'Oxford needs not June for beauty’s heightening' – so said Matthew Arnold, and it’s a good thing too, because we’re wearing our cosiest tweeds.
While no-one wishes to hasten a return to the dark mornings, bitter winds and lashing rain that are regrettably attendant aspects of winter (here in Britain, at least), there comes a time in each summer season when anyone with even a passing interest in clothes begins to long for their cold weather wardrobe (in this writer’s experience, this phenomenon usually announces itself around the start of August). Summer dressing has its charms, of course, but the season’s bounty of non-sartorial pleasures usually distracts from an inability to wear much more than is absolutely necessary. Winter, on the other hand - with no blossoming flowers, long evenings or al fresco dining to divert the mind - brings into focus what really matters: and that is the wearing of chunky, tactile fabrics.
After having gone a season without donning so much as a needlecord or a lightweight flannel (a British summer usually allows for at least the occasional dip into the autumn end of the wardrobe, but this year’s astonishingly high temperatures precluded the wearing of anything even remotely warming), one can’t help but to yearn for something more substantial. The winter clothes begin to call from the back of the wardrobe: the cashmeres, Shetlands, corduroys and flannels - but perhaps most of all, the tweeds.
Tweed’s appeal is undeniably universal: when it comes to winter dressing, it’s hard to find someone who’s not enamoured by its charms. It’s classic enough to satisfy the traddiest of dressers, but when worn over a cashmere roll neck or merino polo shirt it embodies a certain sense of aloof, 1960s cool. It has its roots in the countryside – where it still feels at home – but in an elegant Italian cut tweed becomes perfect city attire. Its ubiquitous but hard to define; coarse yet comforting.
Tweed is one of those materials which holds a special place in our hearts, and in our wardrobes. Its praises have been sung across countless digital column inches, making any further analysis of its merits if not redundant, then perhaps somewhat surplus to requirement. So instead of a retread of its most appealing qualities – its substantial weight, its remarkable texture, I could go on – we can instead simply take a moment to appreciate its inherently appealing nature, and how after a period of separation (also known as summer) one longs to be wrapped safely in its folds once again.