Monday, 30 June 2014

I Am Dandy - Celebrating the Exquisite Gentleman

A most enjoyable little film from 'CBS Sunday Morning' (below) celebrating the dandy from a mostly Anglo-American perspective, and promoting a top-hole book on modern-day dandies called I am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman [Amazon] by Rose Callahan and Nathaniel Adams.

Our dear Beau Brummell is rightly mentioned as the father of all dandyism. Britain's own Willy Wonka gets a deserved mention too.

Harlem Dandy

New York jazz singer Dandy Wellington (above) stands out in the film with his 'Harlem dandy' aesthetic. Imagine if we all were to take such time over our appearance? Bliss would it be in that dawn to be alive. I suspect Dandy inspires us all to try sock suspenders (once and for all). Thurston do a good range.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Foad's Moustache Wax

We now interrupt The Tweed Pig to bring you an advertisement for Foad's moustache wax.

Now that's an advertisement. Actually, we 're not really interrupting anything. What's The Tweed Pig if it isn't a a series of strung-together interruptions? We're probably preventing you from doing something more meaningful right now.

For Your Top Lip Display

Foad's moustache wax is handmade by London-based Pat Foad. He sells two varieties of wax: the firmer, more sculptural Foad Wax, which is made from British beeswax; and the softer Toad Satin Wax (above). The Toad Satin Wax is a shinier affair, made with Jojoba wax and captivating unguents. Foad reckons the softer wax can be used on beard or noggin hair just as well.

Filthy Swing from the Top Shelf Band

You're wondering about the excellent band used in the advertisement? They're the Top Shelf Band, 'errant princelings from the Vaudeville Otherworld'.

They play 'filthy swing', which is the sort of music that demands the application of moustache wax when you listen to it — even if you don't have a moustache.

You should book them for your next do.

And if you're looking for a Fez, and I think you are, try our friends at Tails.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Hermès 1837 - Family Ties

Hermès Accessories

I invested in this Hermès heavy silk printed tie to go with the Cordings pink trousers I keep going on about (here and here). Hermès, established in 1837 by the German-born Thierry Hermès, is still an independent French company (although LVMH, who own a small stake, are reputedly hovering to take it over). Up to 2006 a Hermès family member headed the firm.

Hermès licenses no products, retaining control from design to manufacture.The company supports traditional manufacturing and eschews mass-production techniques that compromise on their commitment to quality. They do not discount and they do not pass their products to resellers. Caveat emptor, gentlemen.

We are interested in their John Lobb footwear business, which they incorporated in 1976.

We are also interested in their ties, which are hand-rolled or folded and constructed meticulously from the finest silk yarns that they also use for their famous scarves.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Exactly Cricket - Dressed for the Wicket

Fortnum's Cricketer Gingerbread Biscuit (above).

Traditional Cricket Kit

Slowly we are closing in on the ultimate traditional cricketing kit, which handily doubles as perfect weekend wear for the less sporting.

Alan Paine gave us the traditional England cricket sweater.

Merchant Fox gave us their incredible cricket flannels.

A ex-pat reader was grateful for these recommendations, but he wondered how we could fill the shirt-shaped gap? We're looking for a shirt similar to the one worn by Mike Brearley, ex-England cricketer, in the photo above.

Note: We're using Mike Brearley as a template for the consummate cricketing gentleman. I maintain that he took to the field sporting a white cravat on occasion, but I can't find a photo to prove this.

Shirt-wise, we're thinking this one below from Darcy Clothing is pretty close, but do let us know if you've spotted others. The shirt is constructed of soft and lightweight cotton drill.

Anything else to add to our kit? Perhaps a splash of MCC 'egg and bacon' striping?

