Tweed: A Pattern Primer

As far as quality names go, the best tweed can be traced to two of its most famous makers: Harris Tweed of Scotland and Donegal Tweed of Ireland. The closely-woven woolen fabric, known for its durability and resistance to moisture, was a mainstay for many outdoor activities such as shooting and hunting. In fact, stores like Orvis still carry tweed hunting gear originally designed for estate shooting — and offer customized services for both the clothing and accompanying firearms.

Harris Tweed is woven by hand by crofters in the Western Isles of Scotland, in an area known as the Outer Hebrides.  By law — more specifically: Parliament’s Harris Tweed Act of 1993 — any product purporting to be made of Harris Tweed must be made in this area from locally-sourced wool, then it must be approved by the Harris Tweed Authority before it’s certified to be handstamped with the iconic orb symbol.

The process for crafting Donegal Tweed is considerably less stringent. Taking its name from the town in which its manufacturer Magee is located, Donegal tweed clothing and accessories are also known for their quality and attention to detail.

While both companies continue to put out traditional products, they’re definitely not afraid to put a new spin on a timeless yarn. We here at D&Q are huge fans of putting traditional items out of context, so it’s no surprise we admire Harris Tweed’s collaboration with Nike. The soon-to-be-released Royal Mid combines a classy tweed upper with a supple brown leather , and really puts the “class” in “classic.”

Personally, I’m more focused on fit, so I’d recommend Harris Tweed’s new collaboration with Topman. The line of slim ties and suits is cut to favor skinner silhouettes, I think one standout though are the tweed gloves.

As a truly timeless fabric, tweed is most appropriate for fall and early winter, and is a pretty versatile layering piece for men and women alike. For some tips on how to mix things up this season, check out Valet’s 60-second Guide to Tweed.

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  1. [...] dresses, jackets and vests in traditional fall fabrics like wool or tweed. Plaid, argyle, and traditional tweed patterns are a plus. A ruffled blouse or embellished cardigan balances the heavy fabric, and adds a touch of [...]