Flannel Flashback!

Posted by Pamela Gerst, The Vermont Flannel Company on May 16th 2019

Flannel Flashback!

Having the opportunity to be employed by The Vermont Flannel Company has not only been truly satisfying, it also appeals to my non-conformist, 90’s inner child. In so, as I was going through all those icky teenage emotions we all know so well—the quintessential teen angst, the drama, the heartbreak—all the while my only rescue, my celebrity “dream boyfriend” Jordan Catalano from My So-Called Life. “Big Sigh” My oversized flannel made it possible to haul all my wins, my losses, my joys and my insecurities from classroom to classroom, and, as a bonus, I drove my mom crazy because I refused to wear anything else.

While taking a quick walk down memory lane, I’ve come to the grand realization that flannel will never be lost in history.

The folklore of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe first appeared in a promotional logging pamphlet in 1916. The story depicted a lumberjack with super strength and, you guessed it, dressed in an oh-so-rugged red and black flannel. Advertisers around America were fast acting to make capital investment off this whimsical story (or dare I say it “trendy look”).

The “strong as a man can be” mentality had a good run. It wasn’t long before the 1940’s film, Starlet, started to find appeal in flannel progression. It bears saying that one special lady would frequently slip into a flannel saying she was just, “borrowing it from the boys.”

Flannel and American fashion have been encompassing the way we live through a variety of facets. Some we may recognize really well. What is the first thing that may enter your mind when you think of flannel and film? (This could be a fun trivia night!)

  • I'll start with... Beetlejuice...Beetlejuice...Bea'...Just kidding! Adam Maitland, spending his afterlife inside his country home, wearing a classic black a white buffalo check flannel shirt, is one of those moments that make you think, “if I were to go, would I be ok going in flannel?” Yes! Duh!
  • Who says diamonds and DIY "fear of God" flannel don't go together?! Not John Bender in the film, The Breakfast Club, which forever changed the way we viewed ourselves and our peers.
  • The Shining chills so deep we are going to need all the flannel. Starring an author, Jack Torrence, who caves into the haunting supernatural forces of the spirits during the winter off-season, in a luxury mountain resort. So scary!

Moving forward with our most notable music categories in history, I feel that it would be safe to say that if music had DNA you would find flannel in it for sure! I'll tell you why...

  • Country, Folk, and Americana genres out there keeping it real in flannel button downs are keen to welcome all natural goodness such as natural chemical free cotton flannel. People’s right as activists, along with several trail blazers of the country, folk and Americana genre, are those among the utmost vigilant advocates for mother earth and all creatures everywhere. Hooray for 100% cotton flannel!
  • The Grunge build-up into the 90's universalized flannel shirts among all sexes. Iconic grunge bands had a style that represented an unrestrained, freethinking, radical expression. Birthing purpose into a new subculture in music, sensibility and of course, fashion. Flannel was often worn layered on top of thermal, band tee, a sweater and sometimes all 3. Not only that, if you didn’t find one tied with prominence around the waist, then you couldn’t really call it, The 90's. Grunge was an outlet for a generation that opposed traditional rules and refused to yield to its mandated system. Where would we be today without the "Grunge" scene?
  • Both a sub-genre, as well as, a culture that broadcasted insight to the inner city, suburbs, and urban communities, had an hand in contributing to the flannel essence. We are talking about the infamous Rap and Hip Hop identity. Provoking historically substantial message and sound, Hip Hop has captured the attention of it's listeners since 1970. Bringing in waves of fashionable attire over the decades. Moving from the 80's into the 90's, we've found that the “rap game” loves a good, quality flannel. A flannel pattern shirt and a white tee underneath would be recognized both formal wear and casual street wear. Hip Hop and Rap music transcended fashion, music, and film.

In conclusion...lets just say one thing about pop culture, "Flannel Was Here".

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