What became of the Country Gent?
There was once a time when men decked head to toe in tweed were common place in society- you couldn’t walk into a pub without seeing your local country gent propping up the bar and the air was full of the sound of Labradors barking and Land Rovers revving. Today, the lesser-spotted country gent is now a rare sight amongst the t-shirt and trainer clad city folk that can be found roaming the Country Gent’s former haunts. With each passing day, our team here at Outdoor and Country are becoming more and more concerned with the decline in sightings of the country gentleman.
But what has become of the newly-named Lesser Spotted Country Gent? Well the good news is they’re still out there, but there are lots of great lookalikes nowadays, so you’ve got to be sure of who you’re looking for. To help the public to document sightings of the Country Gent, we’ve put together a Spotter’s Guide with all of the key features so you can become an expert Country Gent Spotter in next to no time.
Plain, Shetland, Herringbone or Barleycorn- there’s nothing a Country Gent loves more than his tweed. A good Country Gent Impersonator will, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, take on this traditional uniform in the form of a thin blazer or ill-fitting waistcoat- but don’t be fooled. A true Country Gent’s tweed attire can range from anything from a thick, woollen tweed flat cap to a full out three-piece sporting suit with matching hipflask, but it will always be a top quality, perfectly lined and made from exquisite British wool. Accept no imitations.
A Barbour Jacket
Not every Barbour owner has to be a Country Gent- but you have to have one to be one! Ever since Arctic Monkeys front man Alex Turner donned a Barbour Jacket at a Lancashire gig back in 2007, this iconic wax jacket has had something of a renaissance. Barbour was the reserve of the Country Gent (and his Lady!) for over one hundred years before this Sheffield rock star got his hands on one, but that summer, Alex shared his love of the country style with the masses. This was all fun in games for us everyday folk, but his high profile attire also enabled the shady behaviour of Country Gent impersonators everywhere. Authentic Country Gents will pair their Barbour with vintage wellington boots or leather sporting boots, the up and comers of the Country gentility steal the style awards by teaming an iconic Beadle with brogues or Chelsea boots.
Location, Location, Location
If you’re ever out in the city and think you’ve spotted a real-life country gent, stop and consider the chances of seeing this rare variety of man in such unnatural surroundings. Why not ask yourself the following questions:
- Could he be lost?
- Is there a country show nearby that week?
- Are you in a city with a horse racing ground?
- Is there a large Barbour store in your city?
- Could he be visiting his offspring at the city’s most prestigious educational institution?
If you answered no to three or more of these questions, he’s not a genuine Country Gent, and you should steer well clear.
King of the Rural Jungle
Let’s not beat around the bush here, you’ll never see a country gent with a Chihuahua. So if you’re dashing around the town and you spot a man in a pair of branded wellington boots and a Barbour Jacket, take a quick look to see if he’s out and about with man’s best friend. If the dog looks like it wouldn’t last two seconds out in the field, then chances are you’ve got a wannabe on your hands: a setter, a pointer or a retriever is the breed of choice for our real-life Country Gents. And of course, if you ever see a startled flock of pheasants running swiftly to the hills, you can be sure a Country Gent isn’t too far behind…
If you can ever be sure that there’s a Country Gent Impersonator in your midst, then look out for how they react to a classic country sport. If they don’t know their equine from their angling, skeet from their sailing, then they won’t stand a chance in the countryside. A true Country Gentleman will be so au fait with country pursuits that he could shoot clay pigeons in his sleep, whereas an impersonator can only dream of partaking in such specialised sports.
Have you spotted a Country Gent out and about? Maybe you have one hiding within your family or friendship group. Wherever he may be, make sure you alert us by tagging us in a photo on our Outdoor and Country Instagram.