Now that the cold days have come we would like to discuss different options for a winter suit and we are going to focus on two fabrics: flannel vs tweed that we will describe in two separate articles. We will review what characterizes them, what their advantages are and why we wear them in winter.
Let’s start with the tweed.
It is a material woven from thick woolen yarn. Its weave has a very tight, twill structure, and the most common tweed pattern is herringbone. The characteristic roughness of tweed is due to the use of carded yarn, i.e. the non-combed yarn, which is used, for example, in suits made of worsted wool. As tweed has a dense and moisture-resistant texture, it has always been very popular for outer garments like coats or hunting jackets. It is a material that was supposed to be durable, long-lasting and resistant to difficult weather conditions of the British Isles, where the first tweeds were made. Thus, tweed today is used for autumn and winter garments, preferably jackets since a lot of people find this fabric too heavy and too scratchy for trousers.
The most common pattern of tweed fabrics is herringbone, houndstooth and check. The traditional color palette was rather earthy and focused around rotten greens, browns, and copper since the fibers were dyed with pigments of vegetable origin. Today we find tweed in very bold colors such as pink or baby blue in combination with multi-colored checks, which gives a more modern look to this classic fabric. A very interesting texture is the Donegal Tweed, which is characterized by tiny specks in other colors, which are simply threads of a different color woven into the fabric.
Since tweed is quite heavy and rough, not every tweed quality will be recommended for a suit. Nevertheless, you will find various collections from Holland & Sherry that are proposed for a whole suit like “Moorland Tweeds” or “Harris Tweed”. The latter shows a capsule collection of prestigious fabrics woven of local materials of the Outer Hebrides and using hand-crafted traditional techniques. Other catalogues like “Sherry Tweed” will mostly present jacketing fabric with strong check pattern and modern bold colors.
When you decide to order a tweed garment, let your tailor know what your needs are and in what circumstances you want to wear your jacket / suit. If you opt for a whole suit, the best would be to choose a lighter tweed (around 350grm) with a toned down pattern like a classic herringbone. Donegal Tweed would also be a good choice. On the other hand, if you are looking for a jacket to wear with different types of trousers, you can opt for a tweed with a classic windowpane check. You can also add small customizations like alcantara elbow patches to obtain a more casual look. Heavier tweeds (over 450grm) can be used to make outer jackets to be worn on a sweater and used during autumn promenades. Last but not least, tweeds are highly recommended for coating.
The best tweeds are weaved by English drapers. Holland & Sherry proposes three main bunches: “Moorland Tweeds”, “Harris Tweed” and “Sherry Tweed”. If you are looking for thick tweed and classic tartan patterns, look into Dudgale’s “White Rose Sporting Tweed” collection.