Tweed: Wealth, Fashion, and Opulence


Courtesy of Chanel

A 90s Chanel callback in the SS22 Chanel show, model wears a white tweed dress with a pastel pink classic Chanel jacket.

Sophia Prichard, Sr. Editor

The current upward movement of “old money” fashion trends, from the executive and business casual pieces like blazers and button downs returning to the runway, from Miu Miu to Max Mara. While these sorts of silhouettes will never truly leave menswear, they come in and out of fashion in women’s wear collections, typically because of the masculine connotations. The epitome of wealth, at least in fashion, has nearly always come down to fabric and brands, and in the case of tweed, it all comes down to Coco Chanel.

Chanel, founded by Coco, is considered one of the most influential designer brands in recent memory, and their staple? The Coco Chanel Tweed set, worn by Princess Diana, Jackie Kennedy, Olivia Rodrigo, etc. The set consists of a tweed jacket, in a variety of colors, usually with a sort of trim and paired with a matching skirt. The allure of the set is it’s iconic status, recognized more for the people who’ve worn it than it’s high fashion status, exemplified by it’s ability to be replicated fairly easily by fast fashion brands like Shein, Aliexpress, or YesStyle. But it might be slightly deeper than that, with consumers wanting to feel like their own version of wealth, to look like a Chanel model, but being unable to reach that status.

Coco’s fabric of choice, tweed, hasn’t always been considered a symbol of wealth, with origins in Scotland, and not lords but farmers. Coco cites her motive toward the fabric as being the ability for women to move, which is a major benefit of tweed, even if the origins of the fabric aren’t as posh as cashmere. Connections to the fabric have also been made because of the well known Gilded Age politician William “Boss” Tweed, who famously led Tammany Hall, the Democratic Party’s political machine. Tweed as a material is similar to the Gilded Age, in that its reality is not up to par with the way it’s viewed in society.