Carol Alayne

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Posts Tagged ‘jackets’

Over under sideways down

Friday, March 12th, 2010

TfW sleeveIt’s strange how music makes unusual connections in our brain. I was listening by chance to an old Yardbirds hit from 1966 – Over under sideways down… just as I was marking up some new cloth, when I realised that they were singing about exactly what I was doing! Cloth arrives folded with the wrong side facing out and right side protected in. (more…)

Variations on a Seam

Friday, June 19th, 2009

I attended a concert at London’s Wigmore Hall the other night.  It’s considered to be one of the world’s foremost venues for high quality performances of chamber music and this night was no different.  The Academy of Ancient Music’s director, Richard Eggar, was giving a harpsichord recital; “the ultimate instrument that goes ‘ping'” we were told.  This year heralds the anniversaries of Purcell, Handel and Haydn, and the programme was devoted to these three composers.  One of the pieces that Richard performed got me thinking.  It was the Chaconne and 62 variations by Handel (for those in the know, HWV 228!).  How many different variations are there on a jacket? … So I started counting.

Barrister * Blazer * Boating * Bolero * Brigandine * Cagoule * Carmagnole * Cassock * Chef’s * Chesterfield * Clerical * Cloak * Coatee * Collarless * Crombie * Dinner * Donkey * Doublet * Dress * Duffle * Duster * Eisenhower * Eton * Flak * Fly front * Frock * Greatcoat * Guards * Hacking * Highland * House * Hunt * Inverness * Jerkin * Justacorp * Lab * Lounge * Macintosh * Mess * Monkey * Morning * Nehru * Newmarket * Norfolk * Opera * Overcoat * Pea coat * Pilot * Polo * Prince Albert * Pyjama * Raglan * Redingote * Reefer * Riding * Safari * Shooting * Smoking * Spencer * Sport * Straitjacket * Suffolk * Top * Trench * Tunic * Ulster * Zouave

I stopped counting after 62.

There are a number of reasons for having so many different styles, and not all to do with fashion.  The Norfolk jacket for example, was designed with a high collar to keep the weather out, and with deep accessible pockets in which to keep shooting cartridges.  Shorter jackets such as the hacking jacket were intended for horse riding, and traditionally had pockets cut at an angle with thick external flaps to prevent anything from dropping out.

Can any of you add to the list?

Figuring it out: Hacking jackets, Mars bars and shotguns

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Hacking JacketA respondent to a recent post asked the question;  is buying a bespoke garment considered  a good return on  investment considering the initial spend?  Putting aside for the moment matters such as fit, design and satisfaction of requirements, I thought it provided an interesting challenge.  So I decided to investigate something from my own experience; my favourite ‘hacking jacket‘.

I made this garment twenty years ago, just after I came to London.  The fabric is a 100% worsted wool special edition tartan that I picked up at Holland & Sherry in Mayfair.  I wanted a key piece for my wardrobe that would be flexible enough to wear with tailored trousers, or jeans and trainers; for more formal or informal gatherings.  I use it throughout the autumn, winter and spring, and probably a minimum of once each week.  Erring on the low side this has given it around 600 outings in its lifetime (20 years) and it still has a long way to go!    The reasons for the length of its lifespan lie with the fact that the nature of its construction means it can be altered, the quality of the fabric makes it durable but still elegant, and it can resist the trauma of visits to high street dry cleaners without falling apart.

The original cost would have been in the region of £750.00 which  means that so far it has cost £37.50 per annum, and of course this is diminishing.  How does this rate with what you would expect to pay in the high street?

Prices, as you might imagine, have changed since the late 80’s.  So I contrasted this with two of my passions; Mars bars and shotguns.  Pretty extreme!

In 1989 the price of a Mars bar was 26 pence, and a standard 12 bore Holland & HollandRoyal ” Model shotgun £21,100.  When I went to the local newsagent today, a Mars bar cost me 65 pence.  I didn’t have sufficient loose change in my pocket to pick up a shotgun; they now retail at £55,250.

So putting all this together I would suggest that the current price of a hacking jacket, from around £1500, is pretty much in line with the current pricing structures, and a good return on investment.

Not only that… but you get what you want!

P.S.  I just had an evening with one of my closest colleagues on the ‘Row’.  John Reed (see ‘Folding a Jacket‘) reminded me about the fact that we are all different, and the beauty of bespoke is that it respects and responds to our differences.


Recognised as a pioneer of bespoke tailoring for women, Carol Alayne has over 25 years experience of creating striking garments for arts, sports and media personalities and business wear for professionals and executives.



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