Broke and Bespoke

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Lands’ End Wool Down Vest

If you’re anything like me you’ve probably been looking for a nice wool down vest ever since the Cucinelli crew descended on Florence donning them over their sport coats circa winter 2009. Though the look was, at the time, rather unconventional, I’ve really taken to the utilitarian value of wearing a down vest either under or over a sport coat for an added layer of warmth. It really is a rather brilliant layering method. Up until yesterday I’ve been doing so with a Lands’ End nylon down vest that I picked up a couple of year’s ago on clearance for under $20. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great vest, but it lacks the refinement that comes with a wool one.

The problem for me has been that, until recently, wool down vests have been priced too high for my rather modest budget. I’ll probably never be able to afford Cucinelli, and generally can’t bring myself even to drop the hard-earned dollars necessary to afford other designers whose versions still fall within the $300-500 range. This season Lands’ End introduced a more affordable alternative that I’ve had my eye on since it first went up on the website, and I’ve been patiently waiting for the inevitable sales to hit. Well, last week I picked it up for just under $50 when I stacked a 30% coupon code on top of the $69.99 sale price, which is down from the original retail price of $150. With the addition of this pure lambswool Fair Isle sweater, I even got free shipping.

Though I clearly haven’t put the vest through its paces yet, it, like many other Lands’ End products, exceeded my expectations (*I recently picked up a pair of the Lands’ End Canvas Camp Pants and was pleasantly surprised by the fact that they came with a robust Talon zipper, which wasn’t even advertised in the product copy—most much pricier ‘heritage’ brands would not let a detail like that go unmentioned). Though the vest is not made from 100% wool, it’s a 55% wool/35% poly/10% other blend—I assume at least part of the synthetics in the blend are there to make the garment ‘water repellant,’ it has an unmistakably wooly texture, look, and hand. The vest was designed with some thoughtful attention to detail including a knit collar lining, two-way zipper, snap button placket, longer back hem, nicely finished side pockets with nylon zipper pulls, and two interior pockets with wool detailing: one vertical zip-closure one on the interior left chest, and a larger velcro-closing pocket on the lower interior of the right side of the vest where one could presumably stash a book, or small-to-medium sized tablet device.

If you haven’t already, I’d definitely consider signing up for Lands’ End sales alerts. It’s only a matter of days before they’re promoting another 30% off everything sale; but if you can’t wait, I’d say this vest is well worth the current sale price of $69.

* A Note on Sizing: Definitely size down on this. I wear a 40R and the M fits comfortably over a sport coat, even with a light or medium weight sweater underneath. 

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    Why is son’s photo better than the stock photo @ Land’s End?
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