If there’s one fashion trend that’s become a staple of every woman’s wardrobe, it’s the humble tweed. Woven from wool into a coarse cloth in various different patterns, its roots are believed to lie in the practical outfits of peasants in 18th century Scotland and Ireland.
That said, tweed is best known as a fabric that was traditionally worn by royalty and gentry while out hunting, shooting or fishing on their Highland estates. Both durable and smart, it offered the perfect blend of practicality and refinement for outdoor activities.
While its days as an exclusive fabric worn only by the highest echelons of society might be over, tweed’s status as a casual yet classy option for clothing has never faded. Regardless of whether you’re in town or the countryside, there’s never been a better time to bring tweed into your wardrobe. And, with the onset of winter, there’s a strong argument for dusting off your tweed – or investing in some new statement pieces – as the colder days set in.
Not to be confused with tartan – which sports patterns associated with ancestral Scottish clans – tweed is an exceptionally durable fabric, woven to be tough against the elements and last for decades. The lanolin in the wool also acts as a natural barrier against moisture, helping to keep the wearer dry, while it’s lightweight but naturally warm.
What’s more, thanks to its muted and understated style, you can rest assured that it won’t be falling out of fashion any time soon. So, as winter outwear goes, there’s few that can quite rival this classic fabric.
The first step on your journey towards buying winter tweed is to dive into the different fabric patterns – which all vary considerably. Perhaps the most common is a plain weave, which features just one colour. However, as this is a natural, woven product, you can expect the colours of the wool to not be entirely uniform, lending an interesting depth to the overall appearance of the fabric. As a result, plain never feels quite so plain after all.
Another popular pattern is that of herringbone tweed. Its “v” shaped styling (supposedly named after its fish bone resemblance) offers a pleasingly refined design. Styles such as Houndstooth (a checked pattern of broken squares) and checked (a pattern of horizontal and vertical lines that create squares) are also eminently fashionable.
Next, you’ll want to consider staple pieces for your winter wardrobe. One of the easiest ways to wear tweed is in a must-have tweed jacket. Wear it alongside smart jeans and a cosy sweater to add a splash of earthy elegance to all outfits. You’ll also want to consider whether you want a short, fitted jacket or a longer-style coat; both work well paired with knee-high leather boots. If you’re wearing a dress or skirt, consider a longer jacket and match with ankle-length Chelsea boots.
Alternatively, consider investing in a tweed blazer. Thanks to the versatility of this fabric, it’s easy enough to dress tweed up or down depending on the occasion. Opt for a shorter, hip-length blazer for a more formal style, or go longer if you’re feeling casual.
When buying a tweed blazer, you’ll want a lighter tweed for indoor wear. Pair this with a crisp white shirt and smart black trouser combination, or go the whole nine yards by investing in a full tweed suit, complete with blazer, high heels and a classic pencil skirt.To dress the look down, go for skinny jeans and brogues.
Finally, you’ll want to consider how tweed works with the colours of the rest of your clothing. Because of the dark, earthy tones of the tweed, it’s always best to pair with pastel shades or a lighter shirt – potentially matched to the accent colour of the tweed itself. Alternatively, go plain and bring the outfit together with a bright scarf or shoes in a statement shade.
And, if you’re not yet ready to throw yourself fully into tweed, you can pick up stylish accessories, such as scarves, handbags and even purses. These will introduce you to the fabric more gently – just don’t be surprised if you quickly find yourself wanting even more tweed in your wardrobe.
Whatever look you’re seeking, you’re guaranteed to find a pattern and design that matches your personality and will keep you warm, dry and stylish this winter.