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Monarchy on the Mend: Prince Charles and His Suit Patch

Posted by Peter Post  August 20, 2013 07:00 AM

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The patch can be seen on the bottom left of Prince Charles' suit jacket. Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Prince Charles has a patch. On his suit. And he’s even worn the suit, with the patch, seven times, at least according to The Telegraph. Photos, dates, places—they’re all there for a Web surfer to see.

It all started on July 3 when Prince Charles visited BBC Roath Lock Studios in Cardiff. I can easily see how this happened: On the way to the event, a snag leads to a tear and a quick fix is accomplished.

But then on July 12, the suit appeared in public for a second time at the Big Connect event in Islington. And then the sightings continued throughout July: July 22, July 23, July 28, July 29.

One might wonder if the Prince has only the one suit. Or maybe it’s a favorite suit. Or maybe he’s showing a thrifty side of the royal family.

Regardless, the question is, is it okay to wear clothing that has been patched? Certainly, it has been acceptable for men to wear sports jackets or blazers with patches on the elbow. After all, why toss a perfectly good jacket if the only wear and tear is on the elbows, where wear and tear happen first?

What are the guidelines for wearing clothing that’s been patched?

First, the patch should be unobtrusive. It took me a couple of minutes and looking at several pictures to be sure that the spot on Prince Charles’ jacket was in fact a patch and not just some wrinkles.

Second, you should take care as to what event you would wear the patched clothing. A job interview: probably not. Dinner with friends: okay. A visit to a flower show: works for me, and clearly it worked for Prince Charles. Where your goal is to look nice and have a good time at a casual event: great. But if your goal is to truly impress and the outcome really matters: consider something else.

Regardless of patch or not, more important is that the clothes be clean, odor free, stain free, and fit well.

Bravo Charles. He likes his suit; the patch is unobtrusive and he’s displaying a kind of thrifty attitude, which I think reflects well on the monarchy.

What do you think? Patches okay or not okay? For Prince Charles? For you?

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Since 2004, Peter Post has tackled readers' questions in The Boston Sunday Globe's weekly business etiquette advice column, Etiquette at Work. Post is the co-author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business" and conducts business etiquette seminars across the country. In October 2003 his book "Essential Manners For Men" was released and quickly became a New York Times best seller. He is also the author of "Essential Manners for Couples," "Playing Through–A Guide to the Unwritten Rules of Golf," and co-author of "A Wedding Like No Other." Post is Emily Post's great-grandson. His media appearances include "CBS Sunday Morning," CBS's "The Early Show," NBC's "Today," ABC's "Good Morning America," and "Fox News."

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