Fabric focus: Tweed - The Inside Pocket

Why it’s a classic – and why it’s right for now.

WHY IT’S A CLASSIC – AND WHY IT’S RIGHT FOR NOW
• WORDS: A. FOZZARD

Buy a tweed suit and you know you’ve got a classic that will last. Why? Because it’s a durable cloth and the design has continually evolved to stay current. Tweeds today are rugged yet smart, country-inspired yet just as at home in the city, warm yet lightweight and breathable.

Here, we bust some tweed-myths and make the case for why you’ll want some in your wardrobe now.

WHEN WAS TWEED INVENTED?

Tweed isn’t just for shooting and hunting. Sometime in the eighteenth century, Scotland started producing tweed as a hard-wearing fabric to keep farmers and other outdoor workers warm during the harsh winters. The wool was naturally warm and breathable, and it repelled the wind and rain. It was the original performance cloth.

Tweed got its aristocratic associations later on when Lady Dunmore favoured Harris tweed (woven in the Outer Hebrides) and introduced it to the landed gentry.

WHAT ARE MODERN TWEEDS LIKE?

Twenty-first-century tweeds are as easy to wear in Farringdon as they are in the New Forest because they’re generally pared-back. Where once you’d see lots of checked and overcheck tweeds in rich colours, now you’ll see minimalist twill, herringbone and Donegal weaves. They may have a textured or flecked appearance rather than a distinctive pattern.

ARE TWEED SUITS COMFORTABLE?

Because of its rich texture, people often think of tweed as being rough, but a lot of work has gone into making the cloth more wearable today. It’s often woven with finer threads and blended with other materials to make it lighter. You’ll also find it used on half-lined and unlined jackets to allow airflow and help to keep the weight down.

IS TWEED EXPENSIVE?

Tweed can be expensive because it’s a high-quality, pure wool cloth that’s considered a classic. Luckily if you want to spend a little less, you can now buy blended materials that are much friendlier on the wallet.

CAN YOU WEAR TWEED IN THE SUMMER?

Yes – because it’s now much more lightweight and breathable. Our tweed suits are popular all year round and we’ve seen lots of guys wear them for warm-weather weddings. Go for an unstructured version (minimal lining, soft shoulders) in a summer-ready hue.

On the flip side, heavier-weight tweeds with high wool content are great for winter. Pick a thick Donegal tweed or a chunky herringbone weave and you’ll be promised a seriously warm layer.

CAN YOU WEAR TWEED TO WORK OR WEDDINGS?

Tweed works for any smart occasion. It’s moved away from the outdoor-pursuits zone to finely tailored suits. That’s why the patterns are generally more minimalist and refined. They’re also in urban shades, like greys, navy blues and khakis, which are easy to style with crisp shirts and bold accessories.

HOW TO WEAR A TWEED SUIT

For a modern take on classic tweed, try wearing a two- or three-piece suit with a patterned shirt or a more casual denim one worn open-necked. Choose a pocket square in colours like teal, burgundy or rust with a geometric pattern to contrast with your textured tweed.

 

SHOP TWEED SUITS