His sporting clothes brought out the peacock in him. ”I believe in bright checks for sportsmen,” he once wrote. ”The louder they are, the better I like them.”
The Duke practically invented comfortable clothes. As Kerry Taylor, the Sotheby’s specialist who has spent seven years preparing for this sale, explained, ”He was reacting to his buttoned-up and old-fashioned childhood.”
Ms. Taylor said the Duke so disliked suspenders that he invented pants with elastic in the waist. He didn’t like buttons on pants, so insisted on zippers, which were large and primitive in the 1930′s. He preferred buttons on the sleeves of his jackets — four, to be precise. He always wore cuffs on his trousers, which infuriated his father. After World War II broke out, he had his pants made in the United States because textiles were rationed in England and cuffs required extra fabric.
Prince of Wales check sports suit. Jacket by Scholte of London and stalking trousers (modified plus-fours) by Forster & Sons, 1923. Altered in the mid 1930s when a zip was inserted. Came with the removable blue cotton plus-four linings (more below).