There are not many designs that boast the sophistication of the Prince of Wales check. Featuring a woven design of small and large checks that create a criss-cross pattern, the Prince of Wales check offers a fashion statement without sacrificing an iota of elegance. Also known as Glen check, Glen plaid and Glen
Checked by Glen Urquhart, the pattern has been seen on notables and celebrities both recently and not so recently: King Charles, Princess Diana, Kate Middleton, Daniel Craig and members of The Beatles are just a few names who have donned the pattern. . The pattern is so desirable that even high fashion brands like Saint Laurent, Gucci and Prada consistently use the pattern in their own collections.
But as with all beautiful things, the Prince of Wales check pattern has a rich history. Below, we further explore the fabric’s lore, the notables who popularized it, and how to incorporate it into your own wardrobe.
Hunting days in Scotland
In the 19th century Glenurquhart Valley in Inverness-shire Scotland, the New Zealand-born Countess of Seafield needed to equip her ground staff. Due to the brutal weather that plagues the region, her employees needed to be dressed in fabric that was durable, warm and practical. The countess noticed the fabric from the locals and adopted it for her staff.
Then came Edward VII, who frequented the country for hunting purposes. Like the Countess, he quickly took a liking to the fabric and eventually incorporated it into his own wardrobe. Hence the name “Prince of Wales cheque”.
Royal Dandy made it fashionable
While it was Edward VII who first adopted it, it was his son, Edward VIII, who really popularized the pattern. In addition to his controversial legacy, the Duke of Windsor was also known for his love of food, tobacco and fashion. As a great dandy, Edward VIII. his choice to wear a Prince of Wales check catapulted him into fashionable society. But it could happen that even King Charles III. further increased the popularity of the Prince of Wales check? Alongside his efforts with the Prince’s Trust, wildlife conservation and historic architecture preservation, King Charles III. also quite a careful editor. His wardrobe is full of carefully tailored double-breasted suits and a collection of ties that go effortlessly well with them. The Prince of Wales’s check frequents his jackets and the king has been seen sporting them throughout his life.
How to wear the Prince of Wales check pattern
The Prince of Wales check boasts versatility while still being elegant in nature (just as the Countess of Seafield intended). When one needs a break from the traditional black and navy, it offers an elegant visual treat.
For more formal occasions note Edward VIII. and King Charles III. They both knew how to accessorize properly, which is key to pulling off a pattern well. When wearing a Prince of Wales blazer, consider contrasting light or dark gray with a pop of color, whether from a tie or pocket square. Be a little bold and contrast with a light blue shirt.
But what if you’re in the mood to dress up a bit? Do not worry. The Prince of Wales plaid jacket can be paired well with a T-shirt and jeans for a casual and smart look. Need an atmosphere? For starters, think of Princess Diana’s “off duty” outfit. You can’t go wrong.
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