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Luigi Bianchi Mantova (LUBIAM) - 1911

Luigi Bianchi Mantova (LUBIAM) 1911

Lubiam is an Italian menswear manufacturer, based in the small and charming Italian city of Mantua (Mantua has a UNESCO World heritage old town, like most other Italian cities.), which makes ready-to-wear and made-to-measure men's clothes using our favourite Italian fabrics from the likes of Zegna, Loro Piana, Vitale Barberis Canonico, Colombo and Cerruti.

Lubiam was founded in 1911 by Luigi Bianchi and the company is still family-run and based in Mantua. I think we all have a preference for family-run businesses that stay true to their place of origin, supplying that much-needed provenance; and Italy excels in retaining them, and keeping the faceless global conglomerates out of the picture and spoiling everything for us all.

Jolly Nice Stuff

Not sure it's available where you are, but Lubiam has jolly nice stuff for this season.

The Prince of Wales sports jacket above is made from cotton and linen. I very much like that tie. I have a scarf in the identical colour and pattern — a total classic.

The check double-breasted below is in wool and silk.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Top Hats for Royal Ascot

Oliver Brown for Top Hats

If you're at Royal Ascot this week, do call in at Oliver Brown of Chelsea, London, who will be there for the duration. Pick their brains about the history of morning dress (so I don't have to repeat it all here).

Oliver Brown sell the best antique and contemporary top hats. If you're wondering about colour, shape, size or age of top hat, no problem, Oliver Brown really know their onions, and can satisfyingly answer any question on the subject.

Look at the beautiful antique silk plush hat above; made with a type of production that is no longer in existence. And if you go for one of those, you'll need a top hat 'bucket' to keep it safely way from those cursed moths. We don't want the pool of supply to diminish further. Brown sell those too.

Good luck with your wagers, gents.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Beaufort & Blake - Protect Your Territory

The Sacrifice

It is to a wood-panelled room in the turret of Tweed Towers that I retreat to write The Tweed Pig. A Spartan place: with merely an armchair, a drinks tray, a kettle and tea things, a record player, an excellent selection of books and magazines, a humidor, and tins of biscuits and sweets. Frankly, I wouldn't want to spend the enormous amount of time in there that I do, but remain I must until something adequate enough to publish appears. That's the sacrifice I make.

But such sacrifices bring rewards, and not just the trickle of donations to help keep us ad-sense free (and also send me to Savile Row. I think we have enough for a button so far.) We get to know lots of kind and charming people, such as our chums at Beaufort & Blake who made the lovely floral boxers we featured.

The Patriot

I've been speaking with dear Edward Bonnar, of B & B, and he said I should take a look at their Patriot boxer shorts (above and below). Who could resist the idea of the Union Flag 'protecting their territory'? Not I, as you may witness here.

The underwear comes with a natty little embroidered bag, as do all of Beaufort & Blake's boxer shorts, and celebrates "the significance of our Union Jack as a true British icon".

About Beaufort & Blake

Beaufort & Blake was established in 2012 by three like-minded souls who wanted to reinvigorate the British Army mess room tradition of adding a little hidden colour to shirts under their formal black/white tie dress. They began by creating a patriotic-themed dress shirt for a friend attending a ‘Best of British’ May Ball. It was such a hit, they set about shaping a business around it.

The shirts they produce have patterned backs and sleeves, which remain hidden under a dinner jacket until the night progresses, the drink flows and the jackets are removed.

That's the marcella-fronted Ivory dress shirt with elephant motif below. They have some Liberty print shirts in the pipeline, which I'm looking forward to seeing.

Beaufort & Blake at the Game Fair

Beaufort & Blake will be appearing live at the CLA Game Fair next month, which is the UK's largest "annual celebration of field sports and rural life". If you see them, offer your hand, shake firmly, and let them know you read The Tweed Pig. It's a gateway to a better life.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Soundtrack to the Brazil World Cup

Music to Watch Football By

What will be your soundtrack to the Brazil World Cup? Perhaps you favour a compilation of the Cockney Rejects and military marching music? Or maybe you're looking for a more mellow and Latin-tinged sound?

