When a tweed coat was the real star of the crime drama “Strike”

I don’t know how many of you are avid readers of crime fiction, or viewers of crime drama, but if I say JK Rowling I’m sure some of you will make the association with her alter ego “Robert Galbraith” and the currently three-part series about Cormoran Strike. The books are passable crime fiction about the private detective Cormoran Strike and his sidekick Robin, yet when adapted for the flat screen the main character is of these changes dramatically. A main character that doesn’t even get a mention in the books! Dark and moody, brooding and succulent, open and closed, snug and warm, yes, it’s Strikes tweed coat I’m talking about. What looks like a big, brown, herringbone tweed coat is the true star of the tv adaptation.

Cormoran Strike, Robin and that tweed coat.

Cormoran Strike, Robin and that tweed coat.

A bit nerdy maybe, but once noticed a garmsman will not manage to ignore the onscreen presence of the tweed coat, and hence start wondering where such a magnificent item may be procured. It’s a strange phenomenon of the digital age that at the same time that humans spend more of their time engrossed in their small screens, the world has also kind of shrunk. This became clear to me when I realised I was only two separations away from Tom Burke, the actor that plays Cormoran Strike. Hence it was easy to reach out and ask the pertinent question “Where is the tweed coat from, Tom?”. The answer was simple, yet crushingly unhelpful: it was custom made for him.

That tweed coat breezily walking the streets with Tom Burke as Cormoran Strike.

That tweed coat breezily walking the streets with Tom Burke as Cormoran Strike.

Now a custom made tweed coat is something of an undertaking but naturally would make it possible to replicate the Strike coat exactly. I’d just need to source the tweed, find a tailor, agree on the design and pony up the readies. The latter is the scariest, as I’ve heard enough legends about Savile Row costs! Maybe there is something else out there that is close enough to the look and already available? My search yielded two possibilities, both similar and both with their own unique features.

First, the Chelsea overcoat from Bucktrout Tailoring:

The Chelsea tweed coat by Bucktrout Tailoring.

The Chelsea tweed coat by Bucktrout Tailoring.

The Chelsea coat is clearly a more formal look, with regular shoulders (as Strikes tweed coat has) and a plethora of pockets. Styling-wise it may even be more along the lines of the kind of East End gangster that Strike could find himself up against. It’s in a pukka brown herringbone Harris Tweed with a velvet collar and three buttons. In addition to the four outside pockets, there are 2 inside. Possibly this is what old Cormoran would have chosen if he got a grip on his life, married Robin and stopped charging around after crims, neglecting both his dietary needs and sleep, not to mention the troubles his prosthetic leg causes him? Back in real life though, a very smart and usable coat and a great addition to any garmsmans arsenal.

The Chelsea Harris tweed coat styled with a Mister Miller Harris tweed cap.

The Chelsea Harris tweed coat styled with a Mister Miller Harris tweed cap.

 

I’m usually a 42-inch chest and I’m wearing a 42R here.

The Chelsea overcoat is available from Bucktrout Tailoring at 350 pounds.

 

Second, the Follifoot tweed coat from Cordings of Piccadilly:

The Follifoot Donegal tweed coat from Cordings of Piccadilly.

The Follifoot Donegal tweed coat from Cordings of Piccadilly.

Ah, those raglan shoulders set it apart from the Strike tweed coat, but the profile itself has a fullness that is very much what we’re after.. The Follifoot is a full coat in a chocolate brown herringbone Donegal tweed. Just the two buttoned front pockets, handy for sticking your hands into. Fully lined for comfort, and well… It just feels great. There are three inside pockets, so plenty of carrying capacity. Wearing it with a wool jumper gives a satisfyingly rugged feel to it, definitely channelling some Strike if I can say so myself. I’ve usually gone straight for the Harris Tweed when given the option, but this Irish Donegal Tweed is very convincing.

The Cordings Follifoot tweed coat, styled with a Harris tweed cap by Mister Miller.

The Cordings Follifoot tweed coat, styled with a Harris tweed cap by Mister Miller.

I’m usually a 42-inch chest and sized down to a 40 in this, as I don’t plan on wearing a suit under.

The Donegal Tweed Follifoot coat is available from Cordings of Piccadilly at 595 pounds.

Other options?

Are there any other options out there? There may be vintage options, though I’ve searched high and low with no results. There are a lot of great-looking vintage tweed coats around. Most of them tend to be double-breasted and large of shoulder, which isn’t quite what I was after.

A custom-made tailored coat would be nice, but a big step both mentally and no doubt monetary. At the end of the day though, a coat like this will last a long time, so using the traditional method of justifying a big spend, the cost per wear, it makes sense to get the one you like best.

Speaking of Strike though, sadly there are only the three books so far, hence only three two-part adaptations for TV. Rumour has it there may be a fourth in 2020. Will the tweed coat be back?

8 Comments

  • Roland Novak 20/10/2019 at 17:01

    The Cordings is definitely very near to the original! Great review!

    Reply
  • Paul Boileau 21/10/2019 at 09:37

    I prefer the Donegal tweed. The Harris tweed coat looks like the bastard offspring of a covert and tweed coat (no offence!) I have a grey donegal coat I’ve had 20+ years with flecks of different colours red, green etc to add surface interest. It’s similar to the one advertised on “Permanent Style” at the moment but with more prominent flecks. For the degage look the coat should be unbuttoned which may not suit the more formal look of the harris tweed.

    Reply
  • Keith Douglas 22/10/2019 at 13:53

    The Cordings coat is a beauty, I would love one of those. The other one looks far too much like something that odious Farage chap wears.

    Reply
  • Basil Enright 02/11/2019 at 01:21

    Nick, have you considered reviewing the Cordings covert coat? I’m tossing up between the covert (herringbone) and the follifoot and given that I live in rural Australia find it a bit hard to pop in and try both coats. I like your review and as Paul suggested why not look at Private White’s Donegal coat?

    Reply
    • nick 12/11/2019 at 08:20

      I’d love to do reviews of both those, the problem is getting hold of them to take a close look at. I know Private White make quality coats, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually come across one to check out.

      Reply
  • Paul 12/11/2019 at 07:32

    My inspiration for wanting a tweed coat, was the character played by Alun Armstrong in New Tricks.
    I finally found a Donegal Tweed coat that fitted like a glove in a retro clothing shop in Canterbury. I truly love this coat, it looks great with a pair of Jean’s and DM’s. I’ve had many people asking where I bought it.

    I’m not a winter person but the fact that the coat can come out of summer hibernation makes it bearable.

    Reply
    • nick 12/11/2019 at 08:19

      Paul, you’ve no idea how happy it made me to hear that Brian from New Tricks is a style icon! I adore him, though possibly not to the extent of wishing to emulate his every style trick 🙂 I agree about his tweed coat though, and I confess to having a very similar one myself. I draw the line at wearing a cycle helmet at all times though.

      Reply
  • Paul 12/11/2019 at 18:53

    Ha, I am a cyclist also, with a love of retro bikes, so I coverted his bike too, with you with the cycling helmet though.

    Reply

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