Why Every Man Should Consider Tweed

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"The colours of traditional tweeds were inspired by the colours of the Scottish countryside, soft browns, greens, grey and purple.

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Tweed is generally seen as stuffy and associated with the British aristocracy or something farmers wore.

Tweed was first thought to have been worn by farmers in the 1800’s in the Scottish Highlands to combat the wet and chilly weather as its warmth and durability were ideal for these conditions.

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It is said that in 1848 Prince Albert after purchasing Balmoral designed the ‘Balmoral Tweed, blue with white flecks and crimson in colour. The colours from a distance  resembled the   granite mountains in the area so when wearing a coat made from this fabric it acted as great camouflage for stalking deer.

The fabric became a hit and was soon being requested by other aristocrats - who started to buy estates in the area - to wear while fishing, hunting and enjoying other outdoor activities.

The colours of traditional tweeds were inspired by the colours of the Scottish countryside, soft browns, greens, grey and purple.

Types of Tweed

There are different types of tweed and are named geographically, for the type of sheep used or their purpose of use.

The best known tweeds are are Harris and Donegal which are both Brand Tweeds.

 Harris Tweed was trade marked in 1909 and defined which wool could be used to make the cloth and where it could be made – the same as Champagne and Roquefort Cheese – to stop imitation copies.

Harris Tweed traditionally was hand spun and came from the Island of Lewis and Harris in the outer Hebrides of Scotland.

Harris Tweed is distinguished by its’ traditional rough finish and open weave. Harris Tweed tends to have a lot more colours woven through the fabric – up to 12 colours.

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Donegal refers to any cloth with a flecked pattern of the original Irish Tweed.

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Due to the high demand for Harris tweed the fabric is no longer hand spun due to the inconsistent quality when trying to produce volume to meet the high demand. It is also acceptable today to use 100% Virgin wool from the UK due there not being enough wool from the outer Hebrides to meet demand.

Tweed comes in a variety of patterns:

Plain Twill:  This is a plain weave with a diagonal weave running through it.

Overcheck Twill: A plain twill with a large check design overlaid in a contrasting colour.

Plain Herringbone: This pattern looks like fishbones and consists of herringbone weave. 

The direction of the slant alternates column by column to create V shapes.

Overcheck Herringbone: This pattern consists of a herringbone weave overlaid with a check in various colours.

Barleycorn: These tweeds are typically course and have a weave that produce effect of barley kernels when viewed up close.

Striped: Striped tweed mixes vertical line to create stripes of various colour.

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Lets start with why tweed is such a great fabric

 Its practical, versatile and can be worn for a formal occasion or a casual relaxed weekend.

Traditional tweed is not suitable for suiting but makes the perfect jacket for those autumn, winter months, worn with a pair of jean or cotton trousers.

Tweed has become popular again with the emergence of modern designers incorporating tweed fabrics into their ranges and is no longer associated with the stuffy image of the past. Modern tweeds are lighter in weight and come in range of beautiful bright, soft, pale colours.

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Today a well tailored tweed jacket or suit can be both stylish and contemporary. A light weight plain or herringbone makes the perfect suit for business or a more formal occasion.

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Checks and stripes are a great look for jacket for a more relaxed casual look.

When it comes to choosing your next jacket or suit you should consider tweed.