• Dressing for the Country

    Dear Field,

    After my recent sojourn to the country for a spot of Driven Pheasant shooting and a wonderful dinner and over nighter in the worlds most ridiculously gorgeous man cave (a converted Historic wool shed), I thought why not write about the Gentleman’s kit required for a weekend in the country.

    Thirty years ago a dear School friend invited me to stay with his family for the weekend, they were gracious hosts and nearly every weekend had friends from the City and country to stay. This tradition of county hospitality is so cherished as farming can be a lonely life with long hours and virtually no contact with people unless a quick trip to town to pick up supplies with maybe a quick beer at the pub with the Stock and Station agent (they always wear Harris Tweed).

    This ritual of having people to stay has many benefits for the Man and Lady of the house, she gets to cook her favourite in season recipes and some she may have remembered from Finishing School, the best Silver and plate wear gets an outing and (hears) here is the crux of it they get to wear “nice clothes”. Dressing well putting on make-up having a beard trim or great wet shave is a luxury when you are up before dawn dressed in dungarees heavy work boots and old work shirt/jumpers to chop the wood light the fires etc. So back to the above mentioned weekend away, my friend Tom confided in me that he and his parents were mortified each time they invited one of the the other house guests (an up himself old Stock broker) as he always came kitted out looking like a farm labourer as he thought that was his respite from Satoria and dress like a slob.

    Tom explained that this was the time to get dressed up and expected their guests from the City to wear some finery as they would not arrive inappropriately dressed to a dinner party at their house in Town. Country people don’t just wear flannel shirts, moleskins and elastic sided boots.Most have travelled extensively lived in the city or maintain a city home,went to School in town and understand natural fibres and workmanship as they buy things to last not to throw away.

    Now lets take a look at the what will pass muster, cotton, linen and silk for the coast, wool, cashmere, fur and Camel hair for the country and mountains. It's not only practical but looks and feels wonderful to dress for the environment, rambling across country in linen trousers and espadrilles will not be practical (especially in Australia with snakes, burs,thistles and bugs etc).

    Many Townies have come unstuck in the bush by not wearing a hat, appropriate footwear and a light jacket or Long sleeves in the summer sun. Country people love the outdoors and you will probably entertain in the garden or field soaking up the sun and fresh air, I can think of nothing better than a long table in a beautiful alfresco setting.

    Jeans nowadays are perfectly acceptable or long trousers with heavy brogues or Chukka boots, team this with a button down Oxford weave or sophisticated check shirt (a tie is not needed and looks a bit Bertie Wooster) matched with a light cotton bandanna or cravat is practical looks on point. Winter and Autumn in the county is a golden time for fashion in the fields. The field sports, Hunt breakfasts & balls, game dinners, Steeple Chases and races, truffles, mulled wine, open fires. Close your eyes and imagine this rich palate of colours, reds, gold, greens, browns, orange and burnt umber to mention a few of the rich pickings available to create a layered cavalcade of rich textures, weights and colours.

    My personal preference for winter is tweed played over cashmere knit, brushed cotton/cashmere shirt brushed cotton trousers or wool Cavalry twill and flannel Jeans or trousers.

    Your kit bag (or fitted luggage for the car) should contain, heavy tweed shooting coat, tweed, cashmere/camel hair sports jacket, a couple of knits, cardigan and vest. Pack a shirt for day time and one for evening, gum boots, extra socks as these are always needed, a pair of leather boots and nice leather or suede shoes for indoors. A cloth cap or hat for winter and a straw hat for summer. If there is a likelihood of any riding, hunting,shooting fishing, polo then pack your equipment just in case.

    Finally don’t forget to leave a decent tip for the maid on the bedside table, always write a thank you letter on your return to the city to thank the lady of the house. When you arrive its always good form to bring flowers or chocolates and wine for the host.

    If you wish to be kitted out in the finest Country or City attire simply drop in to one of our stores to discuss your requirements, no one specialises in fine British tailoring and cloths like us.

    Talley Ho,

    Tolley

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