I haven't heard the officially-sanctioned World Cup songs, and I'm not seeking them out, but here we present The Tweed Pig soundtrack to the World Cup with some of our Brazilian favourites. Of course, we'll be listening to the Cockney Rejects too.

Gal Costa - Baby

A tropicália tune that will challenge the 'air drummers' amongst us. Baby [Amazon] by Gal Costa never fails to make it to a summer playlist at Tweed Towers.

Soul Samba - Ike Quebec

Ike Quebec and an ensemble of (non-Brazilian) jazz big-hitters deliver a quintessentially Latin sound. Bossa Nova Soul Samba [Amazon] is laid-back enough for the late-scheduled World Cup games.

Stone Flower - Antonio Carlos Jobim

Stone Flower (top) [Amazon] was recorded by Jobim in 1970, when Brazil won the World Cup. They don't make cover art like that any more. No girls from Ipanema to be found, thankfully.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Yob Couture - World Cup Essentials

Ignore It

So, it's World Cup time. As we've said before, you're better off watching the real beautiful game and ignoring this over-hyped spectacle completely. I maintain that the World Cup will go the way of Miss World — become something developing countries fight over to host and developed countries lose interest in.

But if you insist on flying down to Rio, remember that the Brazilians are pretty much the exact opposite of we British when they've been drinking. They're lovers not fighters. They'll be looking to dance a samba with you after a Caipirinha, then try to bed you; they won't be looking to engage in a running battles through the streets, and start hurling chairs through the windows of pubs and suchlike. (Stop Press: Unless it's a government protest.)

Yob Couture

Taking note of the climate — although feel free to don a pinstripe suit and bowler hat if you feel like it — here are some suggestions as to how you may present yourself to your hosts and represent your country. I've sought out clothes that are made in England — the same as you.

Fred Perry - Monkey Jacket in Cotton Twill (Made in England)

N. Peal - Fine Gauge Short Sleeve Silk and Cashmere Polo Shirt

Henri Lloyd - Fairfax Cotton Crew Knit

Crombie - Crombie 'Sanforized' Cotton Trousers (Made in England)

Pantherella Sea Island Cotton Ribbed Sock (Made in England)

Church's - Hirst Suede and Leather-Lined Derby (Made in England)

London Undercover - Whangee Folded Umbrella (Made in England)

Trestle Shop - Gin Clear Hand Made Sunglasses by Tender (Made in England)

Address for the British Embassy in Brazil

Should you be slapped with a deportation order.

The British Embassy,
Setor de Embaixadas Sul,
Quadra 801, Lote 8
CEP 70408-900 Brasilia

+55 (61) 3329 2300

Monday, 9 June 2014

Father's Day Fare

Know thy Father

The photo above is from a gallery by our good friends at British Pathé called "10 Best Bachelor Pastimes". And making a replica cathedral for your front garden is a pretty decent pastime, it must be said. If you think your father has a permanent look of disappointment on his face, it's because he had to forgo many such wonderfully pointless pastimes when Fatherhood wrought havoc on the carefree, self-indulgent existence he enjoyed.

For such sacrifices we should celebrate him. But how? you wonder. He's a grumpy, old cove who doesn't profess to enjoy a great deal in life. But fathers, being a simple breed, are actually easy to please. Feed him well, and you'll have your father rolling on his belly for a tummy rub.

Tweedy's Thought: Does the British male still indulge in creatively eccentric recreations? Or has he yielded to the stupefying glow of digital diversions? If you make buildings out of matchsticks, trim your hedges into amusing shapes, or you've constructed a model railway in your loft, let us know. You can inspire us all.

Mr. Trotters's for Father

Feed your father fatherly staples. Fortnum's did stock a Gentleman's Tuck Box, which contained beers and cheeses and everything to keep the old boy happy. You may wish to inquire about that.

