September 2014 — February 2015

The SB2 jacket is made with cloth from a small mill in the Inner Hebrides — a region which, at least in tweed circles, is the other Hebrides. The mill weaves the yarn of sheep reared and sheared on its land — the SB2, for instance, combining the yarn of Hebridean sheep young and brown, and not so young and going grey.

The peacoat comes but once a year — and normally towards the end of it. This time, the fourteen-button double-breaster was made three tweeds from a father-son mill in County Donegal in Ireland. Likewise the diamond-weave blanket (below) — whose pattern is an old ancestral abstract take on the hills behind the weaving shed.

Cloth from County Donegal also appears — this time alongside russet-brown deerskin — on the notch-top gloves, made in the crucible of English glove-making. Responsible for them is a group of master craftspeople who, every day, act out the saying about a silk purse and a sow’s ear — before lining it with Scottish cashmere.

The tuck-stitch jumper is back for a third year running in all its ten-ply and thermonuclear-grade warmth — and alongside it, this time around, are one or two other knitted articles. Each one is hand-framed and fully fashioned, using the most stratocumulus-soft lambswool, by the best knitwear people in the Isles.

The merino-lambswool SB and standard trousers together make a fairly smart suit. Made in two indistinguishable shades of grey, what is absent, colour-wise, is made up for in other ways, such as the superior quality of the Yorkshire-woven cloth. Its merino content makes the stuff so smooth, it can be calming just to be in its presence.

You name a colour — the crest, say, of a juvenile Dartford Warbler — and the East Midlands dye-house can match it. No questions asked. Word has it they can concoct 50,000 different shades of turquoise. Presenting, then, the new garment-dyed calico-cotton granddad shirt — in an on-the-safe-side dark-grey.

The second (or perhaps third) iteration of the seam jacket finds the four-button hooded rain-cheater in civilian-weight cinnamon-colour Ventile cotton. While it has umpteen buttons, all of them are hidden when the jacket is fully done-up and the peaked hood is attached and ready to go. Likewise, although the jacket has five fairly large pockets, none of them are on show unless they are called into action. The weather-proofness of the Manchester-invented cloth itself, meanwhile, needs no introduction — unless, of course, it does, in which case, see here, here, and here.

The trousers above unite the respective wools of merino and lamb. They are soft and lightweight, yet very warm. Trousers like those left are made with tin-grey homespun wool: a coarse cloth, softer than a cheviot and lighter than a tweed. Then there are the two-leggers seen below — made from thick Shetland overcoating.

The tour jacket uses a stouter version of Ventile: a military-weight, which is heavier and denser than its civvy-edition counterpart. Back for autumn, this time the tour jacket has a West Yorkshire wool-melton lining. This, allied to the wind-resisting nature of the outer cloth, makes for a very robust late- and early-year coat.

The reversible overshirt is built like an overcoat, rather than a shirt — a heft backed up by a combination of cords. One side is a deadstock thick-thin corduroy, woven 20 years ago in Lancashire; the other is a type of wool, known as Bedford cord — which has a novel cord-like corrugated appearance — from Somerset.

The trench coat, here, is made from a heavyweight Lancashire cotton-twill in a colour known, for better or worse, as drab. Deep down, it is very traditional trench coat — full length, deep back yoke, large Prussian collar, and regulation-thickness belt and cuff-straps — but, here and there, there are small nods to the 21st century.

The limited-edition seam jacket (below) is made from a very special type of Ventile: one with a warp of unbleached cotton, and a weft of blue. The combo is one with which Ventile has never before dabbled, and the outcome is a weather-proof cotton with slub and fleck and, with all that yarn-interplay, a hue tricky to put a finger on.

Worn erstwhile

    • March — September 2021
      The debuts of the duster, the smock, the DB, and the knitted t-shirt make a mockery of the notion that less (clothing) is more in the warmer weeks of the year.
    • October 2020 — February 2021
      Many old-stagers from autumns and winters past — the duffle coat, the balmacaan, the peacoat, and the donkey jacket — made returns in refined form.
    • April — September 2020
      From the poolside (the popover) to the coast (the boatneck) via the railroad (the engineer) — the only way to travel (literally) during a pandemic lockdown.
    • September 2019 — March 2020
      The tielocken and peacoat found their feet in new heavy woollens from the south and north respectively, while the balaclava, gansey and cooks jacket made their debut.
    • 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.