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It’s Time to Wear More Tweed (the Right Way)

It’s Time to Wear More Tweed (the Right Way)

What do you think of when you think of tweed? For many, tweed is still considered a stuffy fabric, something best relegated to Sherlock Holmes or a character in Downton Abbey. While often misunderstood, tweed is an incredibly versatile fabric that doesn’t have to look–or feel–like a costume when worn.

A Brief History of Tweed

Tweed, a rugged and coarse woolen fabric with a distinctive herringbone or twill weave, has a rich history dating back to the 19th century in the rural landscapes of Scotland and Ireland. Initially woven by local craftsmen, tweed gained prominence as a practical and hard-wearing textile specially built for the climate of the British Isles and well-suited for hunting, fishing, and the demanding activities of the countryside.

The Industrial Revolution transformed tweed from a regional craft to a globally sought-after fabric. Its gaming heritage was adopted across the British aristocracy due, in part, to the preference of Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert for the warm and rugged material. Large estates had tweed color palettes made to match the local landscape, including Prince Albert’s Balmoral Tweed, which was originally worn only by people who lived and worked there. It eventually trickled down into mainstream usage, which gave way to tweed suits, caps, and the occasional bag utilizing tweed.

Today, there’s a relatively high cost to choosing tweed over something like cotton or a synthetic fabric. The reason for this is multifaceted. First and foremost, tweed is expensive due to the use of high-quality wool from regionally specific breeds of sheep, contributing to its texture and high durability. Although much of tweed production is now largely produced by a machine, some fabric manufacturers in Scotland and Ireland still have hand-made components and the labor costs factor into the final price as well.

Styling Tweed

Classic: You can’t go wrong by opting for a tweed suit. A well-tailored tweed suit has the perfect balance between being refined and a bit informal. Pair a tweed suit with a tonal turtleneck for a dressed-up look that’s great for winter weddings or work party.

Casual: For a more casual look, incorporate tweed into your existing wardrobe. Pair a tweed jacket with dark denim jeans or chinos for a smart-casual look. Choose a lighter-weight tweed for comfort and ease of movement. Add a simple crewneck sweater or a button-down shirt underneath, and finish the ensemble with loafers or even sneakers. Don’t be too fussy with it and you’ll be able to find a way to easily incorporate tweed with what you already own.

Relaxed: Going back to its Gaelic roots, tweed is an incredibly warm fabric, so use that to your advantage. Pair a tweed vest with your favorite wool sweater and maybe some joggers for a relaxed look that still maintains just the slightest hint of refinement.

Where To Buy Tweed

Hawes Curtis Tweed Collection

Hawes & Curtis Tweed Collection

If you want to go for quality and heritage, go with the legendary Hawes & Curtis in London. Previously holders of a Royal Warrant and the suitmarker for Cary Grant and the Royal Family, Hawes & Curtis has long been the go-to tailors for those who take their menswear seriously. Luckily, you doesn’t have to travel to Jermyn Street to enjoy British tailoring and classic tweed styles. The off-the-rack collection is superb for quality and classic appeal for those who want to have a tweed suit that will last for years.

Buy Now $199-$928

Hockerty Jacket

Hockerty Jacket

For those looking for a tweed jacket for a more casual look to pair with your existing wardrobe, Hockerty is the place to go. Using the online jacket configurator, you’re able to choose from 24 fabrics, six jacket styles, and a variety of add-ons to personalize the jacket to your exact specifications. It’s like visiting a tailor without ever leaving your house.

Buy Now $249

Donegal Tweed Herringbone Flat Cap

Donegal Tweed Herringbone Flat Cap

If you want a hat to pair with your Banshees of Inisherin sweater, this herringbone flat cap is perfect. For those who just want to dip their toes in the tweed pond, a classic Irish cap like this allows for versatility without breaking the bank if you decide tweed just isn’t your thing.

Buy Now $49.95