Style for the season - dress for alfresco autumn cigars
For Cuban cigar lovers in the northern hemisphere, the nights are beginning to draw in and the temperatures starting to drop. It is true that some of us may be benefitting from a late blast of sunshine, but even the unseasonable warmth of these day does not combat the chill of the evening as strongly as in the summer months. Try as we might to fight it, autumn is upon us. Holidays are over, offices are full, and thoughts begin to turn to the impending end-of-year celebrations. For devotees of our particular passion for Habanos, this turning of the seasons brings with it the added consideration of how to remain comfortable smoking outdoors as the nights become ever more crisp.
It is true that many venues have excellent terraces and lounges which are relatively weatherproof, but this does not fully guard the aficionado against the elements. We must pay attention to our dress and our accessories to assist the comforts of the locale in ensuring our autumn and winter smokes are as enjoyable as those in the spring and summer. From October onwards the celebrations arrive thick and fast – these are nights for fine food, Ruinart champagne and Cohiba cigars. They should not be spoiled by a shiver at the wind.
Luckily, it is a fairly simple and pleasurable exercise to equip oneself for cigar enjoyment at this time of year. From garments that keep us warm to lighters powerful enough to combat the wind, here are some fine examples.
Cashmere is one of the most luxurious and most efficient fabrics available when we need to keep the breeze at bay. The soft hand-feel, light weight and natural insulating properties all contribute to its appeal. In my (in fairness, heavily biased) opinion, the best cashmere in the world is woven and knit in Scotland – precisely where this Colhay’s piece is made. Years of research have gone into sourcing fabric from Kinross and manufacture in Hawick to create this durable, versatile and timeless piece. Paired with an overcoat for formal looks, or denim and rugged outerwear when something more casual is appropriate, this will keep you warm while enjoying your smokes for years to come.
Edward Sexton has been cutting and crafting world-class bespoke tailoring since the 1960s. His signature wide lapels and combination of rock star flamboyance with an attention to technical detail are known the world over. This Navy Bridgecoat is cut from 18oz Italian wool, features those signature wide lapels alongside an equally substantial collar, and will cover a suit during the week or dress down with knitwear and light-coloured trousers at the weekend. Of particular advantage are the pockets; 2 jetted handwarmer pockets in the body are supported by 2 flap pockets at the hip that will easily hold your cigar case, cutter and lighter. This coat is truly deserving of the Sexton name, and will guarantee your taste in clothing is as revered as your taste in cigars.
Another example of Scotland being responsible for some of the greatest fabrics in the world – especially where combatting cold weather is concerned – is Harris Tweed. Heavyweight and sturdy, it is the ideal fabric for the darker months and these sharply-tailored trousers are an exceptional use of it. Walker Slater are a relatively young brand to the ancient craft of Scottish winter tailoring, having been founded in 1989, but have built a reputation for quality ever since. These trousers, with a classic flat front and more modern taper below the knee, will be a staple in your wardrobe for years to come. They can be paired with jackets and waistcoats in the same fabric to create an elegant winter suit, but paired with the rollneck and coat will create an ideal weekend ensemble.
Keeping our feet warm and dry is the key to comfort on cooler months, and these wonderful, robust boots from Crockett & Jones are a great choice. The solid scotch grain leather is decorated with attractive broguing, and the extra-thick Vibram sole ensures the waterproofing is second to none. These boots will look stylish in the city and be functional in the countryside, repelling the rain and keeping you upright in the mud. The classic black colour ensures they will fit whatever outfit you choose to finish with them, and the construction is on a level few can match. Crockett & Jones are one of the most famous makers in Northampton, known around the world as the home of fine shoemaking, and their refurbishment service means that their footwear is truly a lifetime investment.
One issue unique to the cigar aficionado in less hospitable weather is the trouble that lighting our cigar in the wind can bring. Luckily, ST Dupont have created the Le Grande line – lighters that switch from the classic soft flame to a powerfully wind resistant jet with just a simple flick of the thumb. As with all their products, style has not been sacrificed for function. The gorgeous caramel brown lacquer sits in beautiful pink gold and will make sure your accessories are as elegant as your outfit.