Plus fours

Plus fours are breeches or trousers that extend 4 inches (10 cm) below the knee (and thus four inches longer than traditional knickerbockers, hence the name). Knickerbockers have been traditionally associated with sporting attire since the 1860s. Plus fours were introduced in the 1920s and became popular among sportsmen--particularly golfers and game shooters--as they allowed more freedom of movement than knickerbockers.[1]

Man in plus fours, Sweden, July 1936

An "extravagant, careless style that fit right in with the looser fashions and lifestyles of the 1920s," plus fours were introduced to America by Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) during a trip in 1924.[1]

They were later[when?] brought back to prominence by the professional golfer Payne Stewart who wore them on the PGA Tour (active years 1982-1999).[2]

In 2008, plus fours were featured in André Benjamin's Benjamin Bixby clothing line, which was based on clothing worn by Ivy League athletes in the 1930s.[3]

Less known are plus twos, plus sixes, and plus eights, of similar definitions, but varying volumes.[4]

In Nabokov's King, Queen, Knave, while his lover is dying of pneumonia in a nearby hospital attended by her husband (his employer and uncle), Franz busies himself arranging to buy a pair of plus fours, a long-deferred dream.[citation needed]

Tintin, the comic book character from The Adventures of Tintin, famously wears plus fours.[5]


  1. ^ a b Fashion Encyclopedia, Plus fours.
  2. ^ Golf Today, Payne Stewart, a champion in plus two's.
  3. ^ Wilson, Eric. André Benjamin’s Clothing Line Includes Plus Fours and Club Sweaters, The New York Times, October 2, 2008.
  4. ^ "Esquire's encyclopedia of 20th century men's fashions," by O. E. Schoeffler, William Gale, 1973, p.674
  5. ^ Gaynor, Tim (January 9, 2003). "What is the secret of Tintin's plus-fours?". The Independent. Retrieved September 20, 2018.