The Tweed Jacket - What To Wear It With...
What is Tweed?
Tweed is a fabric made of tightly woven wool that has a slightly rougher finish. The colours within the tweed are normally flecked so it has a rich blended look rather than a solid colour. Tweed is usually used for suits including jackets, waistcoats, and trousers but also coats, gloves, bags, hats and accessories as well.
Tweed is a great jacket material because the woollen fabric was originally created to withstand the colder climate and is moisture resistant, warm and durable. Perfect for an all weather jacket or sports jacket and can easily be worn both indoors and out.
Who Wears Tweed?
Traditionally, tweed suits were worn by the middle or upper classes and were very popular in Edwardian times with cyclists, motorists and used for other outdoor activities such as hunting and shooting. When thinking of tweed, some people conjure up images of stuffy professors or a dated aristocrat - but this is no longer the case as tweed has seen a resurgence in popularity. The original material is part of our British heritage but with new blends, colours and cuts being created, tweed is very much on trend. Your tweed jacket and can be worn with a number of different clothes and accessories to get your desired look, whether that is traditional, an edgy vintage look or a contemporary country style.
Tweed jackets have long been connected to big designers such as Chanel (who have some great tweeds in their AW 14/15 collection) and celebrities also love a tweed jacket including Her Royal Highness, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton), David Beckham and Tinie Tempah (who has just created his own 3 piece tweed suit for Mens Fashion Week).
The Tweed Jacket
Colour - Whether it is a statement garment or a subtle element to your overall look, the tweed jacket is a versatile piece to have in your wardrobe. Available in a variety of colours that are inspired by the landscape such as soft heathers, stone greys or mossy greens, the colour depth in the woollen fabric is achieved from a carefully blended combination of base colours. Choose a colour that suits your hair and skin tone and the main colours you tend to wear; that way the jacket will work with many clothing combinations.
Pattern - Tweed comes in different weaves including plain and twill (diagonal offset rows in the weave) and in many different patterns including herringbone, houndstooth, Prince of Wales check, windowpane, gamekeeper and more. Choosing the pattern of your jacket would depend not only on which of the patterns you like but also on how much of a statement you want to make.
Quality - Choosing a quality jacket will not only make you feel great but also stand the test of time. Many vintage tweed jackets have been handed down through generations and the tweeds today are still being made to the highest of standards. Brands such as Harris Tweed are dyed, washed, teased, spun, hand woven, finished and quality checked all from the same place in Outer Hebrides, Scotland and are synonymous with quality and British Heritage.
Cut & Style - Tweeds come in a range of different cuts and styles from traditional to the more contemporary styles. Additional details such as pockets, collars, buttons and the lining can vary to bring a distinctive look to the jacket.
Shirt & Tie
Teaming the tweed jacket with a shirt and tie combination is a classic and smart look. As tweed traditionally has a natural colour base, so choosing a natural or rich coloured shirt can really bring the heritage style together. Deep berry reds, bottle greens, rich purples or even bolder mustard yellows can work brilliantly but look closely at the weave of your jacket to see the different colours within it and perhaps pick one of those for the colours of your shirt and tie. This will highlight and accentuate those colours from the yarn in the jacket and tie together the whole outfit. As tweed is a more natural colour base it is best to avoid bright white shirts and go for more muted colours or neutrals.
For a country look try a check shirt, Magee do some great shirts, which will work well with a plainer tweed or for a contemporary look go for a slim fit shirt with the top button done up.
T-Shirts or Jumpers
A more relaxed look that works well with a tweed jacket is to wear it with a t-shirt or jumper instead. This combination can work well as a smart casual look, which can often be difficult to get right. A plain but well cut t-shirt that picks out one of the colours in tweed would work a treat or a quality wool or cashmere jumper, such as Peter Scott knitwear, can team perfectly with the jacket. Perhaps add an accessory such as a pocket handkerchief to give a nod towards the formal.
If you are after the casual vibe then your tweed jacket would be great with a quirky t-shirt or printed blouse or a chunky knit jumper. You can also roll or push up the sleeves on the jacket to enhance the laid back style.
A smart and formal way to wear tweed is the traditional 3 piece suit - jacket, waistcoat, trousers. Perfect for weddings or formal occasions, you can choose from a wide variety of colours that compliment your wedding theme or style of occasion. The same type of tweed is normally used for all the parts of the suit but you could go for a more unusual or quirky look with a different material waistcoat that has an eye-catching colour or pattern.
Consider the accessories that work with a waistcoat, such as pocket watches, that would compliment a vintage look.
The combo of a tweed jacket and tweed trousers is a traditional look that can be with dressed up or dressed down. Normally the same tweed is used for the trousers and the jacket so they match. Tweed trouses are warm and durable which makes them a wonderful winter option.
Chinos or cords are another option that can be worn with a tweed jacket and they are a smarter and lighter alternative to tweed, so great for slightly warmer months. They can be worn normally or rolled up at the bottom to give a more edgy look. Neutral colours, such as tans, are great to go with everything but there are also some brighter colours if you are feeling bold.
Jeans are the typical choice for the casual or everyday style to go with the tweed jacket. There are many different types of jeans but a classic straight leg would give you that effortless and timeless look. For a blend of urban and country, the jeans and tweed look can be a great base to start with.
Skirts & Kilts
For the ladies, a skirt is another option to go with a tweed jacket that can help give your outfits some femininity. Select a smarter style of skirt to keep your outfit more formal (a perhaps a mid to long length skirt) or for a more casual look you could wear a fun coloured A line or contemporary pleat. When choosing a skirt remember to try a style and colour that will compliment your chosen tweed jacket, such as if you have a bolder jacket then try a plainer skirt to balance it. You can also get tweed skirts to match your jacket as part of a suit which is great for a work outfit with a difference.
Kilts are available for both men and women and are a great way to show off your heritage. Choose a kilt from the same colour range as your jacket such as browns and greens or blues and greys so that the whole outfit works well together. Kilts are normally fastened at the side with leather straps and you can add accessories such as a traditional kilt pin. Harris Tweed have a wonderful collection of coloured kilts available.
Shoes & Boots
Looking for some footwear that works nicely with the heritage style; then some quality British made shoes are the answer such as top brands including Cheaney or Loake. Brogue shoes or boots have the vintage feel and look great with some chinos rolled up to give the look an edge. Tans and browns compliment the tweeds natural colours best rather than blacks.
For winter there are some great boots that will work with the tweed look and continue the feel of quality and craft as well as keeping your feet warm and protected.