Phil a beggin’
Dear Style Guy:
And what of the Inverness cape? Does one always have to have this style of gear when it’s raining or cold?
In a word, no. But if you’re with your band, the word is, yes (assuming that the rest of the band wears Inverness capes). In a band, always be uniform.
The great thing about an Inverness cape is that it’s long and shields the kilt from the elements. It does look pretty nice, too, but, when everyone wears one everyone looks the same. If you’re out and about on your own as a soloist or performing for a special occasion, I think a great look is a longer overcoat – one designed for wearing with a suit.
Also, there are so many great options with an overcoat that you can really define your style. For wet weather, you could go with a McIntosh-style raincoat, or perhaps a classic Burberry trench coat. If it’s especially cold, take it up a notch with a heavier tweed overcoat that you can use for non-piping/drumming events as well.
Unfortunately, most Inverness cape makers these days go for the cheapest possible garment so that they can attract the business of whole pipe bands. Yes, there are a few out there that might make custom capes, but I would take the cue from the look of the great Scots writer, Compton Mackenzie (see photo), and use your outerwear to define your own style and provide a bit of dash.
And, so, Dear Reader, these are my sage words of sartorial wisdom for you at this time. Be sure to forward your fashion-backward questions to me, The Style Guy, and I shall endeavour to address them.
As ever, your obedient servant,
The Style Guy