Airforce Blue is a medium shade of the colour azure. This shade gets its name from the medium blue-grey colour associated with the Royal Air Force and other air forces which use the colour to mark out their particular service identity.


Barathea is an expensive fine English cloth, closely woven with a slight diagonal weave appearance and broken rib effect. It has a granular or pebbled surface but it feels smooth to the touch. Mainly used as a suiting or uniform fabric and it can also be used in men’s evening clothes.


The first “blazers” were worn by student members of the Lady Margaret boat club at Cambridge. Joking reference to a “blaze of colour” was also applied to brightly striped boating jackets worn by English University cricket, tennis and rowing teams during the 1880’s.


A greatcoat is a large overcoat designed for warmth and protection against the elements. Normally made of wool the dense, felted construction is naturally water resistant. Popular in the 19th century as a military uniform, it has been issued, for inclement weather, by most armed forces right up until the last quarter of the 20th century.


Warriors of ancient Sparta wore expensive red cloaks and this colour was adopted as the only colour on which the spilled blood of enemies would not leave stains. The British red coat actually originated as an historical accident, probably due to the cheapness of madder red dyes at the time of the English Civil war.


A smooth surfaced twill fabric with a clean steep prominent double twill effect. Traditionally a fine wool worsted fabric, or combination of worsted warp and woollen weft, it was used for hard wearing clothes such as riding breeches – hence the association with British Cavalry officers.


A covert coat is a light, knee length, shower-proof topcoat in Venetian (steep) twill. Often olive or stone in colour, with a toning velvet collar and rows of stitching at the sleeve, cuff and hem. The name derives from an English word meaning “a thicket hiding game” and was originally worn when riding.


Donegal Tweed is a generic term for loose Irish tweed of speckled appearance. Famous for its warmth and durability, its name is taken from the county of Donegal in Ireland. Woven from woollen spun yarns, it is characterised by its plain weave structure composed of uneven slub yarns contrasting with the ground colour. Kilcarra Donegal yarn is the only genuine Donegal yarn spun in Ireland.


A coarse, thick woollen coat which derives its name from Duffel, a town in the province of Antwerp in Belgium, where the material originates. Duffel coats are a traditional British garment dating from 1890 and it owes its popularity to the British Royal Navy who issued a camel coloured variant as an item of warm clothing during World War I.


Like tartans, estate tweeds are an internationally appreciated innovation. However, whilst tartans are associated with Scottish families and clans, District Checks evolved as liveries to identify the people who worked and lived on the same Scottish estates. It became fashionable for owners and retainers to dress in the same pattern of tweed.


The word flannel may be derived from the Welsh word “gwalnen” meaning woollen cloth. Flannel was originally made as a heavy, comfortable, soft and slightly napped wool cloth. Popular in the 1920’s, flannel trousers were traditionally worn in warmer weather with grey being the most popular colour, thus grey flannel pants were called “greyers”


Not pink but scarlet. Originally all hunting rights belonged to the king and those taking part often wore the King’s livery, which was often scarlet. The tradition has lived on in riding coats everywhere. The origins of “pink” are not clear; theories of the colour of a weathered scarlet coat or the name of a famous tailor are often cited.


A densely woven, heavy over coating, with a short non-directional nap, originating from the town of Melton Mowbray in the heart of the East Midlands. Milling the fabric to make it compact, then raising and cropping the surface nap, hides the weave – usually a simple twill – from view. This fabric was manufactured to exacting British Standards and specified for local authority services, the Fire Service, the Post Office and the British Railways Board.


Designed by his King Edward VII when he was Prince of Wales, as livery for his hunts at Abergeldie Castle on Scotland’s Deeside it was popularised by his grandson the Duke of Windsor when he was Prince of Wales. Its authentic colours are red-brown on a white ground with a slate grey overcheck.


In the 15th Century, shepherds often wore long pieces of cloth, called plaid, to protect themselves from the elements. The cloth was woven from the un-dyed wool of the black and white sheep they herded. Sometimes called a dogtooth or gunclub check, historians believe this black and white shepherd check the first plaid ever designed


The Shetland Sheep are the smallest of their species and are believed to have evolved from north European sheep brought to the island by the Vikings. Historically Shetland Wool is long stapled with some softer undercoat, with the coarser fibres of the topcoat lending themselves to intricate colour melanges. Today the term is used for tweeds similar to Harris Tweed but with a softer handle.


Colourful check designs, adopted in Scotland by Highland clans and families, as a means of identification. In 1538 James V of Scotland called for an order of “tertane”, which was likely, the basic black & white or brown & cream checks that lowland shepherds wove from the wool of their sheep. Tartan cloth is woollen or worsted in twill weave. The traditional garment is the pleated kilt, but is also now used for trousers, shawls, scarves and other fashion garments.


Against a white ground, offset checks of red and black are laid in even squares – though there are modern colour variations. Derived from a man who lived in Tatt’s Hall in Lincolnshire and then from the colourful checked waistcoats worn by the racing fraternity at Tattersall’s horse market.


The word “tweed” is an English variant of the Scottish word “Tweel” which refers to a rough unfinished hand woven fabric. The name became associated with the Tweed River which forms part of the boundary between England and Scotland. Nowadays the name became a general term for all carded “homespun” wool whether it was Scotch, Irish, Donegal, Cheviot or Harris Tweed. Our British Tweed uses British Wool with subdued colour effects (heather mixes) to continue this tradition.


A characteristic tweed with a salt & pepper colouring style. Normal tweeds are woven from single yarns, but Thornproof tweed is made from 2-fold twisted yarns producing a durable and impenetrable cloth – hence “thorn-proof”.


The 1930’s saw dramatic changes in men’s fashion. In the early part of the decade suits were modified to create the image of a larger torso to enhance masculine elegance and a striped suit became a standard in every man’s wardrobe. These suits appeared in charcoal, steel and mixtures of grey, slate, navy and midnight blue.


An overcoat is a type of long coat intended to be worn as the outermost garment. Overcoats usually extend below the knee, but are sometimes mistakenly referred to as topcoats, which are in fact short coats that end at or above the knees. Overcoats are made from heavier cloth or fur, because overcoats are more commonly used in winter when warmth is more important.


The Hacking Jacket evolved from the riding coats worn since the 18th Century by country folk. It has a unique personality to it and its traits are as truly British as can be. Its story is one of singular importance to the larger history of English clothing. The name is derived from `hacking` which is the term for informal or pleasure riding. It is an accentuated version of a sports jacket with a snugger fit and tighter waist.


Although of a similar cut and length to a traditional suit jacket, the sport jacket has a softer construction and may be worn on less formal occasions. Colours and patterns are more varied and usually incorporate designs such as glen-check or gun-plaid.


When the Romans invaded in 55BC, the Britons already had a developed wool industry. By the 8th century, woollen fabrics were being shipped to the continent, quickly becoming Britain’s biggest export. British wool is coarser quality wool which makes it hard wearing; it should not be regarded as inferior to fine wool, merely different and ideal for stylish outerwear.


A Pea Coat is an outer coat of heavy wool, originally worn by sailors of European, and then later, American navies. Pea coats are characterised by broad lapels, double breasted fronts and often large wooden or metal buttons. They have vertical or slash pockets, with modern renditions still maintaining these original design features.


Double cloth is a compound woven structure in which two or more sets of warps and one or more sets of wefts are interlaced to form a two layer cloth. Double cloth fabrics have two right sides and no ‘wrong side’; contemporary designers use true double cloth to make self-lined or reversible coats and jackets.