Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

I Feel the Need

For some tweed…

Forgive the photo, I was running out the door and didn’t notice that my tie was askew. Sprezaturra? No. Completely unplanned. As was the imperious expression that was captured just as the battery died in the camera and shut down the shoot.

The odd Harris Tweed jacket was given to me by my Uncle when I was in the upper school at SSS sometime around 1983. Replete with throat latch, it is made for blustery, chilly days, of which we have had quite a run lately. Interestingly, it is quarter lined. Making it a bit less warm than 16 ounce (?) tweed should be. And that’s where the odd vest comes into play. It’s a cashmere thing that is cut a shade too long, but would work well with today’s lower rise trousers. Since I had the flannels made, they are sitting at my proper waist and the whole is a bit off. But close enough for government work, as they say.

The funny thing about stalking about in tweed is that I am not exactly the country squire type. But tweed, and especially old tweed, feels great. It feels like it can take it and push back if need be. I wish I had a three piece suit of the stuff. Preferably some outlandishly brown and orange hairy wonder. (No camouflage here in what I call a city, however you might think of Richmond, I suppose I would be accused of putting the “twee” back in tweed.) Indestructible, like an ancient leather jacket, or cordovan double sole brogues (see photo above), tweed becomes an old friend, a stylish companion to jeans (or over a jean jacket as photos of my teenage years will attest), khakis, corduroys, moleskins, flannels and cavalry twills. Dress it up. Dress it down. Wrap it around a cashmere sweater to protect that delicate fabric and waterproof it with a waxed cotton Barbour and you’re set for adventure.

Maybe my affection for tweed stems from its being made by hand. Harris Tweed, stamped and certified, has to be produced using whatever wool, moisture, twigs and berries can be gathered in something like a twenty foot diameter on one of those isolated rocks of an island in the Outer Hebrides. There is a real art here.

And as Oscar Wilde famously said, one should either wear a work of art or be one. Many may call me a “piece of work”, but few a work of art.

Which is why I wear tweed.

11 thoughts on “I Feel the Need

  1. Two things. First, I believe it is only a 17 foot diameter…something about the metric system conversion.

    Second, don’t knock the tie, I believe I see an arch! At least, that was my first reaction prior to reading the post. I do like that vest.

  2. Once upon a time somebody told me black shoes should be worn with black, navy or gray and brown shoes should be worn with tan or brown. Perhaps this harkens back to the day when Mom dressed me in Garanimals. It is safe, but can be predictable and dull. I still, however, find myself subconsciously adhering to this rule even though you’ve successfully proven otherwise today. The tie and socks are great, the brown and gray are wonderful. Certainly, something I wouldn’t have considered without the inspiration you provide. I know the post was meant to display tweed, however, any you help you can offer up to the color impaired regarding contrast and combination is greatly appreciated. Thank you for inspiring me to ‘color outside the lines’.

  3. I love tweed jackets. I have a new Hickey Freeman number in grey wool/cashmere with rusty brown highlights that should be just the ticket. IF it ever cools down for more than a weekend…


  4. Oh, that was great stuff. I agree on tweed. And best when I can just sense the littlest edge of my Mama’s camphor mixed with Joy in the fibers. Yeah, that is how I wll know my people in darkness.

  5. Nothing beats Tweed. Have been home sick, banished to bed and sofa, watching Poirot. Captain Hastings’ tweeds have looked particularly sharp now that Autumn has finally come to the East Coast.

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