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Tweed has a bit of a reputation. It took off as sportswear in a century when sports meant hunting, shooting and fishing. The Englishmen and Scots who first popularized it needed serious protection from the elements; the tweed sport coat or shooting jacket was a functional garment and its heavy, scratchy wool was the 19th-century equivalent of Gore-Tex.
Add to that history the predilection for tweed jackets among country gentleman types—and anyone keen to be taken for one—and it’s easy to see why the fabric is sometimes considered a bit fusty and uncomfortable by those outside the shooting crowd and the professoriate.
But today, that old reputation is undeserved. No longer burdened with protecting their customers from frostbite, weavers have moved towards finer, lighter and more luxurious cloths. Today’s tweeds are prized more for color and some of the most interesting pieces depart from the classic country sport coat or heavy overcoat.
Victor Besnard, who operates his family’s tailoring house dating back to 1876, is using a storied Yorkshire tweed this season for a new purpose. “I was looking to create an in-between coat, that could be worn casually and would pair well with tailoring,” Besnard tells Robb Report. “I loved the details and comfort of an unlined safari jacket, and when I came across these beautiful tweeds by Abraham Moon, I decided to combine the two.” As he notes, it’s not a total departure from tradition so much as an evolution: The safari borrows details from the shooting jacket, just as his design borrows the classic cloth.
The same trend can be seen from a range of makers, from innovative tailors to forward-thinking designers, offering a diverse range of tweed outwear and accessories—even home furnishings. Here are 11 ways to enjoy tweed beyond the traditional tailored jacket.
Baracuta x Noah G9 Herringbone Donegal Wool-Tweed Harrington Jacket
The Harrington jacket is a classic British Mod design, cut short in the waist for ease of movement and originally designed as golfing gear. This collaboration with New York’s Noah is made up in a mid-brown Donegal herringbone tweed that combines old-world texture and character with streetwear attitude. It’s finished with a tartan lining, as every good Harrington should be.
Lemaire Wool Tweed Overshirt
Cut like a dress shirt with a slightly enlarged collar and double breast pockets, Lemaire’s generously fitted tweed over-shirt is an easy transitional piece that can be worn tucked as a boxy top or used as a slightly insouciant light jacket. In a warm taupe grey, it pairs naturally with other warm colors from chocolate brown to cream.
House of Bruar Failsworth Harris Tweed Leather Gloves
Scottish country clothier House of Bruar is famous for tweed and these leather gloves are backed in the most famous of them: Harris tweed, which remains to this day spun and woven exclusively on the Scottish Isles. Offered in five shades of herringbone tweed, they’re a welcome addition to any overcoat or waxed jacket.
Thom Browne Fun-Mix Mohair Tweed Stripe Cardigan
Thom Browne’s tweed cardigans are knits rather than traditional tweed, but they’re made in the same spirit as their woven cousins: thick, richly textured and often speckled. Here, cable knitting adds even more texture to the mohair blend.
Besnard La Haye Safari Jacket
Despite its more casual silhouette, Besnard’s jacket retains the details of top-notch tailoring: handmade collar, armholes and buttonholes and genuine horn buttons. It’s offered in a soft merino wool tweed in classic patterns and tones of navy, brown gun-club or tan Prince-of-Wales check. It’s an easy alternative to a tailored jacket but equally happy dressed down with chinos or denim.
The Armoury x Rocky Mountain Featherbed Poly Tweed Down Gilet
Hong Kong haberdasher The Armoury partnered with Rocky Mountain Featherbed (originally founded in Wyoming, and subsequently revived in Japan) on a range of exclusive vests. This one’s rich olive tweed gives you high-caliber insulation in a classic menswear material.
Our Legacy Tweed Baseball Cap
A baseball cap is hardly the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of tweed, but somehow it works. This one from Our Legacy uses a cotton-wool blend tweed the color of milky coffee for a casual piece with a bit of old-world heft, perfect for cool weekend mornings.
Ralph Lauren Purple Label Padded Tweed Shirt Jacket
Halfway between a modern down jacket and old tweed shooting gear, this shirt jacket is made with a curved hem and snap closures like a flannel, stuffed with duck down and made up in a dappled green tweed. It’s a modern high-performance garment that feels as right with tailored wool flannel trousers and English suede shoes as it does with dark denim and Alden boots.
Montedoro Shetland Wool Chore Jacket
Italian brand Slowear has mastered the tricky art of high quality but unfussy casual clothing. It’s brother brand Montedoro specializes in outerwear along the same lines, like this chore jacket with patch pockets and a square hem. It’s a thoroughly relaxed way to use a hardy Shetland wool tweed.
Visvim Oversized Wool, Linen and Silk-Blend Tweed Coat
Who says that a tweed coat has to be weighty and shapeless? Visvim’s is modeled on a traditional Edo period Japanese design. With a sweeping shawl collar, oversized pockets and a drape-y full cut, it’s got all the gravitas of a classic tweed coat but feels lighter and more elevated. Fittingly, the fabric is a wool-, linen- and silk-blend tweed, giving it an appropriately crisp finish and airy feel.
Kings Harris Tweed Bowmore Sofa
Tweeds aren’t only for wearing. The fabric’s texture and depth of color has also made it popular with interior designers furnishing interiors of all stripes. Statement pieces such as this Edwardian Chesterfield sofa are available from retailers made-to-order, but you can also source furnishing fabrics directly from the mills, such as Abraham Moon’s extensive collection.