A review of the exceptionally high-quality Japanese menswear brand
If you are an aficionado of quality menswear, you already know about Ring Jacket. And if you happen to be a rabid consumer of hardcore menswear content on Instagram, you have no doubt come across the brand via The Armoury and a number of other similarly focused men’s style accounts.
If, by chance, you are not yet familiar with Ring Jacket, it is a brand you want to know. I recently got into my very first Ring Jacket suit and wanted to share my experience.
First, though, let’s talk about the brand itself. While Ring Jacket might seem like a newer brand, as it has recently been getting new-to-the-market style visibility and coverage, it has actually been around since the 1950s. In 1954, Jôichi Fukushima, the company’s founder, set out to create ready-to-wear suits that would approach (if not match) the quality of custom-made garments.
One thing to note, is that the Japanese are
extremely adept at masters of detail and refining what is already good and making it a lot better. Personally, because I’ve played the saxophone for 31 years, I think of the saxophone. Invented by a Belgian, patented in Paris. The “gold” (saxophones are brass, though can be gold-plated) standard, untouchable brand for decades was Selmer.
And while there’s no disputing the quality of a Selmer saxophone, I have to say that the Yamaha instruments are beyond exceptional. Wonderful tone, perfect mechanics, exceptional intonation. From a lifelong Selmer player, it’s downright unfair how damn easy these instruments are to play and how good they sound. But let’s get back to menswear.
Ring Jacket began by replicating the classic American prep-style suits of the 1950s and early 1960s. In the 1980s, with Italian style’s rise to prominence on the global scene, the company pivoted and began adoption Neapolitan tailoring traditions to create what has become their signature look and style.
The Ring Jacket of today hits all the right notes. Color palettes that are classic, conservative and decidedly not “fashiony”, for lack of a better word. A pronounced lapel width that’s modern but not overly exaggerated or clownish. A soft Neapolitan shoulder that lends itself to a casually tailored appearance and increased versatility. A slim cut that isn’t overly done or trendy.
With all of these attributes, it’s no wonder Ring Jacket is having a moment right now. They’re focusing on what they’ve always focused on – superior quality and classic styling. And if the men’s style bubble is indeed going to burst this year, as predicted, I feel pretty good that a company like Ring Jacket, with their no-frills, classic approach, is one of the brands getting some well-deserved recognition. Now let’s get into this suit.
It’s a 6×2 button, full-canvas double-breasted peak lapel with jetted pockets, working sleeve buttons and a classic Ring Jacket soft shoulder. Trousers are flat front with belt loops and a two-inch cuff, as is my custom when having cuffed trousers. It’s a heavy wool, great for fall and winter, not so much for the spring and summer. (N.B. I got the suit in February.)
Fabric is a good sidebar to explore a bit when it comes to Ring Jacket. Their fabrics are proprietary and woven exclusively in Japanese mills. Among the most famous of these cloths is the “Balloon” fabric. “Balloon” is woven from high-twist 100% wool, is as comfortable as jersey, but due to its natural stretch, it retains its shape while also being exceptionally durable and wrinkle resistant. I’ve tried on several “Balloon” jackets and have no problem calling it one of the best fitting and feeling everyday and travel jackets out there.
This suit feels as good as it looks. Have to give some props to Sam Wazin for dialing the fit in for me. For those who regularly ask me for advice on a good tailor in NYC, look no further than Sam.
Now, I’ve had the opportunity to wear many suits from a variety of makers and Ring Jacket is at the top of my list in terms of quality, fit and construction. You’d be hard-pressed to find a RTW garment on the same level. Which leads us to price.
With its proprietary fabrics as well as the unmatched quality and construction a Ring Jacket suit commands a premium. Suits range in price from $1,640 to $2,400 while the current collection jackets run from $1,350 to $1,950. Obviously not a price point for everyone. But, are you getting what you pay for? Absolutely.
If you’re wondering why you’d shell out custom-level dollars for a ready-to-wear garment, don’t worry – it’s a natural reaction. What I can tell you is that you’re not going to find RTW clothing of a higher quality than Ring Jacket. Also, if you happen to be like me and are lucky enough to fit into OTR clothing with very few alterations needed and you both need something quick but want to invest in the absolute highest quality, this should be your go-to.
And while ready-to-wear is one part of the Ring Jacket business – they’ve just launched an online shop – you can still get a made-to-measure suit cut from Ring Jacket fabric at places like The Armoury and the handful of other stockists around the US.
Thanks for reading.
He Spoke Style