Irish tweed used to be thick enough, hairy enough and weatherproof enough to thatch the roof of a Galway cottage. But this fall there is a new breed of Irish tweed. The clothes, photographed here on the Dublin sporting scene, are part of a collection of Irish menswear developed specifically for the American climate and the American preference for easy-fitting comfort.
The Irish Export Board commissioned Norbert Ford, a pioneer of lightweight men's sportswear in the U.S., to come over and show 11 Irish firms what Americans wanted in their casual clothes. Ford discovered that Irishmen buy their clothes by heft. He encouraged the makers to throw out the shoulder pads, heavy linings and interlinings, and to make fabrics about half their home-market weight while keeping such horse-country character as is found in the vested tweed suits and jackets on these pages. This month the results land in the stores listed on page 44. The clothes are unusually well made, with more handwork in the tailoring than is ordinarily found in clothes of comparable price. In addition to the tweeds, there are country shirts, tweed and poplin ties, fine leather gloves, hats, caps and rainwear. And the famous fisherman sweaters, hand-knit on the rocky isles of Aran, now come in colors as well as the well-known off-white of the natural wool.
At the Irish Derby, Robin Palmer wears racetrack plaids, Maida Cooney a navy costume, both tailored of Irish tweed. At left: Brian Grant wears a lightweight houndstooth jacket over a fisherman's turtleneck at Dublin Rugby match.
At Coliemore harbor Robin Palmer, Patrick Smyllie and Ann Marie Berkeley wear new breed of Aran hand-knit sweaters—available in red and blue for the first time.
Robin Palmer (right), surrounded by freckle-faced schoolboy caddies, wears Irish version of a favorite golf fashion—camel's-hair V-neck sweater over turtleneck.
At the Irish National Stud (above) Roger McCourtney teams a cheviot tweed jacket with a matching vest and whipcord trousers, a new Irish country look.
A riding raincoat, made of rubberized cotton with bright-red lining, epaulets and deep flapped pockets, is waterproof enough to turn back an Irish waterfall.
WHERE TO BUY
The Irish menswear on the preceding pages, made in standard American sizes, will be in the following stores this month.
Page 40: The sport jacket worn by Brian Grant is of a lightweight Irish tweed in a deep-red-gray-and-white houndstooth check. It is made by Weartex, Ltd. and is $60 at Ray Bolger, Portland, Ore.
On the color page facing page 40: Robin Palmer wears a three-piece country suit of sturdy Irish-made Saxony tweed. This outfit, made by Kilmaine Clothes, Ltd. for J. Press, New Haven, Conn., Cambridge, Mass. and New York City, comes in a variety of bold plaid patterns. The sport jacket with matching vest is sold separately for $90. The matching trousers, for the braver sportsman, are an additional $45. Maida Cooney's navy tweed dress and coat are by Basil Collins of Dublin. The dress is $60 at Lord & Taylor, New York City.
On the color page facing page 43: Aran Isles sweaters now come in colors as well as the classic bawneen, or ivory-white. Every family of knitters on these barren islands off the west coast of Ireland has its own distinctive pattern, handed down for generations. The sweaters, imported by Galway Bay Products, Ltd., are $47.50 each at Brooks Brothers, New York City; Jordan Marsh, Boston; Robert Kirk, San Francisco.
Page 43: Robin Palmer's golfing sweaters are both by Tailteann Textiles, Ltd. The fine lamb's wool pullover has a mock turtleneck. It is $15 at Cavanagh's, New York City. The V-neck pullover of camel's hair is $30 at Sibley, Lindsay and Curr, Rochester, N.Y. The riding raincoat, which is three-quarter length and has side vents as well as epaulets and patch pockets, is by Dunloe. It is $40 at Ray Bolger, Portland, Ore. The plaid Saxony tweed jacket and matching vest worn by Roger McCourtney at the National Stud are also by Kilmaine Clothes, Ltd. They are $60 at the Higbee Company, Cleveland.
All the men's shirts in the photographs are by Jon Stone and the tweed ties by Crock of Gold Ltd.