Last Fall, Bluffworks successfully led a Kickstarter campaign for a travel blazer that beat their fundraising goal by ~1711%. The Bluffworks Travel Pants that I reviewed a couple of years ago are still one of my favorite articles of clothing, so when they reached out and asked if I would like to try out their new Gramercy Blazer, I eagerly accepted the offer.
Bluffworks makes a lot of bold claims about their blazer, including that it doesn't wrinkle, is quick to dry, breathes, has enough pockets to handle pretty much anything you throw at it, and can be tailored. Oh, and that it's still chic. Well, that doesn't sound like any blazer I've ever heard of, so challenge accepted.
I received the coat a month ago, and since then have spent a not inconsiderable amount of time beating the crap out of it. I've also actually worn it, like you would normally do with a coat. I've worn it in hot & cool weather, on business trips and local outings, and all day while I worked. Impressively, it looks the same as it did the day it arrived. Here's the obligatory selfie of me wearing the blazer in a room with good natural lighting:
Bluffworks offers the blazer in two colors, "Blue Hour" and "Gotham Grey". I decided to roll with the grey option. The coloring itself is really very elegant, and is actually a blend of light and darker colors if you look closely at the fabric.
As you can see from the label, the coat is made from 100% polyester:
The material itself is very comfortable on the skin, and even after wearing it for nearly ten hours a day for five days in a row with a t-shirt, I had no irritation where the coat's collar rested against my neck. Given that I've basically gotten rug burns from other jackets, that's pretty nice. The material both feels and appears "more technical" than typical coats made from synthetic or wool blends, and works well with both casual and business attire.
The coat feels a bit heavier than other coats I own, but I actually really like the weight of it. It feels rugged & reliable, and has enough substance to actually keep me warm if it's touch cool out, while still breathing well in hot weather.
Fit & Design
I prefer fitted coats, because I like to pretend I'm stylish (much to my wife's chagrin), and ordered a slim-fit coat per the sizing instructions on the Bluffworks website. The fit is really quite excellent. As you can see in the below picture, it is snug across my torso while also not visibly tugging inward on the fabric. The result is a well-fitted coat that is still comfortable across the chest and shoulders.
Since slim-fit clothing hugs your torso more than regular-fit items, I do recommend going with the larger option if you are between sizes and ordering the slim-fit style. Since Bluffworks is an online-only storefront, accurate sizing is pretty crucial, and thankfully they really nailed this. As a bonus, you don't have to get accosted by a half-dozen salesmen working on commission at your local Men's Wearhouse.
One other thing worth noting in the picture above is that the button placement is pretty close to ideal, just below the fold, rather than being significantly below it.
I did need to have the sleeves shortened a bit, due to my hobbit-like arms, and had them taken in by about an inch at a local tailor without issue. Bluffworks says the coat is designed so that the sleeves, body, and back can all be easily tailored, which is a nice touch.
The shoulder is also well-designed. As you can see in the image below, the envelope is fairly smooth. The shoulder has no padding, and the expression is natural. I believe people who know what they are talking about call this an "unstructured" or "soft" shoulder.
Some folks would probably ding the coat for the slight rise in the collar (which you can see in the picture, above), but I actually really don't mind that. There are no signs of shoulder divots or sleeve rolling, thankfully, which I do care about. Case in point: Sean Spicer:
As I mentioned before, the sleeves aren't lined, which has pros and cons. I think it was the right choice on this jacket, as it reduces weight while improving breath-ability. It also means the coat is a little less robust to cold weather, but I've found the coat is still very comfortable in cool weather (perhaps because of the denser fabric?).
Bluffworks is a travel apparel company, so it would be pretty embarrassing if they messed this up. I'm happy to say, though, that the Gramercy coat delivers.
Firstly, holy pockets, Batman. It's clear they put a heavy emphasis on pocket design for this garment. I'm especially happy about this, actually, as one of my only complaints with the original Bluffworks pants was the pocket design.
Not only does this blazer have a lot of pockets, but most of them are much wider & deeper than you probably expect. Bluffworks says it designed the inner pockets so that you can carry an iPad Mini in them, and while I don't have an iPad mini to confirm, I absolutely believe it.
