Never has that distinction been more aptly denoted to a singular iconic style then to that of the aesthetics of the sporting (English or French) country gentleman.
In my mind they personify the quintessential (casually-inclined yet refined) sartorial gentlemen who comfortably sauntered about though the countryside with style and grace. They were both posh and primp, frolicking through the woods — and within the walls — of their countryside estates with proper distinction and nary a thread out of place, always stylish yet inherently practical in both purpose and intent.
It is a look that — despite its inclusive aristocratic origins — has contemporarily become a style eminently suitable for all aspiring gents, of all walks of life.
And so yes, it is that time of the year again — the seminal season of prestigious tweed!
The morning air is crisper. The leaves have turned. The libations of choice have gravitated from cold to hot. The omnipresent and alluring auras and tastes of pumpkins have once again managed to intoxicate the masses. And the outdoor country sporting season has descended upon us...
...autumn is unquestionably here!
And come the season, few things are more enticing — save apple pie, Thanksgiving, and natures vivid beauty — then the joyous reality that we gents (and women) can start sporting our seasonal tweeds and the complimentary wools and corduroys that accompany them.
And unlike its more, how should one put it, (portly) fulfilling seasonal signifiers, the act of indulging upon its stylishly vaunted exaltations is no sin at all. Suffice it to say, sporting your tweeds and the country look will in fact not expand your waistline nor will it render you wanting or longing for what is yet to come on the holiday calendar.
On the contrary, it will instead have you rejoicing in its textural splendour, in the way it ruggedly refines your physique, keeping you undeniably warm and comfortable as the mercury continually drops and you hold steady with your active pursuits in the great outdoors
It’s handsome, hardwearing, functional, and above all transitionally practical. Our ancestors knew that, and that is why there is no cloth out there that so exemplifies the countryside lifestyle then it.
And seeing as tweed is no longer relegated to the singular annals of sporting (hunting, fishing, et. al) or even country life lore, I’ve taken it upon myself to providing what I hope can be an inspiration feature for all those out there who are on the fence about adopting this look (and tweed) into their own personal wardrobe rotation.
To them I would simply say this:
Its heritage look is worldly renowned; its been stylish relevant since the mid-1800s; its unfussy and unpretentious; and it has a casual versatility and simple elegance that is unmatched by any other fabric. And if anything more is desired then there is the fact that its styling principle is quite elementary: wear garments that blend in with the colours of the countryside. That’s it. Simple and direct, just like the textures and fabrics that personify the aesthetics.
With that change in habitual pursuit came the need for a new wardrobe, which in itself helped facilitate and usher in the creation of what we have come to know as the classically refined country style aesthetic. Previously unexplored seasonal necessitations came to the forefront, requiring specialized (stylish + practical) addressing in order to craft what was to become a more sturdy and environmentally applicable style, one that served the dual purposes of rendering a gent not only consistently well put-together in his presentation, but also adequately prepared to combat the rigours of mother nature and her never-ending incremental fickleness.
And if there was anyone who knew how to dress for dreary weather, it was the Brits.
Armed with that unquestionable style truism in hand, the practical wardrobe of the newly minted English country gentry quickly came to fruition.
Fabrics like luxuriously thick wools, corduroy (borrowed from the French), and — most signifying of all — tweed all came to define what were to become the requisite lifestyle wardrobe essentials of the time.
Accordingly, hardwearing tweeds and omnipresent wools came to the forefront, becoming forevermore synonymously entwined with the look. Tweed suiting (jackets/bleeks/vests/stocking/boots/ et. al), flannel trousers, sturdy satchels, flat and deerstalker caps… they were all designed with specific needs in mind: warmth, comfort, and ruggedly stylish practicality.
And yet, the successful fulfillment of those essential basics is not the sole reason the look has persisted to this day. What really cemented the country gents place in sartorial lore was the fact that the look was one founded upon muted elegance (employing colours that are never left on the fringes of fashion), in playing upon the timeless appeals —and longly established methods — of dressing in tonal neutrality (loads of browns, greens, and greys).
So, it should come as no surprise that the varying — yet fully complimentary — pieces were originally designed with the express purpose of camouflage in mind — in dressing to blend into the countryside, so as to not arouse any grouse or the like. And it is by that admission alone that one could even attribute the country gent lifestyle with the creation of what has since become modern-day sporting camouflage.
