, soft fluid silk/rayon material.

    11:48 am
    Lisa said...

    @Cynthia, They are definitely for those who like structure in their clothing.

  • I picked up a winterized (wool-lined) version of the field jacket earlier this season and I must say that it has become my new favourite…temps have dropped to frost in a blink of an eye this week so that might have helped my decision along! :)

  • Been wearing some (more like many) versions of the field jacket since I was in college 30 years ago. To me, their the casual equivalent of the trench coat and,thus, are timeless.

    Love that you’re showing them with trendier pieces. Still prefer the classic olive drab, but it’s fun to see them in modern hues. Brava.

    7:48 am
    Lee Rosenthall said...

    @Lee Rosenthall,

    Sorry, *they’re* not *their*.

    11:49 am
    Lisa said...

    @Lee Rosenthall, Thank you!

  • I love that burgundy field jacket, but I’ll go with your “Syrah”! Who sells that particular jacket?

    7:57 am
    Lisa said...

    It’s by a line called Max&Mia, at Nordstrom. I’ve added the link, I’d missed that one. Glad you like it.

  • I like the styling of these jackets, but I wore one for 15 years in the military, so it probably won’t be added to my wardrobe anytime soon, unless it is for ‘field’ wear.

    11:49 am
    Lisa said...

    @Trish, Thank you for your service.

  • I bought one last Autumn and admit, I love it. Perfect for the weather change and practical to boot (I have one with many pockets). I sort of want a camo version, but this may be a step too far…?!

  • Whole Foods is my spiritual home in LA and now, here but our demographic is very different, I should sneak pics someday – but I don’t have the nerve. Not quite sure what a ‘field” jacket is, Barbour? I reserve them for the country/shoots, I don’t wear it in town.

    9:57 am
    Judith/Ida said...

    Same here,don’t think Barbour calls them field jackets?We have pheasant shooting on the estates,the fields are full of Barbour clad toffs from the city. @tabitha,

  • Moto look is not for me! I love a field jacket, a vest (Filson makes a great one for women) or quilted jacket a la Burberry or Barbour for everyday wear and they’re perfect for travel too. Between the vests and jackets, I currently have 7 and they get quite a workout October-May. I live in mid-Atlantic area! Mostly I have basic colors like navy, black brown and taupe. I have a Burberry in a bright Kelly green that never fails to solicit a compliment and cheer a dreary day!

  • I have a really old on sale Jcrew green jacket…I’ll wear it today and do a post on my blog!

    11:52 am
    Lisa said...

    @Fashionable and Fab after 60, And then come back and post the link here!

  • I have been known to go to Whole Foods in my vintage LL Bean “barn” coat.

  • I put the Field Jacket and the Barn Coat in the same category. If they fade from style you can always relegate it to wearing when you walk the dog. Lots of pockets are good for your gloves, flashlight and treats.

    Myself I go for a quilted jacket because they’re easier to wash.

  • A really good assortment here LPC which reminds me the GSL closet could use a field jacket. As with your impressive grande dame rollout, very interesting selections but where are the sturdys? All these models look barely out of their teens and I’ve always found them nice to look at but their allure nearly always dissipates once they say something and with women I fancy that’s when it starts. You fashionista bloggers are holding increasing sway on 7th Ave and may need to let them know they should start using some grown-ups in their ad campaigns.

    3:05 pm
    Tracey said...

    @GSL, Well Said GSL! Tired of looking at these poor starving androgynous frames who would’t know a curve if it hit them in the face. And don’t they look miserable in most of the store pics. I’d be miserable too if I was starving all the time. So not reality. Let us revolt!

  • I call them cargo jackets,like them in olive,pink skirt with it hmmmmmm,each to their own!

  • yes, we need military jackets to keep up a good fight or front!
    I have a few in khaki but would love one in OD.

  • Oh yes! I love my L. L. Bean
    safari jacket ..

  • I’ve got a lovely lightweight one for summer (which Australia is just heading into). Yes, we do occasionally get cooler days or mornings where that extra layer is helpful. Winter – I need leather, except if I’m walking the dogs, in which case it’s the drizabone.

    3:06 pm
    Tracey said...

    @Erika, Dear Erika, wondering if our American Cousins have any idea what the heck a ‘drizabone’ is!

    5:22 am
    11:53 am
    Lisa said...

    @Erika, Resources, resources, resources!

  • My poor “field jacket” bought at the army-navy surplus store 30+ years ago has, sadly, not seen the light of day since moving from NYC 10 years ago. If I had the energy to actually unpack it, I would gladly wear it with the pleated skirt & tights. If I lived in a walking city, I would be tempted to muck out storage and style that jacket all over again! That’s a lot of ifs. Oh, as a side note, I would throw in a few bracelets for good measure!

  • “Field Jackets. Their known set of characteristics lends structure, meaning, and therefore style, to otherwise casual outfits.”

    What the. Was this our homework? [I’m gonna be up all night with this one. Artsy computations rarely solve for x.]

    To prove/disprove: style = structure + meaning

    I’ve got it, ok:

    Utility = utility + utility

    Is that what you meant, yes? QED?

