Classic Menswear Patterns: Glen Plaid

June 8th, 2015

Men’s fashion is deeply connected to history. Men are creatures of habit and, as such, menswear has evolved very slowly and gradually over the past hundred years or so. The best-dressed men have always understood the foundations of classic menswear and the “rules” that were developed to help them create functional, appropriate, and long-lasting wardrobes.

Our goal with Articles of Style is to break-down this vast history and show you how it can be practically applied to the menswear landscape today in order to build a smart, versatile, life-long wardrobe. As we’ve mentioned before, we don’t want you to buy a lot of clothes, we want you to buy the right clothes and understand how you can get the most out of them.

With that said, here’s the first installment in a series highlighting traditional menswear patterns that have lasted the test of time and are still considered the building blocks of style today.

Today we’re taking a closer look at the subtle but tastefully cool Glen Plaid.

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This classic plaid has a few different names: glenplaid, glencheck, Glen Urquhart plaid, Prince of Wales check, etc. It’s a woollen fabric with a woven twill design comprised of small and large checks. It’s usually made of black/grey and white (or with more muted colors like faint taupes), often overlaid with a windowpane accent color (commonly sky blue, but also seen in lavender, red, etc). It’s a very subtle and muted pattern, making it a favorite among conservative businessmen.

The name is taken from the valley of Glenurquhart in Inverness-shire, Scotland, where the checked wool was first used in the 19th century by the New Zealand-born Countess of Seafield to outfit her gamekeepers (hence the slightly more sporty feel). Glen plaid is also sometimes nicknamed the “Prince of Wales check”, as it was popularized by legendary style icon Duke of Windsor, while he was the Prince of Wales, of course.

Today the glenplaid pattern is just as popular as ever, and it’s being used to make many different types of garments in menswear. Here are some examples of the classic check in action, from the AOS archives:

The Glenplaid Suit


This unstructured wool/linen subtle glenplaid suit is a sample from our upcoming online bespoke collection. More on that soon :)



The Glenplaid Sportcoat


Angel shows us the art of the “Summer Tweed” jacket. His bespoke sportcoat is cut from a silk/linen glenplaid in a dark khaki with a subtle teal accent color – a genius combo for a pale pink shirt this Summer.




The Glenplaid Tie


This necktie was cut from a flannel suiting cloth. The brown/beige glenplaid has a pink accent, making it a great combo for a Spring day at the office – seen here with a linen/silk herringbone suit and pale pink micro-houndstooth shirt.




The Glenplaid Trouser


A glenplaid suit with a little texture (like this flannel) also makes for great separates, as Angel shows us here with the grey/burgundy suit trousers. The crushed velvet jacket brings the look to a whole new level, as we’ve come to expect from Angel Bespoke.




So there you have it, proof that even the most traditional and conservative menswear patterns can be re-invented in modern, stylish ways.

When in doubt, lean toward the items that have historically never gone “out of style”.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier

Photography by Alex Crawford.

  • Juan Zara

    Yet another great series I’m very much looking forward to. I have a S/S cotton Glen Urquhart check (which traditionally can only be called so if it’s black and white/beige with no overplaid) and love how versatile it is. The small checks make the pattern appear as if it were a solid grey from afar, and therefore the suit’s versatility is infinite.

    I’ve been looking to add a flannel Prince of Wales (traditionally, black/white checks with a light blue overplaid) to my F/W wardrobe, but I may have to reconsider my priorities after taking another look at Angel’s linen/silk sportcoat.

  • TO

    There’s also the “houndstooth squares” in the glencheck pattern that often goes unmentioned. One of my favorite memories as a kid was taking out my dad’s glenplaid suit out of his closet- I still have the wonderful image in my head of back then imagining myself wearing it with the fainest light blue dress shirt.

  • tommyjohn_45

    Looking forward to this series. Those flannel pants are unreal, Angel.

  • Miguel

    Always appreciate this type of articles, I can’t count on your article that have teach me some much about men wear, fabrics and selection.