There is a great divide that splits British society and it is one that makes me particularly sad.
There are those that appreciate the work, the years of skill, the hours of dedication and the time spent out in the wilds of Scotland breeding, feeding, chasing after and saving the sheep needed to make the most wondrous material that is tweed.
And then there are those savages that are blind to its majesty, uncaring about the effort required to not only provide the raw materials, to dye it, to weave it, but to then to cut it and sew into a suit that will far out last any modern off-the-rack suit. To my everlasting sadness, my wife is one of those.
For my fortieth, one of my greatest and oldest friends bought me a tailored three piece suit made from Harris Tweed. That’s the suit I’m wearing in the photo. Yes, I’m happy that my friends are getting married, but can you also see the joy that wearing such a suit brings me?
In order to get me such an amazing suit, my friend asked my wife to send him some measurements. She did so with gritted teeth, and ran through a whole gamut of clothes that well and truly represented my ever changing waistline. The suit produced was glorious. Once I’d visited a tailor it became heavenly.
Then, I began wearing it. And that’s when I realised that I had been inducted into the secret society known as The Brotherhood of Tweed.
Men not wearing tweed would look at me and give nods of approval or, at the very least, look upon my greatness with clear envy.
Some, who were tweed owners or wannabe tweed owners would compliment me on the suit, ask me where it came from and generally bask in its radiance.
Then there were the men who were wearing tweed at the same time as myself. Again, I would get the nods of approval for a suit well-made, but I would also get a great sense of approval for actually wearing such a work of art.
I was now part of a great and worthy movement, a select group of men who chose to embrace their tweed-driven desires and naysayers be damned.
Granted, some lads – I can’t call them chaps, or gentlemen because they are not deserving of such terms – tried to heap scorn upon me for wearing what they (and my jaw clenching wife) call “old man’s” clothes. However, rather than take umbrage, I took pity. One day they may well see the light and I look forward to embracing them as my brother.
Instead, I extolled to them the quality of the craftsmanship, and pointed out that whilst they were shivering in the cold wind, I was somewhat toasty.
I, for one, will never look back. I have one tweed suit and, when I get a book deal, I shall have two. The second will be a nice grey, hopefully with a bit of a cheeky burgundy red lining. Either way, I shall look splendid.
So I have this last thing to say, if you like tweed but don’t have any go and get some. Start small, Debenhams has some lovely jackets and waistcoats that are tweed-like. Wear them with pride. Come, join our brotherhood.
Oh, and there might be a sisterhood too, but I wouldn’t know as a) it’s secret and b) I’m a chap. I do however, get approving looks and comments from women when I wear my armour of heaven.
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