Otherwise, Mr. Trotter's 'pub in a box' will light up his eyes with its selection of ale and pork scratchings. He'll be as happy as a bachelor with a hobby.

About Mr. Trotter's

Tom Parker-Bowles, Matthew Fort, Rupert Ponsonby (pictured above) and Graham Jebb are behind the Mr. Trotter enterprise.

According to Rupert: "Pork crackling and scratchings are part of our cultural inheritance. They make us what we are. What is a crisp compared to the crackle and crunch of a crisped up piece of pig?"

Who'd have thought it? We're part pork scratching.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Wooden Sunglasses - Barrow & Flux

Barrow & Flux

Barrow & Flux make sunglasses by hand in Dorset, England, from the finest materials; and, here's the twist, the finest materials include wooden frames. Great idea, eh?

Perhaps this may be more of a reintroduction of an earlier British practice. The British can claim the invention of glasses using arms passed over the ear to hold them in place with Georgian optical pioneers like Edward Scarlett; wood, horn, silver and tortoiseshell being popular natural materials for frames in those early days.

Barrow & Flux are Justin Barrow and Christian Flux who founded B & F in 2011. The materials they use are all made in England. As they say: "Creating a local sustainable business in England will ensure the future of communities, our families and our friends, be them old and new." That's important, isn't it?

The Glasses

The wood for the frames is indigenous English, which is kiln-dried and cut into veneers. The frames above are made from English oak. The lenses are made from polycarbonate.

And that's as much as I know. If our new chums get in touch, I'll dish out some more gen.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

World's Biggest Lapels - David Bowie

Would We Dare?

David Bowie takes lapels to their inevitable conclusion in 1975.

He's now represented on The Elegant Male, assembled for your inspiration and merriment.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Augustus Hare - Lobster Bow Tie

Bow Tie = Gentleman

Augustus Hare is rapidly becoming our favourite neck-wear supplier. Who amongst us could not fall for this magnificent bow tie with lobster motif? It is made in England — as are all Hare ties — from silk woven in Suffolk. Pop that under a seersucker jacket and you're set for summer.

This season, Hare also introduces some classic Churchillian polka dots and genuine English madder prints to their bow tie range.  The English madder ties, like the glorious green one below, are printed in Macclesfield, as they should be.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Turnbull & Asser - Mr Benn

Mr. Benn - Impeccably Turned Out

Mr. Benn is quite simply the best-dressed British children's character of our times. Renowned for his sartorial elegance, Benn is never without his banker's 'black and stripes' suit; with black jacket and grey, striped trousering; sensible, polished black shoes; and well-placed bowler hat — unless, of course, he's whipping out of his clothes to begin another fantastic adventure from the Fancy Dress shop he frequents in the books and animated series.

Benn knows that the conservatively-dressed have more fun and get away with more. When he comports himself in his timeless assemblage along Festive Road, no one would imagine the crazy day he's likely to have had. Mum's the word.

Turnbull & Asser

Turnbull & Asser celebrate and recognise the distinctive British style of Mr. Benn in their limited edition series of silk handkerchiefs. The handkerchiefs feature four Mr. Benn designs, which are hand-printed and made in England. That's 'Mr. Benn - Street' above.

The handkerchiefs are limited to fifty of each. Actually, I'm looking now and I think one of the designs has sold out, so you need to be quick if you want one.

Who next? Max Normal the conservatively-dressed rebel 'normalist' from the 2000AD comics?

A Song About Benn

Good old Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy for writing a song about Mr. Benn called Festive Road [Amazon]. It's from Liberation [Amazon], a favourite album at Tweed Towers.

The album has much to recommend it, not least a sample of dialogue from Merchant Ivory's Room with a View ("My father says there is only one perfect view, and that's the view of the sky over our heads." "I expect your father has been reading Dante.")

Neil makes something of a hash of Festive Road at the start of this video, but recovers nicely.

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