Balmacaan x Styleforum in Donegal tweed

Prices exclude VAT, shipping is free, and orders leave the workshop within three working days.


Inarguably special edition of the balmacaan, developed with Styleforum. To the uninitiated, it is a long coat, made in London, with heavy merino lambswool tweed (28oz) from Donegal, and with horn buttons from the West Midlands.

Pre-orders open until Wednesday, 19 May 2021.


£330.00 — ex VAT

This is a pre-order, with half of the full price paid now, and then the balance paid when the coat is made and ready to ship in September.


The balmacaan fits true to size, but remember, it's an overcoat, cut in the traditional way of being spacious and accommodating of lots of layers underneath. Thick shirts, sweaters, suits — the balmacaan envelopes them all. Thus go down a size for a slimmer and less spacious fit.

To fit chest 36 38 40 42 44
Pit-to-pit 21 22 23 24 25
Waist 22 23 24 25 26
Sweep 24½ 25 25½ 26 26½
Back length 42½ 42¾ 43 43¼ 43½
Sleeve from centre-back 34½ 35 35½ 36 36½
This is a previous version of the balmacaan, made with tweed of a barleycorn design. The coat is a classic walking coat: long and single-breasted, and with a two-piece raglan sleeve "Balmacaan" is the traditional name for this style of coat — from the Balmacaan forest in Scotland.
The buttons will be the same, though, as every other detail — just the cloth: that's the only difference.


The first colour has a warp of dark green and a weft of black. This is yarn spun in County Donegal, however, so both yarns are alive with the multifarious flecks — the neps and burrs, as they're called — which have been the trademark of Donegal tweed for about two centuries.
The second colour has a warp of mid-grey and a weft of light grey, and with, again, all manner of flecks, from warm autumnal shades to cool greys.

As worn

The gent here is 6'1", 11 stone, and 40 in the chest. The balmacaan he's happily wearing here, then, over a thick woollen shirt and lambswool sweater, is a size M.
The balmacaan will come with a belt — an entirely optional belt, sent with the coat alongside a handful of belt loops, so that, in the habit of men's outfitters circa 1967, the owner can, post-purchase, choose to wear his new coat belted or unbelted by sewing on the loops themself (or finding someone who can).
The belt here is a little short, and on the final coat will be several inches longer to facilitate all manner of sophisticated knots.


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 sizeable proportions, cut to sit straight when down, and really hug the neck when up. On one side there is a chin-strap. This buttons across, one side to the other, and keeps the collar upright when the going gets gusty. It can be buttoned back, too, or let to hang loose and lopsided.
There's a short cuff tab, running backwards from the outer sleeve seam, which offers two levels of tightness.
The buttons on the coat are horn, dark in colour and matte in finish. Because each is a thing of nature, they each differ subtly in shade and marking, one to the neck. The coat has a fly-front, with the buttons hidden away when fastened, so less likely to snag on barbed wire, bramble, and other outdoor perils.
The balmacaan has side-entry pockets at the front, which are set at just the right height for the inward plunging of hands. Simple enough, you might first assume ...
... but these pockets also have a secret. They serve as a portal, see, 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.
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 two-piece raglan sleeve is a bastion of the classic walking coat. It slopes cleanly over the shoulder, much like its one-piece counterpart, but the addition of the outer seam introduces more shape and structure at the shoulder. A slightly smarter member of the roomy, relaxed raglan sleeve family.
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.
The coat is lined halfway down the back with a smooth and slinky satin, cut as a single panel. It helps with sliding the balmacaan on and off, being as the outer cloth has the potential for friction. The sleeves, too, are lined with the same cloth.
The cloth is thick, heavy barleycorn tweed, Donegal writ through. The yarn — a warp of navy and a weft of mid-grey — is alive with little flecks of unexpected shades, from chalk to bright blue to brown. It is merino lambswool, softer than one might assume, and fairs mightily well in the wet and the windy.

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 taken to ensure 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.
The cloth is woven by a sixth-generation mill in County Donegal in Ireland. Every inch of the cloth, every step of the way — from the designing to the warping to the weaving — is overseen by two people: a father and son, who continue the flecked tweed traditions of this part of Ireland.
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 made in Birmingham."