What is Glen Plaid?

Glen plaid suit

Written by Sonia Su

Glen plaid, also known as Glen check or Prince of Wales check, is a classic and distinguished pattern known for its intricate crisscrossing pattern of broken checks that create a sophisticated grid-like design.

This article explores the origins, characteristics, and when and how to wear a Glen plaid suit.


Origins of Glen Plaid

Glen plaid, a timeless textile pattern synonymous with sophistication, can be traced back to the 19th century in the Scottish Lowlands, where it was originally known as the Glen Urquhart check, named after the Glenurquhart valley in Inverness-shire.

This distinguished pattern was popularized by the Countess of Seafield in the 19th century and later gained widespread attention when it became a favored design by Edward VII during his tenure as the Prince of Wales. Renamed as the Prince of Wales check in his honor, this pattern became an emblem of elegance and refinement, adorning garments worn by nobility and eventually permeating the realms of fashion and menswear.

Here is another guide on the types of suits for men.

Glen plaid suit


Characteristics of Glen Plaid

Glen plaid features a complex weave pattern that comprises small and large checks, or light stripes, intersecting to form a refined grid-like design.

Glen plaid pattern

"Glen plaid fabric" by Garik 11 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Typically rendered in muted tones of black, grey, and white, this pattern exudes sophistication and versatility, making it suitable for a range of garments from suits and blazers to skirts and outerwear.

Its subtle yet distinctive appearance lends an air of understated refinement, often associated with classic menswear but equally embraced in women's fashion.

The intricate crisscrossing of checks in varying sizes and colors creates a visually appealing and dynamic pattern that adds depth and interest to suits, blazers, trousers, and accessories. Its ability to effortlessly transition from formal to casual settings makes Glen plaid a timeless favorite.


When to Wear a Glen Plaid Suit

The classic yet sophisticated fabric pattern of a Glen plaid suit makes it an excellent option for both formal and semi-formal events.

Glen plaid suit

For business settings, the understated elegance of a Glen plaid suit exudes professionalism without being overly conservative. It's an ideal choice for meetings, presentations, or professional gatherings where a touch of refinement is required.

Moreover, its adaptability allows for a seamless transition to social events, such as 1920s themed cocktail parties or dinners, where the distinguished pattern adds a subtle flair to one's attire without being too ostentatious.


How to Wear a Glen Plaid Suit with Style

Pair the suit with a solid-colored dress shirt in a coordinating hue, such as white, light blue, or a muted tone that complements the colors in the plaid. Browse Nimble Made's bestselling dress shirts, including this white dress shirt that sold out 8x.

Choose a tie that either contrasts subtly or complements the suit's pattern, opting for solid colors, subtle stripes, or small-scale patterns like polka dots. Check out Nimble Made's men's ties, including this dark navy polka dot tie and this classic black tie.

When it comes to accessories, select classic pieces that enhance the overall outfit. A simple pocket square in a complementary color or pattern can add a touch of sophistication to the suit jacket.

Opt for classic leather shoes in black or brown, ensuring they match the formality of the occasion. A belt should complement the shoe color for a harmonious look.

To complete the ensemble, consider adding a tasteful watch or cufflinks that complement the tones of the suit or tie.


Remember, moderation is key—avoid overwhelming the outfit with excessive accessories. The aim is to create a balanced and refined appearance that highlights the Glen plaid suit's elegance and timelessness.


Frequently Asked Questions about Glen Plaid

What is Glen plaid pattern?

The Glen plaid pattern, also known as the Prince of Wales check or Glen Urquhart plaid, is a classic woven twill design characterized by a repeated fabric pattern of small and large checks formed by alternating light and dark lines, often in a crisscrossing design. It typically features a houndstooth or twill weave and is commonly used in suits, jackets, and other menswear garments, adding a sophisticated and timeless touch to the attire.

When was Glen Plaid popular?

Glen Plaid, a classic pattern characterized by its woven checks in a crossed pattern, gained popularity in men's fashion during the 1920s and continued to be a favored design through the mid-20th century. It experienced a resurgence in popularity in modern fashion cycles, often seen in tailored suits, blazers, and other garments, remaining a timeless and versatile choice for both men and women.

What is the meaning of Glen check?

Glen check is a type of woven pattern in textiles, typically found in suits or jackets, characterized by a twill design composed of small and large checks in alternating two light stripes and dark stripes, resembling a broken or houndstooth-like pattern. It originated from Scottish heritage and is commonly associated with classic menswear.

Why is it called Prince of Wales check?

The Prince of Wales pattern is named after Edward VII, who later became King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. He popularized this distinctive checked pattern during his time as the Prince of Wales in the late 19th century, often seen wearing garments featuring this design, hence it was named after him.

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