I attended a concert at London’s Wigmore Hall the other night. It’s considered to be one of the world’s foremost venues for high quality performances of chamber music and this night was no different. The Academy of Ancient Music’s director, Richard Eggar, was giving a harpsichord recital; “the ultimate instrument that goes ‘ping'” we were told. This year heralds the anniversaries of Purcell, Handel and Haydn, and the programme was devoted to these three composers. One of the pieces that Richard performed got me thinking. It was the Chaconne and 62 variations by Handel (for those in the know, HWV 228!). How many different variations are there on a jacket? … So I started counting.
Barrister * Blazer * Boating * Bolero * Brigandine * Cagoule * Carmagnole * Cassock * Chef’s * Chesterfield * Clerical * Cloak * Coatee * Collarless * Crombie * Dinner * Donkey * Doublet * Dress * Duffle * Duster * Eisenhower * Eton * Flak * Fly front * Frock * Greatcoat * Guards * Hacking * Highland * House * Hunt * Inverness * Jerkin * Justacorp * Lab * Lounge * Macintosh * Mess * Monkey * Morning * Nehru * Newmarket * Norfolk * Opera * Overcoat * Pea coat * Pilot * Polo * Prince Albert * Pyjama * Raglan * Redingote * Reefer * Riding * Safari * Shooting * Smoking * Spencer * Sport * Straitjacket * Suffolk * Top * Trench * Tunic * Ulster * Zouave
I stopped counting after 62.
There are a number of reasons for having so many different styles, and not all to do with fashion. The Norfolk jacket for example, was designed with a high collar to keep the weather out, and with deep accessible pockets in which to keep shooting cartridges. Shorter jackets such as the hacking jacket were intended for horse riding, and traditionally had pockets cut at an angle with thick external flaps to prevent anything from dropping out.
Can any of you add to the list?