The tweed suit was originally a rough, “outdoorsy” type of suit. There was a time when men only wore tweed while indulging in pastimes like grouse shooting.
The tweed suit was rarely tailored close to the body because it had to allow for a lot of movement on the moors or in the hills.
The cloth was usually green, beige or grey – tones which helped the hunter blend into the British countryside.
Later, the tweed suit was adopted in professions such as academia by men who were unencumbered by the pressures of business but still wanted to look smart.
Whereas – throughout the twentieth century – businessmen had to restrict their wardrobes to worsted wool or flannel in colours such as navy, black and grey, a professor could wear tweed without fearing the judgment of his peers.
The 21st century tweed suit
Developments in fashion in the 21st century changed all this.
Much like the double breasted suit – which fell out of fashion only to be updated for the modern age – tweed has been rediscovered and today it’s very much what you might call a “fashion” cloth. (Below is A Suit That Fits co-founder Warren Bennett sporting a three piece tweed suit with a check.)
This isn’t to say that tweed has been freed of all its old associations.
The tweed suit requires a little extra attention when tailoring it for work or other formal engagements. Last year in GQ, J.Crew menswear designer Frank Muytjens mentioned that the tweed suit still has “professorial vibes,” which need to be overcome if you’re going to wear one well.
His advice? Wear a shirt and tie and “taper the pants a little more… make them slim and shorter.”
By combining your tweed with a tailored shirt, a silk tie and slim, tapered trousers, the cloth is immediately modernized. Do this and I guarantee you’ll find the “rough tweed/tailored fit” contrast a style winner.
Three piece and double breasted tweed suits
Although the three piece tweed suit has been around for as long as tweed, it’s only today that we’ve really seen the rise of what GQ calls an “aggressively tailored,” tweed, three piece suit. The same can be said for the closely tailored, double breasted, tweed suit.
Both styles make for excellent suits that combine an old world cloth with a modern fit.
This modern tweed suit is also more versatile than the “outdoorsy” or “professorial” tweed suits of old. You can wear it at the weekend or in the office.
If you don’t yet own a tweed suit, why not begin designing one with A Suit That Fits by checking out tweed cloths like this one (pictured below)?