Southern Italians are famous for their soft tailoring, but nobody really does a soft jacket like the Spanish. Specifically their Teba – a country jacket that comes mostly unpadded throughout the chest and shoulders, and features those signature shirt-like sleeves, ventless backs, and most importantly, notchless lapels. In a world where everything is being homogenized, the Teba is one of the last articles of men’s clothing that’s still unique to a region.
Stories regarding the style are a bit murky. Some say the original Teba was a gift to the Count of Teba, Carlos de Mitjans y Fitz-James Stuart (known affectionately to his closest friends as Bunting), from King Alfonso XIII. Others say the exchange was the other way around. Others still say the jacket was originally made on London’s Savile Row and then adapted by a Spanish tailor to fit the Count’s needs. Whatever the actual origins, the Count almost certainly popularized it, and he most likely wore it out in the Spanish countrysides, where he spent time drinking wine and hunting quail. Over the years, it’s become an iconic piece of Spanish countrywear, mostly surviving on its comfort and aura of romanticism.
Construction wise, the Teba is something like a shirt jacket, combining the unstructured Neapolitan form with British-like-style. The notchless lapels may look odd at first, but they’re hardly even noticeable in dark fabrics. When worn, they give the jacket a more casual vibe. The ventless back and shirt-like sleeves also keep things casual, while the unlined and (largely) unpadded interior make things look relaxed.
You can get a Teba from any number of places. Bel y Cia is perhaps most famous, but – as far as I know – they only do made-to-measure, which means you have to travel to Barcelona to order. Given that the garment is custom, you can get the jacket as loosely or tightly fitted as you want, and they have a range of materials (including some knitted jerseys that turn the Teba into a cardigan). Bel y Cia’s are machine-made, but hand-finished, which is a nice touch, but also drives up the price.
For a more affordable version, try Last of England and Artumés & Company. The first is a UK brand, but they source their Tebas from Spain. The second is a Spanish shop for classic countrywear (they don’t seem to take online orders, but maybe you can call).
Mine is from Justo Gimeno, an old Spanish company for Continental outerwear. Their Tebas are very lightly padded throughout the chest and shoulders, which help give the garment a bit more shape. The fit is also slouchy and relaxed, which in my opinion is how the style is best worn (see Arnold from The Armoury below for inspiration). It’s a great, slightly quirky style that sits between the formality of a sport coat and the casualness of sportswear. Pair one with corduroys, jeans, or chinos, and then stuff the pockets full so that the jacket bags over time.
(photos via xRxxxx, The Armoury, Last of England, Costume Detail, Spend In, and The World of Fine Wine)