In the past there’s been a misconception about tweed in that it was purely for landed gentry or country types. In recent years however, the distinctive, versatile fabric has enjoyed a resurgence, and not just for shooting jackets or country attire but rediscovered for modern jacketing, coats and waistcoats.
A BRIEF HISORY OF TWEED
Tweed really is the original workwear fabric thanks to its durability and the warmth, wind resistance and, to a certain extent, waterproof properties it offers. It originated in 18th century Scotland where the robust cloth was developed to provide protective clothing for land workers in unforgiving weather.
Traditional tweed was always 100% wool but nowadays tweed is often comprised of a wool blend and some are even machine washable. It can come in a variety of colours, patterns and weights.
Its popularity gradually extended south via the aristocracy who wore it for shooting, fishing and other country pursuits such as riding. By the twentieth century, it was acceptable wear for all manner of activities; even climbing Everest as demonstrated by eminent English mountaineer George Mallory!
HOW & WHEN TO WEAR TWEED TODAY
Tweed is versatile enough to be worn for a variety of occasions from formal to smart casual. Here we take a brief look at when and how you can wear tweed with confidence.
TWEED FOR SHOOTING
Tweed is still de rigueur on a formal shoot; for example, a driven shoot. A full three-piece tweed ensemble comprising waterproof tweed coat, or tweed blazer, tweed shooting waistcoat and breeks is traditionally worn though younger Guns prefer to mix and match their tweed with other performance fabrics.
Tweeds are often more muted in colour; greens or browns. On a grouse shoot, for instance, dark colours avoid you being easily spotted by the birds.
On more casual shoots, tweed can still be worn but tends not to be a full tweed suit with shirt and tie. It’s also dependent on the weather because, on a really cold day, a tweed coat will keep you comfortably warm.
It’s always advisable to check the dress code with the host ahead of a shoot.
FESTIVAL FINERY & RIDING COMPETITIONS
Tweed has become synonymous with point to point and winter jump racing, such as the Cheltenham festival, as the fabric of choice for both men and ladies particularly during colder months. It’s a popular choice, whether it’s a full tweed suit, blazer or mid-thigh coat as it offers both style and protection from the cold. It’s also an opportunity to wear brighter, more contemporary-coloured tweeds.
A tweed coat can be worn for certain levels of dressage competition as long as it’s not brightly coloured or patterned. Tweed jackets offer a traditional look for showing, dressage and show jumping.
WHERE TOWN MEETS COUNTRY
Encapsulating timeless elegance, tweed is no longer confined to the country.
A tweed jacket teamed with smart jeans, trousers or chinos, boots or loafers exudes effortless smart casual dressing whilst a tweed coat is a great option for a winter coat, providing stylish protection on really cold days.
For ladies, a mid-length tweed coat is a versatile choice whether paired with skinny jeans or a skirt. Tweed works for modern office dressing, trips to town or country or a pub outing. The options are endless.
Build your outfit around your tweed jacket and instantly elevate a pair of jeans. Remember too, especially for men, lightweight tweed blazers are an excellent addition to a summer wardrobe and an alternative for a summer wedding.
Tweed stands the test of time without succumbing to changing fashion trends. In fact, a tweed jacket or coat is considered a wardrobe staple. One thing’s for certain, tweed is here to stay.