As promised last week, part two of 4-part series of tweed trouser reviews. This has been a long time coming and I know thousands of eager readers have waited for this series with bated breath and raptor-like suspense. Yes, indeed, tweed trousers are really all that and a bag of chips, as some would say. Others would say “a pair of wool trousers, and itchy at that?” and immediately disqualify themselves from entering into any further discourse on the topic. Last week was a pair of mid-level trouser by Toast. Next week there will be something quite special, and the following week a pair of very distinctive trousers. Something for everyone, as todays pair eminently shows.
Yet here you are, eager for more wool trouser information, so preach to the choir I will. Indeed. This weeks trousers are, and you will be a little disappointed to hear this, from a collection H&M brought out a little over 2 years ago. I wrote about them then, and if you missed the boat then you certainly can’t blame me. They do perfectly illustrate what you can expect from the less expensive end of the scale, and also what a major company such as H&M can do. I did a piece recently on a pair of their vintage styled trousers, and coincidentally these pair of tweed trousers are also in a vintage style.
Way back in the mists of time, or 1968 to be more accurate, a women’s clothing shop in Stockholm called Hennes bought a menswear shop called Mauritz, and the rest is history. In 2013, commemorate this, a Mauritz archive collection was released, with a range of fresh designs inspired by what the Mauritz shop was selling in 1968. Not a bad collection, as it goes, with quite a few interesting pieces. Among them the trousers we’re looking at today. As I recall they were at the high end of H&M trouser pricing, yet quite a bit lower than tweed trousers normally go for. Checking my records, I appear to have paid roughly 60 pounds for my pair (allowing for currency fluctuations), but as usual they would have been cheaper in the UK, around 45 or so.
And make no mistake, this is legitimate name-brand tweed from Abraham Moon & Sons. Granted it is plain grey, but it is decently thick and 100%, and it itches in a way that confirms it’s legitimacy. While Moon tweed may not have the cachet of the Harris or Donegal varieties, it is made in Britain and a known quantity, and certainly not a cheap off-brand variety. Not recommended for cycling, mind you.
What really makes these trousers shine though is the design. What is initially most noticeable is that the fit is tapered in quite a stern and serious manner. No straight cut on these, they follow your legs with no billowing or flaring. Once you start wearing them though you notice the thoughtful and well-designed details.
Such as the extra welting on the pocket openings, and the strengthening added at the cuffs on the legs.Or that there are buttons ready for adding braces, and where the buttons have been sewed on the waistline has been strengthened with an extra layer of tweed. The coin pocket is also a separate pocket, and properly made.
The fly is also well designed and sewn, with what looks like horn buttons. The lining and pockets in pleasantly soft cotton. And even a couple of spare buttons included, one of each size used. The two rear pockets both have flaps with buttons to keep them closed.
We know that wool isn’t a very pleasant fabric to have against your skin all day, so it is nice to have a lining at least from the wait to the knees where the primary interface for wool on skin occurs. Sadly this isn’t always the case, as we’ll see when we get to part four of the series. The designer at H&M knew of this though and added a partial lining down the front of the legs. Not perfect, as it’s only down the front, and also because it’s in 100% polyester and can make a rustling noise. It does reduce itchiness well though.
At this point you’re probably wondering what the catch is, right? H&M, makers of cheap, disposable fashion, can’t possibly have made a proper pair of gentleman’s trousers, can they? Surely there has to be a twist to this tale? I’m sorry to have to disappoint you, the trouser are actually good, and splendid value for money. Of course, they are H&M, so they are made in a low-cost country, Romania this time. And the fabric could have been nice in the case of the lining. And maybe the tweed could have more pattern. Or the buttons a little bit nicer. Nitpicking?
Yet, this is actually a pair of proper trouser in British-made tweed, well-designed and assembled, and they didn’t cost an arm and a leg. The updated vintage styling works well, and the back-story to the Mauritz collection was also a nice touch. I wear my pair quite frequently and enjoy them a lot.
I have been in touch with the designer at H&M that designed the Mauritz collection and asked him if they were planning collections along similar lines. He was unable to either confirm or deny it. We’ll just have to wait and see.
- This is part 2 of a 4 part series of tweed reviews. The full series is: