Tweeds: Tradition Reinvented for the Winter11/9/2016
Tweeds: Tradition Reinvented for the Winter
Tweed is a traditional fabric that for centuries has been routinely favored for casual outerwear because of its warmth and durability. It has been much loved by the country classes, including Britain’s royal family.
Tweed and other traditional fabrics have made a surprise comeback on the catwalks in couturier collections for fall and winter.
Dolce & Gabbana, better known for sexy leopard prints and corsets, surprised the world when their new designs featured these time-honored fabrics despite their old-fashioned former image. In the D&G collections tweeds, tartans, corduroy and checked patterns in muted colors all contribute to an understated look with a retro air of country style. Of course, this is haute couture and there were also exotic flourishes in the accessories and detailing. The overall look was described by fashion pundits as “demure.” The designers themselves emphasized the charms of warm, comfortable and practical clothing.
Tweeds are linked especially to Scotland, the name deriving from the Scottish pronunciation of “twill,” a particular kind of close woolen weave. Plain weave looks the same on both sides, whereas twills have a right and wrong side. Perhaps the best known is Harris Tweed, made on the islands of Harris, Lewis, Barra and Uist in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. (Linton and Bernat Klein are other quality names.) Harris tweeds are still made of 100% wool, spun and hand-woven by skilled weavers in their own crofts.
Tweed began as homespun cloth, dyed with local materials such as mosses and lichens, amongst other plants. The traditional “heather mix” is achieved by mixing different natural colors together in a beautifully blended multi-strand yarn. Herringbone and houndstooth are some well-known patterns. Although associated with country house elegance and rural estates, tweed peaked caps were a staple of the working man’s wardrobe for many decades.
Not all tweed is as organic as it originally was, but it’s still a noble fabric that has endured as the favorite of the class that knows about quality and value for money. For the chilly months of the year tweed is cozy to wear, molds to your body shape and is water-resistant. Its subtle colors are neutral enough to make it mix-and-matchable, yet never dull and the different types of twill weaves give it a pleasing range of patterns and textures.
Tweed, updated with flashier cuts and designs and creatively worn with less traditional clothes, is an ideal and stylish addition to any winter wardrobe. See for yourself!
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