Randy Lai - Jan 01 2020

The ultimate guide to Ring Jacket suits & sportcoats

Among many advantages of working with a mixture of pre-owned and ‘new old stock’ clothing, perhaps the most interesting has to do with variety - something customers will discover when shopping Ring Jacket. The preeminent Osakan menswear brand was founded in 1954 during the heyday of Ivy Style: coming to prominence for its local reproductions of the Kennedy-era ‘sack suit’. By the early 90s, the company had transitioned to a softer, more Italian style that continues to win new devotees today - increasingly, outside of Japan.

A family-owned business since the beginning - the current president, Kunichi Fukushima is the founder’s son - Ring Jacket embodies the sort of ageless, authentic appeal that is at the heart of our sister store, The Armoury. As Ring Jacket’s first independent retailer, The Armoury was pivotal in promoting the then relatively unknown brand’s extensive catalogue of Japanese-made sportcoats and suits abroad. A decade later, that collaboration is still going strong; encapsulated in an exclusive collection of ready-to-wear under the AMJ (short for ‘Armoury Jacket’) label. And that’s just for starters.

Since 2020 marks Ring Jacket’s sixth decade in business -- and you’re likely spending ample time in front of your internet browser -- we thought now would be an opportune moment to canvass (pun intended) the essential sportcoats and suits that the company has been making these last few years.

From domestic market mainstays to the latest Armoury exclusive (inspired by 1930s workwear), you’re bound to find your idealised Ring Jacket style below. After all, there’s plenty to choose from.

The ‘Armoury by Ring Jacket’ collection

Model 3 / AMJ-03

The Model 3 is inspired by a range of The Armoury’s favourite bespoke tailors - utilising a distinctive soft silhouette that is easy to wear and universally recognisable. The characteristic detail is the shoulder: largely soft and unpadded, it extends just off of the shoulderbone, feeding into a large sleevehead that gives the jacket a distinctive look and enhanced range of motion. The chest is cut fuller than any of Ring Jacket’s domestic market models (almost to the point of being draped), which works well alongside the wide lapels and lowered button stance.

In a nutshell: The signature ‘Armoury look’, distilling various regional European tailoring traditions into one cohesive whole.

The details: ‘3-roll-2’ buttons. Double side vents. Notch lapels. Made as both a sportcoat and suit.

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Model 1 / AMJ-01

Apropos of its model number, the AMJ-01 was the original collaboration between The Armoury and Ring Jacket (today, it lives on in the guise of the Model 101). Inspired by the tailoring traditions of Britain and Northern Italy, it was intended as a ‘core’ suit for formal/professional environments: hence the predominance of workhorse fabrics like sharkskin and wool/mohair. Pockets are jetted, the jacket has a classic buttoning point, and the shoulders have just enough structure to feed into a clean but visibly enlarged sleevehead.

In a nutshell: The most sculptural of Ring Jacket’s Armoury models, now superseded by the Model 101.

The details: ‘3-roll-2’ buttons. Double side vents. Notch lapels. Made as a full suit.

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Model 6 / AMJ-06

The Armoury’s own take on the classic Neapolitan double-breasted - made by Ring Jacket in a variety of configurations. The jacket itself features soft shoulders, a broad chest, a hint of shape through the waist and is tailored with either patch or flap pockets. The lapels are cut wide and straight, sitting lower on the chest thanks to the extended gorge.

In a nutshell: Your classic Neapolitan double-breasted, à la The Armoury.

The details: 6 x 2 buttons. Double side vents. Peak lapels (minimal belly). Made as both a sportcoat and suit.

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Model 7 / AMJ-07

Modelled at the preliminary stages after the AMJ-03, the Model 7 was intended to address the needs of Armoury customers who wanted a fully unstructured garment. Style cues broadly follow the AMJ-03 but the Model 7 strips out all of the traditional tailoring internals - made with neither lining nor canvass. The resultant lack of structure (more sweater than sportcoat) is the tradeoff for increased mobility, making the Model 7 a lightweight, baggage-friendly separate that itinerant travellers can pack or throw on at a moment’s notice.

In a nutshell: The ultimate traveller’s sportcoat, made to be worn onto the plane or packed into your carry-on.

The details: ‘3-roll-2’ buttons. Double side vents. Notch lapels. Usually made as a sportcoat.

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Model 11 / AMJ-11

Though a relatively new addition to Ring Jacket’s stable of Armoury editions, the Model 11’s roots can be traced back to the heyday of Ivy style. The jacket features a traditional ‘sack’ construction: meaning it has a dartless front that looks extremely distinctive (and indeed comfortable) when buttoned. Other period-accurate features include the generous usage of lapped seams; flapped patch pockets; and slim, lowered lapel notches.

In a nutshell: The Armoury’s interpretation of an Ivy League staple - the sack jacket.

The details: ‘3-roll-2’ buttons. Double side vents. Notch lapels. Made as both a suit and a sportcoat.

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Model 12 / AMJ-12

Inspired by 1930s workwear, the Model 12 is a relatively new sportcoat model meant to fill the space between The Armoury’s more formal silhouettes (e.g. AMJ-01, AMJ-03) and casualwear such as the safari jacket. That ‘smart casual’ energy is clearly reflected in the details: the jacket’s fronts are dartless, the back is cut from one single piece of fabric (great for showcasing patterns) and all visible pockets are cut in the patch style. Fully canvassed and quarter-lined.

In a nutshell: Somewhere between a dressier cut like the Model 3 and full-blown casual outerwear. Well-suited to being made up in large-scale checked patterns.

The details: Two buttons. Ventless back. Notch lapels. Made exclusively as a sportcoat.

