The worst of the worst or the best of the best? Not many stores are selling patchwork versions these days besides Ralph Lauren (coincidentally, there is a good one on sale now), but J.Crew and Rugby both have some slightly safer non-patchwork versions available. I only have one in my wardrobe, which is probably one too many.
Originally there were matching shorts that were sold alongside it, but I thought that might have been taking it too far. The jacket is unstructured and unlined, which is really how they should be.
A background on the fabric, from an essay written for Land’s End in 1989:
The bleeding Madras fad of the 1950’s and ’60’s, brought the world’s attention to Madras, both the cloth and the city. And in the cloth’s heyday, over 150,000 new plaid patterns were fashioned, using homemade vegetable dyes that bled, ran and blended to create a stunning effect. (“Cool” was the word we used, way back then.) Today, of course, Madras no longer bleeds, because it is dyed with man-made, color-fast dyes.
But this, really, is the only difference, between then and now, in the making of the cloth.
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