Jeremy Lang­mead

Here comes the rain again — just in time for your new, cool cagoule

Esquire (UK) - - Style -

I’ve de­cided to be quite spite­ful to­day. Sorry. In­stead of sing­ing the praises of sum­mer-friendly items in cheer­ing pas­tel colours that make our minds wan­der to Ibiza beach clubs, Mykonos tav­er­nas and Pat­mos ter­races, I’m writ­ing about cagoules. Cagoule is one of the least al­lur­ing words in the men’s style lex­i­con. No­body thinks, “Oooh, I’m go­ing to put on my lucky cagoule”; nei­ther do you want to be friends with the sort of per­son who says, “Don’t for­get to pack your cagoule for the awe­some stag party I’ve or­gan­ised”; nor, as far as I’m aware, do many of the shows on the London Fash­ion Week sched­ule de­scribe their sig­na­ture style as “cagoule”.

So why cagoules this is­sue? Two rea­sons: first, de­spite the ugly name — cagoule sounds like some­thing a tod­dler says when its nappy needs chang­ing — is that in this coun­try, at least, it can be a pretty es­sen­tial item each sum­mer if you’re hol­i­day­ing in Corn­wall or the Lake District. Se­cond, thanks to a heavy re­brand­ing (in­clud­ing its name) a form of cagoule is hav­ing a bit of a re­nais­sance.

The rea­son I’ve be­come slightly ob­sessed with cagoules is that I’m sell­ing my coun­try house and buy­ing one in the Lake District. With its rugged moun­tains and plethora of lakes, the Lake District is as lovely as it is for a num­ber of ge­o­graph­i­cal rea­sons, the main one be­ing that it rains all the time. As the train heads north past Cum­bria, I stare out of the win­dows at the be­lea­guered fam­i­lies on their an­nual hol­i­day shud­der­ing un­der sta­tion plat­forms, wind- and rain-swept, in their hol­i­day wa­ter­proofs, barely recog­nis­able as hu­man since no sign of bare limb or fa­cial fea­ture is vis­i­ble through their shape­less weath­er­proof clob­ber. Some of these poor hol­i­day­mak­ers will be spend­ing their week away sleep­ing in weather-bat­tered tents or car­a­vans lodged in muddy fields. Pure hell.

You might won­der why I’m mov­ing there. Well, in the mo­ments of good weather the Lakes is blessed with, there is nowhere more breath­tak­ing to gawp at; but more im­por­tantly, the house we’ve found — half­way up a moun­tain and near im­pos­si­ble to reach — should be to­tally un­ap­peal­ing as a des­ti­na­tion to both friends and fam­ily. Hum­bug heaven. Here is some­where I can es­cape to and in­dulge in my col­lec­tion of sweat­pants, hood­ies and other chav para­pher­na­lia far from judg­ing eyes.

I have been warned that large swathes of my wardrobe will be deemed in­ap­pro­pri­ate up there. Those Gucci flo­ral num­bers will likely be scoffed at, the frayed cro­cheted-cot­ton coat and em­broi­dered linen trousers by my cur­rent favourite la­bel, By

Walid, might also be viewed as a tad rad­i­cal for Ken­dal High Street. The big ques­tion is how do I tackle the cagoule prob­lem? I don’t want to look like an ex­tra in Fargo, nor does the Stone Is­land look — de­spite be­ing fash­ion­able again — re­ally suit me ei­ther.

Luck­ily, there are now a num­ber of brands who’ve suc­cess­fully tack­led the wa­ter­proof prob­lem, veered far enough away to es­cape the cagoule la­bel, and can be spot­ted around UK city cen­tres look­ing ap­peal­ingly ac­cept­able. To­day, they tend to be called field jack­ets, or shell jack­ets, rather than cagoules. These mod­ern takes on rain­wear hap­pily negate the need for a trench coat — along with the polo shirt, my least favourite item of men’s cloth­ing — and yet keep out the rain with­out mak­ing you look like a char­ac­ter from a Mike Leigh film.

The ones I’ve in­vested in so far — ob­vi­ously, I’ve al­ready started buy­ing a new wardrobe be­fore even ex­chang­ing con­tracts on the prop­erty — are from Ital­ian brand Ne­men whose jack­ets are highly func­tional yet given a con­tem­po­rary look with its use of colour, cut and a plethora of pock­ets, and an­other Ital­ian brand called Aspesi, which man­ages to achieve out­door prac­ti­cal­ity, aes­thetic ap­peal and the right price. Nearer to home, how­ever, are the de­signs of a clever Brit-based brand called The Work­ers Club — for them it’s all about func­tion and crafts­man­ship — as well as Pri­vate White VC, whose rip­stop rain­coats fit the bill as com­fort­ably in Win­der­mere as they do in the West End.

For those hol­i­day­ing here and not abroad this sum­mer, if you shop around it is pos­si­ble to stay dry and look fly — even in the rain.

Manch­ester, so much to an­swer for: Liam Gal­lagher, 1994

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.