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Archive for the ‘Tweed’ Category

The Duke of Windsor was a peerage created in Great Britain in 1937, and given to the then Prince Edward, who had abdicated the throne on 11 December 1936. The Prince married American divorcee Wallis Simpson under a storm of controversy.  Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David was born on 23 June, 1894. Having undertaken several foreign tours on behalf of his father, King George the Fifth, Edward was already a popular Royal figure who would become one of the leaders in popular men’s style.

While The Duke’s private assistant, Alan Lascelles reckoned that “for some hereditary or physiological reason his (the Duke’s) normal mental development stopped dead when he reached adolescence,” due to Edward’s constant and often wreckless womanising, he was a popular and well loved figure throughout Britain and around the world.

The Duke of Windsor and wife Wallis Simpson were especially popular in the United States, where they resided and subsequently toured. They were well known in elite social circles, and were recieved on a regular basis by Gore Vidal, Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Kennedy family. The focus of this short insight into the life of this great man should remain rested on the Duke of Windsor’s incredible affinity with style. He would become well known for inventing the usage of the modern tuxedo, the slim-cut double breasted suit and his keen eye for detail, preferring British made cloth – especially Harris Tweed and Fair Isle sweaters.

This Rothesay Hunting tartan lounge suit with shaw collar, pictured above was particularly like the Duke and apparently triggered a vogue in tartan in the USA in the 50s. Made in 1897 apparently for his father, George V. re-tailored to fit the Duke with a Talon zip added in place of the button fly. He didn’t like buttons on pants, so insisted on zippers, which were large and primitive in those days.

The Duke was undoubtedly a very wealthy man, having been born into British Royalty and marrying into American Royalty. However, his wardrobe spanned over 60 years, and subsequently contains many hundreds of different items. He never lost his trim figure (his waist went from 29 inches to 31 inches over a half century) and it seems he never threw anything out. A 1960 inventory of the Duke of Windsor’s closet recorded 15 evening suits, 55 lounge suits and 3 formal suits (and 2 pairs of trousers for each), along with more than 100 pairs of shoes including a fabulous collection of velvet slippers by Peal & Co.

”Not since his forebear King George IV in the 1820′s had a monarch lavished so much care and expense on his own personal appearance,” Ms. Taylor, the Sotheby’s specialist who has spent seven years preparing for this sale.  ”He bought clothes of the finest quality but literally expected them to last a lifetime, which in fairness, many of them did.”

The Duke used the same tailor, Scholte of Savile Row in London, to make his jackets from 1919 to 1959.  Ms. Taylor said, ”Scholte was the snobby tailor who refused to make suits for the riffraff; he even turned down Fred Astaire.”

Long live the Monarchy.

I’d like to thank the many thousands of people that view my blog monthly, and the many hundreds that currently follow me. It is a true honor to have some sort of impact in a world that seems so sartorially askew in its views.

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I’ve noticed this topic floating around on Facebook almost on a daily basis. Is tweed acceptable city wear, what is the best way to wear tweed and who can I turn to for style advice? All of these questions are not-easily answered. For some, such as the Briton of old, Tweed is serious country wear and for good reason. It is hard wearing, it is particularly good at repelling water and it fits like a glove when properly tailored – ensuring the wearer stays warm and dry at all times. Today, however, members of the Royal family, such as HRH The Prince of Wales, have found a place for tweed in the city. Here are two excellent examples of Tweed in the city.

An example by Zegna

A good example by Gant

Without being an economic powerhouse, is it possible to perfect this look? Of course it is. Like any fabric, marque or style – this look is achievable without breaking the bank. There are several sites that specialise in vintage Tweed; or just eBay the look!

Carrying on…

Tweed as city wear is a relatively new phenomenon. When looking around the streets of Auckland, New Zealand – for example – one hardly sees tweed in use at all. Perhaps this is a reflection of the growing jean and blazer attitude toward dressing down, perhaps not – who knows? For now, one should be content in knowing that tweed is perfectly appropriate for use in the urban setting.

What is the best way to wear it…

I hate suggesting to people that there is a right AND wrong way to wear different forms of clothing. Firstly, wear it with confidence as a full suit made of tweed is bound to attract attention. Secondly, three-piece suits are most definitely in. Derbies (in contrast to the snob’s opinion on style) are perfectly appropriate to wear with a tweed suit, particular dark brown with a lighter green or blue Harris Tweed fabric. Do wear Brogues, particularly brown brogues, and brown distressed monk-straps are also perfectly accepted and sexy. Think Lobb or Loake.

Who can I turn to for style advice… The Prince of Wales. The Duke of Windsor. Prince Michael of Kent. Easy.

As a final note, don’t worry too much about what people consider right, or wrong. Especially when it comes to a specialist piece of clothing and tailoring like a tweed suit. Wear it proudly and with confidence, knowing you are partaking in the use of a garment that has been traditional British wear for hundreds of years.

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Me, today. Paul Smith button down. Solid blue Brioni tie. Cashmere v-neck, RJB. Brown of Bond Street – Harris Tweed two button blazer. RL Purple Label paisley pochette.

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Or the flat cap, an essential part of a man’s wardrobe. These are so timeless and versatile, how can you be without one?

They come in varying fabrics – but the design stays the same, here take a look

 

 

Both examples are made by Orvis and start at 69 pounds.

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The hunting code. Something that mustn’t be trifled with. A long standing tradition dictates what one may and may not wear on a hunt. Here is a little information on that cool english hunting jacket –

Firstly: Gentleman who have been awarded their hunt button may wear red hunting coats or tails.
IT is a great honor to be awarded a hunt button. Wearing a red coat means you may; ride alongside the field master (if invited to do so, of course.) The bright red jacket also shows you possess great skill and prowess in the field.

 

 

For those of us who have not been awarded their hunt button; an autumn hunt dictates that one may wear a tweed jacket. This should be Harris (since it is hard wearing.) Traditionally, this is the time when young hounds learnt to hunt their quarry, so historically a person’s first autumn hunt is an important event.

 

 

The formal hunting dress is different again.  First worn at the opening meet and continues throughout the season until the end of The Cheltenham Festival after which time “ratcatcher” is re-adopted. There are slight differences for men and women and those who have the privilege of wearing the “hunt button” dress slightly differently again, as do the Masters.

 

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A couple of great looking jackets every man should think about purchasing (and even a couple for women!) All the designs shown are very fairly priced!

Claudia Coat
This rather pretty young lady sports a Claudia coat – made from 100% Harris Tweed, you can purchase it new online, they are made to order

The Glen Jacket
I’m not generally a fan of three button jackets, but this Harris Tweed number really does it for me!

This suit proves that too much Tweed can be a good thing. This outfit is Brilliant – throw on a pair of wellies and you’re ready for a bonnie day or shooting and walking!

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