Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! On this shiok Sunday, I’m reviewing the Safari Jacket from local tailor Closeknip, as well as a set of linen shirt and wool trousers.
Now that it is Phase 2, it is time to go out into the world again. I’m stoked to review the Safari Jacket from Closeknip as it is a stark departure from the suits that I usually review. I love suits, but unless you’re a banker/lawyer, suits aren’t exactly everyday wear. That’s where the Safari Jacket comes in – it’s casual enough for everyday wear, and also sufficiently dressed up and presentable for more formal affairs.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the Safari Jacket from Closeknip!
Closeknip – Brand and Customer Experience
I’ve previously covered Closeknip as a brand in my previous review of their suits. If you haven’t already done so, you can read my Closeknip suit review here, and here. I’ve also covered – in detail – how the experience of commissioning garments at Closeknip is like. If you’re interested in getting clothing from Closeknip, do read the above-mentioned articles!
Safari Jacket – History
Before delving into the review, I feel that an introduction to safari jackets is necessary. Locally, safari jackets aren’t exactly a wardrobe staple – in fact, I would wager that most Singaporeans have never even heard of a safari jacket. The safari jacket is a garment originally designed for going into the safari in African bushes (therefore the name) and tends to be made out of lightweight materials such as cotton or linen for breathability. They were also popular amongst European soldiers, especially those serving in warmer tropical climates. In fact, British soldiers serving in Singapore used to don safari jackets!
For those who wish to learn more about the safari jacket, the Rake did a wonderful article on it here. I genuinely think it’s an unrated piece of clothing that more people – especially here in Singapore – should wear.
Closeknip Safari Jacket – Review
Let’s start with the fit.
The same philosophy of how a suit should fit carries over to the fit of a safari jacket as well – one looks out for the same areas to determine whether the fit is good. With this Safari Jacket from Closeknip, I must say that I’m impressed by the fit. Firstly, the shoulders of the jacket fits well and ends at my natural shoulder bone. As can be seen from the photo above, there’s no bunching of fabric along the shoulders, which lies mostly flat. The jacket ends nicely near the middle of my crotch as well, just touching the halfway point of my palm. Lastly, one can see slight tapering along the waist, which is accentuated by the cinching of the fabric belt.
The sleeve pitch of the Safari Jacket looks great, with little bunching or wrinkling visible. The drape of the sleeves is honestly pretty good. The length of the sleeves is spot on too, ending at the base of my palm.
The back of the Safari Jacket is fairly decent. As mentioned in numerous of my previous reviews, I have a concave back, which often results in wrinkles at the back. Relatively speaking, it’s not terrible, but I would say that it could have been slightly better.
When commissioning the Safari Jacket, I left it to Leslie Chia – co-founder and head designer – of Closeknip. For those in the sartorial scene, Leslie is a familiar name – he has helmed (and continues to do so) bespoke tailoring label Pimabs for over 15 years, having dressed luminaries such as Dick Lee and Ken Loon, amongst others. I’m pretty sure his fashion sense is better than mine, and to be honest I didn’t have much knowledge in safari jackets anyway. After seeing the final look, I think I made the right choice in trusting Leslie!
Safari jackets have traditionally been beige/brown, so we went for an earth brown linen fabric for this safari jacket. I quite like it – it’s the classic colourway for safari jackets, and in my opinion, if it’s your first safari jacket you should definitely get a beige/brown one. However, there’s still a bit of visual intrigue due to the diagonal texture that the fabric has. It’s something that is only apparent when seen up close, and I appreciate its subtlety. Elsewhere, I absolutely love the roll of the shirt collar (see picture above), which Leslie tells me is intentionally exaggerated to mimick the lapel roll of suits.
Leslie also chose chocolate resin buttons, which in my opinion complements the earth tone of the Safari Jacket perfectly. The chocolate buttons pop against the lighter shade of brown, providing a nice contrast to the eye. However, as they are still in the same colour family of brown, it is not too jarring on the eye. I should note that these resin buttons do a good job of mimicking the aesthetics of horn buttons, but at a more economical price. If you want genuine horn buttons, Closeknip do have them as well, though at a price premium.
They say that the devil is in the details, so I was really pleased to see that find the buttons on my Closeknip Safari Jacket shanked. Shanking provides the fabric space to drape in when buttoned, and is a feature more commonly seen in higher priced tailors. It renders the button more durable, which should mean that you don’t have to worry about your button dropping off.
As aforementioned, there’s history behind the design of the safari jacket – soldiers used to wear them whilst serving. Therefore, the design of safari jackets lean heavily towards utility. That is translated into the design of the Closeknip Safari Jacket, which has four flap pockets. In the past, soldiers would store their extra ammunition in those pockets. Today, whilst the pockets are more form than function, it’s still a good reminder of the military history behind safari jackets.
Like the patch pockets, the belts – often made from the same fabric as the safari jacket – served a utilitarian purpose, helping ensure that the jacket stayed put even when weighed down by heavy ammunition whilst trekking through difficult terrain. Today, the belts that one often find with safari jackets serve an aesthetic purpose, allowing one to add the finishing touch to the outfit with an elaborate knot. I’m no boy scout, so I usually just tie a simple knot as seen in the photo above. However, the fashion opportunity is certainly there if you wish!
