It is tweed season. Long gone are the humid quandaries about the short trouser and the intransigent male knee; past is the rumple and crumple of processed flax; forgotten are our cotton discontents. We wait each year for the donning of Scottish twill, much as we shall lament its passing come spring, for the tweed season warms a man’s bosom just as his mantel warms his body. In tweed we reign majestic, clad in sturdy tradition, embodying fine craftsmanship, and ready for anything. Striding o’er hill and dale, sheep shoot us jealous glances at the finery we have woven from their coats. No fabric bespeaks sturdiness, fortitude and downright bloody-minded stubbornness as does this highland wooliness.
It is a solemn and momentous day when a man first acquires a coat of tweed, because it represents his emergence as himself. Tweed, after all, is the stuff of youthful scorn, unfairly associated with fusty granddads and stolidity. It comes with a bouquet of aristocratic rottenness that marks it out as a corrupt badge of distinction. It is a pompous old crotchety farmer. It is an Olde English hairshirt. It is, of course, none of these things, but it takes a profound moment of inner strength to tear off the drab overtones of threadbare stereotypes and thrust oneself into the loosely woven complexity of a truly adult suit of clothes. Tweed is a rite of passage.
From the wonderful Timothy Everest, of course.
Like all ceremonies, one is transported there each time the memory of it is evoked. Hence, at this time of year, one returns to the first tweedful radiance, in the blush ebullience of youth. The virgin crop of feelings of maturity, gravitas, authority and, above all, self-respect, return reinvigorated. One is re-born a man once again. Let not the rock star, the high-street faux-tweed faux pas, or the Gant model deceive you. Tweed is truly a manly affair: not an on-again-off-again fling, but a perennial foundation stone of the goodness of man.
This post is dedicated to Gilles. Welcome to the club.