A Brief History of Flannel Shirts
We just released our new collection of slim fit casual flannel shirts, so we wanted to drop some knowledge on the history of the fabric and the best way to wear it - it's not just for skaters and lumberjacks anymore!
What is flannel?
Flannel is a soft woven fabric originally made from wool or worsted yarn. Contrary to popular belief, flannel is more than just a plaid shirt. The fabric has a deep and rich history originating in the 17th century, and was made for a singular purpose at first: warmth. Flannel was created by the Welsh as a tough woven fabric from the country's huge sheep population, and was made specifically to resist the wet and windy winters.
How did flannel evolve in menswear and fashion?
Hamilton Carhartt is the man most credited with bringing flannel workwear to the United States. Founded in Detroit, Michigan, the company provided durable and practical clothing for railroad workers. From there, flannel became a working class staple in the late 19th century: a tough and durable fabric that was comfortable yet protective. By the turn of the century, flannels became the symbol of rugged frontiersmen and would go on to be a uniform staple for World War I soldiers, used for undergarments and other utility purposes (the famous Parsons M1941 field jacket had a flannel lining). By the mid 20th century, the fabric creeped its way into suiting, with many men wearing textured wool suits. By the 1990s, flannels were the go-to garb for the grunge music scene, with bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam popularizing the disheveled, non-conformist look.
What's the best way to wear flannel now?
We picture flannels as perfect layering shirts, great for Spring, Fall, or Winter. Pair it with one of our Wool Vests or Bomber Jackets, or just throw it on by itself with a pair of slim jeans and roll up the sleeves. Looking to refresh or start your collection? Spectre & Co. is the perfect place. As for the design of our flannels, the days of super traditional plaid and tartan flannels are behind us. Our new collection is a combination of solids and and bold checks, simple in their minimalism but also bold in their freshness. For more styling tips on flannels and other products, check out our Instagram!