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  1. #1
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    How Should a Braemar Jacket Fit?

    I was pretty lucky (I think) to acquire a vintage (well, the seller called it vintage - I think it may be fairly recent, but lightly used) Charcoal Tweed Braemar from a Scottish Etsy store this past week.

    I'll betray my age a bit here, but I've never owned a sport coat, suit, or dress jacket - I rented a tux once when I was a child, and never again. I'm 6'2, and my chest measures 44, so I went with a 46 to give some room. L of course, as I'm about 6'2". The vest fits perfectly, the jacket feels just about right, but is a bit tight in the shoulders - specifically, the front of the shoulder, and specifically when I try to raise my arms. It fits great in every other way.

    I'm used to active jackets (sweatshirts, puffy jackets) that are made to move with you, and I realize you're not supposed to be able to throw a football comfortably in a dress jacket, but I'm wondering if this is normal.

    Edit: I've uploaded a few images of the fit here, trying to demonstrate the fit issue around the shoulders. Please don't mind the t-shirt!

    Here's the jacket paired with my 15-year-old Celtic Craft Centre Kilt in Fraser Gathering Hunting and a USA Kilts Casual I just got in the Celtic Nations Tartan, along with a Vintage Sporran from eBay courtesy Richard's "Quality Sporrans for Less Money" thread.

    VRsSRBQ.jpg
    yBs3bm1.jpg
    Last edited by KennethSime; 16th October 20 at 01:17 PM.

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  3. #2
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    The Argyle, Braemer and Crail are exactly the same jacket with a different cuff treatment.



    So all three should fit the same.

    Here I am in an Argyle. If I pull the front closed it will button. Although the fashion today is that if you wear a vest, you do not usually button the jacket.
    Notice that there are no puckers in front of the shoulders. I can lift my arms straight up horizontal in front with no problem.

    The fit while hanging naturally without distortion is smooth but is not tight at all. I have full range of motion.



    You can see a similar smooth fit in this photo.

    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

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  5. #3
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    Being a piper, and having to shove the bag up in one armpit and thrust both hands forward to play the chanter, a kilt jacket needs to be a bit on the loose side, and the sleeves a bit on the long side.

    If your jacket sleeves end at the wrist when you're standing with arms relaxed at your sides, the sleeves will end about halfway up your forearm when you're playing!



    For non-pipers follow Steve's advice.

    One thing that's a consideration with jacket fit is that traditionally kilt jackets aren't buttoned, but left to hang open, exposing the waistcoat.

    About Steve's chart with the different jacket designations, be aware that those cuffs have fairly standardised names in the ordinary fashion/clothing/costuming/military uniform worlds which differ from the designations that various Scottish clothing makers use.

    The jacket that's long been called the Argyll jacket has what are called "gauntlet" cuffs.

    The jacket that Steve has labelled Braemar has what are called "slash" cuffs. Slash cuffs are also found on Prince Charlies, 18th century British naval uniforms, modern United States Marine Corps uniforms, and many other military and civilian jackets over the last few hundred years. The full dress tunic the piper above is wearing has them.

    Different Highland Dress makers may use different designations, an example is House Of Edgar.

    EDIT: I just checked, and House Of Edgar's kilt jacket designations are more odd now than when I worked in a Highland outfitter which carried a full line of HOE products.

    Then, the jacket with the gauntlet cuffs, which has been called the Argyll by most people for over a century, was called by HOE the Braemar. The jacket with slash cuffs they called the Crail.

    Now they only show the jacket with the slash cuffs which they call both the Crail and the Clunie.

    https://www.houseofedgar.com/product.../highlandwear/
    Last edited by OC Richard; 16th October 20 at 06:54 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  6. #4
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    One more thing about the slash cuffs, I've been watching with growing dismay how recently they've been creeping further and further up the sleeve.

    Originally, and properly, they're at the bottom of the sleeve.



    My guess is that the Kilt Hire Industry started moving them higher so that the sleeves could be taken in and let out to suit.

    These sleeves can be taken in at least 3 inches due to the absurdly high cuff positions.

    Last edited by OC Richard; 16th October 20 at 07:15 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  8. #5
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    Thanks for your responses so far!

    I should have done this in the first place, but I've uploaded a few images of the fit here, trying to demonstrate the fit issue around the shoulders.

