Cavalry Twill Season!

January 10, 2011

Cavalry Twill Season!

A recent run of luck has led to a near-surfeit of cavalry twill trousers in my wardrobe. Two pairs thrifted, one pair from a consignment shop and one from a generous Christmas gift mean I’m rich with this wonderful fabric.

Cavalry twill is a wool weave originally for riding. It’s a bit like denim, if denim was made of wool. Strong, slightly stretchy and surprisingly soft, it’s perfect for casual wear with country-ish coats.

Alan Flusser describes it thus:

A sturdy-weave fabric made with a diagonal cord steep-set on a 63 degree twill weave for trousers and breeches; hence the association with British Cavalry officers. Although cavalry twill is the original name, the U.S. government named it “elastique” because of its stretch quality and durability for riding clothes.

It can be difficult to find. Of my four pairs, one is from the Chicago clothier Oxxford – perhaps the finest clothing manufacturer in the US. Two are from Carrol & Company, the Los Angeles retailer whose store brand often comes from makers like Chester Barrie, one of the finest ready-to-wear companies in the UK. One is from the dearly departed cool-kids line hickey, which was a subsidiary of Hickey Freeman. I’d imagine that the MSRPs were in the hundreds for the Carrol & Company and Oxxford versions. The hickeys were in the three digits, as well.

Still, if you can find some, they are unmistakable. All wool, with a diagonal weave. Usually two colors (which blend in the eye to one neutral – typically gray or tan). Slightly soft, slightly stretchy and rather tough. A wonderful pant to have on hand.

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