It has been said that any man or woman of true sophistication and good taste has at least one tweed garment in their wardrobe.
This fabric that was started with the working class has even been worn by blue bloods. To me it is without a doubt the king of fabrics, especially during the cooler months and a traditional favorite amongst us preps.
Now in order to wear a garment well, one should have at the very least a rudimentary grasp of the garments history.
Tweed emerged among the small farmers and land labourers of the damp climate of Scotland and Ireland long before the English aristocracy eventually came upon it on their hunting trips, and brought it back to their London tailors. Originally it was very rough, thick and felted, hand woven according to local traditions in dull and earthy colours. It was a working man’s cloth, but ready to make a journey through the history and social
classes of the British Empire. According to legend, the name “tweed” is the result of a copying error, where a London cloth merchant misspelled the Scottish word tweel as tweed, confused by the river Tweed. More likely, the word is derived from the word tweeled (meaning twilled). The term tweed commonly refers to a variety of wool fabrics woven in a rough, multicoloured twill structure.
The rugged cloth's great wind and water resistant qualities still makes
it the standard wear in the British Isles for shooting, fly-fishing and other country sport activities.
During the early nineteenth century many estates in Scotland were sold
in by money-strapped Highland chiefs and landholders to English nobles attracted by the country north of the Border. In 1848 Prince Albert purchased the estate of Balmoral from the Farguharsons of
Inverey. Now every gentleman of the leisure class needed an estate
of his own, and if he could not afford to buy one, he rented one. Soon it became fashionable among the new owners or tenants to commission special tweeds for their estates. They wanted to take on the tradition of having their retainers clothed in an estate pattern but had no right to a tartan. In addition, they wanted functional hard wearing fabrics that would provide camouflage for the stalkers – and even the brightest of these patterns do blend in with the heathers and mountain scenery.
When Price Albert designed his Balmoral tweed around 1850, estate tweeds were all the rage. The diversity of patterns and colours found in tweed today is in fact much obliged to the estate tweed idea.
Once the tweed pattern was akin to the regimental tie or the school crest.
Today available for everyone, many patterns are still the same. According to Edward P. Harrison, in his renowned book Scottish Estate Tweeds from
1995, the first estate tweed is credited as the Glenfeshie. It was commissioned around 1835, for the ghillies and keepers of that estate. The basis for many of the checks was the simple black and white Shepherd check, in a dogtooth pattern. This was later adopted by one of the gun clubs in the U.S., and “gun club” has been its popular name since then. Another well known pattern is the Glen Urquhart check. Also a simple black and white mix, but in an intricate pattern. In the twenties Prince Edward of Wales brought it outside of the British isles, adding brown to the mix, and a subtle colour over-check. Today just called Glen check or Prince of Wales, the pattern is often used in lighter woollen flannels or worsted, perhaps even made of cashmere. Once a hard wearing tweed pattern for shooting and stalking, it is now more common for having an espresso at the piazza. Created in 1845 by mixing blue and yellow yarns, the marled green Lovat tweed still blends perfectly with the heather, bracken, bluebells and birches surrounding the Lovat estate. Lord Elcho took inspiration from the marled colouring of the Lovat to have the Elcho mixture created, a khaki cloth that became the first camouflage uniform for the London Scottish Regiment, and forerunner of others throughout the world. A bespoke estate tweed may still be the
exclusive uniform for both the employer and his employees of the windswept Scottish sweeps of moorland, scrub and heather. Thus, tweed may look a bit aristocratic to some, but its rustic heritage and its habit of covering all classes, makes it just as democratic as American denim. Tweed carries with it a certain kind of low-key sophistication. In pop culture, for example, we have all seen how tweed subtly but unmistakably underscores the cultured elegance of The Lord, The Gentleman, The College Professor and The New York Intellectual. It introduces his character before he says a word. Tweed is much more than a piece of cloth. It speaks of standards to live up to. And it is thus more than a statement: it is a promise.
Ladies Linhope berwick tweed jacket
J Press Tweeds at http://www.jpressonline.com/
Ladies Ptarmingan Tweed Coat
Now go out and wear your tweeds proud.
Posted By O. Cavanaugh