17 December 2010
How to Wear Tweed and Stay Cool
December 17, 2010, 6:45 AM HKT
Q: Ah, tweed, the fabric of aristocratic fox hunts and stuffy professors. And now, suddenly as fashionable in Asia’s urban jungles as it is on Europe’s country estates. But how can you incorporate the fabric into a modern male wardrobe?
A: Along with plaid, that other traditional outdoor fabric associated with cooler weather, tweed has made a strong appearence this season in both jackets and pants. Still, you’re cautious, even trepidatious, of wearing it out of fear of becoming, well, tweedy?
Nonsense. First of all, know that today’s tweed is not the dour fabric of years gone by. Slightly softer and thinner, the modern take on tweed isn’t the itchy fabric that our ancestors used to wear. Even the tweediest of tweed makers — Harris Tweed Scotland Ltd., one of the three mills whose Harris Tweed is certified by the U.K. government — launched a lightweight tweed in September. Within the first two weeks, the company’s run of 5,000 jackets in the new fabric were completely sold out.
The Scottish tweed maker is surprised that its staple is now the height of fashion. “We see now, walking down the high street, so many people in tweed,” said Lydia Walton, director of public relations at Harris Tweed Scotland. “It was snowballing for a couple of years, but this year, it’s been huge. I don’t really know why.”
The tip is to match the tweed to the occasion. If you’re going to the country or spending time outdoors, choose tweed in earthy tones, such as the Hamish design in green and brown checks. Dress it with a white shirt, jeans and a pair of brown brogues or boots. For urban settings, you are better off with darker colors, such as a black and white herringbone check. This style in a jacket goes well with grey flannel trousers and a dark-colored shirt.
Of course, these are merely guidlines. Tweed fashion, like all fashion, differs in various parts of the world. “In Italy, they’ll wear the Hamish design with pencil trousers and pointy shoes — not what we see here in the U.K.,” said Ms. Walton.
If there’s one rule to adhere to, it would be this: Never pair your tweed jacket with tweed pants, especially if they match. A tweed suit? Not even for the driest of academic conferences. “Once you wear a tweed suit, you look slightly mad,” she said. We tend to agree.
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Posted by Laguna Beach Fogey at 19:48