Easy and Elegant Plaid

When I wore this coat to a party, Mr. Broadbent smiled ear to ear. “I love it,” he said, resplendent in his own colourful check. “You never see the really bold checks in America.”

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, many of you will reach (I hope) for a check, or plaid, coat to wear to the season’s parties. An equal number of you may wonder how to wear a bold check. I’ve recently run across two examples. The first, I don’t really like, despite my penchant for wearing as many colours and patterns as I can mix.

Far better, I think, is this example from Bespoke: The Men’s Style of Savile Row, by James Sherwood, of Huntsman’s house check. It is how I plan to wear the coat pictured in the opening photo this year.

Bolder patterns can be elegant. Keep the rest of your ensemble simple and easy — let the plaid speak for itself.

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9 Responses to Easy and Elegant Plaid

  1. Doug in OK says:

    I’ve very much in enjoyed your recent posts. Autumn and winter offer many more options and I’m worn out on interesting warm weather combinations. Keep fighting the good fight, I’m down to my last 5 lbs as well. When is your book due to drop?

  2. stacystyle says:

    Plaid is so smart. I love the way it stands out in a sea of blue or black blazers. In a huge party, I always beeline for the man in plaid. Lapo Elkann always does plaid in a wonderful way.

  3. Karena says:

    Very nice! Chris I have two plaid jackets from Escada that I still adore they are long & fitted. Almost the right weather to wear them!

    Karena
    Art by Karena

  4. thanks Doug! An editor friend has given me extensive notes, so I am in rewrites now. With luck, I’ll have it done by Spring.

    Karena, long and fitted is always elegant.

  5. Hilton says:

    I like the plaid coat, Sir Chris. The Huntsman’s house check is also very sharp.

    Are you familiar with the offerings of Rigden & Son located in Middleburg? I am still considering a jacket in tweed from this shop. Would you be so kind as to give me your opinion on the first jacket in the top row (MJ951) ?

    How is the lady of the house?

    http://cdrigden.com/men/index.cfm?galleryID=2

    http://cdrigden.com/men/index.cfm?galleryID=2

    Thank you.

  6. Hilton, love it. I like the 348, too. Don’t know a thing about the construction.

  7. What a refreshing change from all the dull black that is so common. Fine tailoring really shows up with plaid because it is so obvious from a distance if the pattern has been balanced and matched to give symmetry. It is rather difficult to find plaid jackets off the rack, because they are so much less common, and they are more expensive to manufacture because of waste in matching the pattern. This is why they stand out and make such a statement.

    It takes a sure hand and eye to co-ordinate with plaids. Other designs should be very small, otherwise opt for solids as you say. There are times I wish I was Scottish to have my own family tartan, but at least everyone can wear things like Black Watch.

  8. Nice to be quoted on your site, thanks! You must have some English blood in you when you say that you like to mix as many colours and patterns as possible.

    I was told, yesterday, at a Club’s wine tasting in Virginia, that dressed in my grey pin stripe double breasted Bernard Weatherill [now part of Kilgour] Savile Row suit, that I wasn’t matching! I was wearing a blue checkered Peter Blair custom made shirt and an orange classic Hermes tie. What wasn’t matching about that? [I confess, I’m unaware enough that I had to just look to confirm the spelling of my tailor’s name. Easier if I got more suits from Huntsman, my father’s tailor].

    Anyway, a proper English gentleman is brought up without an awareness of matching clothes. Trying NOT to match would be more important. If they cared at all. Trying to match would be nearly as bad as the use of the word “toilet”, which doesn’t enter the gentleman’s use of vocabulary! [Loo is the most accepted term].

    In fact, the worst fear is to be wearing matching clothes, which would be considered very naff. I suppose, the theory is, that if you’ve tried to match, then you are trying too hard. And it is very uncool to try too hard.

    The proper English gentleman doesn’t care what anyone thinks of the way they are dressed, though certain things are a given. Simply, they wouldn’t wear the wrong clothes because they wouldn’t own them. From their point of view, however, it is most important to have a good pair of shoes and a good jacket. The rest doesn’t matter.

    It is nice to have a few suits tailored but most of the suits, dinner jackets, morning coats, tails and so forth are going to be inherited. The accompanying disheveled look is more gentlemanly than anything.

    But that is England, and this is America… and you have great style!

  9. Mr. Broadbent, “Simply, they wouldn’t wear the wrong clothes because they wouldn’t own them.” That is the goal. Nicely put and thank you very much for weighing in on the subject. Your ensemble for the wine tasting sounds like to would suit you perfectly. See you at the 805 dinner.

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