Many of my favorite articles of clothing have histories attached to them. This is the story of a tweed topcoat that took about two years from thought to realization.
The best source I've found for ideas on classic men's clothing are drawings of what men were wearing in the 1930's. Most of those are found in back issues of the late and lamented Apparel Arts magazine.
The drawing to the left of a topcoat for country wear struck a cord with me. I needed a light coat to wear over a jacket in the Northern California countryside and this design seemed just right. Unfortunately, I didn't see a cloth that I liked in the swatches that were available to me at the time. So, like many other of my clothing ideas, it went in a drawer and stayed there for a while.
Months later, I stumbled upon Magee in Dublin. The parent company of Magee is the largest weaver of Donegal tweed and Magee Shops in Ireland and the UK offer lengths of it that have been hand woven by artisans using traditional manual looms. Magee showed me swatches of a blue 15 ounce cloth that was a blend of mohair and wool, with nubs of maroon and other colors, and I ordered a length. It was out of stock but arrived eventually. When it did I sent it to my tailor.
Monday, December 11, 2006
When the coat finally arrived it was Spring, and the coat sat in my closet for most of a year before I got a chance to wear it. But when the weather finally turned cold it was perfect. It looks comfortable with tweed caps and over tweed suits. The cloth repels moderate amounts of rain, and the weight is just about right for the Northern California winter. Best of all, I get more wear from it than I do from a covert coat made from 18 ounce wool because, unlike the covert, the sun can come out and the temperature rise without my starting to perspire.