Tweed is a classic style statement that seems to hit the runways every fall season without fail. This fabric screams aristocratic, and for good reason: Its history is closely tied to British noblemen and -women. This may come as a surprise, but tweed’s rise in popularity was due to upland bird hunting. Known as the original gentlemen’s performance wear, it was basically 19th century camo for royalty.
Woven from wool, tweed was worn while hunting on British and Scottish estates. Its durability, warmth and water resistance helped royal hunters withstand cool temperatures while maintaining grace and poise. Fast-forward to 2019, and the tradition continues as upland bird hunters across the United Kingdom still honor that heritage. It’s safe to say the fabric has far surpassed the field and become a style staple.
Today, tweed appears every fall season on the runways of luxury fashion houses for both men and women. It’s considered an autumn classic, and fashion enthusiasts can’t seem to get enough. I myself have fond memories of attending Ralph Lauren’s New York Fashion Week shows and always found myself in awe of his classic menswear-inspired tweed designs.
Speaking of classics, the iconic Chanel tweed jacket, which first appeared in Coco Chanel’s collection in 1925, originated after the fashionista spent time with male friends who were hunting and fishing in tweed apparel. She was attracted to the fabric due to its practicality, and the rest is history. Today, the Chanel tweed jacket is one of the most recognizable garments ever produced.
I see the attraction to this famed fabric. Tweed is rugged yet refined, casual yet sophisticated. It’s fit for a king or queen yet functional and fashionable. It’s a must-have in everyone’s closet, primed for an elegant evening affair or a day in the field.
Laura Schara is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast and cohost of the television series Minnesota Bound. You can find her blog at wildlyliving.com.