It’s time to forget everything you thought you knew about tweed. Reimagined for autumn/winter 2015, this heritage cloth – worn for centuries – now comes rendered in cuts and designs to reflect the modern man’s lifestyle. This season tweed is more downtown than Downton Abbey.

Here, we explore how this tradition-steeped fabric graduated from country pursuits to key AW15 runways and show you how to wear tweed without looking like you’ve just lost track of the shooting party.

What Is Tweed?

Tweed – at least its most recognisable form – emerged in 18th century Scotland out of a need for a material that would make hard-wearing, well-insulated tailoring and outerwear. Woven sturdily from coarse virgin wool in dusky, earthy colours, this original performance fabric provided farmers on the Outer Hebrides with a means of staving off damp, chilly conditions.

As fabrics go, tweed can take more rough and tumble than most – its twill construction boasting resistance to both wind and water – and was to the 18th century farmer a bit like what Lycra is to the modern-day cyclist.

Much like its cousin cloth tartan, tweed comes in a vast number of varieties – including the renowned Harris and Donegal variations, both crafted in accordance with a strict set of conditions – each with its own subtle design features that mark it apart.

Then, there are patterns, four of which are worth your immediate attention. Firstly, there’s plain tweed, which is woven into a twill design ranging from a lightly mottled weave to distinct stripes, and is by most accounts the easiest to wear.

Secondly, herringbone tweed, which boasts a distinctive V-shaped pattern, is known for its rich visual texture and loved for its versatility.

And finally, at the more attention-grabbing end of the scale, houndstooth tweed (characterised by a bold broken check design) and overcheck tweed (large windowpane checks) offer more statement-making takes on this time-honoured cloth.

Why Wear It Now?

Over the years tweed’s ruggedly masculine yet classically charming appearance has lent itself to the wardrobes of farmers and landed gentry, making it one of menswear’s most democratic fabrics. Fast-forward over a century and its appeal is just as far-reaching, with leaders in contemporary tailoring – from Canali to Ermengildo Zegna – as well as high street heavyweights like ASOS and River Island all offering their takes on the centuries-old style.

Why? It’s simple. Tweed is every bit as hardy and practical (not to mention stylishly smart) as it was all those years ago.

Proof that tweed has shaken off its stuffy reputation is the fact that you’ll find just as much of it in autumn/winter 2015 collections as you would languishing in mounds of dust at the back of an old wardrobe.

British stalwarts Hackett London and Barbour both paid homage with their AW15 presentations, the latter layering the fabric with more contemporary padded pieces for an inventive twist. Elsewhere, family-run brand Orley produced a collared zip-up jacket in classic Harris Tweed, bringing an old-world charm to a modern silhouette.

How To Wear Tweed Today

Hackett AW15 Hackett AW15 Barbour AW15 Orley AW15

If a whole host of the UK’s most-watched brands wasn’t enough, London Collections: Men ambassador Tinie Tempah also joined forces with the Museum of London and designer Patrick Grant to create his own one-of-a-kind tweed suit to wear on the FROW of LC:M’s hottest shows.

And if it’s good enough for Tinie…

How To Wear Tweed Today

How To Wear Tweed

Granted, the fabric has more than a whiff of old-school style, but, worn wisely (read: not with jodhpurs and a shotgun), tweed hits that sartorial sweet spot between classic and contemporary. In a nutshell, it’s one of menswear’s certified all-rounders, working just as well in the form of a blazer worn with a button-down and jeans, as in the shape of a three-piece suit.

“Tweed has infinite possibilities for wear during autumn and winter,” says Chris Chasseaud, Style and Features Editor at Ape to Gentleman. “Not only is it warm, but it can also smarten an outfit instantly.”

Off-Duty

Tempted to try your hand at tweed but not sure where to start? A plain variety should be your first port of call.

Try teaming a plain tweed blazer with a neutral tee, roll neck or cold-weather shirt, a pair of dark wash jeans and some leather boots. It’s a look that nods to British heritage without being too outdatedly rah.

How To Wear Tweed Today

ASOS AW15 Joules AW15 Brooklynn Tailors AW14 Windsor AW14 Suitsupply AW15 The Idle Man AW15 Hackett at Next AW15 Massimo Dutti NYC Collection AW15 M&S AW15 Ramsey AW13 Primark AW15 Burton AW13

Key Pieces

  • Topman Harris Tweed Brown Twist Pure Wool Skinny Fit BlazerHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • M&s Collection Luxury New Pure Wool Harris Tweed Check 2 Button Jacket With ButtonsafeHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • J. Crew Ludlow Jacket In English Donegal TweedHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • John Lewis Harris Tweed Premium Blazer GreenHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Beams Plus Grey Herringbone Harris Tweed BlazerHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Suitsupply Havana Burgundy CheckHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Wooyoungmi Wool-blend Herringbone Tweed TrousersHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • River Island Beige Tweed Skinny Suit TrousersHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Acne Studios Aron Cropped Tweed TrousersHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Incotex Slim-fit Wool-tweed TrousersHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Austin Reed Contemporary Fit Donegal Tweed TrousersHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • French Connection Washed Herringbone Tweed TrousersHow To Wear Tweed Today

Outerwear

One of the simplest ways to incorporate the fabric into your sartorial arsenal – and one that’s guaranteed to see your personal style score soar – is to take tweed to your tailored outerwear. A black or grey herringbone tweed overcoat will make a statement while still working with most of your wardrobe.

