Fields of dreams
TWEEDY: Get back to nature with country looks based on traditional fabrics and tailoring. Stephanie Smith checks out rustic sophistication.
HETHER or not you are the huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ type, you have to admit that the clothes inspired by country pursuits are rather fine and dandy.
Practical, too, which is hardly surprising, considering that they were designed for comfort, ease of movement and to work well with the elements, holding off the wind and rain, bringing warmth when needed, but also allowing the skin, and the fabrics themselves, to breathe. The raw materials are natural. Tweed, for example, is woven from pure wool, dyed the earthy colours of the landscape. It originated in Scotland in the 18th-century, when weavers created a denser and heavier cloth by developing the “twill”, the diagonal lines running through the fabric.
Introduced to the British aristocracy in the 1840s by Lady Dunmore, and used to make garments for hunting, shooting and fishing, it is the basis of the country look that we know well and that some still wear, quite seriously, today.
Now tweed, like tartan, can come in lighter weights and a variety of fabrics, and is still a major influence on fashion trends, having been revived and revamped in recent decades by the likes of Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano.
It is worth considering that, unless you are on the set of Downton Abbey, the allover country tweed look, complete with plus-fours and knee-high woolly socks, as sometimes seen sported by chaps (and chapesses) in North Yorkshire country pubs (and even in Harrogate town centre) does attract glances, and not all of an
and jodhpurs are another combination seen around town.
admiring nature. Both men and women can go for a more contemporary look, especially when in town, by mixing key tweed pieces in with denim and chinos. Look out for fine-knit cashmere jumpers and both padded and faux fur gilets, but keep cuts clean, urban and contemporary.
Riding-style jackets and jodhpurs are another combination increasingly seen around town, and without a horse in sight. Again, try breaking up the look with tunics and knitwear and look out for urban style tailored outerwear with funnel necks and parka hoods. Look out too for tweed and pure wool coats in both earthy and bright shades, in styles ranging from neat, slimline and fitted to ones with full skirts and belts, as these won’t date, will go with everything and will always look fabulous.
As long as you don’t overdo it, and you keep a sense of proportion, there are no real rules for the country look. Classic, practical, hard-wearing and good-looking, this is the perfect and original all-season look. So tally-ho and go for it.