March 2, 2013 by Ville Raivio
The Paddock cut is a rare sight. Pictorial examples are scarce, mostly harking back to the first decades of the 20th century. The earliest dated picture I found of the Paddock cut is from 1925, portraying the young Prince of Wales. Some pictures from L. Fellows and similar illustrators show jackets and suits in Paddock cuts, and notable wearers include the likes of the Duke of Windsor, John F. Kennedy and Anthony Eden. This eccentric cut has never been favoured as much as its easy cousins, the two- and three-button cuts. Even single-button cuts, which have become rare in jackets and suits of today, have seen more popularity in decades past. The Paddock’s name may come from the inspection lot, the paddock, on horserace tracks.
The young Prince of Wales sporting a Paddock cut in 1925
The style is characterized by its notably high button stance: the jacket is fastened with both two buttons. The lower one is placed close to the natural waist, the other one an inch or two higher. The Duke of Windsor, given his visible position as the arbiter of Western men’s style, took liberties and buttoned freely. In pictures his jackets and suits are seen with both or just a single button closed. All Paddocks are, naturally, single-breasted. On the picture below, Anthony Eden is seen favouring a rarefied Paddock with peak lapels instead of the regular notch ones.
The Paddock’s high button stance gives the torso an illusion of added height, and examples surviving to this day are both suit jackets and odd jackets. I have never seen a real-life Paddock walk by or read of a modern maker who still cuts in this style. Perhaps this is due to the look’s eccentricity; things not often seen become more or less dated or odd. The cut is different and will always stand out. Looks come and go, fashions fade, only some of the many stick. The Paddock is not one of them. Still, a reader looking for something whimsical can opt for a Paddock or two with the help of a skilled tailor. Buttonholes struck a bit higher, buttons sewn in place and the cut lives to another day.
Pictured: brothers Kennedy with JF’s Paddock, DoW escorting a pug and the Duke’s take on gardening in style