How to wear tweed

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There’s a multitude of ways to wear tweed, from formal to casual
Image source: Samuel Windsor

Tweed is all about versatility. It’s the one item you can add to your wardrobe that performs every function you’re ever likely to come across. From casual wear to smartly suited-and-booted, provided you wear it correctly, tweed will do the job. Here’s how to look great in tweed whatever the weather and occasion.

The traditional tweed look

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This Leith 3-piece tweed suit can be worn together or as separates.
Image source: Tweed suits from Samuel Windsor

A traditional fabric from the remote islands off the west coast of Scotland, tweed’s original job was to keep folk north of the border warm in the worst of weathers. But as its use spread beyond the crofts of poor subsistence farmers, tweed became gentrified, soon becoming the sportswear of choice for the hunting, shooting and fishing set.

In the 21st century, traditional tweed remains a timelessly stylish fabric for those who like the country life. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a regular at your local pheasant shoot, or you never set foot outside the smog belt of your home city, a heritage tweed suit’s earthy hues mark you out as a gent.

Go for a three piece tweed suit and wear it with a country check or Tattersall shirt. Accessorise with a matching tweed flat cap, bold red tie, wax jacket and country boots.

Smart casual tweed

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Heritage tweed jacket and waistcoat over contrasting trousers
Image source: Samuel Windsor

To get all the advantages of tweed, you need to take that three-piece suit you invested in and break it down. A men’s tweed jacket, waistcoat and trousers each offers a separate look, and when worn in different combinations generate even more ways to make one suit do it all.

  • Try whipping off your jacket, removing your tie and letting your waistcoat do the talking.
  • Alternatively, lose the jacket and waistcoat and wear a plain cardigan with your tweed trousers and Tattersall shirt.
  • Keep the tweed jacket and waistcoat together over some bright cords. Tie optional.

There are a myriad of ways to make your tweed suit do smart casual. We particularly like the look of a tweed jacket worn over a lightweight turtleneck jumper. Not only is it sophisticated, it also slims your silhouette. For your feet, we suggest brogues. Or for a slightly more relaxed look, penny loafers worn with contrasting socks.

Casual tweed

Bradenham Tweed Jacket from Samuel Windsor

A tweed jacket is perfect for smart-casual settings
Image: Bradenham Tweed Jacket from Samuel Windsor

A tweed jacket comes in really handy when you want to do casual without dressing like a teenager. Any pair of straight-cut dark jeans and casual shirt looks great with a tweed jacket worn over.

The trick to nailing this look is to make sure your jacket is a good fit – nothing looks worse than a voluminous jacket that hangs off your shoulders and flaps around in the wind.

And leave the t-shirts to the kids. You might consider wearing a plain Oxford shirt under your tweed jacket. Alternatively, for a more contemporary feel, go for a cashmere-mix jumper.

Casual footwear options include rugged chukka boots or deck shoes if the weather’s good.

A note on tweed waistcoats

Stowe Tweed Waistcoat from Samuel Windsor

Wearing a tweed waistcoat can be a tricky affair
Image: Stowe Tweed Waistcoat from Samuel Windsor

There’s no reason you shouldn’t wear your tweed waistcoat without a jacket over – but do bear in mind that doing so accentuates your mid section.

Unless you’re slim as a whippet, the best way to turn a tweed waistcoat into an extra outfit is to wear yours under a contrasting jacket.

Want to add a more celebratory feel to a traditional tweed suit? Wear a bold red waistcoat beneath your heritage tweed jacket. Similarly, a soft grey tweed waistcoat can be used to tone down the starkness of a formal business suit.

How to wear tweed in the winter

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A tweed long coat adds an extra warm layer
Image source: Samuel Windsor

The versatility of tweed comes into its own in the winter when layering is key to keeping you snug.

Think moleskin trousers, country check shirt, wool jumper and country tweed jacket for winter walks. Alternatively, put your best foot forward wearing your tweed trousers, with a cosy Tattersall shirt, waistcoat and quilted jacket – if it’s really cold, a wax jacket or tweed long coat really looks the business.

And don’t forget your scarf. Winding a chunky woollen number around your neck can make a tweed jacket warm enough to be your top layer.

How to wear tweed in the summer

Slim-fit summer-weight tweed jacket (Ripon) from Samuel Windsor

This summer tweed jacket looks great in blue
Image source: Slim-fit summer-weight tweed jacket (Ripon) from Samuel Windsor

Modern wool mixes make tweed a surprise summer option with plenty of applications.

Think bold checks or perhaps lighter notes like greys and pale blues for a summer feel that looks just great when you wear your jacket over an open neck cotton shirt. Chinos complete the look, plus your loafers or deck shoes. A bright pocket square and Panama hat are all the accessories you’ll need.

Feeling chilly in your jeans and t-shirt? Summer evenings are seldom as balmy as we’d like them to be, but by carrying a tweed jacket with you, you’ll be warm when the sun dips below the horizon.

How to look after your tweed suit

Tweed takes very little effort to keep it looking its best. Here are the key things to remember:

  • Remove light stains by gently rubbing with damp sponge using circular motions.
  • Use a stiff brush from time to time.
  • You can even vacuum it as long as you’re careful to use a gentle upholstery attachment.
  • Avoid the temptation to put a tweed suit in the washing machine – it will never be the same again.
  • An annual dry clean is all the deep cleaning this classic, versatile suit requires.

How do you wear your tweed? We’d love to know. Do get in touch via our Facebook page.

Posted in How To - Suits, Tweed jackets.