By Tim Mureau -
The combination of tweed and regimental striped ties is something that can polarise and provoke discussion. Some say that regimental striped ties can only be worn with navy blazers and suits and should never be worn with tweed jackets, tweed suits, or other more sportive garments. Others like to be more daring, so they wear regimental striped ties especially with country attire. But what is correct?
I don’t like to talk about what is correct and what is wrong since I believe that one should wear whatever they want. After all, there is nothing more personal than taste. But when we look at what would be ‘’officially’’ correct I always tend to take as an example those that are supposed to know. For me these are usually people from the British Royal Family or menswear authors.
Prince of Wales
Let’s start with looking at the British Royal Family, who are actually often seen wearing regimental striped ties. And not the fantasy ones, but rather the official ones. We often see HRH the Prince of Wales with Royal Air Force, Royal Artillery Zig Zag, Armed Air forces, Royal Navy and the Royal Household Division ties. HRH wears these ties with various types of outfits. Among them are flannel suits, pinstripe suits, checked suits and also as you might guess - tweed jackets. The combination he makes with tweed jackets might even be considered as rather bold. For example, a very frequent combination we see form HRH is a lilac shirt with a Royal Air Force tie, tweed jacket and corduroy trousers. In his younger days we could see him wearing a blue checked shirt with red overcheck and Royal Household Division tie, of course with a tweed jacket on top.
Duke of Edinburgh
When we look at other members of the British Royal Family, we see HRH the Duke of Edinburgh wearing regimental striped ties frequently. HRH the Duke of Edinburgh is well-known as a man who likes to stick to the ‘’rules’’. Even though he is an excellent dresser, he doesn’t make it as flamboyant as HRH the Prince of Wales. A very common outfit we see him in is a blue double-breasted blazer with golden buttons, white shirt and a Royal Household Division tie. We don’t often see HRH the Duke of Edinburgh wearing tweed in public but when he does, we can spot him wearing it with a regimental stiped tie. A tie that he favours for those outfits is the Highland Brigade which is a green and navy block striped tie.
Prince Michael of Kent
The last member of the British Royal Family that I would like to mention is HRH Prince Michael of Kent, a man known for being a little different when it comes to dressing. It’s in the little details with him and especially in his extremely high shirt collars and his ties with chunky knots. Some people might say this is a little souvenir from the 70’s that he carries into the modern world. HRH Prince Michael of Kent doesn’t wear regimental striped ties that often but seems to be more a fan of checked and spotted ties mostly. However, from time to time he does wear a regimental striped tie as well, most frequently the Royal Navy tie. Which is a navy tie with a very fine white-red stripe. Interestingly, he mostly seems to wear this tie with a tweed jacket and a blue shirt. His preference goes especially to tweeds with heavy checks but never too colourful. But the fact that HRH Prince Michael of Kent is a fan of tweed and regimental striped ties is quite clear. Another combination of HRH Prince Michael of Kent that is worth mentioning is the Highland Brigade tie worn with a tweed jacket and a red checked shirt. Considered a bit bold, but very much in line with his style of dressing.
G. Bruce Boyer
Not everybody might like to look to the British Royal Family and so it is also relevant to look at examples outside of royal circle. The first one for me to mention is menswear author G. Bruce Boyer. With over 50 years of experience in menswear journalism and even more in dressing he is considered to be a real authority. Bruce is often seen with knit ties, paisleys or wool, cashmere and other ties made from interesting materials. But also, a good regimental striped tie Bruce can appreciate even though not the official military versions like the British Royal Family often wears. Bruce is a fan of tweed and wears it like no other person in the world. He wears it with blue shirts, striped shirts as well as with checks like for example tattersall. I have seen Bruce pairing tweed jackets and tattersall shirts with non-military regimental striped ties. That combination might sound way too daring for many people but when you actually try it, seems very harmonious and interesting in many ways. There is a photo of Bruce wearing a striped tie that containing every colour of his tattersall shirt. To me it is something incredibly satisfying to look at. Of course, Bruce has a love for Ivy League/Preppy Style, a style in which we often see regimental striped ties being combined with tweed jackets and even checked shirts.
A last example I want to mention is the TV show Downton Abbey where we see members of the Crawley family wearing tweed suits, often paired with regimental striped ties. The series plays in the era of the 1920’s where these combinations were seen more often. A man in the countryside usually wore tweed and not the so-called “city suits”. But if they were also a member of a certain military regiment, they simply had to wear the tie that belonged to that particular regiment. So, tweed suits and regimental striped ties were already paired frequently back in the day, and in such a tasteful way.
Try it, you might like it!
Looking at all these examples we might conclude that it is actually perfectly fine to wear a regimental striped tie with tweed jackets or even tweed suits. It is not even unconventional as it is done for decades by people who know how to dress and can’t make mistakes in their positions. There is of course the matter of personal taste whether you like it or not. But then again you are free to wear what you want and if you feel better with paisleys or animals on ties when wearing tweed then you should absolutely do so. At the end you can never go wrong with that.
When you are not sure about wearing tweed and regimental striped ties or are afraid to pair them, it might help to look up a couple of pictures of HRH the Prince of Wales, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, G. Bruce Boyer and other people who are photographed wearing regimental striped ties with tweed, like Amidé Stevens on Instagram who has regularly combined them in a nice way in the past. You can get inspired by them, which will give you the confidence to start experimenting with combinations like that yourself. And that experimenting is the most fun of it all. Another good thing to know is that beside the classic repp silk there is also plenty of choice in regimental striped ties in different structured silks like grenadine for example. Certainly, with tweed this can give a little more interesting look as it is simply different than what people are classically used to.
It’s a polarizing topic so be prepared for enthusiastic as well as slightly shocked reactions. However, at the end it is most important how you feel about it and what you like to wear. You’ve got the examples now and know that there’s no right or wrong in this, just the matter of personal taste.
Tim Mureau – was born in Holland, and has always been travelling around the world looking for the finest artisans. He’s interested in all things handmade, and can’t stop talking about fine watches and menswear. He has worked in various menswear stores, has been a sales representative for a number of artisanal clothing manufacturers, and is now active as a journalist focused on watches and menswear.