Pre-pandemic, it seemed as though the use of irony in Internet discourse had hit an all-time high. Many of the Internet personalities I follow seemed to gravitate towards hot takes tinged in irony and parody. Troll behavior, while not always strictly ironic, had become more and more prevalent, to the point where it was impossible to know whether someone was well-intentioned or not. To be sure, earnest statements outnumbered comedic gestures, but it felt to me as though a significant shift in the norms of discourse had occurred. Heck, even I, as a self-serious, high-brow, straight-shooting, integrity-driven reviewer had trafficked in irony in my writing at times.
However, public tolerance for such behavior has all but vanquished with the virus and the recent protests. To make fun of Black Lives Matter and viral virus virulence, even with the best of intentions, is often seen as taking the other side. Because of this, I’ve come to understand irony and sincerity as cyclical in their appropriateness in the zeitgeist. In the decadent and indulgent pre-virus times, irony was abound; now that people are hurting and fighting for what’s right, sincerity prevails.
But bro this sucks. Sure, chat shit get banged, but my truth-in-irony approach to writing could very easily be misconstrued as bearing bad intentions, and I don’t like that. Speaking of truth-in-irony, though, the 18 East Osman Jacket.
As funky as the 18 East brand can be with its propensity for high pocket counts and patterned, hand-loomed fabrics, its Osman jacket still maintains the core elements of what makes a blazer a blazer. Cut with slim notch lapels, a 3-roll-2 button configuration, extended shoulders, two frontal patch pockets, a solo back vent and a quarter seersucker-lined interior, the Osman has the very elements of a warm weather, casual, American sport coat. I’d usually leave those details out — it honestly doesn’t matter much on a casual jacket — but classic menswear nerds might make me out to be a fraud if I don’t. 🧐 Nevertheless, it’s obvious that the Osman is a casual blazer done right, with details such as fabric grain orientations and voluminous lapel roll done the way a classic menswear designer would.
To me, the best thing about the Osman, ironically, is that it is designed to not wear like or with tailoring. After the first few wears, the cotton herringbone material rumples significantly at the back and the elbows; after a wash, the fabric starts to pucker up like seersucker. This, along with its unlined interior, gives the Osman the form of a blazer without its essence. It’s the stiffness and structure of the blazer that gives it its power and gives its wearer the feeling of command. Just like irony that’s well done, it’s what’s inside that counts. And just like irony, you don’t need any of that power and command nonsense.
With that said, as someone who doesn’t usually doll myself in old people’s clothes, the Osman jacket is easy to wear. Its mid-brown color, casual herringbone stripes and soft construction makes it easy to pair with any earth tone ensemble or to wear over t-shirt and jeans. While it is cut a little oversized, presumably to account for cotton’s lack of stretch, the jacket’s wrinkles (or shall I say, elbow accordions) and puckering help hug the body well. The Osman would be far too casual for IRL professional settings, but over the fuzzy compression and shitty resolution of Zoom work calls, I looked downright sartorial.
The one I have is sold out, but 18 East seems to put one out every season. And don’t let the measurements fool you; they fit slightly oversized yet true-to-size.