As the nights begin to draw in and the temperature begins to drop, my hopes of an Indian Summer fade. That said, Tuesday of this week was incredibly warm, so much so that I set-off on the school run wearing only shirt sleeves – perhaps an informed decision based on the knowledge that by the time I had raced across the park I would be a sweaty mess. Or, perhaps I had realised an opportunity to collect one’s seersucker from the local dry cleaners – given the inclement weather of late, I thought it a safe bet to surrender one’s summer attire for cleaning before it is retired until the Spring. Although seemingly only to refresh it in time for Autumn?!
This years version of Summer has had it’s highlights, reaching some absolutely balmy temperatures at times which were perfect for road testing this summer addition to our Custom Collection. But alas, what it has not afforded us is the countless opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors come the weekends, as we did last year. In stark contrast to last years many road trips, and in spite our eagerness to give the newly painted Brown in Town camper a spin, we only managed three trips and it rained each and every time! Talk about unpredictable.
But given the balmy weather we enjoyed earlier in the week, perhaps our autumn will be unpredictable too. And if that is the case, then I am relieved that for once, I will be prepared!
I am typically late in organising my seasonal wardrobe – not to mention late to most engagements it has to be said – but I took the opportunity just before Christmas last to design the new Custom Collection in it’s entirety, so as to be ahead of the game. Which means that I am now the proud owner of a rather elegant tweed jacket, perfect for the season – at least you’d have thought.
Now, I say elegant for several reasons. For one, this jacket is unlined. This means you see the wonderful autumnally coloured cloth throughout, because there is no lining inside. And because the seams inside are not covered, they must be taped – to prevent them fraying – in a colour of your choice. This is a painstaking task, which is why, ironically, the cost of an unlined jacket is greater than that of a lined jacket. Now you know.
I must confess that it’s being an unlined jacket was not intentional but what a beautiful mistake to have made, as David Bowie used to say, because now I have a jacket which can beat off a chill, but is not too warm, as traditional tweed jackets can be. Typically offered in weights upwards of 14oz so as to provide warmth and protection from the elements when participating in outdoor pursuits, this coarse but very wearable shetland tweed from Abraham Moon weighs in at just 11oz, so is perfect for this changing of the seasons when 14oz is perhaps too heavy and overcoats overkill.
Given Brown in Town’s association with tweed, it might come as a bit of a surprise that this would be our first tweed jacket under the label. And contrary to tweed’s association with country life, the inspiration for ours was much more urban. I wanted to make a jacket that could be worn with both our Custom Collection chinos and grey worsteds.
And not only is this our first foray into creating a tweed jacket, it is also our first showcase of a completely hand-finished garment. Those that appreciate the figure hugging nature of our full canvas, will enjoy the incredibly soft handle of this jacket’s hand-quilted canvas, not to mention the artisanal nature of a hand-finished garment; the generous roped shoulders may not suit all tastes. You have been warned.
But I wouldn’t say that I am looking forward to a long winter, but like many Englishman, I find Autumn attire much easier than Summer attire to master. So as one season gives way to the next, let us take solace in change being as good as a rest.
Here’s to the unpredictability of Engish weather..