Beauty and simplicity in tweed - Butler Stewart
In an increasingly crowded sea of tweed, one brand stands out as offering simplicity, elegance and quality. Founded by Anna Butler, Butler Stewart is the brand bucking the trend for ‘alternative’ tweed, offering beautifully tailored classic pieces that work for every situation – from the shooting peg to the city office.
How did it all begin?
After a period working in London’s luxury retail industry, where she fell in love with fabric and the art of tailoring, Anna moved back to her rural roots and realised her dream of setting up a luxury country tailoring brand. It has always been a central theme of Butler Stewart to specialise in tweed pieces that can be worn both in town and country, and which can easily combine with more everyday items in the wardrobe to create a variety of stylish looks. If, like us, you’re a lover of all things equestrian, you will have seen Oliver Townend’s beautifully cut Butler Stewart outfit wowing the crowds at each horse inspection during this year’s Burghley Horse Trials. Clearly the relationship with Butler Stewart brought him luck as he stormed to victory!
And now for some history…
With a long involvement in the industry within her own family, Anna is no stranger to the history of British textiles. Beginning in the 18th century when her ancestor George Courtauld set up a business manufacturing fabrics, and lasting for over 200 years, the family was closely involved with developing new fabrics. This culminated in the 1904 acquisition of the patent for viscose, an artificial silk that can be found in millions of garments worldwide even today, including as a lining in Anna’s lovely pieces, and which transformed George Courtauld & Co. into the world’s leading man-made fibre manufacturer.
With a family history like that, does Anna feel daunted by her heritage?
“It’s very inspirational, I love having such a strong textile background. My ancestors’ legacy has definitely strengthened my love and interest in fabrics and I feel very fortunate that I can use viscose linings in my designs.”
How is the collection made?
Keeping all the design and as much of the tailoring in Britain as possible is hugely important to Anna. She enjoys being able to design everything herself and sees using British tweed cloth and (where possible) British tailoring as an important way to support as well as celebrate our fantastic heritage in the textile and manufacturing industries. All the pieces in the current shooting collection, as well as Anna’s lovely range of caps, socks and moleskin jeans are made in the UK, and Anna works mainly with two UK-based tailors to create the rest of her collection. Even where a European tailor is used, he is one that works closely with many of our Savile Row tailoring houses. As for the tweeds themselves, these are sourced by Anna herself from three mills in Yorkshire and Scotland, and are a medium weight 100% wool to enable the finished items to be worn all year round – perfect for our changeable British weather!
Anna’s decision to combine heritage with modern tailoring in her pieces is just one of the many features that stands Butler Stewart apart from other tweed clothing brands. Another feature we love is the pop of colour under the collar of each jacket, picked to complement a colour used in the tweed of the jacket (though customers can select a colour of their choice when ordering). The button holes are then stitched in a thread colour to match the collar, giving a lovely finish to the whole piece.
With so many gorgeous pieces from the collection to choose from, what are our top picks?
When we saw the collection in person, our hearts were immediately lost to this beautiful Clara short skirt in dark sapphire. This piece is the perfect length for those wanting a substantial mini but with the look of a classic pencil skirt, and the tweed has the most gorgeous subtle herringbone pattern to the tweed, not to mention a stunning fuchsia pink lining. We can think of so many looks to create with the skirt, from combining it with a simple cream silk shirt and heels for that important meeting, to adding in a chunky knit jumper, scarf and country boots for a walk through the fields.
Next up is this lovely traditional ladies Tattersall-style shirt in forest green. More overtly ‘country’ than some of the other pieces in the Butler Stewart collection, we love all the different shades of green used in the check and we can see this deliciously soft cotton shirt fitting right in next to a roaring fire at the pub.
Lastly, we couldn’t consider an outfit complete at this time of year without keeping our feet warm and cosy, and we love this classic pair of Rannoch socks in Bluebell. Designed to keep toes toasty for country walks and shooting days, these lovely socks are not only simple and stylish but also practical. Made from a merino wool blend for durability and comfort, and with reinforced heels and toes, we can see these being a staple of any country winter wardrobe for this and many seasons to come.
Now you’ve seen our selection from the current collection, how can you get some for yourself?
There are now three options available for those wanting a piece of Butler Stewart for themselves.
The first is the ready to wear collection, which is available to buy directly from the website or from the Butler Stewart stand at various shows.
Secondly there is the made to order service, where key items are available in a selection of standard sizes and can be made individual in various ways such as the choice of tweed and selection of pocket style, has always been available.
The third option is a made to measure service, which Anna has recently launched for those wanting a truly bespoke piece. For those choosing this more specialised option, the amount of choice in fabric, trimming and style is really something special. The service is for both men and women and offers hundreds of options for jackets, coats, waistcoats, trousers, plus fours, breeks and skirts.