Tweed jacket with elbow patches?
December 30, 2009 5:41 AM   Subscribe

You know the tweed jackets with leather or suede elbow patches called? They're stereotypically worn by professors. Do they have a particular name? Where can I find one?

I've found plenty of tweed jackets, but none with elbow patches. Are they an aftermarket modification?
posted by Quizicalcoatl to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Harris Tweed should have some.
posted by quodlibet at 5:47 AM on December 30, 2009

Best answer: I don't think they have a name per se, but I've seen many of them at thrift stores and vintage boutiques. The elbow patches were not normally an aftermarket modification, although you can buy such patches to sew on yourself. Best of luck on your dissertation!
posted by applemeat at 5:50 AM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

p.s. There are several current listings on eBay.
posted by applemeat at 5:54 AM on December 30, 2009

Orvis sells this sort of stuff. For example.
posted by kmennie at 6:11 AM on December 30, 2009

I believe they are called shooting jackets and were historically used as a gentleman's hunting attire. Traditionally, they were tweed/wool jackets with leather patches on the elbows and on the right shoulder. The leather patches were to prevent wear and tear from rifles or shotguns (from the butt against of the gun against the shoulder or from the hunter resting his elbows on some object to steady the shot).

Not sure that the more contemporary and generic "sportcoat with leather patches on the elbow" -- which is probably a distilled fashion descendent of the shooting jacket -- would be sold and marketed as a "shooting jacket" though.
posted by gritter at 6:19 AM on December 30, 2009

posted by blackcatcuriouser at 7:29 AM on December 30, 2009

blackcatcuriouser: I just looked at the J. Crew website, and didn't see a single tweed jacket, with or without patches, at least in the "Sportcoats and vests" section. Where were you looking?
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:41 AM on December 30, 2009

Thrift stores.
posted by roger ackroyd at 8:38 AM on December 30, 2009

J Crew and Steinbock of Austria seem to be where you should look
posted by adamvasco at 8:59 AM on December 30, 2009

Professors did not traditionally wear shooting jackets; no shoulder patch is necessary in their line of work, their tweed jackets are more likely to be styled like hacking jackets. This wasn't originally fashion, but utility and very much aftermarket. Elbows wear through, especially if you habitually rest your elbows on a desk, so the patches (and sometimes leather binding of the cuffs) were to mend holes/prolong life of expensive clothes in a traditionally respectable but not overpaid line of work where the daily wearing of suits was not required.

If you want the absentminded professor look, find a good quality but old tweed jacket in a thrift store and add patches. Shooting jackets, with or without patches, pleats on the back etc. are spiffy, but not very professorial.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 10:52 AM on December 30, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I'm not a professor - although I do tend to spend a great deal of time with my elbows on desks. I've just always thought those jackets were pretty sharp looking, yet casual enough for most everyday situations.
posted by Quizicalcoatl at 11:09 AM on December 30, 2009

Best answer: In my experience, elbow patches were sewn on to existing jackets because the elbows had the tendency to become worn out faster than the rest of the jacket (presumably due to all of the thinking.) They'd be used to patch holes, prevent future holes, or as a replaceable hole collection device. Like Quinbus Flestrin said.

But, it looks like you can buy jackets that already have them sewn on, e.g. 1 2

fwiw, like others have said, jackets made of heavier tweedy material are usually called sportcoats. A sportcoat doesn't necessarily have elbow patches, but a jacket with patches is probably a sportcoat.
posted by sentient at 5:08 PM on December 30, 2009

Since J.Crew and Banana Republic don't have any right now, that means they're not in fashionthis season, which means skipping the stores like J.Crew and Banana Republic that follow fashion. (I don't picture that tweedy professor shopping at J.Crew.)

Instead, I'd recommend going to a local independent menswear shop that sells suits and sportcoats. That's the kind of place to keep that sort of thing in stock even when it falls out of fashion.
posted by mendel at 11:21 AM on December 31, 2009

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