The History of Flannels

Basil Kautto

More stories from Basil Kautto

When you hear the word ‘flannel,’ if you think of the classic red checkerboard design and collared neckline, you would be partially right. Flannel is a type of material/textile, though a better term for this design is tartan. The term plaid could also be used, but traditionally the term is used to mean a Scottish blanket.

Flannels first started popping up in the 1950s, mostly worn by the “working man” ex. Lumberjacks. Tartan flannels were also popular in the 90s, worn by fans of grunge, punk and rock. It was usually paired with denim jackets, leather jackets, jeans, henley shirts and/or a basic t-shirt. In the 2000s, it slowly dropped in popularity, as the grunge era had ended and the new era had brought sweatshirts, hoodies, crop-tops and low-rise jeans.

In more modern times, the tartan flannel has become more popular, being a reference to both the grunge era and also a reference to the 1950s. Tartan Flannels are used in conjunction with pieces of clothing such as jeans, sweaters, long jackets, outdoor wear and the iconic graphic t-shirt.

Seeing as this type of design is versatile with numerous other pieces of clothing, I feel as though it will remain popular long into the future.