Worn

Garments are made as and when — as and when cloth is available, as and when designs are ready, as and when weather turns. Since this page shows garments being worn, it too is updated as and when, steadily through the year.
The peacoat here is made with heavy uniform melton, which is so-called because it is melton used for actual uniforms (actual very heavy uniforms, for the British Army) which were in vogue 120 years ago, and was woven all the way back then by the actual same mill as now, in the Heavy Woollen District of West Yorkshire.

There are two pockets on each side of the peacoat, which in tandem try to make life as pleasing as possible for the wearer. The patch pockets are the most obvious; less so the “warmer” pockets, built into the front body seam. These are partly submerged within the patch pockets, and thus can occupy a lower position on the body, making the resting of tired hands or the stuffing of cold ones among the most satisfying physical actions imaginable.
The scarf is made in the old-school hand-framed method with cashmere-cotton yarn. Both fibres are spun and blended together in Scotland by a mill with well over a century of experience of doing so.

Sporting a bathrobe in public was once the preserve of the rich, eccentric, or unreasonably confident, but was put within the grasp of everyone else in 2019 with the debut of the tielocken. It has no buttons, but rather a multi-buckled belt making for one of the most intuitive and satisfying fastening systems imaginable.

The field shirt struggles to do anything in an orthodox manner. It has, for instance, a seamless, whole-cut upper body, massive pockets which run right into the front placket, and removable horn buttons. A panoply of alternative solutions rendered here in 27oz melton from West Yorkshire.

There’s no such word as “balmacaan’t”. What there is, though, is balmacaan, which is a coat named after a loch-laden forested region of Scotland. This one is made with tweed from County Donegal in Ireland, which with buttons from the Midlands and manufacturing in London make for a truly isle-trotting walking coat.

The face here says it all. It speaks of the profound personal reverie of the geelong lambswool balaclava. While the face can be fully exposed — the front of the balaclava is hinged so it may be hooked below the chin — why such an eventuality would ever transpire given such heavenly lanolin-scented bliss is anybody’s guess.

The tielocken here is made with woollen corduroy, which is what happens when the two best imaginable galaxies collide (in Somerset). It has an inverted pleat running almost the entirety of its considerable length, which unusually is made simply with a succession of origami-like folds rather than any additional pieces of cloth.

This version of the SB3 is a gift for anyone predisposed to imparting textile know-how — as in, “This old thing? Well, it’s woven in Yorkshire with double-ply yarn, hence the raised texture in the weave, as well as high tensile-strength and abrasion-resistance. And since you didn’t ask, it’s 21mn merino, thus the really soft handle.”

The knit above is the gansey: a new, eight-ply, tuck-stitched bruiser of a pullover, with a neck that’s half rollneck and half not. And the jacket here is the cooks jacket, which is not only double-breasted but also reversible, with one side a tough worsted canvas and the other a cosy moleskin. Reversible buttons, even, too.

If you really take time to look into the origin of these things, you’ll learn that a Chesterfield is a long, tailored overcoat — its name and prominence attributed to George Stanhope, the sixth Earl of Chesterfield, whose sartorial endeavours in the early 19th-century made him the toast of menswear bloggers countrywide.

The Scots who prepare the yarn that goes into this crewneck don’t rinse and finish it with water from the local loch for the fun of it. Rather, those waters have proven themselves over the past couple of centuries to have just the right acidity and mineral content to bring out the best from the finest and fluffiest fibres in the world — in this instance, long-staple lambswool, shorn from sheep indistinguishable from walking clouds were it not for the four little legs on which they teeter. The yarn is then whisked to the opposite corner of the Isles for a hand-framed, fully-fashioned, and hand-linked knitting master-class.

Melton doesn’t get more marbled than here on the field shirt. Look at it — a tangled, gnarled surface of soft grey yarn, milled to just the right degree so it is compact and firm, without losing its flow and drape. Hard-wearing, too, hailing as it does from a mill that has supplied the military with such stuff for 200 years.

This trench is made with natte tweed — “natte”, at least in textile dictionaries from the turn of the century, being French for hopsack. The yarn with which it is woven hails from the backs, sides, and tummies of heritage-breed sheep, most or perhaps all of whom are lucky enough to call the moors of North Yorkshire their home.