    Does that provide any further insight? It just kind of feels like the shoulders are a bit stiff, and I'm worried the body of the jacket moves too much with the arm/shoulder when I raise my arms. Not sure if this is just what suit jackets do, or if it's an issue related to the fit of the jacket.

  9. #6
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    The thing with jackets is, you have to cut the sleeve and arm-opening on the jacket body in one manner to give your arms full range of motion, and a quite different way so that the jacket looks neat and sleek when you have your arms down at your sides.

    To get full range of motion the arm-opening on the jacket body is more or less round, the jacket body coming up nearly to your arm-pit, and the sleeve more or less a cylinder attaching to the body at a 90 degree angle, horizontal in other words.

    19th century Highland military doublets and civilian jackets were cut like that.

    The problem with this cut is that when you have your arms down at your sides there's quite a bit of fabric that bunches up in your arm pits. There are wrinkles.

    Modern suit jackets are cut with a long oval arm-opening, the sleeve cut at a steep angle at the top, and attached to the jacket body at a steep near-vertical angle.

    This eliminates the wad of fabric in your arm-pits when your arms are down at your side, but severely hampers your range of motion.

    So yes modern kilt jackets are usually cut more or less like modern suits, with an oval arm opening and sleeve that's natural orientation is pointing downward, nearly vertical.

    Thing is, in Pipe Bands you have two sorts of people who need a full range of motion from their arms: tenor drummers and drum majors. What they've come up with are special Pipe Band kilt jackets with panels made from stretch fabric.

    Here's a Victorian civilian Highland jacket. Note the high small arm hole and the sleeve fabric gathered where it attaches to the jacket body. This man would have great range of motion while wearing this jacket.



    But with a modern suit, the arm hole is a long oval, going much lower than your arm-pit, so the inside part of the sleeve is attached to the body of the suit much further down. Try to raise your arms and this happens.



    Pipers can't really wear jackets cut like that because they can't get the bag up into their arm pit.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 16th October 20 at 04:30 PM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  11. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    The thing with jackets is, you have to cut the sleeve and arm-opening on the jacket body in one manner to give your arms full range of motion, and a quite different way so that the jacket looks neat and sleek when you have your arms down at your sides.

    To get full range of motion the arm-opening on the jacket body is more or less round, the jacket body coming up nearly to your arm-pit, and the sleeve more or less a cylinder attaching to the body at a 90 degree angle, horizontal in other words.
    Richard, thank you so much!

    This is exactly the reassurance I was looking for, and I now know I didn't screw up.

    The jacket is comfortable with arms at my side, and fits about as close as I'd want it to.

    Maybe one day I'll look up one of the Piper's Jackets, but for now I'm happy as a clam.

  12. #8
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    It looks fine.
    The shoulders do look very heavily tailored- a look I personally love.
    But check the insides and see if the lining is twisted at all, that could be causing some tightness. You ‘could’ see a tailor and have some of the lining let out and/or replace the foundations with softer shoulder pads and front facings but that really wouldn’t be worth the cost.

    I think you’re right and you’re just not used to wearing such a tailored garment.
    There is a huge amount of foundation or inner workings in a beautifully made jacket that the wearer can’t see and it can take some getting used to.

  13. #9
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    I've owned a number of kilt jackets and "Saxon" tweed jackets over the years and they do vary quite a bit in how much padding the shoulders have. I suppose it's just a matter of personal preference.

    I have one "Saxon" jacket that I feel has too much padding, but it does give the jacket, when I'm wearing it, a nice vintage look.

    When was it, the 1940s? When that was the style. I don't know anything about vintage clothing (other than Highland things).
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  14. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Grey View Post
    It looks fine.
    The shoulders do look very heavily tailored- a look I personally love.
    But check the insides and see if the lining is twisted at all, that could be causing some tightness. You ‘could’ see a tailor and have some of the lining let out and/or replace the foundations with softer shoulder pads and front facings but that really wouldn’t be worth the cost.

    I think you’re right and you’re just not used to wearing such a tailored garment.
    There is a huge amount of foundation or inner workings in a beautifully made jacket that the wearer can’t see and it can take some getting used to.
    Thank you kindly, Lady Grey, I really appreciate your vote of confidence. The jacket is pretty darn nice with arms down!

    We're going through a heat wave, but as soon as it cools off I'll post up some pictures with a full outfit.

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