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Models made for the Japanese domestic and wider Asian markets

Model 184

In production for the better part of two decades, the Model 184 is a core part of Ring Jacket’s offering at home and abroad. The jacket’s stylistic elan is a little enigmatic (intentionally so): combining a high gorge; narrow lapel; unpadded shoulders; flap pockets and a buttoning point that closes around the upper torso. The fit is characterised by a closeness to the body and shortened jacket length. A great option for individuals who want something unfussy and trend-proof, that doubles as an entry point into the Ring Jacket brand. Made with a full canvass and half-lining.

In a nutshell: The archetypal Ring Jacket style.

The details: ‘3-roll-2’ buttons. Double side vents. Notch lapels. Made as both a suit and sportcoat. First released in 2002, still in production.

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Model 253

Typically offered as a full suit cut in checked or striped cloth, the 253 is one of Ring Jacket’s best-selling exports. When compared with the 184, the fit and details here err more towards the classical side of the sartorial spectrum. Both the lapel and collar sit wide on the wearer’s frame, while the waist is only very gently shaped in order to give the upper body some subtle definition. Comes with flap or jetted pockets and is usually quarter-lined for added comfort.

In a nutshell: Your classic, office-ready two-piece. Based on the previous-generation Model 235.

The details: ‘3-roll-2’ buttons. Double side vents. Notch lapels. Most commonly made up as a full suit. First released in Spring/Summer 2014. Still in production.

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Model 256

This model brings together the wide, straight-cut lapels and shirt-style shoulder (i.e. spalla camicia) of a traditional double-breasted with a cut that is thoroughly modern - something slim and youthful that sits close to the wearer’s body. Fully canvassed and quarter-lined.

In a nutshell: The double-breasted that mixes classic details with a youthful silhouette.

The details: Double-breasted jacket. 6 x 2 buttons. Double side vents. Peak lapels. Made exclusively as a full suit. Produced between Fall/Winter 2014 and Spring/Summer 2016. Now discontinued.

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Model 235

Sequentially, the 235 is the predecessor of Ring Jacket’s best-selling model 253. Between the two the basic concept remains the same, although you’re more likely to find the former made up with jetted hip pockets and a full lining.

In a nutshell: A classic suit that will take you from boardroom to bar. Still slightly heftier than the model 253.

The details:
‘3-roll-2’ buttons. Double side vents. Notch lapels. Made as both a suit and sportcoat. Produced between Spring/Summer 2011 and Fall/Winter 2015. Now discontinued.

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Model 254

Made with a quarter-lining and lightweight canvas, it’s best to think of the 254 as a distant, altogether sportier relative of the Model 253. Intended by Ring Jacket designers to be one of the brand’s essential ‘odd jackets’, you’ll usually find the 253 made up in an assortment of glenchecks, houndstooths and textured cloths. Overwhelmingly, the composition is in three parts: ergo, wool/silk/linen; silk/cotton/linen; and so on.

In a nutshell: A moderately slim sportcoat (emphasis on ‘sport’) for those who love their patterns and texture.

The details: ‘3-roll-2’ buttons. Double side vents. Notch lapels. Made exclusively as a sportcoat. First released in Spring/Summer 2020. Still in production.

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Model 245

Described in the Japanese domestic market as a “chiseled” model, the 245 is a close-fitting and fashionable separate that puts one in the mind of Gant, Polo and Rugby Ralph Lauren. It is cut with a nipped waist and fronts buttoning just below the breastbone. Like many of Ring Jacket’s other ‘modern fit’ silhouettes, the 245 relies on the wearer to give it body and structure. As such, the coat is cut close to the wearer’s natural body with all of the internal materials fully omitted.

In a nutshell: A sportcoat for Mods, Ivys and just anybody else who likes to wear their jackets with a little zhush.

The details: ‘3-roll-2’ buttons. Double side vents. Notch lapels. Fully unlined. Made exclusively as a sportcoat. Produced for Fall/Winter 2018. Now discontinued.

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Models made for the American market

Model TAJ-02

Intended as an ‘odd jacket’, the TAJ-02 fulfills a similar role abroad to the domestic Model 254: except in this case for Ring Jacket’s broader, taller customers. Fully canvassed with a quarter-lining, you’re likely to find it in an assortment of plaids, checks and other rustic patterns - all great accompaniments to flannel trousers. In line with its soft unpadded look, the TAJ-02 is cut with patched hip pockets.

In a nutshell:
The sportcoat-ified version of the TAJ-03.

The details:
‘3-roll-2’ buttons. Double side vents. Notch lapels. Made exclusively as a sportcoat.

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Model TAJ-03

Itself derived from the best-selling Model 253, the TAJ-03 has been further modified to fit Ring Jacket’s American and European clientele. This translates into a fit that is ‘comfortably fulsome’: the jacket is cut with a little drape in the chest (for added room) and when buttoned, subtly shapes the waist - thanks in part to a lowered buttoning point. Fully lined and fully canvassed, you’re likely to find it in a range of dressier configurations - all the way up to a 3-piece suit.

In a nutshell: Think Ring Jacket’s Model 253, adapted for the US and European markets.

The details: ‘3-roll-2’ buttons. Double side vents. Notch lapels. Made exclusively as a full suit.

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Model TAJ-05

Built on the TAJ-02, this model sports a slightly narrower collar and canvasless construction. Most frequently made up in mid-weight wools and cottons, the TAJ-05 possesses a cut that is slimmer as compared to the other international market models. The jacket’s foreparts sit higher up on the wearer’s body, and in conjunction with patch pockets and a quarter-lining make for tailoring which pairs well with chukkas and a pair of chinos.

In a nutshell: An even more light, sportif take on the TAJ-02 sportcoat.

The details: ‘3-roll-2’ buttons. Double side vents. Notch lapels. Made exclusively as a sportcoat.

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