The Mackinaw is a prime example of excellent product development.
The R&D began in 1811 when the British soldiers of Fort St. Joseph, near Mackinac Island, needed new coats. The great coats they received some four years earlier were not up to the challenge of successive Huron Winters (they can be unforgiving I’m told).
Originally, the coats were conceived as ankle-length great coats. The first batch of 40 were made from Navy blue point blankets but more coats were needed, since the supply of blue fabric became exhausted. Enter red and black tartan. Let’s call this Breakthrough #1.
Over the years, soldiers and frontiersman realized it’s very difficult to trudge through three feet of snow in an ankle-length great coat. The coat was shortened. Breakthrough #2.
Now it’s starting to look familiar.
Years later, a few others key advances were made, such as the double-shoulder feature, which adds a layer of protection against falling snow, wind, and the rough cut 4x4 you’ve thrown over your shoulder to haul up to the cabin.
I came across a double-shoulder mackinaw on my travels. I especially loved the complexity, drama, and color of the oversized tartan. I liked it so much, we not only reproduced it in a coat, we made Breakthrough #3—a vest.
Mackinaw Vest (No. 6255). I don’t recommend wearing this with the coat (you knew this already). It’s a fantastic layering piece with sport coats, ties, and scarves. Pairs nicely with crackling fires, dusky-hued bespoke cocktails, and a penchant for exaggerated story telling. Same wool and poly blend as the our coat. Five buttons down the center front, multi-compartment pockets. Over 200 years in the making. Imported.