Tuesday, 18 February 2014

An Englishman's jacket

There are three jackets hanging in my wardrobe.  No, there aren’t – there are five.  I was forgetting the two suits, one a dark grey, double-breasted, pin-stripe suit that I bought, I think, for my younger son’s wedding 16 years ago, and which still fits me and is now worn only for funerals.  The other is my penguin suit that I wear for Lions Clubs’ charter nights and nothing else.  That just leaves the three jackets that don’t have matching trousers.  Sports coats, I suppose they would be called, although only one is of a traditional sports coat style in that it is tweed.  Mind you, I probably wear the dark suit more than I wear any of these jackets now.

Before I retired I wore a jacket every day.  Well, every working day.  I am of the generation that was accustomed to wearing a jacket and tie to work, although I did relax sufficiently to wear non-matching jacket and trousers rather than the suit I had worn when working in the bank.  I am also of the generation of Englishmen who at one time considered that the only type of sports coat that one could (or should) buy was made from Harris Tweed.

My first sports coat – indeed, the first jacket I ever owned that was not a school blazer – was Harris Tweed.  I bought it when I was 17.  It was a light, almost Lovat green tweed with those traditional leather buttons made to look like Turks head knots.  In those days I would never have dreamed of going out with a girl without wearing a jacket and tie – me, not the girl.  I had a supply of white shirts – white being the only acceptable colour – and a range of woollen ties, each being a plain, single colour.  I remember a dark green a light green, a yellow and a brown.  And, perhaps surprisingly as it seemed to tone with the jacket, a light blue.

Like most Englishmen, I became very attached to my Harris Tweed jacket.  Harris Tweed is famously long-lasting and after a while, jackets made from that Hebridean cloth mould themselves to fit one’s body when they become supremely comfortable.  I probably had that sports coat for about 20 years, and still wore it in the garden, before one day I discovered that my wife had committed what was almost the ultimate of sins.  She had thrown away my beautiful Harris Tweed sports coat.  It was a long time before I forgave her.  In fact, I’m not entirely sure I ever have really done so.


Continuing my walk from yesterday, this picture shows how isolated is the Chattri.



The Broad said...

I rather like Harris Tweed jackets, but it's not often that I see them any more. I remember the excitement when my father first got one -- he wore it for many years. My husband never throws clothes away and I expect that somewhere in the back of his closet somewhere is his Harris tweed -- last worn a long time ago...

joeh said...

Wives will throw away your clothes if they just get a stain that can not be removed, but try and get rid of that 20 yo blouse that has not been worn in 19 years...don't even think about it.

Buck said...

Like most Englishmen, I became very attached to my Harris Tweed jacket.

It's not just you Englishmen. I have a Harris Tweed jacket hanging in my closet that I purchased over 30 years ago when I was stationed in London. That jacket is one of my favorite clothing articles.