There was supposed to be a length of mid-weight black and white cloth on hold for me at Scabal this past Spring, the last of a bolt that was meant to become an odd jacket for spring and fall wear in the city. Gray, and gray is the product of black and white from a distance, is a good base color for casual wear on city streets in my opinion and I had been thinking about something with leather buttons and patch pockets. Alas, when the lads at Thomas Mahon's went to collect that cloth it was nowhere to be found, which sent us scrambling for some air force blue flannel so they had a suit to work on. The city jacket project went on hold.
Three months have passed since then and autumn grows near in tailoring terms, by which I mean that an order placed this summer may still be delivered this year but only just. And though the search has continued, finding the right cloth is not easy. The target weight of 12 ounces/360 grams is too light for real tweed, and worsted copies of most tweed patterns tend to leave me longing for the original. I may come round to a barleycorn in W. Bill's lambswool that reminds me of a jacket Astaire had in his wardrobe, but I am not there yet.
It would be too heavy to wear in sunny spring and fall, however the front runner in my thoughts is currently the light gray Harris tweed herringbone in the photo. Harris of course is a 15 ounce/450 gram wool jacketing for cool weather that is hand woven using local wool in homes on the isles of Scotland's Outer Hebrides. The color certainly complements oxford gray flannel trousers, and it is equally certain that the good people of Harris and its neighbors can use the work after the mismanagement of Harris tweed marketing that sent demand plummeting in recent years. It is of course difficult to contemplate cool weather cloth when the weather outside is mild and the memory still fresh of an unexpectedly warm day not too long ago when a Shetland jacket had the sweat pouring off my brow. Still, W. W. Chan is on their way here in a few weeks and decisions must be made.
Photo: Harrisons of Edinburgh