WELL, if Rosie Nickerson says we shall all be wearing tweed trousers instead of plus fours and knickerbockers this shooting season, I am sure she is right.
Ms Nickerson is the gel who once wrote a book entitled How to Be Asked Again, which is essentially; don’t be late, remember to write a thank you letter and try not to shoot the other guests – although Willie Whitelaw, the home secretary (1979-83), famously shot her father, the industrialist Sir Joseph Nickerson.
His daughter has done the round of ducal palaces and Borders grouse moors, so knows whereof she speaks when it comes to modish attire in the shooting field.
And if the toffs and aristos, who on the whole don’t really care what anyone else thinks, are all wearing tweed trousers, then no doubt the rest of us will follow.
After all, somebody set the fashion for plus fours in the late 19th century, and we have never looked back, or even forwards, since. The one singular advantage of tweed trousers is that they might be wearable on other occasions. Plus fours and their ilk are completely useless for anything other than shooting, unless you have a sudden urge to be mistaken for Goldfinger on the golf course.
Ms Nickerson’s friends have all switched to tweed trousers, largely in an attempt to blend in with their fellow countrymen and avoid being abused by hoodies and rude members of the lower orders on garage forecourts.
Thus her friend Sir Michael Farquhar claims: “They’re just easier, especially when I stop at a fuel station. I don’t feel so out of place.” Blending in, then, seems to be the story with tweed trousers – a sort of urban camouflage.
“And driving back [from a day’s shooting], when you stop off at petrol stations, as long as the tweed isn’t too ridiculous you can blend in more,” says William van Cutsem, whose family are famously pally with the royals.
Ms Nickerson, who has also spent lonely moments on forecourts in her knickerbockers, agrees, “I can completely identify with it, as many the times I have been eyed up at petrol stations – for all the wrong reasons.” Well I have to confess that many is the time I have stopped at petrol stations to fill up in a pair of plus eights (my father-in-law favoured the baggy look) and frankly I have yet to attract a smidgen of interest one way or the other.
Or perhaps people are just naturally embarrassed at the sight of a grown man dressing up like Edward VII, or simply assume he must be en route to a fancy dress party in a Tintin costume. The one thing no one seems to have noticed is that trousers are easier to put on and take off than plus fours. But there you go.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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