Prince of Wales Check with Blue Overplaid

The Double Breasted Glen Check Flannel Suit

Just recently, we reported in depth about the Caraceni tailoring empire and today I want to introduce you to a rather special A. Caraceni Flannel suit. Before elaborating on the characteristics of the suit, I want to briefly explain what flannel is and which variations exist.

Flannel

Double Breasted Glencheck Suit

Double Breasted Glencheck Suit

Flannel suiting is a soft woven fabric that usually comes in a plain or a twill weave and is finished with a fibrous surface. Traditional flannel is made from either woolen (woollen in British English) or worsted yarn, which must be 100% wool.

Often, flannel is brushed for softness and as a result, the weave structure of the fabric becomes practically invisible. Brushing is a mechanical process where a fine metal brush pulls out wool fibers from the loosely spun yarns. If a flannel is brushed on one side,  it has a nap, and when it is brushed on both sides, it is called double-napped flannel. One of the most popular colors for flannel is a mélange gray, meaning that it is not quite a solid color but much rather a soft blend of grey tones that looks solid from a distance, due to the nap of the fabric. Another popular flannel pattern is plaid, which comes in all types and forms. The best grades of flannel are made from fine long wool fibers.

Glencheck, Prince Of Wales Check & Glen Urquhart

Today’s suit is double breasted in a light brown glencheck flannel with a pale blue overplaid. This pattern is also known as the Prince of Wales Check because the Prince of Wales popularized this pattern although it was invented in the 1840s as a Scottish District Check, the Glen Urquhart.

The Double Breasted Flannel Suit

Now, you may wonder why this is special, so allow me to explain: In 1983, Eric Musgrave – the author of the fabulous book Sharp Suits – ordered a made-to-measure suit from the legendary English brand Montague Burton. Not long before, he had seen an ad in the Italian L’Uomo Vogue, where man wore a double breasted, peaked lapel suit in a light brown glen check with a light blue overplaid. When he picked out a similar fabric and requested a double breasted style, the store manager, who was an old school tailor, remarked that  “you can’t have a double-breasted suit in the fabric you’ve chosen…It’s a sports-jacket fabric. It has to be single-breasted.” As you can see, traditionally double breasted suits have always been reserved for formal town wear. A single breasted on the other hand could be worn in town, though it was considered to be less formal than its double breasted counterpart and for the country, single breasted coats were de rigueur. Back then, evolving fashion came into play and switched things up.

Me Taking Pictures

Me Taking Pictures

Today, most people are unaware of this subtle distinction, and they are certainly not accustomed to seeing brown double breasted glen check suits. So, when you wear a suit like that, you automatically stand out! Admittedly, in most places in the world today, you would be overdressed in a full fledged double breasted ensemble. If you know the traditional rules today, you are already far ahead of the average man, so you can break the rules and still be better dressed than most.

Of course, according to a quote from the new Anderson & Sheppard Book: “The minute a man is overdressed, he is badly dressed”, you would be overdressed and hence badly dressed. But as I pointed out in that book review, I do disagree with that statement…as I am sure you do!

Now, let’s take a closer look at this ensemble:

Vintage Mayser Homburg Hat in Brown

Vintage Mayser Homburg Hat in Brown

Suit: Double Breasted light brown flannel suit with a  – by A. Caraceni

Shirt: plain white herringbone twill fabric with club collar – by Siniscalchi

Cuff Links: vermeil sterling silver with blue enamel, bought at the Cuff Link Convention

Tie: blue Indian Tusah silk – Drakes

Belt: dark brown scoth grain leather

Pocket Square: white linen with handstitched monogram and  hand rolled edges – made in Italy

Shoes: buck skin velour leather Chukka Boots from – St. Crispin

Socks: over the calf, brown – by Bresciani

Hat: brown Homburg Hat from the 1950’s – Mayser

Camera: Leica M2 from the 1950’s with a Summicron M 50mm f/2 lens (from 2000) – not many companies build things that can still be used in combination with their latest products with 50 years afterwards.

