This article – by Jonathan Futrell – first appeared in the Financial Times
“A tweed jacket is the most useful garment in the world,” says William (Bill) Hornets, who reckons the third, and newest, of his small Hornets chain of vintage clothing stores in Kensington is the tweediest shop in London.
“You can wear it with a pair of smart trousers and a tie and go for cocktails, or you can dress is down with a pair of jeans.”
A tweed jacket, whether modern lightweight or traditional bruiser, is like a pair of Levi’s; it requires breaking in to genuinely radiate. And it’s why increasing numbers of men are turning vintage. Pre-worn tweed contains all the colour, durability and masculinity – with character and comfort already “lived in”. At any given time Hornets’ range offers around 250 tweed jackets (from £69), from 1 to 40 years old.
As Etro says, it takes confidence to wear tweed. Whether it’s lovat green, dogtooth, herringbone or overchecked with crimson, blue or orange, the colours and patterns are almost irrelevant.
“They all sell,” says Hornets. “It doesn’t matter about the colour. The only ones we can’t move are those with the leather golf ball buttons.” And is there an explanation? After all, my own tweed has leather buttons, 20 in all. In fact, I’m very proud of my golf ball buttons. “Too many images of old men in Dunn & Co jackets waiting at the bus stop.” Which wouldn’t be at all too tweedy in the 21st Century.