It is autumn in Australia and the cooler weather is bringing respite from the heat of summer. The fire fighters have also welcomed the cooler weather as it has provided them with some assistance in battling the fires in what has been an unprecedented and devastating bushfire season.
Melbourne is typically cooler than most cities in Australia, both in autumn and winter. With the change, my mind is beginning to think about my three favourite things, flannel, tweed and brogues.
Due to the milder winters, flannel suiting is not as popular in Australia, as it is in Europe and the UK. However, there has been a resurgence, especially in lighter weight flannel cloth. I love the richness and texture of the fabric and whilst some may remember reruns of the 1956 American classic film, starring Gregory Peck, ‘The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit’, my personal favourites are the venerable navy flannel with a wide chalk stripe and a Prince of Wales check.
Tweed is another favourite. The combination of colours and texture is ideal for layering and creating different of outfits. I encourage you to invest in a few tweed jackets and waistcoats, if you haven’t already. Vintage pieces are often superbly made and in excellent condition, testimony to the fact that tweed is not only beautiful but also hardwearing and will last longer than one lifetime. If you are fortunate, you can pick up vintage bespoke pieces that have been made by some of the most esteemed tailoring houses in England at reasonable prices.
Tweed outfits and brogue shoes are a well established combination. The colour and texture of the cloth balances with the brogue patterns of the shoes. They are in perfect harmony. And the ‘last for ever’ qualities of tweed are a flawless partnership with the traditional handmade goodyear welted indestructible Herring shoes.
So what can be better than a shoe that combines a country brogue and tweed? My latest Herring acquisition is the Bodmin II. It is an oxford spectator brogue in chestnut calf contrasted with Moorland Green Tweed. The herringbone weave creates a striking texture with a warm colour palette of green, yellow, orange, blue and burgundy.
The colours in the Bodmin tweed, can be paired with chinos, jeans, cords and of course tweed of various colour hues. Imagine them with a pair of navy jeans, burgundy cords or the many hues of tweed trousers. And, then there is the option of adding a contrasting waistcoat. As you can see, the Bodmin is a style that will prove to be very versatile in every mans’ wardrobe. I elected to pair them with a light blue tweed suit on their first outing.
The Bodmin II is only one of three options you can consider. There is also the Dartmoor Tweed country brogue and the Exmoor country brogue boot. All three are styled with chestnut calf and the Moorland Green Tweed. Unlike the Bodmin II, which is an oxford with sleeker lines and a slimmer last, the Dartmoor and Exmoor are the quintessential country brogue in a gibson or derby style with a rounder chunkier last and a storm welt and a go anywhere Dainite rubber sole.
All are tempting. Due to the relatively milder winters in Melbourne, I decided that the Bodmin would be the more appropriate choice for me. My son on the other hand, reckons I should have gone with the Exmoor boot. He is beginning to amass a collection of nice boots and with an upcoming birthday is dropping hints about the Exmoor.
Another birthday possibility my son is hinting at, is the Easby boot. Like the Exmoor, it is a country boot with a robust and generous last and a storm welted Dainite sole. It is a classy twist on a military boot with toe cap stitching. Complimenting the black calf is a gorgeous charcoal tweed. I think he may decide to go with the Easby as he really likes the strong presence and substance of the boot’s styling.
So, what will you decide? Which option suits your style?
Be daring … be dashing.