Willis & Geiger Hemingway Jacket, size 46, L/XL. Absolutely Pristine.
Ernest Hemingway knew adventure. Hell's bells, it dripped off him almost as freely as the scotch he was so fond of. That's why, when Papa wanted the best safari jacket, he went to Willis & Geiger Outfitters. And he didn't just go there; he worked with them in designing the definitive safari jacket. And he lent that jacket his name because, well, his ego knew no bounds. The Willis & Geiger Hemingway Jacket. Easily THE most copied safari or bush jacket in the world. It’s been well over a decade since the last of the Willis & Geiger gear came down the pipeline – excluding the stuff Lands’ End passes off as W&G anyway. (For a short bio on Willis & Geiger, click on our link at the top of this auction: Willis and Geiger: A Brief History.) So when you see something in pristine, sure-looks-like-new condition, it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up … almost like being stalked by a hungry Bengal Tiger. Well, almost ….
When you start looking at all the features this safari jacket has, you can easily see why it is the most copied safari jacket in the world.
Straight from the Willis & Geiger catalog, ca. 1998
As many of our fans know, we try to learn a bit about the history of our offerings so we can pass it along to you, the buyer ... in the hope that an experienced garment might, somehow, better serve us in our hoped-for search for adventure. This W&G Hemingway Jacket is on consignment from Jake:
It would seem that some folks believe in being prepared, over-prepared even. Jake, one of our favorite bon vivants and all-around worldly sportsmen (big-game hunting - with rifle or camera; billfish tourneys, polo, lawn bowling, rock climbing, you name it) always packs a trunk or two of 'spares' whenever he goes into the bush on Safari. I once counted no fewer than six crisp, unworn Hemingway's in one of his trunks, while he wore the same jacket during the entire fortnight of the junket. "One simply must be prepared, you know!" Right. That, as I was darning the many holes in my own probably over-worn Hemingway.
It's a concept many expeditionists just can't grasp. We, almost universally, embrace the BSA (Boy Scouts of America) mantra of "be prepared." But a huge part of a safari, expedition, voyage, sojourn, what-have-you, is to adapt to changing conditions, to pit yourself against nature, or with nature. Or, perhaps, more like the unofficial Marine Corps motto, "improvise, adapt, and overcome." I've spent many an evening in the bush, and I don't recall ever taking more than one change of clothes, a few pairs of socks, and one jacket, period. In contrast, our friend takes enough extra clothing to outfit the entire expedition. Almost. Then never changes (or bathes!) the entire time.
On the bright side, he has been good for the local economy. He always takes too many trunks, and he always insists on venturing way off trail, which means we need extra bearers. There is one particular village in Tanzania that absolutely loves to see our friend show up; he is an excellent tipper, and just one safari schlepping these excess trunks can set the average bearer up in high African style for a number of years. Or a number of wives. Pick one.
Well, it's no secret the world economy has suffered, and so it is even with the obscenely wealthy. That hasn't meant fewer safaris or junkets, that simply would not be civilized. No, instead our friend has chosen to cut back on his baggage by exactly one trunk per trip. Whatever that trunk had stays home. We all have to make sacrifices!
We were sitting around his veranda, planning the next outing. With scotch. Single malt, older than Methuselah. When the subject of luggage came up he tried to see if he could squeeze that extra trunk along "I suppose I should have to leave a trunk behind, eh?" So, emboldened by the booze, I suggested he let me get rid of the temptation by posting them here, on eBay. Defenses weakened by the same hooch, he agreed. I scratched out a consignment agreement right then and there, on my napkin - Irish linen, of course.
So, next time you hear someone extolling the virtues of Prohibition, just remember: This Hemingway owes its freedom to some very old Scotch, with just a bit of help from yours truly.
Papa Hemingway designed that left upper-arm pocket for shooting glasses. Or your shades. Or your iPod, if you must.
Note the ubiquitous shell pockets on the left chest; handy for lots of other stuff too.
This Willis & Geiger Hemingway Jacket. Absolutely pristine; looks as though it's never been worn; still crisp as brand new. The tag says Size 46; for Willis & Geiger the measurements would be a Large to Extra Large. Please use these actual measurements as a guideline; compare with one of your well-fitting garments, laid flat:
Chest measurement of 49"
Shoulder, along the seam 19"
Sleeve, pit-to-cuff 18½"
Sleeve, shoulder seem to cuff 26"
Base of collar to hem 31¼"
And all the features you need a Hemingway for: 340 Bush Poplin construction? Check. Recoil pad right shoulder? Check. Working epaulets? Check. Two deep bellow cargo pockets? Check. Two expandable chest pockets? Sleeve pocket for shooting glasses? Check and check. Shell pockets, sleeve roll-up tabs, authentic horn buttons? Yup, all here, and the list goes on. If Willis and Geiger were remembered for only one garment, this would be it.
That's a nice stout recoil pad. Working epaulet directly above.
Made from 340 Bush Poplin, of course. Wouldn't be a W&G Hemingway otherwise!
Size 46R corresponds to a L/XL; please compare our actual measurements to one of your well-fitting garments, as
once purchased there are no refunds.
Sleeve roll-up tabs. After using these it's really hard to imagine a shirt that doesn't have 'em!
I've personally looked over this garment several times and have noticed only these slightest of imperfections:
1) No extra buttons, but all original buttons are otherwise intact.
2) The elastic appears to have been removed from the waist band. It is very clean, just one slight incision on the interior band each side, and might even be a slight manufacturing error. It doesn't affect the look or function of the jacket in any way. In the spirit of full disclosure I'm including a photo of it, below; as you can see, barely noticeable. This is on the inside, on the banding that would otherwise hold elastic; totally invisible from the outside, and nearly invisible from the inside unless you know what you are looking at:
You do have to look closely to see that slight incision. I can't say if the elastic was taken out, or if it was just never put in. Very clean,
I would suspect a manufacturing oops. Unnoticeable unless you know what you're looking for.
If you know Willis & Geiger, you know these won't ever be made again. The Hemingway was designed by Papa himself, and is the set piece to any W&G collection. Truth be known, I lusted after this one for my own stockpile, but the missus has put her foot down in protest; if I want to keep in her good cafe-con-leche graces I must post it here. So sacrifices are made. You get this great Hemingway, I get my cafe con leche. Priorities, y'know!
Nearly three decades old and still pristine.
This Hemingway Jacket is still crisp as the day it was made; it may not have ever been worn, but I can't swear to that.
It's been stored this whole time in plastic, inside a cedar trunk.
There it is, a Pristine, vintage Willis & Geiger Hemingway Jacket, Size 46, LG/XL, waiting for someone to actually wear it, use it. Doesn't matter if it's out in the bush or tipping a few pints at your local pub, just wear the thing, eh? Whatever you do, don't bury it in a trunk. Been there, done that.
The tag suggest dry cleaning. I've always washed mine normally, sometimes even in streams; never a problem. It is, after all, 100% cotton Bush Poplin.
Got questions? Please ask before purchase.
This item is non-returnable. You are buying a garment that may have been worn and washed. We do our best to describe our items accurately, warts and all, and include photos that are an important part of the description. We deal in vintage merchandise; unless otherwise stated we do NOT offer refunds unless our description is found to be inaccurate.
In a village not too far from this very spot are some very experienced bearers. But you'll need to tip very well; they're spoiled rotten.
Sorry about that.