Thanks to Coco Chanel, the tweed dress has became an iconic essential for any woman’s style collection. This classic wardrobe staple will not only stand the tests of time but holds great versatility. Job interviews, meeting your partners parents for the first time or a quick brunch with the ladies, the tweed dress is a piece you can wear time and time again. It is the perfect structured alternative to the LBD. The ideal candidate when you want to wear something with a little more ‘oomph’.
With all this said, however, the tweed dress can look a little dated if you aren’t careful with your styling. It is up to your accessories and approach to avoid looking like you’ve just stepped out of a 1930’s Vogue magazine.
Tweed is a British heritage fabric that unfortunately, risks the look of dreary and stuffy. Contrariwise, when done right and styled with enough finesse, this classic material can shed its dated image for something more modern and utterly chic. Fortunately, Coco Chanel has completely changed our perception on what works well with tweed. As a result, I took some style rules from her book, and implemented her advice into my outfit formula. Of course, there are thousands of ways to approach styling a tweed dress. However, as an avid lover of the iconic Chanel look, I just had to style up my tweed piece with this source of inspiration.
Here’s a step by step breakdown as to how I’ve styled my white tweed dress…
SHOP THE LOOK
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A Cropped jacket
Adding a modern spin to a timeless style, this jacket from Ted Baker has a neat cropped silhouette that works perfectly with a tweed dress. Layering your dress with a cropped jacket enhances your beautiful silhouette by drawing the eyes naturally to your waist. This creates a very flattering look. Moreover, the jacket style gives off Chanel vibes and therefore, will naturally work well with a tweed garment.
The rose gold zip details and delicate lace bordering elevate the dress to sophisticated new heights. These two key components are essentially what modernises the whole look. The lace adds a new twist to the iconic tweed dress and the gold zips is taking women’s fashion to new heights as of recently.
In addition, the all of the above, this jacket oozes ladylike elegance; a modern feminine style type. As such, it should come as no surprise if you see me flouncing about in the pink version of this jacket soon.
Combining different textures in one outfit can create a sophisticated amount of depth. This is also a great way to make your tweed dress more appropriate, according to the season. As exemplified here, I chose lace as this is the perfect fabric to bring into Spring and oozes romance. As tweed creates structured shapes, the lace creates a beautiful contrast and elevates femininity.
In addition, the lace detailed jacket is crafted with a light woven fabric. This results in two different textures that are both discreet, to create a tasteful finish. It is important to find light, subtle textured pieces to layer on top of your tweed dress. This is how you are going to achieve that timeless, polished look.
For further sophistication, I added my favourite pair of heels. These lace up oxford stiletto heels have a patent vegan leather exterior. Therefore, they add another texture to the outfit. Moreover, the shiny look elevates the already polished shoe style.
A vegan leather belt would also work equally well here. If the belt is in a contrasting colour, I would advise avoiding any additional layering. Too many colourful textures will start to create a loud and overbearing outfit. This will look odd with tweed; a classically perceived fabric. Personally, I think wearing a belt in a complimentary, neutral shade or the same colour as your dress would work best as an alternative textural styling choice.
If you are looking to style your tweed dress and it is Autumn instead, I would advise doubling up on tweed with a matching jacket. Alternatively, acrylic or faux suede could look equally as amazing.
In typical Chanel fashion, I just had to opt for pearls when it came to choosing the jewellery. As pearls are my birth stone and also one of my favourite accessories, I honestly didn’t consider anything else. They are classic and perceived as the ultimate match to anything tweed. In other words, tweed and pearls are like peanut butter and jelly. Despite this, diamonds would look just as stunning and perhaps will modernise the look better than any pearl necklace ever could.
The Quilted bag
Do I even have to tell you where the idea of choosing a quilt bag came from?
The history of the iconic 2.55 Chanel bag is very interesting. The quilt design is crafted with a running stitch to give the bag shape and volume. As most tweed dresses will come in the form of a sheath dress, this accessory adds depth to the garment. Moreover, it is another discrete form of texture which adds another dimension to the simple tweed dress.
I purchased this vegan friendly bag from Fiorelli. What I adore about this brand is that there is an option for personalisation. Hence why I have my initials engraved into the bag.
Not only is the quilt bag a clever illusion design. There is a rich message behind this classic design. The quilted pattern is believed to have been inspired by several sources: jockeys’ riding coats, the stained-glass windows of the abbey at Aubazine, as well as by the cushions in Chanel’s Paris apartment. However, most announce that it is derived room Coco’s love of riding as a girl. A time when quilted materials were worn only by boys working in the stables. Is this another revolutionary form of female empowerment in fashion? It’s unclear but with Chanel’s track record of rebellion through style, I’m going to take it as an empowering bag design and wear it with pride!
Prep up with oxfords
The oxford shoe was invented in the 1820’s at the University for trendy male students. Hence, why this shoe style is perceived as preppy. As tweed was also originally worn for working men, the two fashion styles match perfectly with each other. Despite this, there is a fine line between looking classically chic and disastrously dated. Perhaps even a little frumpy. Therefore, I chose a pair of stilettos.
The high heel not only elongates my figure but adds another touch of femininity, I personally desire, and avoids the tweed dress from feeling too masculine. Whilst there is certainly nothing wrong with looking traditionally masculine, my personal style always requires feminine twists. In addition, months after purchasing these beauties, I discovered these shoes are actually dupes from a Coco Chanel design. No wonder they pair so well with this tweed dress!
The reason why I love Oxford shoes even more, is that they are a symbol of women empowerment and independence. Women who were against the norms that restrained them, opted for wearing men’s clothes as a silent form of protest. Oxford shoes became the ideal candidate for their movement. ( I think I have some sort of style radar, where I naturally gravitate towards rebellious fashion pieces without realising.) As a feminist, I believe this shoe style is the perfect pair to style a tweed dress… or any dress for that matter!
Play it safe with neutrals
If you are not the super adventurous type but you still want to try out wearing tweed. I suggest taking baby steps and opting for a tweed dress in a neutral colour. In addition, further styling your tweed with only neutral shades. Although, tweed pieces usually come in a variety of colours, opting for a dress in a black or white is going to be much easier to style up.
Personally, as a monochromatic lover, I would naturally gravitate to neutrals regardless of my sartorial confidence and choices. Due to Chanel’s similar love for black and white, nothing looks classier or more timeless than a tweed dress styled up exclusively greyscale.
Of course, this all dependent on your own personal style. However, if you want to give tweed dresses a go, then nothing will be easier than an all neutral look.
The brilliance of a tweed dress is that it can be worn for both Spring and Autumn. Due to tweed being a thicker fabric, it provides thermal comfort on a practical level. As a result, it is not only the ideal suitcase essential, for when you are travelling to countries with colder climates. The tweed dress acts as the perfect transition for seasonal shifts. Moreover, I love wearing a tweed dress for Spring, when the weather can switch from hot to cold in a heartbeat, as it can be easily layered up. This is just another reason as to why the tweed dress is a wardrobe staple.
There are countless ways to look fabulous in tweed. Through experimentation and patience, you will soon find the perfect way to style a tweed dress for you. Perhaps you’ll discover a few tricks of your own.
How do you like to style a tweed dress?