The tweed suit is one of the most versatile and practical smart-casual wardrobe items. It is able to protect you from cold and bring to the image a British accent – and it is not necessary to dress like a textbook Englishman. The beauty of a tweed suit is that it successfully blends both with corduroy trousers and with chinos or jeans, and over it, you can wear a quilted or waxed jacket and a rather strict coat, or a simple minimalist coat.
It is worth adding that the tweed suit perfectly fits the concept of “intellectual casual,” which unites informal images of intellectuals – from university students to professors, scientists, journalists, and writers. Such people rarely wear the typical bank uniform, consisting of a discreet dark suit, a bright monochrome shirt, and a strict tie with a small pattern or no ornamentation at all. They prefer more textured, informal, and cozy clothes that are not primitive and do not evoke thoughts of a fitness club, yoga, or cycling.
How to tell a good tweed suit from a bad one
The first thing to know is what kind of tweed suit the item is made of. For a start, look at the composition: real British tweed is always made of 100% wool. Ask the retailer or the manufacturer where the fabric is made (if it is possible). The best classic tweeds are made in England, Scotland, and Ireland, although fine (if not entirely British) pieces are also made in Italian factories.
The next important nuance is the lining. It should be made of breathable material. Viscose and cupro are good options; a mix of viscose and acetate is quite acceptable. Avoid 100% polyester. Having examined the lining, pay attention to the details: buttons (sometimes they are made of leather or horn), stitching loops, inner decoration of the jacket, the number of pockets, silhouette in general, and also the correctness of combination of ornaments at the joints of the pieces. Of course, it is worth evaluating the fit because even the best-quality jacket, which does not fit well, will be an unsuccessful purchase.
Since tweed is considered to be a relatively expensive fabric, it is necessary to choose its color with due responsibility. It is best to choose a jacket of some neutral color (brown, beige, or burgundy), which will be suitable for any occasion and will successfully harmonize with shirts of different tones.
As for the size, here, as in the case of conventional jackets, you should pay attention to the length of the sleeves. The sleeve ends of the tweed suit should be at the level of wrists. If the sleeve comes lower, it means that the jacket is too big on you. At the same time, taller men are allowed to wear a shorter jacket so their height is not so striking. And do not forget that a tweed suit should not look baggy, but it must be comfortable and not constrict the movement.
What to wear with
A tweed suit is best combined with a solid color shirt, preferably white or blue. Of course, you can always experiment and choose a bottom to match the tone of the jacket, introducing variety not only in colors but also in texture. If you don’t want to stick too much to the formal style, you can wear something more neutral under the tweed suit: a polo or a sweatshirt in a matching color.
A tweed suit can be combined with formal trousers as well as jeans and even corduroy. Base your choice not only on the type of trouser fabric but also on the color. Let the pants complement the color of the jacket, not overshadowing it but not too contrasting with it. Don’t forget that the main thing in this ensemble is the tweed suit.
Accessories and footwear
For a more modest look, you can choose a traditional set of accessories, such as a white pocket-handkerchief, monochrome tie, or do without them at all. Add a touch of glitz to a classic look with elegant cufflinks or a striking neck scarf. You can add a leather belt, preferably brown, which will match your shoes. In addition to classic shoes, brown brogues, loafers, or chukka boots would look great with a tweed suit.
Images from Arthur Gosse, Justin Eric Martin & Rishi Robin Model Massimo Dutti FW19 Looks – See the full story here