Misty Harbor Field Jacket

Despite the ubiquity of summer heat, the Northern Hemisphere is already beginning its gradual tilt away from the sun. That means that in a few months, a chill will once again appear in the air. The leaves will assemble into a reverie of color. And jackets–except for those of us in more northerly latitudes–will end their hibernation.

One of the most venerable of those is the trusty field jacket. The field jacket has its antecedents, as with many examples of classic clothing, in military usage.

For years, it was the jacket of choice for outdoor pursuits, hunting in particular. Often made of waterproofed cotton, it contains generous front pockets for ammunition and small game and reinforced shoulders to minimize wear from firearms.

The L.L. Bean version is definitive–a classic so ensconced in the pantheon of American style that it noted a mention in the Official Preppy Handbook. For years, Bean produced that model in the United States, but, like so much of the company’s current product line, it’s no longer made by American hands.

Yesterday, while visiting some of the local thrift stores, Frannie and I found a vintage woman’s Misty Harbor field jacket. By the label, which confirms its domestic provenance, it appears to be from the 1960s, or perhaps the early 70s. But its look is timeless.

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The details are spot on: raglan sleeves, generous outside snap game pockets, waterproof fabric. Although it lacks the reinforced shoulders of the truly classic field jacket, I’ve always found that detail a little superfluous for someone who isn’t hoisting a shotgun or rifle.

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From what I’ve managed to discern, Misty Harbor no longer seems like much of a going concern, if it still exists at all. Regardless, this jacket is a wonderful piece, and despite its age, I’m confident that it will give Frannie many years of use.

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