September — December 2013

The cotton-twill trench coat rounded the year off, but before that came both the peacoat and the SB in Country Donegal’s finest, the tweed proper trousers, and hand-framed lambswool knitwear both heavy and light.

The navy blue trench coat — made from heavy cotton-twill — is in most ways a traditional trench: full length, deep back yoke, and large collar and lapel. There are, though, some breaks with tradition. High bellows pockets, for instance, under which the belt runs, and a gun-flap button integrated into the front-fastening.

The peacoat is made from tobacco-brown and charcoal-grey Donegal wool-tweed, which is hand-woven by a father-son mill in County Donegal in Ireland. The cloth is dense and packed with texture; the random slight flecks that run along the yarn, so the story goes, reflect the natural colouring of the local Donegal landscape.

Both the tuck-stitch rollneck jumper (above) and the plain-tuck lambswool marl scarf (left and below) are hand-framed in the south-west of the Isles. The knit of the former comprises four colours of lambswool yarn — three greys and one blue — while the latter, all 6ft 8in of it, is made up of two complementary blues.

The three-button blazer, here in granite-grey, is another wool from the Donegal hand-weavers mentioned above — a lighter-weight, this time, mixing assorted greys and Donegal flecks. And, like the peacoat above, it has dark matte horn buttons, and a lining of extraordinarily fine wool-melton from West Yorkshire.

The cuff coat is a short wool-tweed number, with a neat fly-front, traditional collar with button-up throat-latch, and a full wool-melton lining. The cuff part of its name comes from the knitted ribbed cuffs at the end of its sleeves — made from luxury-grade lambswool, in the south-west, by a hand-framed knitwear firm.

The tuck-stitch crew-neck jumper is a preposterously heavyweight example of hand-framed knitwear. Combining three grey yarns and one biscuit — yarns of the finest lambswool around — in a ten-ply mix, it offers warmth of a thermonuclear degree, but is, at the same time, remarkably comfortable and breathable.

Somewhat lighter than the tuck-stitch jumper above, but likewise hand-framed and fully fashioned, the lambswool-marl cardigan marries a plain-stitch of navy and midnight-blue with some heavier tuck-stitching in key areas — namely, at the elbows, which always wear through first, and the large pockets at the front.

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.