Stray Talking: Boss Girl Tweed
Fashion editor, stylist and Harrogate resident Stephanie Taylor shares her insider tips on where to go – and what to wear – in this quintessentially stylish town.
From international catwalks to city streets, tweed is one of the new season’s most sought-after trends. Tradition is at its core, yet it remains impressively relevant to each new generation, reimagined and updated, bringing character to every look it touches.
Described, variously, as the closest apparel we have to British national dress, the cloth of the countryside and as royal hunting camo, there’s no doubting the historical and practical importance of tweed in our culture. Classic and understated, it is the ultimate champion of form meets function, its durable, weather-resistant qualities ensuring it continues to be the fabric of choice for country life and game sports.
But tweed has long been an iconic staple of fashion runways too, reinvented year after year by discerning design houses across the world from Burberry and Chanel to Miu Miu and The Row.
Originating in Scotland in the 18th century, the tweed we know today was developed in the early 19th century, as English nobles began to snap up Scottish estates. When, in 1848, Prince Albert bought Balmoral, every fashionable lord wanted to be a laird. However, although they could buy the land and the lodge, they were not entitled to wear the associated clan tartans so they created their own estate cloths, using the earthy shades of the surrounding moors and heathers to blend in with their ruggedly picturesque surroundings (and, optimistically perhaps, camouflage themselves from their prey). Legend has it that this woven pure woollen cloth became known first as “tweel”, Scottish for “twill”, but this was misread by a London cloth merchant as “tweed”, hence the name.
Roll forward to autumn 2018, and tweed has never been more fashionable or more wearable. Boss Girl Tweed is a new season trend we all need to know about, as the fabric gets a sleek, bold makeover featuring statement checks and standout tailoring. Louis Vuitton showed prim tweed pencil skirts, while Emilia Wickstead gave us immaculately cut, boyish jumpsuits in a punchy tweed check. On the front rows, the tweed jacket was the must-have piece for fashionistas.
To create the current season’s head-to-toe look, Cordings’ Wincanton tweed – woven in Yorkshire using 100% British wool – could have been made for the job. It features matching pieces including this equestrian-style jacket, a collared waistcoat, a neat-fitting pencil skirt and the chicest pencil trousers you’ll find. Team them together for a defiantly tonal statement outfit, or wear as wardrobe-boosting separates, adding in shirting, knits and brogues, for an updated Annie Hall appeal.
The Wincanton is a 14oz mid-weight tweed, which makes it seasonally versatile. The colours within the check also guarantee year-round workability, with rich navy, forest green, russet red and a golden taupe, all set against a natural cream backdrop, so the co-ordinating options are many and varied. This season, pair the pencil trousers or skirt with an supersoft red or cream sweater, or with one of Cordings’ beautiful printed shirts, for an interesting and contemporary mix of pattern and texture.
Wincanton tweed tailored separates are sleek yet jaunty, striding the line stylishly between town and country, and through work and week days to the weekend. Best of all, the ways-to-wear options are endless. Investment dressing just got seriously on-trend.