Fore! Plus-fours are swinging into town

Golfing clothes combine comfort with a touch of one-upmanship, writes Tamsin Blanchard. Now, sport your Burberry checks off the fairway
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Keen golfers will find the idea of anybody who does not know a putter from a driver wearing plus-fours to a night-club (or, for that matter, on a golf course) a bit of a joke. But fashion knows no bounds and ideas have been plundered from the sports field for decades.

Football, rugby, cycling, baseball and tennis have all inspired both high street and high fashion over the years. Indeed, the gentlemanly attire worn on the golf links in the Twenties is one of the earliest examples of sportswear crossing over to everyday wear. Then, fashionable young men were as likely to wear their plus-fours (so named because the roomy knickerbocker trousers fell four inches below the knee) for a day at the races as during a round of golf.

Golf is one sport that combines streetwear with sportswear. The main attraction of clothes worn for golfing is that they are designed with freedom of movement in mind, as well as image. A round of golf is an opportunity for socialising and a good dose of fashion one-upmanship.

Liz Lipincott, editor-at-large for the American magazine Golf Pro, says that in the United States the sport's popularity is steadily growing, especially among the young. Forty per cent of new golfers are women. Lipincott says: "People want to wear something they can walk off the golf course and go shopping in without looking ridiculous."

Off the golf course, designers like Katharine Hamnett and Vivienne Westwood are making reference to golfing clothes, and looking back to the golden times of the Twenties and Forties.

Wide-legged pants, argyle knits, jaunty checks and classic brogues have a look of the English eccentric that Anglophiles abroad love to imitate. The foppish boyishness of a pair of Oxford bags (a trouser shape inspired by Twenties golfers that is creeping back on to the catwalk in gold lurex at Christian Lacroix and stiff indigo denim at Todd Oldham), worn with a pastel argyle tank top (look out for them at French Connection and Gap) and a Kangol cap is a way of wearing this season's soft ice-cream colours without looking like a knickerbocker glory. Then all you need is a caddy and limited edition solid gold Harrods putter for £9,995 and you're ready to tee off.

Clare Pale blue trousers, £44.99, by Oasis, from stores nationwide; white short-sleeved shirt, £70, by Equipment, 21 Sloane Street, London SW1; pale lilac and white cardigan, £110, by Burberry, 18-22 Haymarket SW1, inquires 0171 930 3343; white patent lace-ups, £125, by Freelance from Plumline, 55 Neal Street WC2 Louise Lime-green linen mix trousers, £49.99, by Oasis; lilac short- sleeved cotton shirt, £35, and argyle tank top, £35, by French Connection; pale green cap, £15.99, by Kangol, from Mash, 73 Oxford Street W1; white golf shoes, £59.99, by Nike from Olympus stores

Louise (above) Checked wide-leg trouser, £145, by Burberry, 18- 22 Haymarket SW1, inquires, 0171-930 3343; white polo top, £16, by The Gap; black and white Stylo golf shoes by Gore-Tex, from £69.99, inquiries 01274 611011; Pink Zephyr cap, £15.99, by Kangol from Mash, 73 Oxford Street W1. Baby blue golf glove, £4.99, by Nevada Bob, the Rotunda, Broadgate Circle EC2

Clare Skirt, £140, by Burberry, as before; sweater, £165, by Joseph, 26 Sloane Street SW1; socks, £7.99, by Burlington, as before; golf shoes, £34.99, by Hi-Tec, inquiries, 01702 541 771; Bermuda Lido hat, £15.99, by Kangol from LA Biss, 132 Long Acre WC2; glove, £4.99, by Nevada Bob, as before

Cream classic turn-up trousers, £150, by Burberry, as before; beige and cream argyle jumper, £55, and camel window-pane check single- breasted jacket, £215, both by Scotch House, 2 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge SW1, inquires/mail order 0171-581 2151; white and brown shoes, £95,by Destroyer, inquires, 0190 861 5123; caramel and white sunglasses, £49.50, by Ally Capellino, 95 Wardour Street W1; white golf glove, £8.99, by Olympus from stores nationwide.

Cream wrap skirt, £49.95, from Laura Ashley stores nationwide; pink pique polo top £16, from The Gap, stores nationwide; lilac cable- knit tank top, £45, by French Connection, 249 Regent Street W1 and branches nationwide; brown and cream two-tone lace-up shoes, £69.99, by Ravel, 184-188 Oxford Street W1, inquires 0171-631 0224; cream opaque tights, £5.95, by Hue from House of Fraser, stores nationwide

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