We’ve had an unseasonable warm fall & early winter, which means you wardrobe is in an odd transitional state. For example, this feature was shot in the middle of December in Philly and the temperature was a balmy 71°. It’s not cold enough for your thermal gear, but, it’s not warm enough for favorite linen suits. Paying respect to the season, it’s time to step your tweed suiting game up – but this year, go unstructured. To get a better idea of what “unstructured” means, see video at the end of the 1st look of this feature.
Most custom & all bespoke suiting brands offer unstructured suits – so, the choices are really unlimited in regard to your fabric selection. This post features a plaid Bantry tweed, unstructured suit from Tailor 4 Less.
Just The Jacket + Patterns On Patterns
Custom Unstructured Bantry Tweed Plaid Suit Jacket – Tailor 4 Less | Spread Collar Striped Pink Shirt – Trashness | Slim Fit White Corduroy Jeans – Uniqlo | Custom Green Suede Double Monk Strap Loafers – Jaimie Jacobs | Cable Knit Blue Tie – hook+Albert | Reflective Lens Sunglasses – H&M | Pink Wool Plaid Pocket Square – Thomas Pink
Up first, let your blazer fly solo & do some “aggressive” pattern mixing.
A brown tweed blazer is the like Alex Mack of your cold weather wardrobe — it can take on any stylish form that you can think of, especially when it’s unstructured. Feeling collegiate, like an Englishman, a prepster or even a businessman? Rock the hell out of this blazer, but, leave your matching pants at home.
The neutral pattern and woven texture lends this jacket to be paired with liked textures. For texture consistency pair a knit tie & wool pocket square, however; a poplin shirt adds the right amount of complementary crispness you wouldn’t get from a textured Oxford shirt.
By now you’ve read and heard from Men’s Style Pro that mixing patterns is based on scale. Thin (Bengal or Pencil)/small striped shirt pairs + larger pattern plaid blazer = success (and vice versa). Adding a solid knit tie will ground the look. With this particular look, I added a bold plaid pocket square because I wanted to offset the neutral tone of the plaid jacket. For some this is overkill, but, it’s fun take small risks to show off your personality.
Tweed Vesting & Merino Wool Turtleneck Sweater
Custom Unstructured Bantry Tweed Plaid Waist Coat & Pants – Tailor 4 Less | Navy Blue Merino Wool Turtleneck Sweater – Uniqlo | Guillaume II Brown Leather Dress Boots – Cobbler Union | Gold Frame Aviator Sunglasses – James Dean Eyewear
The turtleneck sweater is extremely underrated. Popularized by rockers in the 60’s & 70’s, every James Bond and my personal favorite Archer — the turtleneck sweater has been around for decades and it’s surging in popularity right now. Throughout the site, there have been several post featuring the rollneck (that’s what the Brits call) sweater paired with everything, but, one of my favorite is the waist coat + sweater combo.
More Texture On Texture
A fine gauge turtleneck sweater complements the tweed fabric of the waist coat and pants because of their natural weave. For this particular look, the Bantry tweed has a navy windowpane-check pattern over the plaid that is complemented perfectly by a navy turtleneck sweater. Since the fabrics is look is high textured, polish this look with a pair of leather shoes (like these Oxford boots).
Custom Unstructured Bantry Tweed Plaid Suit – Tailor 4 Less | Contrasting Cutaway Collar Blue & White Stripe Shirt – Trashness | Burston Bordeaux Loafers – Crosby Square | Cable Knit Blue Tie – hook+Albert | Bandanna Pocket Square – Hav-A-Hank | Reversible Leather Portfolio – hook+Albert | Timex Easy Reader Watch w/ The Knottery Nylon Red Paisley Watch Strap
Pulling off a full plaid suit can be a tall order. However; in such a subdued colorway is actually quite easy. Like I mentioned in the opening of this feature, it was 71° in the middle of December in Philly when I shot this feature (note the bare ankles), it’s a perfect time to rock a full unstructured tweed suit.
It’s oddly warm out but there’s still a minor chill in the air, which a traditional, fully lined, heavy-weight suit would become overwhelmingly hot. With no lining, an unstructured tweed suit is light enough for a warm winter afternoon and heavy enough to keep you warm into the evening.
Conquer Your Pattern Mixing Fears
On its own, a plaid suit makes a major impression — so there’s really no need to amp up your look even more with additional patterns. To be honest, that’s not a true statement. Pattern mixing can be fun and it gives you the opportunity to be a bit more creative.
The key is finding a color that you’d like to match or complement in your suit. The blue windowpane-check pattern stands out just enough that adding a heightened blue shirt will make the windowpane stand out even more without giving off that dizzying effect. If your plaid suit only has colors like orange and brown, opt for a grounding color like light blue or white when selecting your shirt.
Photo Credit: Marina T. Peele @CantWinkLefty
Founder & Creative Director of Men's Style Pro, Sabir has a deep passion for menswear and all things manly. Selected as one of the "5 Best Dressed Men In America" by Esquire Magazine in 2010 & as #GQFall 2013 Best Dressed Man. As of 2014, Sabir serves as a freelance brand ambassador & executive stylist for GQ Magazine & GQ Report. Outside of that partnership, Sabir serves as an independent brand consultant as well. Reach me directly at SABIR@MENSSTYLEPRO.COM