Guest poster Charles gets personal in this post, sharing what he’s planning to wear to Ascot this year. Enjoy!
It is actually a bit boring to wear the same coat and trousers three days in a row to the races, even with a daily change of waistcoat and tie. So when I originally purchased my morning attire, I included, along with the black coat, both a pair of the striped trousers and a pair of houndstooth check trousers. Even the houndstooth trousers gained bits of attention from women and men because this style isn’t as common as the traditional stripe. But, as most of you have surmised by now, I enjoy learning about fashion and trying things myself.
When I learned that it is permissible to wear tartan plaid trousers with one’s morning coat, my wheels started turning. I set out to find if my family name is associated with a tartan. Off to Google I went (how did we ever survive before Google?!?!?) Rather quickly I found a company in Scotland that assists in identifying the tartan associated with your family name and also sells fabric and clothing fashioned out of the tartan.
I first tried my surname, but I was pretty sure it is purely English. I contacted the company and almost immediately someone replied, that someone being a man named “Hamish.” Of course his name was Hamish! Hamish very kindly offered to perform a search to determine if my family surname has an associated tartan. In short order he contacted me with information I expected – my surname is very English, as a matter of fact it pre-dates the Norman Conquest. So no tartan associated with that name! We then moved on to my mother’s family name. Yes, indeed, there is a tartan but nonetheless, a bit rare. In order to obtain fabric in specifically that name I would have to order much more fabric than I need because it would have to be woven for me. However, it is common and acceptable to wear the tartan of the clan associated with your name. Hamish encouraged me to select that tartan and I agreed. “Let’s order the fabric Hamish!” I decided. After a brief wait my tartan fabric arrived and I moved on to the next step, having trousers tailored.Fortunately for me, living in Chicago there is actually a very good tailor just around the corner from where I live. I took a pair of the trousers from my morning attire and the tartan fabric and instructed the tailor to fashion me a pair of trousers exactly like the stripe, but using the tartan fabric. In a few weeks my trousers arrived! When I went to pick up my trousers the tailor smiled and said that, while they are very handsome, he would never wear a fabric like that! So now I’m off to Royal Ascot 2016 with three pairs of trousers for three days of racing.
Tuesday I’ll wear the houndstooth check, as Opening Day is the second most interesting fashion day of Royal Ascot, Wednesday I’ll go the traditional route with the striped trousers, and Thursday (also known as Ladies Day and the highest fashions of the week) I’ll wear my tartan trousers. I’m looking forward to turning a few heads when I step out on Ladies Day. It should be great fun! Here’s hoping I win some of my bets to pay for those trousers!
Ascot Day 1: Houndstooth trousers with either pale blue or tan waistcoat. What would you suggest?
Ascot Day 2: Cashmere stripe trousers with tan, grey stripe or pale blue waistcoat. What do you think?
Day 3: My tartan trousers with tan or pale blue waistcoat. Which waistcoat do you prefer?
Charles, I imagine that you will be among the best dressed men in the royal enclosure! I love the way the tan waistcoat picks up the yellow in your fantastic tartan trousers (that’s my pick for you!). And of course- I have to end this post with another peek at your gleaming and incredibly beautiful antique silk top hat.
In his next post, Charles will share some planning details involving the Royal Enclosure that went awry. Stay tuned!