While the Victorian era entertained tartans and the turn of the century hosted checks, it wasn’t until the 1920s that plaid clothing revolutionized the rules of urban style, following the English trend in which “country” began to impinge upon “town” in matters of male dress. Although some checks like the houndstooth enjoyed a distinguished career, none would become as enduringly stylish as the glen plaid.
For the sartorial romantic, the glen plaid suit conjured up images of strolling in the fresh and radiant light of a spring morning. Its charm stemmed from the overall lightness achieved through a refined play of vertical and horizontal lines that intersected at regular intervals over a houndstooth check. Sometimes thin threads of bright color (red, blue, rust, pink) were woven through the checks.
Although the glen plaid could flatter almost any physique, for tailors, plaids posed numerous challenges and additional costs. Their horizontal and vertical lines had to match up exactly, requiring slightly more fabric than the solid or striped two-piece. However, the plaid’s higher cost and complexity of production invested it with just the right allure to secure its position in masculine fashion mythology.