There is nothing like a luminous, luscious, heritage tweed to cheer up a grim February. Tweed is the equivalent to a favourite pair of slippers – it’s warm and so, so comforting, yet it’s also a sartorial classic that never fails to lift the mood. A new tweed jacket will inspire you start Zooming straight away, even if just to show off your perfectly pitched, subtle, lockdown elegance. A good tweed demonstrates quiet, effortless confidence, plus an eye for tried and trusted quality.
Here are some of my favourites, all available at Henry Poole & Co., all with a history of delivering the finest quality down the generations.
Fox Brothers has been making tweed for almost 300 years, so it knows something about it. The Fox family has built on its fine craftsmen’s traditions, modernising its mills to create some of today’s most popular and well-known fabrics. Indeed, so popular are they, that they are considered at the apex of the tweed chain and the Fox 500g has acquired similar status in the tailoring world to a G650 private jet.
We are proud to have collaborated with Fox over the years. In 2007 we invited them to weave a grey chalk stripe flannel, inspired by the iconic image of Sir Winston Churchill in his Henry Poole grey chalk stripe, while holding a Tommy gun. Aptly, we named this exclusive cloth The Churchill.
Only last autumn we collaborated with Fox again to celebrate Range Rover’s 50th birthday. We created a fabric with Land Rover’s Chief Creative Officer, Gerry McGovern OBE, inspired by the original paint colours of 1970 Range Rover – Tuscan Blue, Davos White and Bahama Gold. This beautiful tweed was made into a series of limited edition 50th anniversary jackets that we displayed at the Concours d’Elegance at Hampton Court Palace in September.
You can feel the history and authenticity in Fox’s range of 17oz Shetland tweed with its earthy tones inspired by the heathery, peaty hues of the Scottish mountains. I love the way the amber treble check of TD64 is made all the more vibrant by its deep, moss green base. A jacket in this tweed would pair perfectly with dark olive or brown corduroy and flannel trousers. Our tailors find this pliable tweed a joy to work with, as it shapes easily and flatteringly to the body.
PORTER and HARDING
Porter and Harding might have offices in London, Paris and New York but its roots delve deep into the countryside, where founders John Porter and Bill Harding loved to hunt, fish and shoot. They spun their fabrics from Cheviot sheep’s wool, and their Thornproof range became renowned for its robustness that could combat wild Scottish weather and keep out the cold, wind, rain, sleet, thistles and thorns. Of course, Porter and Harding has brought its ranges right up to date for its global consumers, but its fabrics are still redolent of our Great British weather. I love its Glenroyal Range of 14oz classic tweeds, featuring eye-catching window check, both single and double. A double check never fails to make a blocky or boxy-looking jacket more streamlined and elegant. These tweeds are versatile and hold their shape however much they’re shoved into a suitcase – not that many of us are travelling at the moment. My favourite is the 44651, an authentic lovat overlaid with blue window check that pairs beautifully with denim or blue corduroy topped off with a blue shirt of navy roll neck.
Dugdale, created in 1896, has developed its new environmentally friendly Ecology range, spun from naturally scoured British wool, woven and finished in Huddersfield without any artificial dyes. Using a blend of fleece from Jacobs and Black Welsh Mountain breeds, Dugdale has created a full-blown 18oz winter warmer, a pure wool cloth in natural oat shades of cream, grey and white. These calming neutrals look great with cream cable roll necks, cream cashmere scarves and with charcoal flannel or even black moleskin trousers. Wrap up in Ecology tweed for a bracing walk in the snow on crisp, cold day. My vote goes to 1513, a soft grey sharpened by a good-sized but subtle grey and white check.
As daffodils and crocuses start to thrust up and herald the first stirrings of spring, I’m also looking at the lighter tweeds. I am very taken with Glorious 12th’s 11 oz cloth. Originally named after the launch date of the annual pheasant shooting season, this range is a practical all-year rounder. The worsted tweed has a fine finish that makes it a more urban, elegant tweed, perhaps suited to a casual business meeting more than to a robust stomp through the countryside – though that’s not to say it’s not versatile enough to serve both purposes. In fact, Glorious 12th’s tweeds are so adaptable that you’ll want several of their fabrics, since so many of us are working from home now and adopting a full-time smart-casual wardrobe. My choice goes to PH 25554, a beige spot with blue window check, a truly flexible and useful classic jacket that defines the notion of smart-casual. With its lighter 11 oz weight, trousers can include mid-weight chinos and gabardines.
Of course, should you wish any of these tweeds in other patterns or colourways, please do not hesitate to contact our swatch service and we’ll be happy to send you samples.
And just a reminder that along with Spring, Valentine’s Day approaches. Our on-line service has some excellent gifts for discerning gentlemen and some great offers. We suggest a fine pair of Napoleonic crested silver cufflinks, silver collar stays, engraved with Henry Poole Savile Row or an elegant Cundey woven tie (available in numerous colourways) with matching fabric cufflinks. Or, if you feel a little overwhelmed by choice, you can always fall back on one of our gift vouchers.
I look forward to seeing you all in the store as soon as we are able to open but meanwhile, please make use of all our online services and browse our website for inspiration. Don’t forget you can even visit us – well, almost – with our online virtual tour which allows you to wander around our premises, even into our historic archives.