Flat caps and sheep dogs, shooting weekends and windswept Hebridean isles. While tweed may have its traditional associations, this quintessential British fabric is far from just the preserve of the countryside classes. From a well-fitted, classic tweed jacket to a full tweed suit, tweed is versatile, stylish and can be extremely contemporary.
Experts in taking tweed to the next level, Walker Slater has been reinventing and reinvigorating tweed for the next generation since it was founded in 1989. Dedicated to bringing this time-honoured cloth into the modern style lexicon, it boasts boutiques in Edinburgh, London and Glasgow, offering made-to-measure tailoring and ready-to-wear tweed pieces for men and women. London Sock Co. spoke to Paul Walker, director and head designer at Walker Slater to find out how modern gents can work this classic British cloth into their wardrobe.
Tell us about tweed
There’s a reason why tweed has been an icon of British style for so long. As a natural fibre made from wool, it is durable, breathable, versatile and really long-lasting. One of the beauties of tweed is that it can easily be repaired throughout its lifetime to prolong its wear. With its distinctive colourways and patterns – usually pastoral and natural, taking cues from heathery hillsides, moors and moss, and bark – tweed is timeless and will always have a place in your wardrobe.
Old-fashioned or on-trend?
Tweed has come full circle. Once a rustic countryside essential, it is now also a modern style staple. Look for pieces with modernised cuts – think more fitted – that can be incorporated into your everyday wardrobe, from business to leisure and even special occasions. At Walker Slater, we have worked hard to develop tweed cloths that feature silk, linen and cashmere to create even more luxurious products. Our tweed comes from all over Scotland – from rough and heavy piled Harris Tweed from the Outer Hebrides to wool mixes which are finer from the Scottish Borders – as well as from the continent. The aim is to make beautiful clothing, which is relevant to people’s lives, wearable and sustainable.
Just a jacket – an easy way in
A tweed jacket is an easy way to introduce tweed style into your wardrobe, as it works formally or casually. Our Martin fine herringbone jacket is popular. It’s nice and understated, with a youthful, slimline cut that looks great with jeans and Chelsea boots for the weekend, or even as a part of a three-piece tweed suit. It is available in navy, charcoal or brown.
LSC sock suggestion: East India Saffron
Few things look as sharp as a well-fitted, tweed suit. Our Francis suit is really fashion-focused with peak lapels and the double-breasted waistcoat – it’s a real show stopper. The cloths are from Yorkshire or the Scottish Borders where we always look for something a little different. Opt for a sky blue shirt and a slim, burgundy silk knit tie with this one – makes a really stylish wedding statement.
LSC sock suggestion: Spot of Style Burgundy
Upping your trouser game
Don’t let the idea of tweed trousers on their own intimidate you. They look great styled with a denim shirt – ideal if you want to avoid the double denim look. If you are a beginner to tweed trousers, we’d suggest our Tobacco Donegal Pattern Edward trouser in Shetland Tweed (pictured). For the slightly more daring, how about something with a check? Our William trouser in Shetland Moss Herringbone Windowpane feature a reverse pleat which is another style detail and the orange windowpane is really eye catching
LSC sock suggestion: Bond St. Herringbone Blue or Bloomsbury Orange
What about waistcoats?
As with trousers, a tweed waistcoat can be casually worn as part of a more ‘off-duty’ outfit. The texture of the tweed looks great with denim: try with denim jeans in dark indigo. We also have grooms kitting themselves out in a full three piece suit and then choosing tweed waistcoats for the groomsmen. This is a great way to tie the wedding theme together.
Our James waistcoat is pretty striking on its own or as part of the three piece suit.
LSC sock suggestion: Ottaway Style Grey
Get over(coat) it
Tweed is so versatile as a fabric and a tweed overcoat is a flexible, all-round addition to any gent’s sartorial arsenal. Seriously, if you own just one tweed item, an overcoat should be it. Although not waterproof unless specifically treated, it is shower-resistant and extremely warm. The right one can be dressed up for formal occasions, but also worn with jeans or chinos for easy style. Our Nathan overcoat is great for balancing relaxed sophistication.
LSC sock suggestion: Spot of Style Earl Grey