Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.
CPO Shirt Jackets get their name from chief petty officers of the US Navy and Coast Guard who traditionally wore them. There have been many iterations of CPO shirts but they still serve the same function: to be a shirt robust enough to wear as a piece of outerwear or to layer with a warmer jacket. The placement and number of pockets, cut of the hemline, and style of buttons on modern CPO reproductions are all over the place, but that’s really to be expected given how many different versions of CPO shirts exist.
1) Schott: CPO Jacket in Olive
Schott’s CPO Jacket is an excellent reproduction of a traditional CPO jacket. It features two chest pockets, as many CPO shirts do, and is constructed from 24oz. melton wool. The thick fabric is more than warm enough to function as a jacket but won’t be so bulky that it makes the addition of a jacket difficult on particularly frigid days. This colorway features corozo buttons while the black version is constructed from 20oz. wool and features anchor embossed buttons.
Available for $195 from Schott.
2) Nigel Cabourn x Lybro: CPO Shirt in Black Navy
This Nigel Cabourn x Lybro CPO Shirt is quite unlike many others on the market, mainly due to the fact that its pattern is based off a modified CPO shirt pattern designed for hunting. It has a lot of reinforcements, both in the form of patches at the elbows and bartacking at high stress points. It is constructed from a heavy-duty wool fabric and features custom-made Lybro metal buttons.
Available for $280 from Cultizm.
3) Iron Heart: Ultra-Heavy CPO Flannel in Burgundy
Iron Heart’s Ultra-Heavy CPO Flannel is about as basic as they come, but its quality materials and construction definitely make it a standout. It features a two-tone twill fabric with a slightly darker weft, chainstitch runoff, felled seams, and custom Iron Heart copper buttons. The pattern is quite traditional for CPO shirts, although this one does feature front hand pockets.
Available for $400 from Iron Heart.
4) Buzz Rickson: CPO Shirt in Navy
Buzz Rickson’s CPO Shirt is based off of earlier CPO shirt patterns than most of the other shirts on this list, most observable by the singular chest pocket (as opposed to the more common double chest pockets) and pointed collar. Everything about this shirt is done to be historically accurate — the fabrics and buttons used are all custom reproductions, and even the contours of the front pocket flap were taken into account when patterning.
Available for $200 from History Preservation.
5) Fidelity: CPO Jacket in Wool
Fidelity’s CPO Jacket is another strong choice if you want a basic CPO shirt. It has two chest pockets and two front pockets, and is constructed from a 22oz. melton wool with triple stitching and naval themed buttons. As such, this shirt is more than warm enough to function as a piece of outerwear but is almost capable of being used a layering piece.
Available for $279 from End Clothing.
Plus One – Engineered Garments: CPO Jacket in Two-Tone Grey Herringbone
Engineered Garments’s CPO Jacket is definitely a bit different from other CPO jackets on the market. It features three chest pockets (all of different sizes), snap closure rather than buttons, hidden pockets, and a two-snap closure throat strap. Additionally, it is made of two different grey herringbone fabrics. It’s certainly a divisive design, but if it stands out to you it is certainly a solid option.
Available for $247 from Independence.