When it comes to classic checks in clothing Houndstooth is surely up there with the most striking of them. Historically a type of Tweed, a material woven from sheep's wool originating from Scotland. It has had many revivals in the world of fashion since its earliest documentation and has been utilised as a print as well as a weave in fashion houses and high street retailers alike over the last century.
Here we look at a brief history of Houndstooth and how to wear it successfully.
One of the earliest patterns known to man, it was found on a cloth that was unearthed in a Swedish peat bog in 1920 dating back to 360-100bc. Known as the Gerum Cloak the woven thread was in fact an exact match of the Houndstooth weave, using two different coloured wool to create a pattern in the weave.
In more recent history it was woven by shepherds in the Scottish Lowlands though remained largely under the radar until the 1930’s when the then Prince of Wales, Edward VII, commandeered the royal tailors to create fine clothing from the material for he’s casual wear. From this point onwards its popularity became greater by the year.
Otherwise known as Pied-De-Poule (due to its likeness to a chicken foot print) or Dogtooth, Houndstooth checks are created by weaving alternating bands of four dark and four light threads, weft threads are woven two over and two under the warp threads. That is when applied as a weave. Thanks to Christian Dior, decades later the check was created in print to be applied to items of high fashion, most notably the infamous Dior Court Shoes.
Since then, we have seen resurgences in the famous check over the decades, from the punk era through to power suits of the nineties, enlarged iterations in bright colours to its miniature relative the puppytooth check – its versality and timelessness make it an iconic check that is likely to be present in fashion for decades, perhaps centuries to come.
Now how to wear the check.
With so many variations in the pattern across a whole host of items of clothing, from ties and hats to a three-piece suit, the options for encompassing it into your wardrobe are endless. Your own personal style will determine whether you're likely to take a more traditionalist approach with the latter, keeping it country in the muted browns beiges and greens synonymous with the check or be a brave modernist adorned by a neon clash oversized houndstooth overcoat.
Wherever you sit on the scale of trad vs modern or subtlety vs bravery, when it comes to sartorial style there are a few key rules when it comes to houndstooth.
- For the typically traditional variations in tweed fabrics, it works great to mix with other textures. Try pairing a houndstooth blazer with a turtle neck and denim, or a waistcoat with corduroy pants and a warm coloured shirt. If you are brave enough a three-piece suit in this fabric is a brilliant addition to your wardrobe that can be utilised in so many different ways.
- If mixing prints ALWAYS wear the largest on the outermost part of your clothing.
- If you're going monochrome then clashing with plain bright colours works great, if you are brave enough then go the whole hog and wear a brightly coloured houndstooth overcoat with a block colour scarf.
- If you veer more on the subtle side, you can simply add a hint of the pattern to your outfit with a scarf or pocket square to give an otherwise ordinary outfit a lift.
- While houndstooth is not usually suitable for business purposes, its miniature relative the Puppytooth works great as a dress shirt that can be worn under formal suits.
- ALWAYS be confident in what you wear and ONLY wear items and styles you are wholeheartedly comfortable with.
If you are looking for a dress shirt in either Houndstooth or Puppytooth then at W H Taylor Shirtmakers we have you covered. We have a wide range of styles and colours available in these classic prints, and with each shirt you can choose your preferred collar and cuff style along with many other bespoke options. Shop now to find your perfect puppytooth shirt - https://www.whtshirtmakers.com/search?q=houndstooth&type=product