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A GUIDE TO WINTER FABRICS: TWEED, CORDUROY, WOOL

3 FABRICS MEN SHOULD WEAR FOR AUTUMN/WINTER 2014

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Photography by Craig Landale

A Guide to Winter Fabrics: Tweed, Corduroy, Wool

Winter’s coming, it’s time to crack out the woolly jumpers and big fluffy socks. Time to wrap up so tight that you end up warmer than you ever were over summer (but with a terrible British Summer, that shouldn’t be too hard). 

Perfectly styling the currently available fabrics is hard, especially with your mind locked onto how to keep warm, but we’re here to tell you what the top three winter fabrics are and what they can do for you and how you should wear them.

Tweed 

As a rough, tight-knit and flexible fabric, tweed is perfect for the winter months and has been used for over one hundred years to keep warm.

"Tweed is perfect for the winter"
"Tweed is perfect for the winter"

Whilst not a fabric you’d use for shirts and socks, you’ll find it in suit jackets, waistcoats and trousers, which is also where you’d make the most impact wearing them. Tweed has had a strong background as an upper class material used in hunting and leisurewear for the Edwardian elites. It’s always stayed in style. 

More recently, its resurgence has made it more apparent in stores such as Primark and Topman in the form of 3 piece suits, and if there’s anything you should invest in this year it should be at least one part of, if not a full, a grey tweed suit. No matter which way you break it down, each piece is strong enough to stand on its own.

Primark x Harris Tweed
Primark x Harris Tweed

Key Note: Wearing a blazer looks great throughout winter, but only if it fits properly. Don’t settle for anything you’re uncomfortable wearing. Give some breathing room for a shirt underneath. 

Corduroy 

Arguably corduroy’s mainstream use is in trousers. It’s warm and flexible and makes for a great heritage casualwear fabric, but a corduroy shirt or jacket can be vastly underrated. Using a cord shirt over a thinner shirt, paired with denim or chino trousers creates a relaxed but textured tone to your look. Wearing cord trousers paired with a big wool coat is a great way to keep the cord subtle and stylish.

"Corduroy’s mainstream use is in trousers"
"Corduroy’s mainstream use is in trousers"

Wearing Corduroy is a personal preference and there is an array of styles that you can purchase. A wider “wale” – i.e the number of cords running down the fabric, tend to be heavier and more traditional. This traditional style is reminiscent of a time where wearing clothes to keep warm in the winter was paramount to style. 

A narrow “wale” is more modern and can be found in lots of current high street stores. This style is more subtle and makes the fabric a little more denim like, but can look just as good in formal situations as suit trousers. 

Key note: Remember to keep trousers fitted and not too baggy, lest risk looking like an underage grandad and make sure they’re a modern colour and shape to repel the thought of the early 80’s and 90’s.

"A corduroy jacket can be vastly underrated"
"A corduroy jacket can be vastly underrated"

Wool 

Wool, nature’s natural insulator, used for centuries in clothing including all the ironic embarrassing Christmas jumpers. A great wool coat can give any look a finishing touch, and Nov/Dec is a great time to invest in one, but waiting for the March/May seasonal change may even turn up a bargain for the following year. 

Thick wool coats look great over a suit since they often have the sharp clean edges to ensure everything underneath looks just as preened.

"Nature’s natural insulator"
"Nature’s natural insulator"

For the weekend, wearing a thin collared shirt with a wool jumper over the top and your sleeves pulled up slightly is great casual festive look. It looks smart but relaxed enough for a Christmas dinner. 

Key Note: Wearing a wool hat, gloves, scarf, coat and jumper really won’t look good all at once, pick two or three to venture out of the house when it's frosty, but make sure only one stays on whilst inside.

"A wool coat can give any look a finishing touch"
"A wool coat can give any look a finishing touch"

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