A Gentleman’s Guide To Tweed Suits
Tweed is a timeless fabric that has been around for centuries and has been an essential part of fashion in the UK for just as long, thanks to the thickness and heaviness of the fabric, which makes any tweed garment perfect for withstanding cold temperatures and wet climates. While you may think of tweed as something that stuffy old men wear, we’re here to tell you that that’s not the case at all, and tweed suits, sport coats, overcoats, and even accessories can seamlessly fit into every dude’s wardrobe.
Read on for everything you need to know about tweed, the different types of tweed, how to style tweed suits and other garments, and more.
What Is Tweed?
Tweed is a rough, woven fabric that’s thick, heavy, and somewhat stiff. It is typically made from wool and is often woven using different colored threads to give clothing garments a patterned look, usually in vertical lines or small squares. Tweed is also moisture-resistant and durable, as it’s been a staple in British and Scottish fashion for centuries, and can stand up to the country’s wet climates.
Historically, tweed was worn while hunting, riding, and/or shooting, and is the perfect fabric to withstand harsh weather conditions and cold temperatures. Additionally, tweed is mainly used in semi-formal to formal outerwear; you won’t find button down shirts, shorts, or casual clothing items made of tweed.
Are There Different Types of Tweed?
There are actually a few different types of tweed: Harris Tweed, Donegal Tweed, and silk tweed. Harris Tweed is a luxury brand known for its extremely high-quality fabric and is made in literally only ONE location in the world: the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Think of Harris Tweed like champagne: if it’s not made in the Champagne region of France, it’s just sparkling wine.
The same goes for Harris Tweed; if it’s not made in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, it’s just regular old tweed, my friend. What makes Harris Tweed so special is that it’s hand-woven in a weaver’s shed on the island, specifically by crofters who live on the island. Harris Tweed is also known for its iconic logo.
Donegal Tweed is high-end tweed that comes from Donegal Country, Ireland. Although Donegal Tweed can really be woven in any manner and include patterns and designs like herringbone and checkered, it is typically known for a plain weave with lots of color throughout the fabric.
Another telltale characteristic of Donegal Tweed is that it is extremely high-quality, as it is made from only the finest materials. It is also exceptionally soft, comfortable, and stylish, making it one of the most popular types of tweed around. Silk tweed is the more delicate fabric of the three, is made of raw silk with flecks of color throughout (similar to Donegal Tweed), and is incredibly versatile.
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How To Wear Tweed
As previously mentioned, tweed is typically a very heavy fabric in comparison to other common fabrics, like cotton or linen, and can withstand cold temperatures and wet climates – meaning if you’re in a location that experiences harsh winters and freezing temps on the regular, then investing in a two-piece or three-piece tweed suit is an excellent idea.
It’s important to note that your suit should match the occasion you dress for, as tweed suits are available in a variety of colors and patterns, and can be worn to a plethora of different events. Tweed suits are great for formal occasions, like business meetings, a night out on the town with friends, or even a date, depending on where you’re going. If you’re going to be in a more casual setting, like a lunch with a client, you may want to only wear the tweed pants and pair them with a button down either layered under a sweater or with a tie, and Oxfords or brogues.
Tweed Sport Coats
Every man should have at least one tweed sport coat in their closet, and it’s actually one of the most common tweed items that can spruce up your wardrobe in an instant. Look for a tweed sport coat with interesting details, like elbow patches, and pair it with chinos, a button down or sweater, and loafers for an upscale twist on a semi-formal look.
If you’re looking for a piece of outerwear that’ll keep you warm, dry, and utterly stylish, then you should invest in a reliable tweed overcoat that will have you looking dapper all throughout fall and winter. You can never go wrong with a tweed overcoat in a classic, muted grey, which will match with pretty much everything you own, or if you want something with a warmer tone, look for a tweed overcoat in shades of brown.
As far as length goes, look for something that hits anywhere from mid-thigh to right above the knee, as this silhouette is not only flattering but will keep you extra warm when you have to be out and about in below-freezing temps.
Also referred to as a tweed waistcoat, tweed vests are a great addition to any tweed suit or outfit and can be worn in both formal and casual settings. While tweed vests can be a part of a three-piece tweed suit, you can also wear a tweed vest over a button down with high-end fitted denim or chinos – perfect for dinner with your parents, a date, a smart casual gathering, or a night out with your buds.
Tweed isn’t just limited to formal and semi-formal wear; you can easily find a wide variety of tweed accessories nowadays, like weekender bags, wallets, gloves, hats, ties, and more.
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