How to Dress for the Country

Nige prescribes the correct attire for gentlemanly perambulations…

Strolling on Blakeney marshes, I couldn’t help but notice that everyone I passed was kitted out for Walking, as it is conceived in these car-bound times – not walking as in the most basic natural activity known to creatures afflicted with bipedalism, but Walking as a specialist activity requiring specialist kit.

This usually consists of unbecoming forms of anorak or windcheater in garish colours, with boots made of various fusions of synthetics, and ugly trousering – sometimes even (God help us) shorts – with pockets in unlikely places. Worse, more and more people now seem to feel they’re not Walking unless they’re powering themselves along with a couple of metal poles. Dear oh dear…

The effect one aims for when out walking is ideally that of a flaneur taking a stroll down Piccadilly before dropping in at the club. Only minimal concessions need be made to the rural circumstances (spats perhaps if the going’s soft). A raincoat or tweed overcoat of conventional cut is adequate to most weather conditions – or, if preferred, the Norfolk jacket, as pictured below, with a fetching trilby, worsted gabardine trousers and a decent pair of Oxfords.

That, gentlemen, is how to dress for the country.

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About Author Profile: Nige

Cravat-Wearer of the Year Nige, who, like Mr Kenneth Horne, prefers to remain anonymous, is a founder blogger of The Dabbler and has been a co-blogger on the Bryan Appleyard Thought Experiments blog. He is the sole blogger on Nigeness, and (for now) a wholly owned subsidiary of NigeCorp. His principal aim is to share various of life's pleasures.

19 thoughts on “How to Dress for the Country

    November 28, 2011 at 13:08

    These chaps just look a little clownish, but its the cyclists that are truly alarming with their skin-tight body outfits and assorted expensive extras. Driving around town on a typical weekend feels like being in the middle of the the Tour de France. There is no accounting for taste, but surely there should be laws to protect us from ocular trauma?

    • Brit
      November 28, 2011 at 13:20

      Especially while the Tour de France is on the telly in the summer. All those mid-life crisis chaps puffing around the ring road imagining they’re the King of the Mountains…

    November 28, 2011 at 13:33

    Cyclists who kit themselves out like super-heroes are looked down on by the cutting edge of campaigning cyclists. The idea is that cycling should just be a normal part of life, and shouldn’t require special clothes. In the great cycling cities eg in Belgium or the Netherlands, most cyclists are wearing ordinary clothes. The lycra lot are the equivalent of the nouveau riche whose tweed jackets were too smart for the scruffy squirarchy.

    November 28, 2011 at 15:44

    the road I drive to and from work on is choc full of 50+ yr old cyclists in silly clothes, they seem to be multiplying at an alarming rate

    November 28, 2011 at 17:14

    Where do you live, worm? I’m very glad to hear that cyclists are multiplying, silly clothes or not.

      November 28, 2011 at 18:00

      Rosie I’m all for cycling instead of driving but these are the recreational types on their mega expensive road bikes and they have a habit of chatting away in peletons and clogging up the whole road, baa humbug! Obviously my route to work is earmarked as a road cycling venue (road from Stratford upon Avon to Solihull)

  5. Gaw
    November 28, 2011 at 17:45

    I went inter-railing (obviously quite a while ago now) with nobbut an adidas kit-bag. Rucksacks, pah!

    • Brit
      November 28, 2011 at 19:20

      Adidas kitbag? Luxury. I once climbed Kilimanjaro with nowt but an Aldi bag-for-life.

    November 28, 2011 at 18:31

    Norfolk? Are you sure those chaps weren’t planning to camp outside St Paul’s?
    Love your curiously stylish country gent’s attire, Nige!

    November 28, 2011 at 20:47

    We would have dreamed of an Aldi bag-for-life when we were being chased across the Australian outback by a gang of rogue Delta Force hunter/killers. They had their Blackhawks and their AC-130 Spectre and what did we have? Just a soiled hankerchief bunched about a few old cashew nuts. But we didn’t complain, even though it were an old hankerchief and smelled rotten. We didn’t expect nothing better.

    Hey Skipper
    November 28, 2011 at 21:59

    Cyclists who kit themselves out like super-heroes are looked down on by the cutting edge of campaigning cyclists.

    Ride 70 miles at a whack, and the gear matters.

    November 28, 2011 at 23:55

    “Strolling on Blakeney marshes, I couldn’t help but notice that everyone I passed was kitted out for Walking…”

    If they were kitted out as in the photograph, I don’t wonder that you overtook them. The fellow second from the right looks to have 40 pounds or more on his back. I don’t know that I would venture into the marshes in oxfords and spats, unless I had a gentleman’s personal gentleman to manage the cleaning.

    November 29, 2011 at 09:49

    Aaah, the male love of “kit”. As any fule kno, men particularly as the years advance love an activity that involves accessories – the more expensive and obscure the better. Despite protestations to the contrary, the “kit” is normally indifferent to the advantage it is meant to provide. Fat men on light bikes? Lose some pounds and save yourself a grand on the price of your frame. That latest type of Gore-Tex? – meh, you’ll be as sweaty under it as you were 10 years ago.

    Kit also provides the opportunity to signal what clique you belong to and to indulge in a bit of snobbery. The man in tweed is making as big a statement about himself as the man in lime green lycra. The bushcraft practitioner clad in some obscure Swedish make wouldn’t be seen dead in anything with North Face written on it.

    It’s all pretty harmless but speaking from personal experince just make sure you have the cupboard space or you’ll run into trouble with the missus.

      November 29, 2011 at 18:47

      Golf surely led the way in this. The whole edifice is built on the insatiable appetite of middle-aged professional men for branded tat.

      Still, got to do something when you’ve given up sex, I suppose.

      • Worm
        November 29, 2011 at 20:21

        yes, much better branded tat than tattooed girls called Brandi

    November 29, 2011 at 09:51

    You’d look pretty damned silly being plucked off Helvellyn by the mountain rescue chopper wearing a Norfolk jacket and trilby.

    November 30, 2011 at 15:13

    It’s all in the layered silk underwear I believe Gaw…

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