Balmacaan in hopsack tweed in bark

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Coat, made in London, with a heavily textured and flecked tweed of black and brown from the foothills of the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland, and horn buttons from the Midlands.


There's not many of these left, by the looks of it. Still, don't despair. Email and perhaps something can be done about it.


The coat fits true to size, and thus the mannequin — the most standard 38 in all the world — wears a size S. It finishes mid-knee on persons of average height, and is cut in a relaxed, spacious way, so that it may be worn over heavy shirts and jumpers in winter.

To fit chest 36 38 40 42 44
Pit-to-pit 22½ 23½ 24½ 25½ 26½
Back length 38½ 38¾ 39 39¼ 39½
Sleeve from   centre-back 34½       35       35½       36       36½      
A classic walking coat, this: long and single-breasted, and with a two-piece raglan sleeve that allows a great range of movement in the upper body. Very helpful when it comes to layering, too. "Balmacaan" is the traditional name for this style of coat — from the Balmacaan forest in Scotland.
The coat has a collar of significant size, cut to sit straight when down, and really hug the neck when up. Beneath it is a throat-strap. This buttons across, one side to the other, and keeps the collar standing in even the most fierce gales. It can be buttoned back under the collar, too — entirely out of sight.
The coat has a front of five horn buttons — dark in colour and matte in finish. Because each is a thing of nature, rather than an ersatz replica, they are all unique — differing in shade and markings and so on. The buttons have a short metal shank, the round pin of which pokes through the front of the button.
The balmacaan has traditional welt pockets at the front, which are set at just the right height for the plunging-in of hands. For those times when hands have no immediate plans to plunge, security of these pockets can be tightened with the aid of the little round studs which sit at the corners of the flap.
These pockets — they have a secret, for inside they have a channel, which leads the hand all the way through to the inside of the coat. The annals of outerwear have it that this originates in army coats from a century or more ago — making it easy to access the shirt or jacket or trouser worn underneath the coat.
One more pocket: this time on the inside, on the left-side as worn, and set a little lower than normal to make things easier on the elbows. It is a chest pocket of standard wallet- or mobile-size.
At the back lurks a deep inverted pleat, extending almost halfway up the length of the coat. It is constructed in the old-fashioned and faintly over-complicated manner of mid-century British walking coats, and means there's more coat to the coat when the wearer lurches forwards or sideways.
The back of the balmacaan is half-lined with thick grey melton — a hard-wearing material, full of character and gnarled yarns — from the Heavy Woollen District of West Yorkshire. It is an outstanding cloth in its own right, but plays nicely here alongside its more striking colleague.
The cloth — a hopsack of merino and cotton yarn — is sober by colour, moderate by weight, but way off the scales by texture. Such texture, in fact, that the man that makes it speaks of the "shadow of the weave — and the tonal qualities within it. In many ways this as important to its design as the tones found in the yarn itself."

As worn

The gent here is 6'1", 12 stone, and as standard a 38 chest as you could hope to meet. The balmacaan he's wearing here, then, is a size S — although if he was wearing a few more layers, or preferred a more relaxed fit, then size M likely wouldn't be out of the question.

Makers of

The coat is made in north-east London. It is a very specialised skill, assembling coats from heavy cloth, and every reasonable step — and the odd unreasonable step — is to taken to endure things are built to last, from the cutting of the pattern to the work on the machine, but without the results being stiff or bulky.
Mourne Textiles rests in the foothills the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland. It was established in 1949 by a textile designer of (appropriately) the mid-century school, and work and weaving there today is led by her daughter — herself a master-weaver — and the generations thereof.
They work with hand-operated looms — the first assembled half a century ago by the local coffin-maker. As is the way with such things, this imparts great character and pleasingly imperfect artisan qualities. Combined with their slubby custom yarn, you get some of the most eyebrow-raising materials in the Isles.
The horn buttons were cut, shaped, and polished by the last such factory in Britain (now defunct). It was part of a tradition in the Midlands first linked to the meat industry of the 18th century. "It is no easy task," said William Hutton in 1780, "to enumerate the infinite diversity of buttons here in Birmingham."

So they say

The coat is wonderful. I have in my time worn [list of established British coat-makers] and, in their prime, [another very notable British coat-maker] and none hold a candle to this. It is lightweight, has a great hand and texture, its fit is perfect for me, and so is its cut. Thank you very much. It also arrived beautifully boxed and intact.

So commented a gent in the States about the balmacaan in the Flyweight quality of Ventile in May 2017.

The balmacaan arrived yesterday, intact, beautifully wrapped and boxed. It is beautiful and fits perfectly. Over a suit with cell phone, stethoscope, and assorted EDC gear on board, it is comfortable and not baggy. And the fabric is amazing. A soft hand and drape but seems as if it will wear forever. Love the Donegal slubs, too. I often wear a popped collar — a throwback to my preppy days — and the collar here really pops. I couldn't be more pleased. Thank you again for you great service and superior craftsmanship.

The words of a man who purchased a tweed version of the balmacaan in September 2017.

I have gotten the urge to advance further into the world of well-dressed people, and I was one of the lucky people who got their hands on the sturdy balmacaan in Ventile Canvas.

This is what a gentleman who acquired the balmacaan in (sturdy indeed) Ventile Canvas had to say in February 2016.

The balmacaan has arrived. It is beautiful.

Succinct words from a man who bought the coat in January 2016.

I have received the tweed balmacaan and it is even more beautiful than I remembered. Thank you very much again.

This man had been waiting for a tweed balmacaan for nearly two years, and finally got his hands on one in September 2017.

I'm very pleased — it's beautifully made and detailed.

More succinct words, by a chap who bought the bal in March 2016.

I thought I'd let you know that I'm really pleased with my balmacaan. I've already given it a couple wears despite the weather being a bit chilly, and I love it. The fit and cut is wonderful — modern and classic at the same time, great silhouette and a perfect collar. The details are great (I don't really know the purpose of the press studs on the pockets, but I know I like them). And the fabric is great stuff, looks and feels lovely, and the way it creases, especially up and down the arms, is amazing. I imagine it ageing very well. A proper rain coat. I'm eagerly anticipating a rainy spring.

Kind words by a man who purchased the balmacaan in canopy cotton in March 2018.