Balmacaan in Ventile Flyweight in barley

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Walking coat — or "balmacaan", to use its colloquial name — made in London, with weatherproof Ventile cotton from Lancashire, and pale horn buttons from the West Midlands.

More of this sort of thing

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 a shirt, jumper, and jacket in winter.

To fit chest 36 38 40 42 44
Pit-to-pit 20 21 22 23 24
Shoulder 17½ 18 18½ 19 19½
Sleeve length 25 25½ 26 26½ 27
Back length 35½ 35½ 36 36½ 36½
This is Ventile: a cotton of legendary weather-proof capabilities, on contact with which water beads up and rolls off. It is an extraordinarily tight weave of the finest yarn. This is the newest quality of the stuff, and is incredibly thin and lightweight: you can barely feel the coat on your back.
What we have here is a walking coat: a long, single-breasted coat, with a one-piece raglan sleeve, which gives the coat a great deal of room and movement in the upper body, and lends it well to layering in winter. "Balmacaan" is a traditional name for this style of coat — from the Balmacaan forest in Scotland.
The coat has a collar of significant size, which is cut to sit straight and cleanly when down, and to really hug the neck when up. Beneath the collar is a throat-strap. This buttons across, one side to the other, and — by bridging the gap between collar and front — guards the neck against wind.
The coat has a front of five buttons — all of them real horn, light and matte and tortoiseshell in colour. Because each one is a natural product, rather than an ersatz replica of horn, they are all utterly unique — differing in shade and markings. The same goes for the buttons everywhere else on the garment.
The same also goes for the little horn backing buttons, which support each of the buttons on the front.
There are welt pockets on either side at the front of the coat. Just the right height and depth, these pockets, for plunging one's hands inside.
The above-mentioned pockets have a secret: they have a channel through which hands can pass to reach the inside of the coat. History has it this originates in the army — for grabbing a concealed grenade at a moment's notice. Today, it is handy for grabbing objects inside the pockets of a jacket worn beneath.
One other pocket on the coat resides inside, on the left-side as worn. It is a chest pocket of standard wallet- or mobile-size.
The coat has a lining halfway down the back of even more Ventile. The same cloth as on the outside, in other words. In this way, when also taking into account the facing on the inside-front of the coat, you have a double-layer of Ventile on the most weather-exposed parts of the coat.

As worn

The gent here is 5'9" and is wearing size S. He has a chest size of 38", and there are reports — neither confirmed nor denied — that he weighs in just below 12 stone.
The gent here is 6'1" and is wearing a size S. His chest size is 38", and there are unconfirmed reports that he is 12 stone.

Makers of

The coat is made by an outerwear factory in London. They are safe hands indeed when it comes to Ventile. Core-spun threads, double-felled seams, fine-diameter needles, and every other Ventile nicety — they know it all, having made such garments for military and civilians alike since the late 1980s.
Ventile was invented in Manchester in the 1930s. It is a high-performance cloth — being put to use over the years for all manner of high-octane and outdoor pursuits — but is simply an intensely tight weave of natural cotton. Water hits the cotton, cotton swells up, water has nowhere to go: easy.
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.