As always, we welcome your feedback and if you have a pictures of one of your outfits, please let us know.

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  1. [...] past, we have written about Fresco fabric – the ideal summer cloth with built in ventilation, and flannel  – a soft, brushed fabric that is typically associated with the colder times of the year. [...]

  2. [...] so in a subtle manner. Skip the wide chalk stripes and choose a subtle pin stripe instead. Also, a glencheck suit is ok, but choose a fabric with no or a subtle overplaid with a bigger pattern. This will make you [...]

  3. [...] garments in different colors, bold patterns and various materials such as cheviot, Harris tweed and flannel.Of course, the cloth is never super heavy, but they are substantial enough to ensure a beautiful [...]

  4. [...] City based firm of A. Sulka & Company offered a number of robes, such as a lightweight French flannel with broad horizontal striping and a heavily fringed belt (also called a tie sash). Similarly [...]

  5. [...] element for the return to popularity of the tail coat, for the white buckskin shoes, for the gray flannel slacks with odd jackets, and for various other smart fashions which are typical of university men [...]

  6. [...] are look­ing for one coat that is suit­able for almost all occa­sions, then a Pale­tot made of flan­nel or tweed in char­coal or navy might be the best choice. For exam­ple, a plain dark gray and blue [...]

  7. [...] inspired the rest of his dress, choosing a red boutonniere and Bordeaux tie. This three-piece flannel suit with stripes benefits from the peaked lapels, which provide a little more formality. If the lady in [...]

  8. [...] dedicated to the single breasted suit. Ironically, it begins with Musgrave sharing a story about a double breasted glencheck suit he ordered at Burton’s in 1983 that the suit-department manager insisted could only be made into [...]

  9. [...] interesting and unique cruise wardrobe. Likewise, white and lightly colored pants made of flannel, gabardine, fresco or seersucker are a great choice for a cruise, especially if they are paired [...]

  10. [...] pin stripe is always clear and crisp. This does not convince me. On the one hand, there are many flannel chalk stripes which naturally have a fuzzy effect, but this has at least partly to do with the [...]

  11. [...] to the humdrum existence from which spring and summer rescued them. Into the discard go the light flannels, bright beach attire and all the rest of the informal clothing that make up the average summer [...]

  12. [...] you are looking for one coat that is suitable for almost all occasions, then a Paletot made of flannel or tweed in charcoal or navy might be the best choice. For example, a plain dark gray and blue [...]

  13. [...] then, the only combination that was around during German summer time, was the navy blazer with gray flannel pants and even this ensemble could only be spotted during the summer. Eelking also wore white [...]

  14. [...] suit that could also be worn in various combinations, for example when paired with gabardine or flannel trousers. The most unusual accent in this ensemble is probably the brown velvet vest with brass [...]

  15. [...] a heavy knit sweater with a wide crew neck and a v-shaped band. It was paired with light colored flannel trousers and dark shoes.Although the sweater does neither feature a cable stitch nor a v-neck, it [...]

  16. [...] in patterned trousers. One of the reasons for this limitation was probably the fabric. Back then flannel slacks were quite popular and these often came only in plain colors.The Combined Suit with [...]

  17. [...] Plaid Shirt dates back almost as far as the history of the Pendleton Company itself. This all wool flannel shirt in plaid has certainly been the hallmark of the company since the 1930s. Today, we want to [...]

  18. [...] Suit DetailsIn one of the pictures from HBO, we can see Nucky in a single breasted grey herringbone flannel suit with a rust and orange overplaid. He combines it with a pastel orange shirt with double cuffs, [...]

  19. [...] Another popular favorite is the blue cheviot with alternating stripes of grey and yellow. Subdued Glen Urquharts and overplaids, generally in a blue-grey mixture, are also London headliners. (continued on Page [...]

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