Easy and Elegant Life

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

A Delightful Weekend in the Country


Mrs. E. and I are off this afternoon for a country wedding. Well, sort of a country wedding. She is an aerospace engineer and he is a Marine Aviator. She helped design his plane. How’s that for romantic? The wedding will be held at Keswick Hall, which, it turns out isn’t pronounced “Kezick” as I thought. The property is now a part of the Orient-Express family, but it was once owned by Laura Ashley, which it was the last time we visited. Unfortunately, I don’t ride and I doubt there’ll be any beagleling and it’s too damned cold for ballooning, even with Champagne. Still, it promises to be a delightful time and we’re looking forward to it. (Click through the photo above and go watch the movie.)

The prospect of stepping across the threshold … without the shaker that made the journey when we were driven last visit… has had me sequestered in the closet staring at the wardrobe looking to divine the perfect travelling/wedding/Brunch ensembles. Wedding and brunch are taken care of: one serious and double-breasted navy bird’seye with the new EE&L cocktail cuff high collared shirt and a glen plaid tie, one Harris tweed sportcoat, Fair Isle sleeveless sweater, bowtie and grey flannels. But tonight is the rehearsal dinner (Mrs. E. is Matron of Honour.) Since it’s after six o’clock in the evening, I would opt for black tie, but it has not been called for. Grey/blue windowpane flannel suit with a white waistcoat and black and white spotted bowtie? The thing is, this isn’t some draughty old estate. Last time I wore an odd vest, I half melted.

Perhaps it’s time to start wondering what the Duke of Windsor would do instead of Bertie Wooster. I must remember: Elegance is refusal. Or is it restraint?

At any rate, off to fill the flask. Photos next week, if I remember to take them.

8 thoughts on “A Delightful Weekend in the Country

  1. [Since it’s after six o’clock in the evening, I would opt for black tie, but it has not been called for. Grey/blue windowpane flannel suit with a white waistcoat and black and white spotted bowtie?]

    If it was me, I’d take inspiration from the second adjective in your banner head and go with a dark blue (not pinstripe) SB suit, white shirt, solid blue neck tie, black belt and shoes, white linen square. If that seems too dull and boring, remember that a tuxedo’s function is to allow the spotlight to shine on the woman one is with.

    The evening _is_ about the bride and groom, right? 🙂

    Michael B.

  2. I took my family to Keswick Hall a few years ago during the week in between Christmas and New Years. What a great place, although not necessarily for small children. The weather was warm enough for me to actually play 9 holes of golf one day and cold enough for us to ski at Wintergreen the next.

    Regarding the attire, Keswick Hall screams out for black tie. Unfortunately black tie apparently is “not optional.” What a shame! That setting makes me think of the wedding scene in Houseboat with Cary Grant and Sophia Loren, which was supposed to have taken place near Keswick Hall. Nothing would be more perfect than black tie.

    Given your conundrum, as I know you ask WWCGD, I recently commissioned two solid blue-gray suits (Holland & Sherry fabric) that are each slightly different in tone. The first exactly replicates (after many years of searching) the famous North by Northwest suit. The second has not returned for the first fitting, but should mirror the To Catch a Thief Suit.

    My point is, these suits (lighter shade of gray), solid silverish tie, solid white cuffed shirt with understated links, black shoes (if it is evening – if not the brown suedes from North by Northwest are awesome!), and importantly, the right shade of hose (slightly lighter than trousers) would be the next best thing in my humble opinion to an easy, understated, and elegant option.

    Tomorrow I will be sporting my peak lapel dinner jacket for the first time this holiday season as my club celebrates its centennial with a larger than life gala. When you post your next black tie rules article, in addition to everything else please remind men to try on trousers before the big event. Mid-life is not always kind to midsections. Let’s just say I am glad I tried on mine last night as I will be putting a little coin in my needle and thread guy’s pocket today. Oh well, the price of prosperity.

    Enjoy a wonderful weekend and may your flask remain forever full!


  3. Trey, I would be very interested in learning more about the North by Northwest suit you commissioned. Care to share the details? Did you do the blue/grey glen check?

    We’re off! Thanks to you both for your comments. I’ve just simplified the wardrobe. Two blue suits, one SB, one DB. Two white shirts (including the cocktail cuffed EE&L special), one grey blue glen check, one midnight blue tie, black shoes. The groom and his men will be in USMC Dress Blues.

  4. You will look great, whatever the choice. I love the gray windowpane ensemble. What a treat. I take it Mrs E is attending and I would love to hear what she is wearing!

  5. Trey – can you steer me in the right direction on the North by Northwest suit fabric? I’m going to get a bespoke suit and am looking at swatches now. Help!

  6. Hello Bob, congratulations on going the bespoke route! I’ve just purchased the Blu-ray DVD and watched NXNW in hi-definition, read through the arguments, consulted the library of books I own and have reached a conclusion. The lining is a diamond jacquard, the suit was built by his Beverly Hills tailor (perhaps after a Kilgour model). The fabric is a blue-grey muted glen check and very difficult to find. However, I think I may have found a source! And this may be a good place to whisper in a few ears that I am working on the Easy and Elegant Life collection to debut in the very near future. That suit will be a part of the collection! Good luck!

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