Think Tweed and you think of the English country gent, although it was the Scottish and Irish who first wove this coarse twill wool cloth in the 18th Century.
But it was the English Gentry who took this fabric to their hearts and by the 1840s had made the wearing of tweed for country sports popular.
This fashion trend was all down to the astute Lady Dunmore who saw the potential of this hard-wearing and water-resistant fabric as great outerwear for hunting, fishing and shooting. And as she had acquired her late husband’s estate on the Isle of Harris, she was eager to promote the now famous Harris Tweed to her peers.
Harris Tweed certification mark from DS Dundee
Tweed for Him and Her – Viyella
Today Harris Tweed is the only fabric still woven by hand and is made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides. To regulate and protect the fabric against imitations, the Harris Tweed Orb certification mark was created in 1909 and is the oldest British mark of its kind. So when buying Harris Tweed, check it has the certification mark.
Tweed has come a long way from just being worn for country sports; it is now universally acceptable as smart casual attire in both the country and the city. Ede & Ravenscroft’s country tweed jacket (£350) and waistcoat (£150) is looking good for city life – see main picture (top) www.edeandravenscroft.co.uk
And the name Tweed? – Well the story goes that it was a London merchant who started calling the fabric ‘tweed’ around 1830 after he misread the word ‘tweel’ (Scottish spelling for twill) or ‘tweeled’ in a letter from a Scottish cloth manufacturer and assumed the fabric was named after the nearby river Tweed. The cloth then was advertised as Tweed and the name stuck.
Assembling your tweed ensemble:
(click links below)
|Karen Grace is a Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for www.frumpytofunky.com and fashion writer for
She studied Personal Styling at the London College of Fashion and is a registered affiliate member of the Federation of Image Professionals International.
For personal shopping and styling services you can reach her via frumpy to funky on [email protected]and