What do Edward VIII, President Ronald Reagan, and Pee-Wee Herman have in common? I’m sure you’re wondering what I’m talking about and just where in the world am I going with this, but the question still remains. It’s kind of an odd threesome don’t ya think? But, these three men actually have more in common than you’d expect.
Flipping through this year’s September issues you’ll notice designers have one thing in common, they’re mad about plaid! Plaid showed up on the men’s runways of Gucci, Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger, and Valentino, to name a few, giving a stylish look to an otherwise simple suit. This season’s prints of choice defines vintage elegance, while giving off a traditional, effortless appeal. There are many different kinds of plaid, but for this edition of Fashion Turn On, I want to focus on the most popular plaids of the season: glen, windowpane, and gun check.
Glen Plaid. Glen plaid made its debut in the 19th century derived from the valley of Glen Urquhart in Scotland. It is often referred to as Prince of Wales check named after Edward VIII, who became infatuated with how great the fabric looked on his suits. Glen plaid, not only made an impact in the 19th century, but also made a splash on the bodies of President Ronald Reagan, Sean Connery, and even Pee Wee Herman. This timeless fabric is a woven twill design of small and large checks, often made with muted colors. Glen plaid is the chameleon of fabrics, being able to transcend men on a grander scale of elegance, while still blending in with other plaids of modern day.
Windowpane. An old time favorite amongst your grandfather, this print has come back in style in a big way this season. Windowpane plaid appeared on the Fall 2013 runway of DSquared2 proving that this stylish patterned print can withstand the test of time. Windowpane plaid is defined with fine outlines in an even check contrasting with a solid ground, resembling a windowpane. This type of fabric is a classic in menswear often seen on suits and trousers.
Gun Check. The first time I took notice of this fabric was on the blazer of Mr. Feeny, the beloved teacher/mentor on Boy Meets World. Gun check is woven in three patterns in an even color and became the go-to for printed patterns in 1870 when it was adopted by sports shooting clubs. Today, it is resurrected on the jackets of Marc Jacobs, Hugo Boss and Prada.
Plaid yesterday, today, and tomorrow. From glen to gun, it’s easy to see why plaid is such a sought after fabric this season. Today’s trends relish in the timelessness that plaid provides, making the suit more modern in an ultra slim fit, like the offerings provided by Tom Ford for Fall 2013. Wear them together or separate, with solids or other patterns, either way plaid proves to be the strongest of fabrics, spanning centuries of versatility and elegance. It’s a distinctive style that can transform any man into a dapper gentleman.
Are you as intrigued with plaid as I am? Is this timeless trend a MESS or a YES?