Brian Sacawa is the Founder of He Spoke Style and one of the original men’s style influencers.
How To Wear A Donegal Tweed Suit
There are myriad of benefits to owning a dark brown Donegal tweed suit. First, the fabric is incredibly durable, making it a sound investment that you can wear and enjoy for many, many years to come. Next, it’s exceptionally warm, which is very practical when the temperatures drop. Owing to its neps — or small flecks of color peppered throughout the fabric — it has a very unique appearance with pretty much every single garment being a one-of-a-kind piece. And by owning one, you’re connecting yourself to centuries of Irish weaving tradition, craftsmanship, and heritage.
However, the biggest benefit to having a Donegal tweed suit in your fall and winter wardrobe is its absolutely incredible and unmatched versatility. And to illustrate that versatility, here are five ways I’m wearing it this season.
1. Perfectly Classic
Earlier this week, I mentioned in this suit’s introductory post that it is a bit of an homage and an update to my original lighter brown Donegal tweed suit — my very first custom suit and, honestly, the suit that helped launch He Spoke Style. The lighter brown Donegal was pretty striking, but as a full suit it was a bit more difficult to style and seemed to only work in very specific situations. However, the darker version that we’ve just introduced is much more adaptable to a wider variety of situations.
The darker color gives it a bit more formality — albeit, with a little bit of a rugged and casual flavor. This allows you to wear it with ease for as a business suit or for an evening event. I’ve styled it here with a nod to some of the fall colors we’re currently enjoying. The burgundy tie and pocket square with its hints of yellow and gold play perfectly into the seasonal color palette. And instead of white shirt, I’ve gone with a light pink poplin, which complements the burgundy accessories and pairs nicely with the dark brown tweed.
While this look is certainly at home in a business situation, it’s an outfit that could easily be repurposed for a dinner date at a nice restaurant or later on in December for your next holiday cocktail party.
2. Jacket Separate
Nothing makes a suit more versatile than when you can break it into separates. And a dark brown Donegal tweed suit really shines because of the amazing sport coat that the suit jacket becomes. Flannel notwithstanding, tweed is one of the easiest suit fabrics to do this with since it pairs effortlessly with many different kinds of trousers as well as jeans.
Here, I’ve gone with a very simple and classic styling. A light blue OCBD paired with some navy cotton trousers forms the look’s foundation with some medium brown leather accents courtesy of the belt and split toe derbies. Both the button-down collar and cotton trousers provide the perfect casual touch for the Donegal tweed sport coat to complete the look.
This is a great example of how you can elevate a simple look with the right kind of fabric. Notice how the neps of the Donegal tweed give off the appearance of texture. It’s very subtle, but striking and provides that all-important element of depth and visual interest to a very, very simple outfit.
3. ‘Tis The Season
If you’re going to style a dark brown Donegal tweed suit with a tie, there’s no better way to give a nod to the season than with a dose of plaid. I mentioned that this particular suit was an homage to my original suit and, actually, this look is an homage to one of the ways I styled it nearly seven years ago. While there are some similarities, I recommend clicking through to that link so you can compare the difference between the lighter and darker tweeds.
This look is all about being “casually suited.” Although you can certainly dress this suit up — as shown in look number one and below in look number four — its sweet spot is really in the casual realm. Donegal tweed, not surprisingly given its roots, has a rugged quality to it, making it very easy to pair with more casual tailored items.
Here, that’s a light blue Oxford cloth button-down, which I’ve paired with a plaid wool tie. There are some people who aren’t fans of wearing a tie with a button-down collar, but I’ve honestly never understood that stance. As long as your tie has the same level (or lack) of formality as the shirt, there’s nothing wrong with it and it won’t look out of place.
4. Brown & Black?!
Much like there are people who will tell you never to wear a tie with a button-down shirt, there are probably even more people who will tell you never to wear brown and black together. That’s another made up “rule” that I’ve never quite understood either and, in fact, I find pairing brown and black together can be quite effective.
Part of the effectiveness of the combination is that it can be quite unexpected. Much like wearing lighter colors in the wintertime — think, tans paired with white — it has a very elevated and luxe feel to it. And when you factor in the rich texture of the Donegal tweed suit against the plush cashmere of the turtleneck, that “feel” starts to become a little more concrete (although maybe ‘concrete’ is the wrong word to use when talking about soft fabrics…).
This is a look that can be utilized through the fall and festive seasons for a variety of situations and occasions. An elegant dinner date, a chic cocktail lounge, a holiday party — you can’t go wrong.
5. Pants Separate
In addition to the full suit and a great sport coat, when you own a dark brown Donegal tweed suit, you also have a great pair of fall and winter trousers that exponentially expands your wardrobe. During the colder fall months and especially as we get deeper into winter, you can even consider a pair of tweed trousers to be a great alternative to jeans. They’re rugged — in a different way — warm, and are a lot more comfortable, and can be styled pretty much the same way you’d style your favorite pair of jeans.
I’m leaning heavy into the cozy and comfortable with this look. A thick, chunky cable knit turtleneck paired with the dark brown tweed trousers is all I needed on this 50-degree day to stay warm. With a classic pair of penny loafers, it’s an illustration of the power of simplicity.
The Bottom Line
From business to casual, there are many ways to wear a dark brown Donegal tweed suit — not to mention the separate sport coat and trousers that it easily breaks down into. It’s a versatile garment that has the ability to deepen and expand your fall and winter wardrobe. Be sure to check it out in the He Spoke Style Shop, where you can order with my suggested styling or customize to better align with your personal style preferences.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
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