Would you Wear Madras? | J. Crew Plain Madras Sportcoat – $248.00
There is no subtle way to wear madras. It’s either loud, or deafening. F-18 breaking the sound barrier over your head deafening. The fabric originated in searing hot India. It’s cotton, light, and very very plaid. And preppy as all hell so that’s why it’s abnormally expensive. There are two different kinds of Madras, and one is almost impossible to wear. Here’s a quick breakdown…
Madras Plaid – Gap Summer Shirt – $39.50 | Land’s End Canvas Shorts – $39.50
This is plain Madras plaid. The madras pattern was inspired by the Scottish Tartans worn by many of the Brits who traveled to India during the 19th century . Their dark itchy wool was quickly replaced by cooler cotton, which was dyed in lighter colors with inks that bled and faded with washing. When the Europeans left India, the Madras pattern made the return with them. Like the J. Crew Blazer at the top of the page, madras clothing can absolutely be made from one bolt of fabric. As opposed to… wait for it…
Patchwork Madras – Lauren Cambridge Pants – $89.99 | Jos. A Bank Sportcoat – $250.00
This stuff. This is the second kind of Madras, called appropriately, patchwork madras. Take a bunch of different shades of madras in different plaid patterns, cut them up, then stitch them together. It’s what most people think of when they think of Madras. Y’know that scene in the sound of music when Maria cuts up the drapes to make play clothes for the Von Trapp Children? Patchwork Madras looks sort of like that. But imagine Maria was on PCP, and in her mind she hunted down and massacred a herd of migrating table cloths. Then made clothes out of the carnage. That’s patchwork madras. And it’s not easy to wear. Unlike… again… wait for it…
Madras Accessories – Not a Bad Summer Idea.
To play it safe, keep your madras plain and limited to accent pieces like Ties and Pocket squares. You’ve got options too. Don’t want to take too big of a risk? Look for madras in two or three main colors. Going for more of a reach? Try a pocket square like this one with four or more. Just remember, madras can go a long way to brightening up a light summer suit, so keep the rest of your outfit fairly quiet.
As far Patchwork Madras goes… probably best not to wear any of it.
Would you wear Madras? If so… how far would you go? (Below: Brooks Brothers Pocket Square – $15.00)