Tenue. Tributes – The Plaid Flannel Shirt – Tenue de Nîmes

It’s no secret that Tenue. is a huge fan of the overshirt. Its versatility makes it able to transition from a layering piece in the winter to a jacket in the spring. Apart from that, a proper overshirt offers you warmth and comfort, while also providing protection due to its durability. They’ll become staples in your wardrobe that you will never want to part with and will wear all year round(apart from a scorching hot summer maybe).

Yet, in the kingdom of overshirts, only one bears the crown. In our opinion that is the plaid flannel shirt. Not only does it offer the aforementioned warmth, comfort and protection, it also looks the part with its cosy and inviting plaid patterns. So, for that reason, we would like to give you a more in-depth look into the world and the history of plaid flannel shirts.

Before we dive in, we need to set something straight. Contrary to popular belief, flannel is actually a fabric, not a pattern. So, not all flannel shirts necessarily feature a plaid pattern. The fabric flannel finds its origin in Wales, back in the 17th century. Farmers wore flannel to protect themselves from the elements. They favoured it for its durability and warmth, just like us nowadays. Back then flannel was made from carded wool, now it’s usually made from cotton. This mid-weight fabric is often brushed or loosely woven, giving it its soft touch and providing it with warmth. The plaid pattern that has become synonymous with flannel finds its origin in Scotland. These tartan patterns, which date as far back as the 3rd or 4th century, were used to distinguish clans.

Source: Rolling Stone Magazine, band Pearl Jam

From the cold coasts of the British Isle, flannel found its way into Germany and France and later on, during the 19th century, into the States. It was around this time that the Scottish tartan print evolved into the plaid pattern. British and American manufacturers started to incorporate it into their design.
One can’t write a blog about flannel without mentioning Hamilton Carhartt (the founder of the now-famous workwear brand ‘Carhartt’).
During the industrial revolution in America, mister Carhartt sought to provide the working class with quality workwear. He ended up choosing flannel, as all its characteristics fit the bill as the perfect workwear fabric. He is responsible for the popularization of these now-iconic shirts. The plaid flannel got woven into American culture as a symbol for blue-collar jobs. The most iconic example is of course the hardworking logger bearing an axe and wearing a plaid flannel shirt and pair of boots (we recommend Red Wings Shoes). We shouldn’t forget to mention that Portugal also has a rich history of producing flannel! This is where Tenue. sources their flannel for their Greg shirts.

Source: Advertisement from the brand Carhartt

Plaid flannel shirts remained popular attire for the working class throughout the 20th century. Also, during both World Wars, flannel was the fabric of choice for the military. This further manifested the reputation of flannel as one of the toughest fabrics out there. Small side note. Flannel wasn’t only the fabric of choice for rugged workwear. It was also utilized for the other side of the clothing spectrum, for fine suits. Throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s grey flannel suits were the uniforms for businessmen. We digress. The 90s is when the plaid flannel shirts found their way into popular culture and mainstream media. Grunge bands from that era were known for their low effort, nonchalant outfits. Nirvana, Pearl Jam and many other bands would often be seen sporting ripped jeans, a simple tee and to top it off - the plaid flannel shirt. They wore these plaid flannels for the exact same reason they were produced, warmth and comfort. Not to look stylish. During the following decades, fashion brands around the globe gravitated to the plaid flannel shirt. From that point onward, plaid flannels were part of the world populations wardrobe.

As you’ve read, plaid flannel shirts have quite a history. Flannel shirts were first worn hundreds of years ago by farmers in Wales to protect them from the cold, drizzly weather. Even the military chose flannel as their fabric of choice. Eventually, the grunge scene in the 90s popularized them. There is one common denominator between this wide range of wearers though, that is that they wore their shirts for comfort, warmth and for their durable properties. We hope that this information will make you fall even deeper in love with your trustworthy plaid flannel shirt!

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