A Short History of Golf Attire
Golfing attire has changed a lot since the 15th century Scottland, when all golfers had to worry about was the elements. The history of golf clothes is a long and interesting mix of dressing for the weather and high society style.
The Earliest Years
In the early years of golf, Scotts wore knickerbockers (short pants.) These ended below the knee and were complimented by wool socks and tweed jackets. Their shirts had heavily starched collars with a necktie and sturdy shoes. Although this was perfect for the harsh Scottish weather, it did not sit well with other nobility.
In the 1900s, golf took hold in the majority of Europe and over to America. Since the serviceable highland gear was not fashionable for golf clothes in other cultures, men's fashion of the time took over. A single-breasted jacket usurped the heavy wool, but the knickers remained.
By the 1920s, golf was the sport of the wealthy, and they began to establish their own fashion. Golfers started to wear plus-fours where were knickers but four inches longer and two-toned shoes called "spectator" shoes. Their socks were made from cotton and long enough to disappear under the Knickerbockers. They wore shirts, ties and the tradition of the golf cardigan began.
It wasn't until the 1930s that more casual attire began to take hold. Instead of bulky winter gear, men wore lightweight golf clothes. In many instances, men went from work to the course, so they wore white or grey pants suitable for both.
It was in the 1940s that significant changes to golf wear were taking place. Instead of a traditional look, the clothing became more practical. Although cardigans remained popular for chilly weather, short sleeve knit shirts came into play for the warmer months. Water-resistant "Eisenhower" jackets during the rainy months and khakis were complimented by colorful shirts.
While golf clothing has changed, the basic coloring hasn't. Some of the tartan, plaid and wool still appear on the courses today.