Barrington Ayre: Hand-made tweed slippers

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
A couple of years ago I came very close to buying a pair of black slippers embroidered with my initials. You know, the sort of thing that you can wear with black tie (in your own home) or a dressing gown (in anyone else's home). Perhaps fortunately, I was pulled back from the brink by a friend who suggested that I could really only justify such an extravagance when I actually owned a house. Fair enough, I thought, and you may rest assured that as soon as I trade up my little flat for something attached to the ground, I shall be off to Crockett and Jones in a heartbeat.

Anyway, all this is by way of introduction to a cunning loophole I discovered in this rule. After all, noone said anything about a pair of hand-made tweed house shoes, entirely lacking in initials.

These beautiful items are made by Barrington Ayre, a bespoke tailor based in Gloucestershire (but with regular visits to London) who do a particularly nice line in tweed and other country-wear. The slippers are hand-made in England in the traditional house-shoe style; with a thin leather sole and properly built heel, semi-rigid body and a slim round-toed shape. They're a far cry from your average slippers and better-made than most people's shoes, so you can understand why, in black, they're considered suitable for wear with dinner dress. Barrington Ayre's are even popular with people who are getting a bespoke shooting suit made and like the idea of having matching house shoes for when they go in to lunch. Apparently people even get ones made in left-over material to match newly re-upholstered furniture.

Even if that's not your thing, Barrington Ayre give the option of having the slippers made with a variety of their own tweeds or any other fabric of your choosing and of course you can also choose the colour of that gorgeous quilted silk lining. Beautiful matching tweed dressing gowns are also available, which probably appeals to me more than the furniture or shooting tweed.

Anyway, all that is by the by since for now their main purpose is keeping my feet warm in my often-freezing flat (I'm cultivating an aristocratic dislike for turning the central heating on) and in various under-heated country houses I sometimes have the pleasure of visiting. This job they do admirably - few things are warmer or more comfortable than a combination of tweed and quilted silk, and the fact that they happen to look beautiful is an added bonus, particularly if you have an overnight stay at a shooting party or some other event where a degree of formality is combined with cold stone floors and long corridors.

Throw away those old M&S slippers and invest in the sort of thing you could wear to Buckingham Palace.

Note: The slippers in this article were provided by Barrington Ayre for review. No payment has been made for this post, and acceptance of items for review does not guarantee positive coverage.