A Penchant for Plus Fours & Fair Isle

If reading is believing, Plus Fours didn't really exist prior to the First World War. They were a development from the traditional military or sporting 'knickers' garment which stopped at the knee and were popular for walking in. However, the cuffed knee made the garment uncomfortable for other activities (i.e. horse riding, climbing etc). To give the knee more freedom of movement, an extra 4 inches of fabric was added to below the knee to create a 'bagged' effect, and thus the name, Plus Fours', stuck.

Here's Edward VIII working the fair isle look with a stout pair of tweed Plus Fours. Edward has a lot to answer for in making the Plus Four so popular in the 1920's right up to their fall from favour in the 1940's. After Edward's diplomatic trip to America in 1924 he apparently started a craze for the bagged bloomer in the States too..


He popularised the fair isle jumper too, I think. I like how the painting depicts the crumpled edge on the jumper. Its a very relaxed painting, which I suppose was quite 'forward' for those times and for an such important sitter.

I wonder what would have happened if Wallis Simpson had never crossed his path?
Murgatroyd said…
Ooh, I hadn't noticed the hem. Fascinating. Yes, I think that would have been quite forward.
Saw a fabulous book about Wallis Simpson's jewellery in a shop window last week but couldn't stop to inspect it more closely, pah!
elegancemaison said…
Wow I love this blog of yours which I've just discovered while clicking onto Murgatroyd. So many of your interesting earlier posts to read as well. Great!
Murgatroyd said…
Thank you Elegancemaison, welcome aboard!