The three metres of cloth that go into the peacoat are woven with worsted-spun yarn, and so have a striking lustre about them. No plain old melton, this, then. It is heavily milled, after weaving, too, so those fine strands of yarn are coaxed together to make an already dense proposition denser and denser and, yes, even denser still.

Sure, it seems a little overblown to describe things pulled over the head as engineered, but for the two knitted articles here, no other descriptor quite fits. From the precise front-back balance in the body (easier said than done when the front is a third heavier to encourage layering) to those fully fashioned shoulders (the v-neck has a saddle shoulder; the cardigan a half-raglan) to the three rows of elastic at the edge of the cuffs for just the right level of snap at the wrist — it’s a lot of work, all told, and while engineered sure sounds high-falutin, let never the dexterous, delicate, and dozen-stage work of a hand-framed knitting maestro go underblown.

Worn erstwhile

    • March — August 2019
      The return of cotton airweave from east Lancashire, and a cloth from North Yorkshire that really puts the local into locally made two-ply tropical worsted.
    • November 2018 — February 2019
      The tielocken and parka joined the trench in the big-coats-with-belts aisle, while the bal returned in tweed from a mill whose loom was built by the local coffin-maker.
    • August — October 2018
      Weatherproof ripstop and tropical worsted, the debut of the field coat, and a cavalcade of cotton knits were the talk of the workshop in the warmer parts of 2018.
    • October 2017 — July 2018
      Heavyweight outerwear galore — with the old guard of trench coat, peacoat, duffle coat, and balmacaan, joined by the topcoat, donkey jacket, and flight jacket.
    • July — September 2017
      New textures for what are quaintly called the warmer months of the year — like a two-ply birdseye, replicating cloth of the 1920s, and a Flyweight flavour of Ventile.
    • September 2016 — June 2017
      Angora, peccary leather, melton, cotton and linen with some wool mixed in, even some blanketing — a melting of materials for an unusually warm end to the year.
    • April — August 2016
      Texture, let it be known, is a quality tricky to come by in the warmer months, here in the British Isles. But look — hopsacks, tuck-stitches, and herringbones galore.
    • September 2015 — March 2016
      The heavy Donegal tweed balmacaan made its debut, as did the heavy duffle coat and, indeed, the heavy fur-felt hat. Lots of heavy things, then, for the colder months.
    • March — August 2015
      New linens came to the forefront: linen from the south coast of Ireland; linen hand-woven in the Outer Hebrides; linen knitted into crewnecks and cardigans.
    • September 2014 — February 2015
      Cloth development came thick and fast: yarn-dyed Ventile at the start of the period, and tweed made with organic and heritage fleece in the Inner Hebrides at the close.
    • January — August 2014
      Along came the SB1 jacket in hand-woven indigo cotton, the link-stitch crewneck and cardigan, the porkpie Ventile cotton hat, and a brace of cottons from Lancashire.
    • September — December 2013
      The cotton-twill trench coat rounded the year off, but before that came the peacoat and SB3 in Donegal's finest, as well as lambswool knitwear both heavy and light.
    • January — August 2013
      The first half of the year began with the three-button Tetris tweed blazer and concluded with an assortment of corduroy and cotton numbers — plus some shorts.
    • August — December 2012
      Heavyweight tuck-stitch jumpers, the wool-tweed peacoat made with the one-man-mill, and the debut of both the reversible jacket and the Ventile mac.
    • December 2011 — June 2012
      Early spring was met by the British Millerain dry-wax and cashmere mac, and kept busy with the linen suit, new tour jacket, and two-button neat jacket.
    • August — November 2011
      The last few months of 2011 witnessed the release of the chalkstripe-wool seam overshirt, the hopsack tweed neat jacket, and the birdseye wool-cashmere blazer.
    • February — May 2011
      Spring and early summer saw linen semi-cutaway shirts, the horizontal cord blazer, panama stowaway overshirts, and the cycle-friendly brushed cotton tour jacket.
    • September 2010 — January 2011
      The work jacket made a first appearance in French navy cotton-twill and charcoal wool-cashmere. And, on the knitwear front, Shetland Isle moss-stitch jumpers.
    • May — August 2010
      Five mostly interchangeable garments were made over the middle months of the year: two semi-cutaway shirts, two cotton-drill trousers, and a corduroy overshirt.