This past summer, whilst everyone else was buying beachwear, I was acquiring tweeds.
I wasn’t looking for them per se, I just kept finding them: wonderful vintage tweed suits,skirts, jackets,
and even a full-length coat at the thrift stores I frequent.
Unlike retail, vintage shopping is season-less—in other words, you buy it when you find it—or else, and I speak from bitter experience, you endure the inevitable regret.
So for months, a quickly expanding row of tweeds waited patiently in my closet for a seasonal shift.
I bought these tweeds because I loved them. I was willing to wait.
Trends don’t influence what I buy, or wear. Shopping vintage isn’t about fast fashion or trendiness; it’s about quality, originality, and wearing what suits you, and expressing your unique style.
Sometimes my style and trends just happen to coincide: the fashion media are forecasting tweeds as a strong look for Spring/Summer 2019. I would be wearing these tweeds regardless, but now I’ll look so on-trend. Which is amusing because I simply favour classic pieces that slot effortlessly into my existing wardrobe. I like to take vintage and make it look modern.
Don’t you just love the Chanel runway? Personally, I’ve never seen anyone wearing a spectacular tweed suit at the beach, but perhaps I just haven’t been to the right beaches.
There is something inherently interesting about tweed—perhaps it’s the wonderful combination of colours, and the weighty woven texture that is so appealing. It’s little wonder that Mademoiselle Chanel created her iconic suits in this luxe fabrication.
But although the couturière is inextricably linked with it, Coco did not actually invent tweed—it originated in 18th century Scotland. She simply borrowed from the boys—specifically from the closet of her beau, the Duke of Westminster. Tweed, or twill as it was called at the time, was synonymous with the leisurely pursuits of the elite and aristocracy and was traditionally used for upper class sportswear, outerwear, and country wear like shooting jackets.
Chanel first introduced the collarless cardigan in her collection of 1925, soon after meeting the Duke. But it was when Coco was 70-years-old, in 1954, at her comeback couture collection that she cemented her minimalist tweed suit as her most recognisable and lasting legacy.
Lagerfeld has continued the tradition and turned tweed into an art.
HOW TO WEAR TWEED
You’ve got many options depending on the piece, the occasion, and your style. Here are a few ways to make tweed work for you:
Sometimes matchy matchy is absolute perfection. Classic elements like a structured top-handle handbag, shoes not sneakers, and hosiery, bid a nod to the elegant nature of the tweed suit.
You can up the ante as far as you want with accessories, but be careful you don’t turn it into a costume. Think Coco, not the Queen.
MODERN DRESSING DOWN
One of the reasons for the longevity of the little tweed suit is its versatility. Making it modern is a matter of putting a new spin on it by dressing it down with some casual elements—instead of a silk shirt, try a simple T-shirt., and swap heels for flats or boots. It adds interest and stylistic tension and counters its tailored precision.
Turn a tweed suit into chic separates by wearing the jacket with jeans; the skirt with a leather jacket. Or, my favourite, with a monochrome base.
However you choose to wear it, tweeds will be the pièce de résistance for Spring.
I can’t wait.
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SEE MY OTHER TWEED POSTS: