Walking along the River Tweed, wearing tweed that (is it just me?) is rather reminiscent of the colours of the landscape. Of course, it’s Harris tweed and we’re in the Borders, but it seems fitting nonetheless. Cloth suited to its country.
This was one of the more evocative experiences from being in Scotland a couple of weeks ago. Factories are great – you can’t hide in a factory, there is no PR – but the landscape was beautiful. You don’t expect that outside the Highlands, but it really was.
Funny what a small world this menswear industry is. I think everyone I’ve met this week has some connection to those three factories we saw in Scotland – whether manufacturer, buyer or designer. And they all had a link to each other too. It’s something that has only become more obvious in the past 30 years, as the British menswear industry has shrunk and lines have become blurred – makers becoming retailers, most obviously.
But back to the clothes. Regular readers will be able to identify almost everything, but to confirm: tweed jacket from Elia Caliendo, shawl-collar cardigan and cream cashmere handkerchief from Anderson & Sheppard, bespoke high-waisted jeans from Levi’s, and waxed boots from the now long-gone Lodger.
The A&S cardigan does the job it was designed for admirably: cut slim and short to be able to go under a jacket. It provides insulation for the neck and body, is a versatile mid-layer, and creates that attractive ‘V’ of extra colour that all cardigans are so good for.
For those readers that regularly ask for workplace alternatives to the suit: this is the kind of jacket to wear with jeans, and the cardigan is a great jacket-alternative around the office. Wear it with a wool or silk-knit tie to make it more formal.
Photos: Luke Carby
I was really excited when I saw AS was getting a ecommerce website for their haberdashery business but someone really has to tell them they’ve been sold a lemon. There were better functioning sites in the 90s let alone this day and age.
According to Google http://shop.anderson-sheppard.co.uk/plain-cashmere-pocket-square-38353 is a link to a cream cashmere pocket square – when the site temporarily worked this morning the page only came up as the home page rather than the item but hopefully it will start to work properly later. Is this the same as your pocket square?
Hey Dan – I’ll pass the feedback along to A&S. Bear in mind they are a tiny operation trying to offer a vast range of clothing.
As far as I’m aware the cream cashmere hank has never been on their website, but I might be wrong. And that link just goes to the homepage for me now as well
Hi Dan, it seems to be working ok now at this link:
I do appreciate this but there are bedroom based businesses running free ecommerce software that have massively better functionally websites created on a shoestring budget. Looking at Skywire who appear to have created the site its certainly not a shoestring budget thats been spent.
Anyway, many thanks for the working link
First of all, thanks for this wonderfully informative blog; you’re work on this has been inspirational. You’ve written about this before, I believe, but I was curious to hear what you do about storage? I’m an inveterate purchaser of coats and jackets, and am finding it challenging to maximise the limited wardrobe space I’ve tried temporary wardrobes to be put into storage, but it’s become a real challenge (particularly for my partner), and I’m concerned that I’m damaging my clothes because of the lack of adequate space. Would you be willing to do a post on this subject detailing your approach?
Sure Alex. I use tall cardboard boxes largely that tailors use to ship me things. It’s a normal box with a rack put across the top. You can fit 2-3 suits in there
I’m curious how wide the boxes are? I kept the “wardrobe” boxes from our last couple of house moves and they comfortably fit 6-8 suites in there depending on the thickness of the hanger’s shoulder element.
Just wondering if you have thinner boxes that could be useful or if you are just leaving more space
No, mine are much narrower. It’s rare that tailors are shipping me 6-8 suits! Most are just designed for 1-2 and I use them for 2-3.
The picture of you at the top of the post may be the coolest, most stylish picture on the site. Very cool to see a tweed jacket in it’s true element of Scotland! As you talk about some of the challenges AS faces with their site I thought of a possible future post. I am sure many of your readers would be curious to understand the challenges some of the brick and mortar shops face. Maybe a post on what it takes to get a retail men’s shop up and running. Keep up the great work!
Thanks Michael, and an interesting idea.
I’m planning a post on the margins and costs of retailing generally (which might make people feel a little bit more sorry for small RTW companies!) so it could be part of that.
Lovely! It woudn’t be a bad idea at all to envision a post entirely dedicated to the various types of tweed, and the best of menswear items one could make out of each.
Simon, love that tweed,jean look! More specifically, The brown jacket with jeans and cardigan is excellent. I also like the shoes as well. This is a marvelous Autumn/Winter look that’s both casual and sophisticated as well.
The photography highlighting the beauty of the tweed jacket and where it gets it’s inspiration from is to be applauded .
On the subject of jackets I noticed that sleeve pitch is increasingly necessary on RTW jackets although something which many men no nothing about.
I recently spoke with a tailor about having a sleeve pitch altered and he was genuinely surprised by my enquiry.
Given men’s posture is increasingly changing due to desk bound work it
would be great to see you, Simon, educate men on this.
Sorry if this has been covered before, but what fabric is that lovely jacket made from?
It’s a vintage Harris tweed. More details on the post about I linked to from the piece
Couldn’t agree with you more, in a time seemingly dominated by fashion and designers it is strangely surprising that the British menswear industry is so small- it’s not like we are behind in the style stakes?! I love the jacket- it doesn’t matter where you go, tweed immediately evokes images of the British countryside and its raw beauty!
This has to be one of my favorite jackets of yours. Elia did a great job with the shoulders (just extended enough) and the tweed is a perfect shade of brown.
I have never been able to understand the allure of jeans; they are no doubt ideal for the purpose for which they were designed, but in my view are totally unsuitable for any other purpose. Unpleasant material, too hot in summer, not warm enough in winter – why does anyone find them attractive?
Wouldn’t woollen, corduroy or moleskin trousers go better with the excellent jacket and cardigan?
I think they would all look great. Denim is a very different material from other cottons. No drape or line whatever. I can completely understand why tailoring enthusiasts might not like them
Thank you for everything …..
Really quick piece of advice …
I am a best man at a Highland wedding next October (2015) and want to wear (bespoke) tweed. In your opinion do I go for Walker Slater or look to one of the other tailors you’ve recommended? Budget-wise … I guess I’m looking at £1000 – £1500
Thanks in advance for any pointers you can offer …
With every best wish
Hey Alex – I’d recommend Graham Browne as a good starting point. There’s an offer on next week as well…
Hi Simon, this is a beautiful jacket, how slim are the sleeves? Does wearing a cardigan underneath feel restrictive at all? And as an aside, is the back clean, or is there a bit of drape there?
Thanks in advance..
Pretty slim, though I don’t have the measurements. With a cardigan this chunky, yes it is a little restrictive, but it’s a balance between that and being fine with just a shirt.
Yes, a touch of drape…
I was wondering if you find the A&S cardigan useful as an outer piece, or mostly for layering under tailoring, with chunkier shawl collars more useful as outerwear?
It’s best as outerwear, or eg under an overcoat so a jacket substitute
Does tweed hold its shape well? I’ve read a few posts over on Styleforum where people have complained about their bespoke tweed jackets stretching and not going back to their original shape. Have you experienced anything like this with tweed?
No, i haven’t. It will depend on the weight and weave of the tweed, though even my 2×1 Shetland Permanent Style tweed has been fine
It’s a 13oz Shetland tweed fabric that I have my eye on. Hopefully, it’ll be ok. You mentioned previously that tweed can be in uncomfortable with a thin shirt. I’m guessing it can be itchy. Have you had any Neapolitan jackets made that are fully lined?
Yes, and that might be a good option if you’re concerned
Recently discovered the blog and I’m enjoying it along with your Instagram feed.
Really loving the look here on this one. It’s a bit more my aesthetic as I love Harris Tweed and a jacket such as yours here with some raw denim. That said I wonder if I could get some advice and your take on adding a jacket from a suit to pair with denim. Personally I feel as though it’s in large part down to the fabrication of the jacket, but I also think that the cut comes into play and I’m not as confident in my pairing as far as the latter goes. For instance the Drake’s AW17 corduroy jackets. While they have a match pant, I also think the jacket could be more versatile if paired with raw denim. Curious to get your experienced take on such a combination.
Yes, corduroy can definitely work with denim. Generally it helps if the jacket is a little shorter and soft in its construction.
Regular suit jackets (in what is called ‘worsted’ wool) won’t work with jeans, but other casual materials like cotton, corduroy, tweed etc
Simon, can I ask you something about Harris Tweed? Ive noticed that its weight is often quite light, something like 250grams. I assume this is because it isnt tightly woven therefore isnt dense. How does it wear in terms of temperature? Does it wear coolers as it is more porous?
They do vary, but many other tweeds, like donegals, can be lightweight as well.
Harris Tweed is very good for the elements, particularly in wind resistance. But no, it doesn’t really wear cooler than other tweeds
Huge fan of Harris Tweed. Perfect for the Chicago autumn and spring which typically doesn’t really end until mid-May. Nice picture.
Having had this piece for a while, how do you feel about the self-lining? I’ve had a number of tailors try to dissuade me from doing a self-lining / french-facing (I’m assuming those are synonymous) when making up a harris tweed jacket. Reasoning goes that the rough tweed may wear your shirt or otherwise affect the fit as it catches on things. But I do love the way a self-lining looks so I’m conflicted which way to go!
I’ve found it fine, and I do like the effect, but I would caveat that with saying that it doesn’t get very heavy wear because I have so many things. And it is a touch less easy to put on and take off.
Awesome post, as usual.
The brown tweed is by far my favorite. The color stands out from the normal greys that seem to permeate my office.
I’ve also switched out my navy blue blazer for a black – again to do something a little different.
As someone who constantly questions ‘what goes with what’ (I have zero fashion sense), I really appreciate these posts. Thank you, Simon!
Thanks Chris, really pleased it’s appreciated, and that you like the tweed
Hi Simon. Would this jacket and brown color work with warm grey flannel trousers? What other type of trousers/colors would go well with this jacket? Thanks.
Yes, probably, just as long as it wasn’t too warm and close in colour to the jacket.
Loads of other colours would work though: light, mid and dark grey, dark green, tan or beige, cream, denim
Re: not too warm/close in color to PS Harris Tweed color jacket. Does that mean Fox Char-Brown flannel trousers might not work?
Yes, I wouldn’t wear brown trousers with this jacket.
Simon what about a wool silk linen jacket such as those in the Cacciopoli SS range. Would that fabric be appropriate to wear with jeans?
Probably not. Personally I find it too smart in the options I have – I shouldn’t have worn it with jeans in this ensemble, for example
One of the best value places to buy Harris is direct from the Island. The online web shop is excellent.
Hi – I have always liked this jacket and can see it is being discussed on other articles. A brief question or two if I may. Would you choose a patch breast pocket if you were to commission it again? I thought I had settled on the very dark brown W Bill tweed you used recently for a new brown semi-casual jacket as it looked quite urban and would likely be quite versatile. But I see a tweed similar to this one may be available again. Do you have any advice please – I think I can only afford/justify one?
Those two tweeds won’t be that different in style, but one is slightly more urban and smart, the other country and casual. The former will look better in semi-formal places, the latter with jeans in casual ones. So I think it’s a question of what you will most need it for.
No, I would probably go without a breast pocket if I were to make this jacket again.
Simon, be interested to know, how do your new Viberg boots compare to the old Lodger’s? How would they look with the jeans and jacket in the article.
Thanks, hope your summer is going well.
I don’t think they’d suit this outfit to be honest. The Viberg boots are much chunkier than the Lodgers – last shape, welt, everything. I wouldn’t wear the Vibergs with a jacket.
Simon, thanks any thoughts on what would work? Maybe EG Galway.
Yes, Galway would be lovely. I’d happily wear them in suede, as shown here, but you could go for other leathers too
Simon, perfect thank you.
Simon, can you say more please about the AS cardigan, color, material and collar.
There’s more on this old article Cliff.
Many thanks, very helpful.
Hope your safe and well.
I am just getting into the sports jacket/jeans look, having always been trousers and jacket. Does the ‘rule’ of dark on top and lighter on the bottom go out the window when wearing denim? I generally wear dark to mid-wash indigo demin, so I am guessing lighter on top makes sense? Thank you.
Yes, it doesn’t really apply here. Wear whatever jeans you want on the bottom, and then aim to get a good bit of contrast with the jacket on top
Hey Simon – do you still recommend this A&S shawl cardigan – do you have other recommendations for slimmer shawl cardigans to use for layering and colour
The A&S ones are great, but it is quite a quirky design – not just slim but short too. I’d recommend trying them in person if you can.
But otherwise no, I don’t really have any slim-fitting recommendations. Certainly I wouldn’t wear one under a jacket, and to an extent the pleasure of the style is in its thickness. It would lose a lot of character if it was a much thinner make.
Hello Simon. I found these in my size https://www.mensfile.com/shop/2021/1/4/books-mirror-of-venus-by-wingate-paine-1972-seventh-edition-kxyjr-kfnhk-wnhmg-98a7c-3xy8f-r4s6d-dlcsg-ceefg-ld2td-6ltec-4nbjf. I intend to style this with my Blue/Indigo Jeans. The dark brown colour leans towards the casual side more (colour seems similar to the one you wearing). My question is – is your and will this jacket be warm enough for Indian chilly winters like up North as in your own experience here in India winters. I also have this in mind https://www.privatewhitevc.com/products/the-peacoat?variant=25694742773824 and I’ve asked them if they can do the same Peacoat for me in dark brown Harris Tweed. Please let me know what are your thoughts?
That sounds nice Amit, and yes they should be good in winter, just layer up!
Thank you Simon. That’s great. What I also wanted to know what colour Hoodies/Sweatshirts would go with this shade of brown and my Barbour Lutz Waxed cotton jacket in Olive (Grey being a default option here). I was thinking of chilly winter nights where I would a darker mid-layer. And yes to top it up a PS Watch Cap in Black as it would be a tad more nicer than Navy (Both for days & nights). Thank you Simon 😊
Most fairly neutral colours would work well Amit, I’d start with grey