What is tweed fabric?

Closeup of a tweed jacket

Tweed is a versatile fabric
Image: Vitaliy Kyrychuk

The word ‘tweed’ conjures up images of farmers and the gentry on shooting trips. But it isn’t just country folk who wear tweed.

Style aficionados have become great fans of the fabric, and tweed is enjoying a fashionable resurgence of late.

But what exactly is tweed, how should it be worn, and who wears it?

Wool has to go through a number of different process to become tweed. First, it is put in a big bath of dye, and dried first by spinning, and then by heat. This removes any moisture, so it is ready to be worked. Different colours are then chosen to make an overall shade or pattern.

Once these colours are chosen, the yarn is straightened, then spun make it stronger, before being woven into a finished cloth.

The texture and quality of the finished tweed depends on the amount of yarn, the thickness and how it is woven.

What is tweed used for

Tablet computer cases, hip flasks covers and snoods for cycling are all available in tweed, such is the popularity of the fabric.

But menswear is the most popular use for the fabric. Tweed trousers are a great option for the cold, and tweed caps a popular accessory for keeping heads toasty in winter.

Without doubt the most timeless use of tweed is for jackets. They are warm, smart and ooze heritage sophistication.

How to wear a tweed jacket

SW TweedJackets

Which colour is for you?

Tweed is a great option for winter and a brilliant choice for layering. Team with a shirt, jumper and scarf to break up the outfit and create a fantastic winter look.

For a truly heritage look, wear with a tattersall shirt, woollen tie and a pair of cord trousers. Finished off with a pair of Chelsea boots you’ll look ready for the hunt!

If that smacks too much of the gentry for your liking, team your tweed jacket with a casual pair of jeans or moleskin trousers instead.

Famous tweed wearers

Doctor Who has become one of the most recent wearers of tweed, but with an imminent change in doctor, will we see the end of the famous tweed?

Possibly, but there is a whole host of tough guys who have flown the flag for tweed, such as Steve McQueen and Sean Connery.

These tough guys, the quality of the fabric and its popularity on the catwalk have turned tweed into a fashion winner.

And with winter upon us, you can be sure that you’ll see many folk wearing tweed jackets, donning tweed flat caps and sipping warming whisky from their tweed covered hip flask.

Posted in Tweed jackets, What is...?.

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