Wide Awake

"And then in the rocky gateway the shepherd himself appeared. He was a lean, upright old man, in a frieze coat that was covered with a web of tiny drops, velvet trousers tied under the knee, and a wide-awake with a folded blue handkerchief round the brim. One hand was crammed into his belt, the other grasped a beautifully smooth yellow stick. And as he walked, taking his time, he kept up a very soft light whistling, an airy, far-away fluting that sounded mournful and tender." (10)

Perhaps the most famous wide-awake wearer,
Rembrandt, in his self-portrait c. 1632.

Mansfield, Katherine. "At the Bay", in The Garden Party. Middlesex, UK: Penguin Books, Ltd., 1968 [1922].


How many of you knew what a frieze coat was, or a wide-awake? Not me, although I had an idea of what a shepherd might look like at the turn of the century, and a wide-awake is somewhat easy to guess. Do you think it was meant to indicate some sort of shabbiness or old/static style?

In books about ties I've been reading for research, bandannas and handkerchiefs definitely have "provincial" associations. He definitely sounds stately, though, huh? The romantic New Zealand shepherd. Do you think all shepherds dressed like this in the 1910s?