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How tweed went from stuffy to chic

2024's take on tweed is less about blending in and more about standing out
2024's take on tweed is less about blending in and more about standing out

Tweed has long been a part of the well-dressed person’s style armour, ever since it was first woven in the 1800s. It was developed as a durable, moisture-resistant fabric for those engaged in country pursuits – the traditional green and brown palette made it a camouflage of sorts.

But 2024’s take is less about blending in and more about standing out. The catwalks have been a riot of tweedy colour, shaking off its fusty reputation in favour of a more raw, youthful take.

Lupita Nyong'o kept things fun and fresh at the Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023-2024 show
Lupita Nyong'o kept things fun and fresh at the Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023-2024 show - Getty

Obviously Chanel is at the forefront – the tweed jacket has been a signature of the house since the 1920s, when the eponymous designer would visit the Scottish estate of her lover, the Duke of Westminster. Chanel’s current creative director, Virginie Viard, continues to use this history as a reference point.

You don’t need a Chanel budget to wear tweed though.

On the high street, Mango has a particularly strong offering of neatly cropped, collarless jackets, including a style called the ‘Wintour’ (no prizes for guessing the inspiration). The Fold’s take features a rainbow of threads woven together, while Self-Portrait’s tweed jacket-and-skirt combo has become a style staple of the Princess of Wales.

The Princess of Wales in a Self-Portrait dress and tweed jacket, which she teamed with a Chanel black quilted clutch bag
The Princess of Wales in a Self-Portrait dress and tweed jacket, which she teamed with a Chanel black quilted clutch bag - WireImage/Samir Hussein

If the matching set isn’t for you, give your tweed a modern twist by ditching the skirt and teaming the jacket with worn-in jeans. Play with other contrasting textures too – tweed looks fabulous with patent leather and cotton poplin. Or try androgynous, menswear-inspired tailoring, à la Katharine Hepburn.

The Duchess of Sussex paired her tweed jacket with jeans for a more relaxed look
The Duchess of Sussex paired her tweed jacket with jeans for a more relaxed look - Max Mumby/Getty Images

As for actual menswear, steer clear of green and brown blends (unless you really are going hunting, shooting or fishing, in which case, proceed) – tweed looks far more elegant in neutrals such as dove grey, chocolate brown and rich navy. All would work well in a blouson or blazer – elbow patches optional – but the clean lines of an overshirt or chore jacket suit the fabric’s texture especially well.

For menswear, opting for a grey tweed looks more city-chic than countryside
For menswear, opting for a grey tweed looks more city-chic than countryside

Tweed may once have been linked inextricably with aristocracy, but there’s no barrier to entry today. The durability for which it was first valued has made it a practical and versatile choice for the everyman or woman. The only difference now is that it’s fashion.

Try these...

Wide leg jumpsuit, £175, & Other Stories; Hobo bag, £139, Charles & Keith
Wide leg jumpsuit, £175, & Other Stories; Hobo bag, £139, Charles & Keith

Wide leg jumpsuit, £175, & Other Stories; Hobo bag, £139, Charles & Keith

Cropped jacket, £89.99, Mango; Wide leg trousers, £269, Sandro; Tweed jacket, £495, The Fold
Cropped jacket, £89.99, Mango; Wide leg trousers, £269, Sandro; Tweed jacket, £495, The Fold

Cropped jacket, £89.99, Mango; Wide leg trousers, £269, Sandro; Tweed jacket, £495, The Fold

Overcoat, £310, Universal Works; Harris Tweed pleated trousers, £395, Drake's
Overcoat, £310, Universal Works; Harris Tweed pleated trousers, £395, Drake's

Overcoat, £310, Universal Works; Harris Tweed pleated trousers, £395, Drake’s

Overshirt, £250, Portuguese Flannel; Pleated trousers, £139, Percival; Shirt, £195, Corridor at End
Overshirt, £250, Portuguese Flannel; Pleated trousers, £139, Percival; Shirt, £195, Corridor at End

Overshirt, £250, Portuguese Flannel; Pleated trousers, £139, Percival; Shirt, £195, Corridor at End