One thing that I really loved about the Closeknip Safari Jacket is its versatility. When it comes to suits, you can’t really dress it down – you could wear the suit unbuttoned, but that’s about it. With a safari jacket, there’s a variety of ways in which you could dress it down. For example, you can wear it unbuttoned, sleeves rolled up, sans belt – as I did in the photo above. It instantly makes the look substantially more casual. It’s also a great way to show off your timepiece, if you’re a watch enthusiast!
Overall, I really liked the Closeknip Safari Jacket. I love the way it fits, and the design decisions that were made by Leslie. I really appreciated its versatility. Not only is it suitable for both formal and casual occasions, the earth brown colourway makes it easy to pair with other articles of clothing as well. Finally, the Safari Jacket is also breathable due to its linen material, making it perfect for Singapore’s humid weather. I definitely see myself wearing this Safari Jacket much more often than most of my suits!
Closeknip Shirt and Trousers – Review
Although the Safari Jacket is the star of the show in this review, I must also highlight how much I liked the shirt and trousers from Closeknip.
Firstly, I love the way the shirt fits. The shoulders are perfect – you can see from the photo above that the shoulders of the shirt ends exactly at my natural shoulder bone. The width of the sleeves are lovely too, framing my biceps wonderfully. Furthermore, one can also see slight tapering along the waist. In layman’s terms, the fit of the shirt makes me look fit and broad-shouldered, and I really like it! (In case you’re wondering, I’m actually quite out of shape due to CB, so it’s a minor miracle that Closeknip manages to make me look like I’m athletic.)
For the shirt and trousers, I once again left it up to the hands of Leslie – I simply told him to make sure it complements the Safari Jacket well. Leslie opted for a white linen shirt, which I think provides the perfect contrast to the warm tones of the earth brown Safari Jacket and olive green trousers. It has an intriguing texture as well, which becomes apparent only when viewed up close. It’s also very thin and breathable, making it a viable option for Singapore’s tropical climate. In addition, Leslie opted for mother-of-pearl buttons. I appreciate the subtlety of the cream/white colour combination here, as well as the luxurious touch of the mother-of-pearl buttons.
Moving on to the trousers, I simply love how well it fits. I mean, just look at how clean the drape of the trousers is! The trousers fall beautifully, with nary a wrinkle to be seen. I love the way it tapers as well, giving my legs a slimming effect. In addition, the length is spot on too, with the cuffs of the trousers just brushing against the top of my sneakers.
As always, I opted for side-adjusters for the trousers – I find belt loops unnecessary (if the trousers are tailored to fit, why is there a need for a belt?) and hideous. When I first saw the side-adjusters, I was immediately intrigued. Leslie (who chose the design) shared with me that he specifically chose these brass side-adjusters as he felt they would complement the vintage look of the Safari Jacket. I must say, it is in these little details that the design genius of Leslie shines through. Elsewhere, other painstaking details include the hand-stitching along the pant pockets. Not only is it a nice aesthetic touch, but it’s also a testament to the laborious nature of tailoring.
To further conjure a vintage look, Leslie also took the liberty of opting for pleats – a retro style in menswear that was popular in the 80s, and is surging back into popularity today. The rustic styling is complete with the presence of an extended waistband (whereby the trouser button is asymmetrical to the right). Lastly, I should note that the trousers are made out of high quality mixed wool, which not only feels premium to the touch but is also extremely breathable and lightweight.
I’m been to over a dozen tailors till date, and I can genuinely say that this is my favourite set of shirt+pants that I’ve gotten tailored. There’s really a lot that I love about this shirt/pants from Closeknip. Firstly, it fits like a charm. The shirt accentuates my physique, while the trousers drape cleanly. Secondly, I love the minimalist look of the white linen shirt when paired with the olive green wool pants – there’s a MUJI-esque feel to the look. Nevertheless, there’s a ton of details that Leslie has put into garments to ensure that they remain intriguing. For example, I absolutely adore the mandarin collar of the shirt. I also find it interesting that it’s a drastically different look without the Safari Jacket on. To me, that’s the beauty of fashion.
Conclusion – so Closeknip Safari Jacket “shiok” or not?
Definitely so. It has since become one of my most-worn items of clothing. To be honest, there are not many occasions that call for a suit in Singapore, unless it’s for work, wedding, or an event. However, a safari jacket is significantly more versatile and can be easily dressed up or down. In addition, I really like the cohesive look that Leslie curated for me. As shown in the photo below, it’s easy to pair the outfit with various accessories as well. Lastly, I absolutely adore the shirt and trousers from Closeknip – they look great, and feel great.
Unlike the other tailors, Closeknip has a paid membership system whereby customers can opt to pay $150 for an annual membership, which entitles customers to discounts of up to 20%, as well as a welcome gift box and discounts at exclusive partners of the brand. Just for my readers, Closeknip has kindly extended a 10% discount on the Closeknip membership, meaning that Wah So Shiok can opt-in the membership system (and the discounts that come along with it) for just $135. For more information on the Closeknip Club, I did an article on it here. After the discount, the safari jacket would cost just $399. While the prices may not be the cheapest in the market, I think the design impetus of Leslie – who usually helms the much more expensive Pimabs brand – is well worth the money.
Closeknip’s Location: 20B Cavan Rd, Singapore 209851, 3rd Floor
Interested parties are encouraged to book an appointment at (65) 87003354, or email in at HELLO@CLOSEKNIP.COM.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.