The Author in Boston’s North End
Tweed is a complex material. It has deep hues and patterns reminiscent of the areas where it was made. It can have colors in it that you would never find side-by-side anywhere else in Western sartorial culture; purples, pinks, oranges, reds, and more.
There are rules that you should never mix more than two patterns. I think that, like most rules, is complete and utter nonsense. In the photo above I am wearing three patterns: a traditional Barbour Tattersall shirt, a classic Barbour-lining pattern tie, and a Barbour Tweed field coat with a matching cap. The cap and coat are both Barbour Sporting Tweed, which makes mixing other different patterns easier.
But had the cap had a slightly different pattern, would that have had that much of a different impact? That would have been 4 patterns, and so enough about rules.
The Tweed field coat is generously sized, made of Barbour Sporting Tweed (that used to be a ubiquitous pattern for them before they aspired to an upmarket demographic), it was voluminous pocketed with snaps and a bit of fabric to keep them open, it has hand-warmer pockets, and a soft velvet collar lining with leather outside. The hat was from the same line. I had pants and a jacket as well, but I was much thinner when I purchased them.
Sartorial tip: get a traditional Barbour tie; it will match all Barbours and especially the waxed cotton jackets. Look for the scarf as well.
So what do you think? Am I out on a limb here? Let me know and let me know how you like this blog. Please follow and share.
A Tattersall shirt offers so many opportunities for matching. Here, the first photo pics up the orange color and carries it into the tie. The second photo shows how you pick up the blue color with a knitted tie that compliments the texture of the sweater. In the first photo, the sweater also has a blue line for the sweater to pick up.
Be bold in your choices and how you match your clothes. You will stand out that much more.
All clothes shown by Cordings of Piccadilly.
Fair Isle sweater from J. Crew with white shirt and Fox Bowtie from Beau Ties.
Fair Isle sweaters originated from an isle off the coast of Scotland and part of the Shetland Islands in the North Sea. They are characterized by distinctive rows of patterns and colors whose meanings are mostly unknown though some sources liken them to XO patterns and Ram’s Horns. Artisanal sweaters tend to be full of local symbolism; think Guernsey or Aran.
The Fair Isle pattern was brought to public consciousness when Edward Prince of Wales was photographed at St. Andrews golfing in one. Supposedly, his was knit for him from a traditional pattern. I suppose that it would make sense for him to attire himself in local pattern.
I like them as vests over plain colored shirts, and they go quite well with bowties. Mine is a “vintage (90s)” from J. Crew.
How do you wear yours???
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The Author in His Office Wearing Braces by Brooks Brothers.
I am a fan of braces. The make a man look commanding and ready for anything. A bit of color, a stripe or pattern, make them slightly less formal. Many people call them “suspenders” here in the US, but I like to make a distinction between the clip-on type and those made with leather that buttons onto one’s trousers. Those are braces to me.
I buy many of my suits from Cordings; their City Suits, because they are very well made, are of substantial weight, and drape magnificently. Their suits only pair with braces; there are no belt loops, and so this has become a part of my personal style.
What do you think of braces? Do you wear them? Have you had your tailor sew buttons onto your trousers for them? Let me know in the comments.
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Politicians and business men wear Power Suits. These are usually navy or gray, often chalk-striped and paired with white dress shirts and red power ties. I submit to you that is not a power suit; that’s the sartorial equivalent of khakis and a button-down. It’s what everyone wears.
Do you want to look powerful, confident, be an individual? Then go for Tweed. Really want to stand out, then add a waistcoat. Three pieces finish the look.
The Author in Tweed
The three piece Tweed suit looks like an archetype. It is the suit of academics, bankers, and explorers. It is the suit for Lairds, Country Squires, and English hunters. It has the look of the outdoors, but coupled with a civilized cut. When Aleister Crowley climbed K2, he did it in a Tweed suit. When Indiana Jones was in the classroom teaching archeology, he did it in a Tweed suit. What will you do in one?
I wear mine on weekend adventures; strolling through the Museum of Fine Arts, or along Bellevue Avenue in Newport. I wear it to the office where I am happy to have the pockets for my reading glasses.
Do you want the look? I recommend, as I often do, Cordings! They rarely go on sale, but sometimes they do. The good thing about Cordings is that they always have the same Tweeds and so you can build your suit one piece at a time. Start with the Jacket.
Leave a comment below and tell me what you think of Tweed. Do you like mine pictured above?
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There are few things as audacious as red pants. It is a clear sign that you are confident, you know what you like, and you may not always play by the rules. Red cuts through the crowd, contrasts with a sea of khaki; you cannot sink into the shadows when you are wearing the brightest color in the crowd.
The author in Cordings Red Chinos in front of Turner’s masterpiece.
When you think of red pants where I live, in Massachusetts, you think of Nantucket Reds from Murray’s Toggery in Nantucket. That is a distinctive faded red, almost pink. However, there are many shades of red. As much as I love our unofficial State color pants, I prefer a deeper red; the type of red pants that you see in England. I prefer the ones from Cordings.
The author in Nantucket Reds in Philadelphia
And then high summer rolls around and nothing looks better with a blue blazer than a faded pair of reds.
Why choose? Buy both.
Want the look?
Murray’s Toggery: Nantucket Red Collection
Cordings: Cordings Dark Red Chinos
Cordings Summer Red Chinos
Pro tip, a couple times per year, in spring and autumn, Cordings has a buy one pair of trousers and get one at 1/2 price. Sign up for their emails and wait for the sale. It makes the shipping cost worth it.
A man is walking across the plaza in a dark suit. With each step you see a flash of bright red, a bright signal of individuality, a flashing code that there is something else to this person, something slightly unorthodox and interesting.
Many people wear wild socks, bright socks, brightly patterned socks. Justin Trudeau, the PM of Canada, is famous for it. We’ve seen his “sock diplomacy” to whatever effect all over the globe.
I wear bright socks too, but when I do, I do so with specific intent: my socks match my shoes. Further, that color is also in my tie as the dominant color.
I like the harmony between the similar colors of socks and shoes. One color enhances the other, makes tans a bit orange, oxblood a bit red. Light plays between them differently, alluringly, and allows me to express a hidden eccentricity in a subtle way.
Do you want the look? Uniqlo has socks in nearly every color of the radio and for about $3 each, sensible, since they do not last long. However, I do not know where they are made and I generally like to buy from countries that I support. More on that in the weeks to come.
What do you think about matching your socks to your shoes???
Red socks from Uniqlo with Bostonian Brogues.
Orange socks (are these orange?) from Uniqlo with Allen Edmunds Brogues.