But don’t get too heavy-handed: an eye-catching monochrome print works best with pared-back pieces, so try styling yours with a charcoal knit, black jeans and a pair of black leather zipped boots for an on-trend head-to-toe effect.

How To Wear Tweed Today

Austin Reed AW15 Sand AW15 Club Monaco Autumn 2015 House of Fraser AW15 Mango Man AW15 Faconnable AW15 Boglioli AW15 Crombie AW15 AllSaints October 2014 Burton Aw14 Brunello Cucinelli AW15 Bellerose AW15

Key Pieces

  • Folk Wool-tweed OvercoatHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • J. Crew Unconstructed Italian Tweed TopcoatHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Suitsupply Blue Double-breasted CoatHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • A.p.c. Herringbone Wool-tweed CoatHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Acne Studios Grey Single Breasted Tweed CoatHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Nn.07 Aaron Navy Wool Blend Tweed CoatHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Boss Hugo Boss Tweed CoatHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Faith Connexion Harris Tweed CoatHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Oliver Spencer Tweed CoatHow To Wear Tweed Today

At The Office

Worn in a more formal setting, tweed has the annoying tendency of making you look like you’re the kind of person with a stick you-know-where.

So, avoid earthy greens and browns, and instead opt for a fine weave grey tweed suit paired with a white shirt, deep navy tie and oxblood double monk-strap shoes. It’ll strike the right balance of brave and business-appropriate that will win you praise at the office.

How To Wear Tweed Today

ASOS AW15 J.Crew AW15 Burton AW14 John Lewis AW15 Mango Man AW13 J.Crew AW15 Mango Man AW14 Suitsupply AW15 Angelo Nardelli 1951 AW14 Primark AW14 Henry Cottons AW15 Primark AW15

Key Pieces

  • Devils Advocate Blue Fleck Tweed Suit JacketHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • J. Crew Ludlow Double-breasted Suit In English Donegal TweedHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Acne Studios Grey Aron Slim-fit Wool-tweed SuitHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Green Donegal Tweed Slim Fit SuitHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • John Lewis & Co. Ainsworth Donegal Tailored SuitHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Skopes James SuitHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Ralph Lauren Black Label Birdseye SuitHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Moschino Vintage Checked Tweed SuitHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Jaeger Wool Tweed Modern SuitHow To Wear Tweed Today

Accessories

Tweed may most often be drawn upon for outerwear and tailoring, but don’t forget that accessories offer a subtle way to add some texture to your look this autumn/winter.

Steer clear of the obvious – tweed flat caps should be left to your grandfather – and instead consider adding a tweed bag (holdalls and backpacks in particular), tie, pair of gloves or scarf to your cold-weather collection.

If those options seem a little safe, try a tweed snapback or even footwear – Timberland is offering some superb leather/tweed boots this season, while adidas has reworked its iconic Gazelle ’70s model in a brown tweed upper.

How To Wear Tweed Today

Hackett AW15 ASOS x Harris Tweed AW14 ASOS AW15 ASOS AW15

Key Pieces

  • Brunello Cucinelli Tweed-panelled Leather BroguesHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Timberland Britton Heel Tweed Shearling Look BootsHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Adidas Adidas Originals Gazelle 70s TweedHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Barbour Tweed HoldallHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Next Herringbone BriefcaseHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Asos Snapback Cap With Grey Nep TweedHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • J. Crew Lambswool Marled Glen Tweed HatHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Andersons Harris Tweed & Suede BeltHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Grey Herringbone Tweed GlovesHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • River Island Grey Tweed Pocket SquareHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Reversible ScarfHow To Wear Tweed Today
  • J. Crew Extra-long English Silk Tweed TieHow To Wear Tweed Today

How To Care

Tweed may boast a well-deserved reputation for being a rugged, robust material, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t need a little TLC every now and then. The cloth’s tight weave gives it its much-loved finish, but it also means that it’s particularly vulnerable to picking up hard-to-shift stains.

If you do end up with tainted tweed, steer clear of the washing machine. Tweed’s wool fabrication means it’s prone to shrinkage so always visit a specialist dry cleaner when tackling stains and only have yours cleaned when absolutely necessary.

Remember: prevention is far better than cure. Keep your tweed safe by storing it properly. Hang your tweed jackets and outerwear on thick, padded hangers and neatly fold your tweed trousers rather than hanging them.

Also worth bearing in mind is how tasty moths find your tweed – stop mysterious holes appearing by keeping your pieces in a cool, dry place, ideally covered in plastic to ensure they remain in pristine condition.

Final Word

Having shrugged off its old-fashioned connotations, tweed has come to consolidate itself as a modern-day menswear staple. Insulating, brimming with heritage and exceptionally versatile, it’s little wonder why.

Are you convinced by tweed’s AW15 makeover or is the fabric still more fuddy-duddy than fashionable for you?

Share your thoughts below.

How To Wear Tweed Today

How To Wear Tweed Today

Why this centuries-old cloth is still a menswear classic

Image: Massimo Dutti Barbershop Collection AW15

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