The New King’s Clothes

Posted by: House of Colour, September 27, 2022

The New King’s Clothes


The New King’s Clothes

In 2009 GQ magazine named the Prince of Wales ‘Best Dressed Man of the year’. Though not the most highly fashionable man in the public eye he continues to have his own authentic and unwavering style. Indeed in 2012 at London Fashion Week he remarked ‘I have lurched from being the best dressed man to being the worst dressed man’. ‘My time comes around every twenty- five years’.

In his youth he had fun with headline making dalliances such as a Western suit and ten-gallon hat when visiting Canada or much-acclaimed short-sleeved safari suits in Africa. He was complimented as wearing his sports gear well.

But unlike the Duke of Edinburgh, who favoured single breasted suits, as do William and Harry, Charles long ago adopted the traditional six button, peaked lapel double -breasted suit, often nowadays associated with old-school men of a certain age. His chosen tailor, Anderson and Sheppard, are known for a more relaxed silhouette than most of Savile Row. Soft wools and fullness in the chest and sleeves allow easy movement when waving to crowds, shaking hands, not to mention when signing documents! The colours chosen are navy or grey, occasionally with a discreet stripe. In warmer weather, a light neutral might be worn. The adage ‘no green and brown in town’ is adhered to in formal settings so these ‘country colours’ are reserved for tweed sports jackets.

His formal shirts have a semi-spread collar and are teamed with a regimental striped or lightweight silk foulard tie. The chosen knot is the narrow, asymmetrical four- in- hand, as opposed to the larger full-Windsor which was promoted by his flamboyant trend- setting great uncle, the Duke of Windsor.

King Charles’ customary accessories are a colourful contrasting pocket handkerchief, a lapel pin, floral buttonhole and double cuffs with cuff links. Wristwatch enthusiasts have praised his eclectic choice of watch, a gold Parmigiani Fleurier,as opposed to the predictable mainstream luxury brands more usually sported by celebrities.

Like the late Queen, he loves Scotland and enjoys a variety of tartans. When at Balmoral he wears a kilt in the beautiful grey and red Balmoral Tartan which her Majesty was wearing in her last photograph, designed by Prince Albert, and allowed only to the royals. When in Edinburgh following the death of the Queen, his chosen kilt was in the Royal Stewart Tartan.

As a man of means it’s no surprise that Charles buys top quality, handcrafted investment pieces. ‘Buy once and buy well’ is his mantra. More surprising, but reflecting his passion for sustainability, is the fact that the morning suit for his marriage in 2005 was thirteen years old, and his favourite coats, both with large patch pockets, are a camel hair and a herringbone tweed from 1987.

Charles has been a major ambassador for British menswear brands, giving warrants to Anderson and Sheppard, Gieves and Hawkes, shirt makers Turnbull and Asser (who report that their customers ‘reference how he dresses’) hatters James Lock, shoemakers Crockett and Jones also Lobb, and Kinloch Anderson, kilt maker.  Burberry and Barbour reflect his interest in outdoor wear. In 2013 he arranged a tour to show the ‘Best ofBritish’ craftmanship.

Ever since he became Prince of Wales, Charles has supported disadvantaged young people’s advance into careers and shown a great interest in preserving traditional skills. Part of his Dumfries House project combined the two, culminating in the 2020 Modern Artisan project which involved teaching techniques of sewing and tailoring and resulted in a high- end eighteen -piece capsule collection for women and men.

The help of several valets, a deep interest in clothes, a fastidious attention to detail, an understanding of what works for him and what is appropriate, means that the new King has his look sorted. He understands the power and the language of clothes. At  times having to change up to five times a day will not faze him.There will be no trial and error as he eases into his new job, and no embarrassing sartorial mishaps. Following in the tradition of the late Queen, when he represents the UK and Commonwealth his clothes will be one thing which won’t cause him concern.

Instagram @fionainghampresentation