Donegal vs Harris Tweed Suits: What’s the Difference?

Tweed suits offer the perfect balance between style and comfort. Consisting of a soft woolen fabric with a twill or herringbone weave, they’ve become synonymous with men’s formalwear. You can wear a tweed suit for any formal event or occasion. If this is your first time shopping for a tweed suit, though, you might be wondering whether to choose Donegal or Harris.

Donegal and Harris are the two most popular types of tweed used in the construction of men’s suits. You can find complete suits made of these fabrics as well as individual suit jackets and trousers. While they are both considered tweed, they aren’t the same. What’s the difference between Donegal and Harris tweed, and which fabric should you choose for a suit?

What Is Donegal Tweed?

Donegal tweed is a traditional form of tweed that originates in the Irish country of its namesake. In Donegal, Ireland — as well as the surrounding Irish counties — farmers raised sheep from which they harvested fur. The farmers would dye this fur using local plants such as blackberries and moss, resulting in a Donegal tweed.

To say Donegal tweed is old would be an understatement. It’s been around for centuries. After originating in Ireland, Donegal tweed made its way to other countries. It’s now considered to be one of the world’s most popular and well-known types of tweed. Donegal tweed is used to make blazers, trousers, suit jackets, vests and other high-end formal garments.

What Is Harris Tweed?

Harris tweed is a more modern form of tweed that originated in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Historians believe that British aristocrats acquired Harris Tweed from Scottish farmers in the mid-1800s. Due to its elegant style, it quickly became a popular choice of fabric for use in formal garments.

With its rise to popularity, Scottish lawmakers created the Harris Tweed Act of 1993. The purpose of this legislation was to regulate the production of Harris tweed. Among other things, it requires all Harris tweed to be made of “pure virgin wool” that’s both dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides.

Benefits of a Donegal Tweed Suit

Since they are made using sheep fur, Donegal tweed suits are warm. They are just as warm if not warmer than standard wool suits. Donegal tweed, in fact, is essentially a type of wool. With its woolen construction, Donegal tweed is a warm fabric that’s ideal for the otherwise cold winter season.

In addition to being warm, Donegal tweed suits offer an elegant formal appearance that’s not found elsewhere. Most Donegal tweed suits feature a multicolored design. They aren’t necessarily designed with stripes. Rather, Donegal tweed suits are designed with a twill or herringbone structure consisting of a fine weaving pattern with threading in two or more different colors.

You can rest assured knowing that Donegal tweed suit will last a long time. They don’t succumb to wear and tear. The twill or herringbone structure allows for a superior level of durability. As a result, you can wear a Donegal tweed suit for many consecutive years without it showing any signs of degradation.

Benefits of a Harris Tweed Suit

Harris tweed suits offer plenty of noteworthy benefits as well. Like their Donegal tweed counterparts, they are incredibly warm. You can wear a Harris tweed suit all winter long — even on the coldest days of the year

In terms of softest, there’s no better choice than a Harris tweed suit. As previously mentioned, all Harris tweed consists of virgin wool. Virgin wool is defined by its ultra-soft texture. It’s softer than nearly all other types of wool. For wool to be considered virgin, it must be harvested from a lamb’s first shearing. Wool that’s harvested after a lamb’s first shearing can’t be sold or used as virgin wool.

Harris tweed suits are also attractive and stylish. You can find them in many of the same weaving structures as Donegal tweed suits, including herringbone and twill. No matter what weaving structure you prefer, you can probably find it in a Harris tweed suit.

Choosing Between Donegal and Harris Tweed

Should you choose a suit made of Donegal tweed or Harris tweed? You can’t go wrong with either of these choices. Donegal and Harris are recognized as two of the highest-quality types of wool-based weed on the planet.

With that said, some men prefer the more traditional appearance of a Donegal tweed suit. Donegal tweed has been around for a longer length of time than Harris tweed. Therefore, it offers a more traditional appearance.

Harris tweed suits are typically softer than Donegal tweed suits. All Harris tweed suits are made of virgin wool. When rubbing your hands across the surface of a Harris tweed suit, you’ll notice its fine and supple texture. Donegal tweed suits are soft as well, but not all of them are made of virgin wool. As a result, Harris tweed suits are usually softer than Donegal suits.

Whether you choose a Donegal tweed suit or a Harris tweed suit, don’t underestimate the importance of getting the right size. You probably won’t wear a new suit very frequently unless it fits. If it’s too big or too small, it may cause discomfort while projecting an awkward and unflattering appearance in the process.

Fortunately, you can order a custom-sized suit made of either Donegal tweed or Harris tweed here at StudioSuits. We offer custom-sized suits available in these and other high-end fabrics. When you place an order, you can include your body measurements. Once we receive your body measurements, we’ll use them to design a custom-sized Donegal or Harris tweed suit specifically for you.

In Conclusion

Donegal and Harris are two of the most popular types of tweed for use in men’s suits. They are both made of sheep fur, and they are both available in many of the same weaving structures. Donegal tweed is simply a type of traditional tweed that originated in Donegal, Ireland. In comparison, Harris tweed is a newer type of tweed that originated in the Other Hebrides.