« The ‘Prince of Wales’ will be king this spring. » – Adam, February 1939.

The Prince of Wales Check is a complex pattern whose existence goes back to the XIXth century. It is shaped from a Glen Urquhart Check on which superimposes a windowpane check that can be blue, green, red or simply black. The fabric also features checks formed at each angle of small houndstooth weave checks. The checks are linked by vertical and horizontal stripes figuring artificial weaves. The term « Prince of Wales » designate both the pattern and the fabric, originally in carded wool.

Edward VII : initiator of the Prince of Wales motif

Lady Caroline, English countess residing in the Scotland Highlands, created that pattern for her retainers because she wasn’t allowed to make them wear tartan – a pattern which use was then restricted to the Celts clans. The Prince of Wales, future Edouard the VIIth, wears a wool suit in that pattern, first named « Mar » after the domaine in which he used to hunt, and then baptized after himself.

A more challenging pattern for tailors to cut

For tailors, the Prince of Wales Check is a challenge. The connection of the lines tolerate no approximation and compels the craftsman to order up to 3,50 meters versus 3 for a plain colour fabric. More expensive, more challenging to cut, the Prince of Wales is elitist.

If, in 1920, wearing such a « sport » fabric in the city caused a scandal in America and in Europe, the Prince of Wales was often chosen for business suits. The fabric was popularize by Cary Grant in North by Northwest (1959) and Steve McQueen in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968).

DE SICA, Vittorio. Roma. 1962. 

TAYLOR, Elizabeth. CLIFT, Montgomery. United States. 1959. 

student. University of California, Berkeley, United States. 1970. 

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