A couple of other nice touches are the security zipper on the upper right-inside of the coat (basically "the passport pocket"), and the velcro inner pocket on the lower left-inside:
(Just to explain that crappy picture on the right, I have turned the pocket inside out, so you are looking at the pocket lining, sewn into which is a velcro inner-pocket.)
I will say that the pocket at the bottom of the coat back is a bit awkward, in my opinion. It's not a pocket that you are really able to access while wearing the coat, and if you put anything remotely heavy or bulky in it you'll be uncomfortable. It would work fine for some backup bank notes, perhaps, or other small papers, but not much else. On the plus side, if you get mugged, it's unlikely the thief will think to check your security-butt-pocket.
Washing & Drying
The coat can take a beating, so there isn't much to worry about in terms of washing it. You could throw it in a sink with some powder detergent and it would be fine.
When it comes to drying time, Bluffworks claims that after 5-10 minutes in a dryer the blazer "will be nearly dry and you can remove it". I unfortunately wasn't able to replicate this, and after 10 minutes in my dryer on a medium setting, the bottom of the coat was still wet enough that it would have been uncomfortable to wear. I threw it back in for another 20 minutes, after which the outer material was mostly dry, but the pockets were all still damp enough that I wouldn't have put my passport in one. After a few hours of wearing it in warm weather, the pockets did dry out, but it did take longer than advertised.
All of that said, this is honestly still really impressive, because I didn't have to get it dry-cleaned. I drenched it in a utility sink, threw it in a dryer for 30 minutes, and then let it sit there for another 20 minutes before I came to get it. When I pulled it out, it looked great. If I had done this to any other blazer I own, it would have been a frayed heap of disintegrated fabric. The fact that we are even talking about whether it takes 10 minutes in a dryer or 30 minutes is like getting pissed at your phone for taking three seconds to load something instead of one.
[N.B. on the above link: Technically, cell phones do not "go to space", they go to cellular basestations, but pedantics aside, the point stands =) ].
Further, it got one hell of a beating in the dryer. I didn't realize it until I went to pull it out, but at some point it had gotten caught under the edge of one of the rungs inside of the tumbler, because my dryer is a cheap piece of shit and those gaps aren't welded, which means it was getting slung around by the tip of the coat inside of the dryer:
Somewhat incredibly, it didn't have so much as a mark, tear, or even a stretch in the fabric. Even if my other coats could be put in the dryer, something like that would have shredded them.
Finally, I can honestly confirm that this coat simply does not wrinkle. Not only did the coat survive my gauntlet of abuse, but it still doesn't have a single wrinkle. I'm honestly rather astounded by it. Kudos, Bluffworks. This, alone, is a significant improvement on every other coat I've ever owned.
Issue (and Response)
My only real complaint with the coat after a month of wearing it is that the front has started to pull outwards somewhat. This is kind of hard to describe, so check out the picture, below:
It's a couple of inches on either side that is pulling away. While I find it annoying, most of the people I have asked said they wouldn't have even noticed if I hadn't of pointed it out, and even then, it's relatively minor. It's one of those things that probably only I will notice, but it is flaw that I wish wasn't there.
I reached out to Bluffworks about this and got a response back from their founder, Stefan Loble. He said no other customers have reported this, and thinks my particular coat was just pressed too lightly at the end of production. He recommended that I hit it with an iron to try and press it back, and sure enough, that did improve things. He also said that even when properly pressed, it is expected that the coat will have a "soft roll" due to not having the heavy canvas of a traditional blazer.
While I obviously wish that my particular coat didn't have this flaw, I'm satisfied with the resolution and I trust that Bluffworks is paying attention to this going forward.
This is an excellent blazer. Being truly wrinkle-free is impressive enough, but the pockets, ruggedness, and style make it a real winner. This coat won't replace your formal dress jacket, but it's not trying to. It's a casual-to-business-casual blazer that is highly versatile and ready to hit the road with you. Bluffworks has a great product, here.
My daily office attire has become a t-shirt and this coat. If I need to look a bit nicer, I simply throw on a collared shirt instead. When it comes to travel, there really is no contest - the Gramercy Blazer is the best blazer I've seen, and is now on my pack list for both business and personal trips. Whether you're presenting at a professional conference, exploring a foreign city, or both, this blazer will keep up with you.
To finish up, here is a picture of me pretending to laugh at a non-existent joke in a fake candid shot in an empty room: