Category

Donegal Tweed

Category

There’s no doubt that the iconic Peaky Blinders series from BBC One, and especially Cillian Murphy’s performance of 20th-century ganglord, Tommy Shelby, has had a huge influence on men’s style everywhere. We can see its influence all over the streets of Ireland and the UK, from men’s haircuts to the rising popularity of the baker cap.

Magee 1866 has over 150 years of history, designing, weaving and tailoring, so of course, Peaky Blinders ticks all the boxes for us. We wouldn’t recommend rocking up to work on Monday in a full three-piece tweed suit with a baker’s cap on top (unless you really want to?) but with a bit of modern sense, you can achieve the Tommy Shelby look for any occasion.

1 | The Suit

For the role of Tommy Shelby, costume designer Stephanie Collie had several suits made by London-based tailor Keith Watson.

Having a suit that fits well is essential; it will give you that Tommy Shelby swagger without all the criminal activity. Fitted, tapered trousers will give any man more height, and give a modern look. The trousers mightn’t be entirely historically accurate in Peaky Blinders (apparently bell-bottoms were the look of choice) but the tailored trouser is definitely sharp looking, and we would recommend going the same way.

Among the Shelby clan, tweed rules the day, with grey herringbone and dark checks coming through. This look is reminiscent of another era, while still being entirely comfortable, modern and wearable. If you’re going all-out, definitely include the waistcoat (and a pocket watch!) but for an updated look, you can make it more casual by leaving the waistcoat at home. It’s good to have options.

Three piece grey tailored Donegal Tweed suit. €699.

2 | Outerwear

The Baker’s cap is potentially the most essential part of this look, dare we say it. It’s different to a flat cap, as it has a more structured design and a button on top. These caps were a popular choice in the early 20th century.

And then, of course, there’s the coat. Cillian Murphy’s character is seen in a long wool coat with a prominent lapel. His coat is slightly oversized (probably for gun-slinging purposes) but it makes an attractive silhouette, and is easy to wear over a suit.

Other essential details include black gloves, sturdy boots, and a pocket watch, at your discretion.

Left to right: Arranmore Double Breasted Donegal Tweed Coat. Doonalt Tailored Coat. assorted men’s caps.

3 | The Shirt

Especially in the first season, Tommy Shelby is seen pretty much exclusively in a penny-collar shirt, sans tie. Difficult enough to find today, the grandfather collar shirt is a suitable substitute, with the same rounded collar and button-up neck. Style it with a crisp white linen for the Tommy Shelby look, or a striped cotton flannel for added warmth.

Left: Irish-made linen grandfather shirt. Right: Striped Irish cotton grandfather shirt.

4 | The Dinner Suit

For a man whose idea of ‘business casual’ is a three-piece suit and pocketwatch, it’s no surprise that Cillian Murphy’s character goes all-out for formal wear. The black dinner suit has a timeless, cinematic elegance, and it’s making a comeback.

The dinner suit is usually worn as a two-piece – jacket and trousers – with a crisp white formal shirt and a black bowtie, just like Tommy Shelby above.

Left to right: Two piece dinner suit. Silk self-tie bow tie. Slim fit formal shirt.

Handweaving is a skill that has been passed down through the generations. It is suggested that the art of weaving dates back to the Palaeolithic era, although there is little evidence to support this. Woven linen cloth has been found dating back to the Neolithic period. While there may be a few thousand years in the debate as to when weaving was first developed, we know for a fact it is a reassuringly ancient skill and craft!

Market day in the ‘Diamond’, Donegal Town.

This unique fabric is the backbone of our family company – in 1866 John Magee founded his handwoven tweed business in Donegal, Ireland. At that time weaving was a skill many farmers and fishermen had honed, the cloth they wove on large wooden looms was hardwearing and tough, and the most ‘technical’ fabric of its time – used to keep out the damp and cold in not only Donegal, but across Ireland, the UK and was a staple garment for the early polar explorers and alpinists across the globe.

Photograph of the 1924 Everest Exhibition – photograph from the John Noel Collection. Tweed and wool feature as the ‘ultimate kit’ for these pioneering alpinists. Wool has a natural ability to ‘wick’ away moisture to its vapour state, making it still one of the best and most sustainable technical fibres.

In 2019, we are still designing and producing a unique handwoven fabric – we retain similar, timeless designs – namely the herringbone – inspired by fish-bones and the ‘true Donegal tweed’ – the salt & pepper. We use the finest of yarns – lambswool, mohair and cashmere. Designs are sent to the weavers who work in their homes, the raw fabric is then sent back to the mill to be washed and finished. We wash the raw, oily fabric in the peaty waters of the River Eske, which flows by the mill, resulting in a beautifully soft finish.

The traditional wooden handloom

Donegal handwoven tweed is distinctive with its bright flecks of colour woven through each piece. Heather purples, grass greens, fuchsia pinks, gorse yellows, sea blues, rusty oranges and earthy browns to name but a few colours found in this unique fabric.

Shop our tweed

Pin It