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Style Advice

The new way to wear heritage

The new way to wear heritage

It may be a bold claim, but at Thread, we believe that ‘heritage’ clothing looks good on any man. What is this fashion jargon, we hear you ask? Essentially, heritage clothing are any pieces with an old-school sensibility and often a story to tell. “Think flannel shirts, durable no-nonsense footwear, and classic fabrics like heavy wool, tweed, and denim,” says Thread stylist Luke McDonald. 

Whether they have workwear or Ivy League roots, heritage styles have been around for decades, sometimes even centuries. Because of this, they often fall into ‘safe’ style territory, meaning they’re rarely trend driven. Despite their rich histories, the trick to pulling them off is to make sure you’re not totally stuck in the past. “The new way to wear heritage is to balance old and new and mix classic items with contemporary pieces. Remember that you’re in the 21st century and not an extra in a costume drama,” Luke advises.

As mentioned, classic fabrics are a hallmark feature of many heritage pieces. Turn your attention to the appeal of tweed, corduroy, denim (more on that later), and hefty wool. Despite its old-world feel, tweed doesn’t belong in the past. Its timelessness is its draw, so a tweed blazer is always a good idea, especially if you modernise it by wearing it with a t-shirt and trainers. We are also huge fans of corduroy at Thread, and find that it works excellently alongside more contemporary items for a balance of old and new. And when it comes to footwear, heritage-inspired style tend to be among the most practical, simple, and long-lasting. “Go for a good pair of sturdy work boots. And again, for that dapper British countryside feel, try Trickers or Grenson shoes,” Luke says. 

By building up a strong collection of core heritage items, like these, you’ll have a solid base at your fingertips to style with more contemporary pieces. And while you’re building yours, don’t forget to stock up on denim – one of the most versatile heritage fabrics and one that can easily be styled in fresh ways. “The most basic and essential heritage item is the classic straight-leg jean, preferably by a specialist like Edwin, Levi’s, Lee, or RRL,” says Luke. “A pair of straight, tapered jeans in dark denim will look good on any man.” Despite being pricier, raw or selvedge denim would be massive assets to your wardrobe and would arguably offer you a heritage-inspired pair for life. To bring your straight-leg jeans into a more modern space, choose an unexpected knit to pair it with – like a shawl-neck jumper – or go streetwear-inspired with a hoodie. And don’t limit your denim wear to just jeans, either. Denim is inherently a heritage fabric, so you can also throw on a denim jacket or shirt to tap into heritage with ease.

“Other workwear pieces, like a chore jacket and a flannel shirt, also slot seamlessly into ‘heritage’ for their hard-wearing appeal and can be worn with a pair of trainers to lend a contemporary spin,” says Luke. The beauty of heritage pieces is that by incorporating them into your wardrobe, you’re playing a part in writing their history today – that is until the next generation finds a new way to push them forward. And as long as it involves plenty more corduroy and selvedge denim, that’s fine by us.  

Words: Ashiana Pradhan
Photography: Lola & Pani
Styling: Luke McDonald