We all have those things in life—material and immaterial—that we’ll never outgrow, no matter how old we get. I’ve a perpetual distaste for raw onions, and get a shiver down my neck whenever I encounter one by surprise in a salad. There’s also a Seiko watch my parents gave me for my college graduation that I’ve since lost, but still hold out blind hope for finding. A pristine copy of Bartleby’s “Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson”—as much loved for the signature of my favorite librarian as the contents therein. And a preference for all spaces green, wild, solitary, and under-traveled. That last thing is the most paradoxically permanent. To the degree that even after having lived in cities for nearly a decade now, I still feel like I can only breathe—really breathe—when I’m at home in the country.
When I was a student living in London, I fell in love with Yorkshire—the moors, the sheep folds, the horse farms, the chatty birds, the mushy peas and Cornish pasties, the tilted caps, the friendly nods, the lilting accents. Tall, ruddy, and substantial as I am, I probably looked as home out there as I felt, rambling through rain and sun. Probably because I was prepared for it—with a brown flecked wool sweater and muck boots bought in the Lake District. This is the uniform I have since associated with all things English and country. Now, in retrospect, it seems a bit desaturated for the lushness of these memories in my mind.
When I recently discovered Joules, the country brandchild of self-made businessman Tom Joule, I felt awash with the kind of sartorial excitement that I thought was uniquely reserved for big days where big dressing is required (weddings, for instance). Joules is a modern interpretation of what a country lass’ longing for the pastoral feels like, but updated with color, whimsy, nautical references, and bird and hound prints that bring some much needed British irreverence to a staid wardrobe typically filled with green, gray, dun, and brown. Whether you’re on the hunt for a jaunty cap, a quilted and waxed jacket, or a polka dot-printed pair of wellies for your weekend jaunts in the field or by the sea, Joules offers an ever-evolving (and always delightful) selection of leisurewear for women, men and children. And better yet, the women’s line is garnished with polished sheath dresses, blouses, and slim trousers in brights and florals that bring a bit of the dreamiest leisure weekends into the office.
Lovely pieces for natives and anglophiles aside, where Joules stands apart from competitors is sticking to its heritage and reputation for long-lasting, no-nonsense quality in fabrication and design. Those landmark pieces that Mr. Joule first brought in small runs to equestrian and country events in the ‘shires nearly 30 years ago are still offered today. These namesakes include impeccably printed and trimmed equestrian-style polos and a spectrum of candy-colored rubber wellingtons that appear in over 76 brick and mortar shops, on several international e-Commerce sites, and in specialty department stores alike.
This (hitherto undiscovered by me!) gem offers fits that not only cater to a range of body types, large and small, but also an array of singular wardrobe staples particularly well-suited to tall women—that even hit at the knee and the wrist on this particularly tall blogger (that is, where they should). Though we’ve had months of polar weather ill-suited to outfit photos, stay tuned for a post on the Joules 2014 spring collection and my top picks for the vertically-inclined—and all other ladies with soft spots for riding, rabble-rousing, and exploring the routes less traveled—accessible, of course, only by rough-hewn (and likely a bit muddy) country roads.