Most of us like the look of tweed when we see someone wearing it properly, but too many of us also see it as an old-fashioned choice that is too much hassle to even try and pull off. And because tweed isn't the cheapest material option and isn’t regularly found in high street stores, it’s not until much later that men consider integrating tweed into their wardrobes. This is a shame.
Having said this, the old stuff conservative-style reputation of tweed is gradually changing. Rather than something only fitting for the countryside, you’ll now see some men wearing great tweed jackets and trousers when walking around any of the UK’s major cities.
If you’ve ever considered buying something in tweed, this one’s for you. We take a little look at what it is and how it should be worn so that you can enjoy its surprising utility, strength and all-round impressiveness as a fabric for jackets, trousers or waistcoats.
What Is Tweed?
Tweed has quite a few upper-class, aristocratic associations but it also offers incredible durability and protection for the wearer and was initially popular among men who needed practical workwear.
If you’ve ever come across tweed, whether in your grandad’s wardrobe or in a charity shop, you’ll see that it’s incredibly robust even after a decade of use.
Originating in Scotland, tweed is a dense woolen cloth that was woven at home by the peasantry to provide sturdy protection for those who worked the land. As such, it is incredibly warm and wind-resistant, while also providing a certain amount of water protection too.
Although tweed has become linked with things like conservative politicians, country houses and those who own a great deal of land in the country, the material is incredibly versatile and has shown to have great potential in urban wear and formal dress in many different settings.
How to Wear Tweed
A softer, more flexible tweed can look great as a full three piece suit, or just as a jacket to pair with jeans or dark chinos. Unlike many suit fabrics that are smooth and almost shiny, tweed offers greater textural variation and interest. As such, it can be great for a creative, dressed down look, even in quite formal settings.
We’ve also seen a great many grooms choose tweed as the favoured material for their wedding suits, pairing them with a charming set of gold cufflinks and brown shoes for a look that’s full of character. As it doesn’t have the same kind of stiffness as some materials, and almost bends to the shape of your body, this can help to remove some of the “stuffy” formality that some people dislike about traditional wedding attire, while not deviating too far from the norm.
Smart vs. Casual
The beauty of tweed is that it can look incredibly casual as well as formal and smart, depending on the cut of the suit and the way it fits the body. Unstructured tweed jackets and coats (with very soft shoulders) – worn perhaps with chinos or jeans, can look incredibly contemporary and more at ease.
Meanwhile, a full three-piece that is perfectly tailored to the wearer, and accompanied with a dress shirt and cufflinks, is suitable at almost every formal event, especially when we’re talking about darker tweed colours in grey or dark brown.
A tweed suit can last you a lifetime, and if you need a more smart-casual look, the jacket or trousers worn separately is a great choice. What’s more, is that it will certainly keep you warm even in the coldest UK weather.
Choosing the Right Accompanying Accessories
While a classic navy or black suit can look great with almost any pair of cufflinks and tie, tweed patterns can be quite distinctive and even bold in their appearance. This can sometimes call for more careful consideration when it comes to accessories.
If you want to play it safe, more plain patterns or colours are a good bet, such as classic silver or pale gold cufflinks. However, there is certainly some room for colour when you’re trying to make a statement.
We’ve got a huge collection of men’s cufflinks at Wimbledon Cufflink Company that will work just nicely with a tweed suit, so feel free to drop by the shop or browse our online store for some ideas for sets that will be a great addition to a traditional tweed suit.