September 2016 — June 2017

Few things more comforting than a duffle coat. This one has a deep front yoke with a hidden pocket, an inset front and a raglan back, and pockets at just the right height for stationing one’s arms — only made with blanket cloth from the Inner Hebrides. It is a geometric repeat, at odds with the natural and organic yarn — which is shorn from the Hebridean sheep that graze on the mill's beach-side pastures. The toggles, meanwhile, are horn, hand-turned in Lancashire. The rope isn’t to be sniffed at, either: a three-ply, double-twisted jute rope from Kent.

The shirt (above) is made with featherweight cotton corduroy — a "redbrick" one — from Lancashire. Makes for a very good and versatile shirt, this cloth: light and breathable enough as a shirt in any climate, but appreciably soft and comforting in colder ones. Fine enough to be layered, too. The hat (right) is made from fur-felt, and is blocked by the last hat-maker still practising such methods anywhere in the British Isles.

The trench coat here, in drab-colour merino melton from West Yorkshire, is worn with a wheat-colour cord overshirt and proper trousers of an autumnal shade. It is most notable this season, the coat, for the two-piece belt, which enables the wearer to attune its length, so that it is neither too short nor too long at the front.
They don't come much sturdier than the balmacaan in Ventile canvas. It is worn here with a rollneck — made from geelong lambswool and hand-framed in the south-west of the British Isles — and boasts a large Prussian collar complete with collar-latch, deep two-way welt pockets, and a clean and clinical one-piece raglan sleeve.
The peccary leather gloves are entirely hand-stitched: an undertaking which takes about eight hours — what with all those fingers and thumbs to navigate. Best thought of as the Rolls-Royce of gloving, peccary, but that such venerable stuff — a symbol of true, olden-days luxury — comes from the hide of a small hairy forest hog is an irony not lost, even on the hog.
No stranger to hands either is the ten-ply bobble hat and eight-ply scarf — being as both are hand-framed with geelong wool by a maker of incomparable venerability.

This here peacoat is a new development, with a clever "split-sleeve", postbox pockets, half cuffs, and a whopping great Ulster collar. It is made with triple-milled worsted overcoating from a mill in Somerset founded some 200 years ago. Its length is a little longer than the norm; you might also dub it a bridge or admiral coat.

The topcoat, this: another new one. And, what with a name like that, it has a lot to live up to. What it is is a tailored overcoat, double-breasted, with two deep welt pockets, and one of those lopsided collar-latch doo-dahs. It feels very much like wearing a smart jacket, only with more room, less structure, and a fuller length.
The topcoat and overshirt are both made with a tweed hand-woven in the Mourne Mountains of Northern Ireland. It ticks all the best boxes: thick, soft, deep in colour, and tickled through with all those nepps and burrs, which are added to the pure merino yarn when it is spun, exclusively for the mill, at a spinners in Co. Donegal.
One of the verities of life is that you can never have enough Ventile. The newest expression of this is this — the car coat. Not only does it cover entirely the average torso and abdomen with the weather-proof wünder-cloth, it is also, now, double-layered in the front and upper back. As good as 100% waterproofness, that means.
What's black and white and woven by a mill in Northern Ireland on a loom built 60-years ago by the local coffin-maker? That's right: it's this cloth from the Mourne Mountains. It is a base of cotton and linen, criss-crossed with baubles of wool. And here it is in work jacket form — all French seams, bar-tacks, bound inside edges, and absurdly capacious pockets.
So often the bridesmaid and never the bride, the grey wool-melton from West Yorkshire. Until now, that is — for here is an SB1 jacket made with the stuff. It doesn't waste its moment in the limelight: marbled in colour, hirsute in finish, and soft to the touch, it's a good counterpoint to the otherwise plain one-button jacket.
The one thing this place has never been accused of is being short of flannel, and look — here's as fine an example as you're ever likely to see. This chalk-stripe flannel is woven in the Heavy Woollen Mill of West Yorkshire, and over a bed of marbled charcoal grey runs a repeat of white, double-white, and faint blue lines. The jacket here is the SB — looking as sharp and as formal as anything here ever has.
This is a scarf of serious proportions. It is very thick — ten-ply, in knitwear lingo — and very long — enough to go around the average neck three times, and still leave some length for tying at the front. Still, its heft — comparable to heavy seafaring gear — does not come at the expense of comfort, made as it is with fine geelong lambswool.
The topcoat again, here — same as the merino tweed one introduced above, only this time made in a near-bulletproof weight of moleskin cotton. What you can see here are the smart but soft shoulders of the garment — enabled by the half-raglan, half-inset construction — and the relaxed, easygoing nature of what is, otherwise, a coat at the smarter end of the spectrum.
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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.