2016 Tailoring

A Brief History of the Glen Check

By Drake's

Jul 13, 2022

A Brief History of the Glen Check

We take a look at the story of a quintessentially British design and how to incorporate it into your wardrobe.

The glen check, or glen plaid, is a winter staple that has truly earned it’s place in the wardrobe. It’s name is derived from Glenurquhart in Scotland, where the New Zealand-born Countess of Seafield, Nina Caroline Ogilvie-Grant, had the design developed to us for her gamekeeper’s outfits in the early 19th Century. The pattern came to true popularity when Edward VIII, as Prince of Wales, visited the Seafield estate to hunt and took a fancy to the design, having some cloth created for himself in brown and cream - hence it’s other name, the Prince of Wales check.

While Prince of Wales checks have generally become smaller and finer over time, the term glen check today tends to refer to designs of a larger scale, in keeping with the original Scottish pattern. And in a smart jacket, it makes for an incredibly versatile design - rustic, but still timeless and elegant.

Solid or striped shirts in cloths that have some depth of texture make particularly smart matches. Try a denim or chambray shirt, or a plain white or ticking stripe in an oxford cloth. Trouser-wise, a brushed cotton trouser in olive or an earth tone makes a great companion, as does a plain wool. The rich texture of tweed sits smartly with denim as well for a more casual feel - an excellent look for the weekend.

When adding a tie, madder silk prints are an excellent choice, as are more textured options like shantungs and wools in plains or bold repp stripes. The crunchy handle of a knitted tie, as well, will be right at home. Try a wool and silk pocket square to complete the outfit, or keep it simple with a plain linen, smartly folded.

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