    11:54 am
    Lisa said...

    @Flo, Kinda I just meant wearing clothes that have a Platonic ideal will make everything else look more special:).

  • That’s a trend I would embrace. I like moto jackets, but they don’t look good on me. In college, (1986-1990) one of my favorite things was my L. L. Bean field jacket. I would roll up the sleeves in a jaunty way and smuggle beers in the game pocket.

  • So glad to learn there are other Whole Foods Spritualists – it is truly an experience much more than shopping for groceries.
    In the OC, south of LA, I haven’t noticed many, but will now be more observant.
    I would love a J Crew one, wool lined please. Would be as comfy as shopping in pajamas. (PS You will find me relishing the scrambled egg breakfast biscuit warmed in the brick oven every Sunday morning inside the store, soaking up the ambiance).

  • As I have said earlier, the moto jacket seems kind of faux. Who of you rides a motorcycle?

    Anyway, field coats are a style I can really sink my teeth into. Well, I did see two pheasants yesterday, at the northern edge of SF Bay. Anyway, I am not a hunter, but a birder and a frequent visitor of the dog park and I have five field coats plus a Woolrich 60/40 parka (longer, with a hood and a wool lining). What I love are all the pockets for phone, keys, glasses, binoculars, gloves, dog poop bags, etc.

    11:54 am
    Lisa said...

    @AggieK, You clearly are a true Field Person and the jacket is your right:).

  • Still wearing my 10+ year old olive drab version: slightly shorter, a little more fitted- goes with a hundred other things. The more that you post, Lisa, the less I see you as a Grande Dame/Sturdy. There is a lot of Artsy Cousin there, although the Grande Dame may be evolving. For now I see a fourth type, not Old Money, but Young Money- quality with an edge.

    11:55 am
    Lisa said...

    @Kathy, I am an aspirational Artsy, unquestionably.

  • Lisa your timing is perfect. Just last week I was on the hunt for a field jacket and perused the internet. I remembered your score last year at Uniqlo but they do not have anything appealing at the moment. Found a nice one by BCBG–in a longer length, with a removeable hood and nice styling. I have yet to purchase it, but now realize I can’t go wrong with it.
    Field jackets might be the daytime equivalent of the moto, for me. The jacket equivalent of comfort food.

  • Lisa, you are so right about the army jacket–it’s such a big street fashion thing right now. I just have a weird aversion to army jackets but luckily don’t think black leather is going anywhere soon :)

    xo Mary Jo

  • Hmm… my husband has a Barbour-esque jacket which I think he looks very handsome in as we stride around the countryside but I tend towards a more formal urban look so I’ll stick with my motos and short wool coats until it gets cold enough for long wool coats. I do have a jade green 3/4 length trench coat for rainy but not too cold days and I sporty/ hiking looking rainproof anorack for country walks so I think I’m reasonably well covered.

  • Our Scandinavian climate rules what to wear.
    We need down coats, warm parkas and fur coats. Coats, long enough to keep us warm.
    Therefore, no need for field jackets : )!

  • I love my J Crew field jacket (the same one that you have) and definitely prefer the shorter length. It does, of course, make the jacket more “street” and less “field”–but that’s a good thing, for me. :-)

    11:56 am
    Lisa said...

    @Miss Cavendish, I do confess I wish you did outfit posts. I imagine your style would school me in Artsy as I so need.

  • I have been stalking this particular military jacket. It’s from several years ago, so no longer in stores, but would love to know who made/sold it. Anyone recognize it?

    12:03 pm
    Lisa said...

    All I can find out is that’s Frieda Gustavsson:).

  • Having been a tomboy dresser until I became mom, field-style jackets have always appealed to me. And one of my vivid memories of my mother — a very stylish dresser — was of her wearing her faithful “safari” jacket, in regulation khaki, from Abercrombie & Fitch (back when Abercrombie & Fitch was far closer to Brooks Brothers than it is today). It was her go-to for casual errand running in the spring and fall, practical and good-looking, and definitely High Wasp. I have periodically looked online for safari jackets, and my guess is that these field jackets are the modern interpretation. They straddle the divide between urban hip and classic, which makes them kind of perfect. Cheers!

    7:55 am
    Lisa said...

    Well you summed it up perfectly.

  • Oh, my–I should have never gotten rid of my original when I retired from the Air Force. Maybe my niece will give it back!

  • I like the look of these jackets on other women, but have yet to find a version in stores that really appeals to me.

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] reading Lisa’s post about field jackets, this quote caught L’Abeille’s attention: “Fashion at 50+ requires a fairly […]

  2. […] Are Field Jackets The Next Motos? | Privilege Otherwise known as utility or military-style. I've loved my J. Crew jacket, seen here, and here. My only reservation was the length, as occasionally I found myself tugging the hem downwards. Guess what? They now make it in a long model. The hood is detachable. j.Crew. My poor “field jacket” bought at the army-navy surplus store 30+ years ago has, sadly, not seen the light of day since moving from NYC 10 years ago. If I had the energy to actually unpack it, I would  […]

  3. […] meant to get a J. Crew field jacket in black, but they discontinued the color. So, here I am now that California is raining. And […]