And the rest, as they say, is history…
So, how has the modern gent taken it upon himself to adapting the style to suit his needs and the times?
And what has he done — sartorially speaking — without the need of conforming to outdated social mores or too the incremental British weather conditions?
Well, and in the process of pondering said questions, I decided to take it upon myself to curate a capsule collection of sorts, one that would team the most relevant of the definitive country classics alongside some updated modern essentials in order to best provide the answers to those stylish inquiries.
So without further ado, here's how to transitionally nail the country gent look in a way that would leave the gentry of the past gleaming (albeit against their class-tiered sensibilities) with sartorial pride whilst likewise providing you with a modern collection of seasonally versatile wardrobe pieces that can thereafter be incorporated into your daily style rotation.
To that tune, what follows is a breakdown of my take on the modern-day deconstructed leisure (casual 3-piece?) country ensemble…
MODERN COUNTRY SENSIBILITIES
SPORT IT WELL: Outdoor Sporting Activities (hunting, fishing, horseback riding, camping, hiking); Casual Off Days or Autumn Countryside Drives; Autumn Picnic Dates; B&B Retreats…
WHY IT WORKS: The style has a lasting appeal that owes its dues to both the simplicity and practical versatility that it offers: its unfussy, unpretentious, casually refined, and utterly wearable throughout the incremental weather fluctuations that define the A/W seasons.
This is because the entire ensemble is curated around hardwearing classic fabrics like tweed and wool that texturally compliment one another whilst also providing a gentlemanly template that consistently renders its bearer not only warm, ruggedly handsome and refined, but also stylish proper.
And to top it off, each piece can be individually dismantled/deconstructed from this look and reworked into creating a dizzying array of everyday (at home/work) looks when teamed with other mainstays already in your personal wardrobe. This, teamed with its neutral colour scheme, only strengthen its overall appeal and its ROI (the tweed sports coat can go with everything from denim to smart trousers + suede monk strap shoes).
It’s a look that is subtle and discrete, resulting in a slightly more refined casual alternative for the modern sartorialist who holds an affront to the slavishly persistent hoodies and joggers that have come to define off-duty style.
No longer residing in the exclusive domain of the more affluent and discerning gentlemen of the past, the country look has been contemporarily revised, becoming an enduring aesthetic that is attainable by one and all.
So, if you are looking for a timeless and casually sophisticated way to reinvigorate your A/W style game, I'd be hard-pressed in finding a recommended look that is more seasonally suitable and simple to adopt then that of the dress of the bygone aristocratic country gentry. Why? Because looking casually unkempt is no laughing matter, and these gents always took it upon themselves to looking the part whether they we frolicking about in the city or (alone in) the countryside.
But, you must remember this: keep it streamlined and tailored. A slim and sleek cut is what separates it from its roomy (fit wise) past, updating and modernizing the look to suit the times.
So, let’s all toast too and embrace the transitional practicality, the casual nonchalance, and the simplistic nature of this classic aesthetic by sporting our tweeds and paying homage to our stylishly posh forefathers. They — just as we — knew that the look is but one of the few that is seemingly immune to the natural decays of fashion and its dependence upon the fickleness of trends or even time itself — the versatile nature, colour neutrality, and sheer simplistic implementation of the garments will always make it relevant.
So, I hope you have enjoyed this sartorial exploration into what truly is an enduringly masculine aesthetic and that I’ve (in some way) sartorially inspired you forward by demonstrating to you just how contemporarily relevant and versatile this aesthetic (and tweed) truly is.
From the seasoned urbanite and the discerning sartorialist to common countryfolk and the modern day sportsman — this look befits one and all. It oozes of casual sophistication and rugged masculinity, being a look that can —and should — be incorporated by all gents come autumn/winter.
And to that account, I will conclude with this:
It is high time you evoked your inner modern country gent. So unbutton your tweeds, set down your iPad (or your hunting gun, if you are so inclined), pour yourself a trusty libation of choice — whisky, scotch & soda, brandy or bourbon — and enjoy a good read alongside your trusty sidekick (dog) and a gorgeous instagramable fireplace (hearth).
~ Lyle Eero ~
How to you feel about tweed? And what is your casual autumn go-to garment of choice? Are you the country sporting type or do you fancy yourself the urban city gent?
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