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Thibault S

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Hi,

If I may say... I tried the last year iteration of the balmacaan and indeed the collar didn't stand very strongly. Although, I own the iteration from 2 or 3 years ago (the one posted before made with this extra heavy charcoal tweed) and the collar holds its shape greatly. A matter of fabric and weight maybe?
 

oldworldelegance

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Afternoon all

Here's an update on the previously mooted balmacaan project with Styleforum (codename: Balmacaan Project with Styleforum) ...

It is no longer mooted. Rather, it is definite and it is happening.

For anyone not privy to discussions thus far, we will be making a special version of the balmacaan along with and alongside Styleforum. The balmacaan proved the most popular choice among the people here on the thread when the idea was introduced last month, and in particular, a version slightly longer than our current offering (below).

View attachment 1568026View attachment 1568025View attachment 1568024

The next step is the fun part: picking cloth.

I've been in discussion with the mill in Donegal which supplies every year the cloth for our balmacaan, and received this week a selection of tweeds with a herringbone design. These are all the same weight (and indeed, exactly the same quality) as the barleycorn tweed used for the balmacaan above.

Again, herringbone was a popular suggestion when the idea was first discussed here last month. However, we're by no means wedded to it, and the only governing criteria for the cloth for the balmacaan are the weight (the weight must be coat weight, i.e. about the same as used previously) and from the same mill (we're loyal) ... that's it. The herringbone seems to have wide appeal, but nice alternatively might be a plain version of the cloth, since the Donegal yarn is already alive with those neps and burrs of colour. Or, indeed, a barleycorn again.

View attachment 1568020View attachment 1568022View attachment 1568019View attachment 1568023

What do people think is the best way to go forward? One of those voting polls? Perhaps some more photographs, closer, of the tweeds here, and a description of the colours for any members for whom descriptions would be useful? Bigger swatches of a handful of them? I am at your service!

I was thinking if we can trim the selection eventually down to a final three, we could make mock-ups of the balmacaan -- i.e. a collar and front -- before a final vote and then ... we make some coats (after the summer).

Paul (and Sara)
Fantastic initiative Paul!

For my part I would go with a herringbone instead of barleycorn.
Regarding colour I would prefer grey, navy, or even one of the paler colours. I think that brown together with the donegal tweed makes the coat too much of a country coat and less versatile in the city. There are also more balmacaans in brown so perhaps it would be less unique.

I also agree that in general the length is too short.
 

sehkelly

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Hi,

If I may say... I tried the last year iteration of the balmacaan and indeed the collar didn't stand very strongly. Although, I own the iteration from 2 or 3 years ago (the one posted before made with this extra heavy charcoal tweed) and the collar holds its shape greatly. A matter of fabric and weight maybe?
Some cloths hold their shape better than others. A thick and compact woollen like a melton will stand upright better than a looser or thinner cloth. The Donegal barleycorn tweed used for the balmacaan most recently is very thick, and about averagely dense, I'd say -- as most tweeds of this ilk tend to be. It is the thickest offered by the mill, and so thick we could only make coats with it (no trousers or jackets).

The tweed used for the balmacaan three years ago (the very dark grey one, with yarn mixed with black cotton, mentioned a few posts back) was categorised as upholstery cloth, so was very thick, too, and also more rigid over time than a traditional tweed on account of the cotton, so the collar stood upright very well.

And then there was the Donegal tweed we used two years ago — like the granite grey one you purchased in 2019, Thibault — which was finer in design than the barleycorn: a box weave, as we call it, or sometimes, in the past, Tetris tweed. This was closer to jacket weight than coating. As such, the balmacaan that year was very fluid and had a beautiful, easy drape ... but was the least heavy of all the balmacaans we've made in tweed. And thus also its collar was the least prone to standing upright for long periods of time. I remember that.

(And not forgetting — all else being equal, the heavier the coat, the warmer the coat, and the less useful it is through autumn and winter. We made the lighter one in 2019 because London had had a habit in years previous of not being very cold when it blimmin' well should've been.)

Now, I think the balmacaan we offered last year (six months ago, I mean) in the barleycorn was a perfect weight. I personally found the collar to be very obedient: affected neither by the latch weighing it down, nor flopping around against my command. Indeed, I don't think a heavier tweed would be an improvement: the weight of the barleycorn was the right balance between moderately heavy and super-heavy, especially when factoring in some of the more tricky aspects of making the coat, such as the way in which the through-pockets are made.

The other control we have on how the collar behaves is how much interlining is used. Last year we used a heavy interlining, ensuring that the collar will retain its shape and strength for ... well, for as long as the wearer wishes to keep the coat around. I imagine you can go heavier, but as with weight of cloth, what you gain in strength you lose in pliability. It is rather like putting too much starch on a shirt collar: you risk ending up with something closer to cardboard than clothing!
 

sehkelly

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Fantastic initiative Paul!

For my part I would go with a herringbone instead of barleycorn.
Regarding colour I would prefer grey, navy, or even one of the paler colours. I think that brown together with the donegal tweed makes the coat too much of a country coat and less versatile in the city. There are also more balmacaans in brown so perhaps it would be less unique.

I also agree that in general the length is too short.
Cheers!

Thanks for that. Concise, clear thinking, if I might say so!

We have coats of a few different lengths here — the tielocken, trench, parka major, and Chesterfield (and then the balmacaan, which I think is the shortest of those). It might be a good idea if I post some photographs in a few days or week so people can say what would look best for this balmacaan.
 

bry2000

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I found my way to this discussion by way of the email blast announcing this coat.

I have possible interest to the extent the coat is longer and a bit fuller than the preceding models. Below the knee is a must.

As for fabrics, I would prefer a Barleycorn in a color that has some pop to it. Not looking for a subdued color or a herringbone cloth. Just my 2 pence.
 
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sehkelly

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Cheers!

In terms of length, here is our Chesterfield, which at 41" (in size M) is 4" longer than our balmacaan (37").

chesterfield-merino-hopsack-midnight-blue-worn-5@2x.jpg


And then there's our tielocken, which is 43.5" in length and thus 6.5" longer than the balmacaan.

tielocken-woollen-bedford-cord-malt-worn-1@2x.jpg


For reference, the chap here is about 6' 1".

Are these the sort of lengths folks have in mind for the Styleforum edition?
 

Spaghettimatt

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Cheers!

In terms of length, here is our Chesterfield, which at 41" (in size M) is 4" longer than our balmacaan (37").

View attachment 1569517

And then there's our tielocken, which is 43.5" in length and thus 6.5" longer than the balmacaan.

View attachment 1569518

For reference, the chap here is about 6' 1".

Are these the sort of lengths folks have in mind for the Styleforum edition?
Does the chesterfield end at the knee here and the tielocken just below?

They both look good to me.
 

FlyingHorker

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I would probably be most interested in something that ends just below the knee. I think longer than that and it starts to get impractical
View attachment 1569524
I had a Bal made for me recently that reached lower-mid-calf length and it brushed against the ground when I sat down, and loved clinging to my car door's side skirts.

I got it shortened to just below the knee. I'm 5'10, and it measures 43.75" from BoC to hem.
 

thatboyo

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I have the chesterfield from a few months ago and it just below knee (5'11). I wouldnt mind an extra inch or two to bring it similark to tielocken length.
 

losrockets

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Following along, agree w the preferences for something 42 to 43" for a s/m, and a slightly fuller overall silhouette. Would prefer something in a city color, so cooler gray or navy, as well a herringbone or barleycorn / donegal (tonal or beige flecks, not multicolor). Will you have an order limit on these?
 

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