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The History of Flannel Shirts: Origin and Timeline

The History of Flannel Shirts: Origin and Timeline

Hands down it's one of the most loved fabrics for fall and winter, but how much do you actually know about the that flannel shirt you're living in this season? Now that you've gotten serious about your love for flannel it's time to have the talk about where it comes from, where it's been and what plans it has for your future together. After all, you shouldn't jump into a relationship with something you know nothing about. Behold, the intricate backstory of the history of flannel shirts, and what it means for you.

Where Flannel Originated

When was flannel invented? Would you be surprised if we told you that historians have suggested that the origin of flannel – or a fabric similar to it – can be traced back to 16th century Wales? It makes sense that the fine people of Wales would want flannel shirt protection of some sort from the notoriously cold and drizzly Welsh winters. Their version of flannel was the popular, warmer, and sturdier alternative to the wool garments that they wore at the time.

From Wales, flannel made it's way to France and Germany throughout the 17th and 18th centuries until finally showing up in the United States during the Industrial Revolution in 1869. With a rapidly expanding railway system, flannel shirts proved to be made of a worthy fabric for the harsh working conditions and long hours of the American laborer. And it wasn't just used for shirts. Flannel long underwear, known as long johns, and warm flannel sheets, were also made by this time.

What Flannel Represented

By the early 20th Century logging, railroad building, and construction continued to dominate the workforce in America and men's flannel shirts soon became synonymous with blue-collar workers. During the Great Depression, they became even more popular as white-collar businessmen suddenly desperate for work found themselves wearing flannel shirts to laborer jobs instead.

Essentially by 1950, flannel shirts were thought of as the working man's shirt and considered a symbol of American hardworking ruggedness, which was only illustrated further by the introduction of the fictional character of Paul Bunyan. After all, can you think of imagery more masculine than a lumberjack styling a classic men's flannel shirt with his trusty axe thrown over his shoulder and his faithful blue Ox, Babe, by his side?

When Flannel Got a Makeover

Flannel's image got a pop-culture do-over in the 1990s with the help of grunge rockers who wore flannel shirts as part of their trademarked low-key looks their fans loved. From here flannel spread like wildfire amongst their fans to mainstream fashion, eventually becoming a fashion staple of the younger generation.

By 2010, grunge style was out, but the "hipster" revolution gravitated towards flannel shirts for its earthy and artisanal feel. Once more this warm, soft, and functional fabric became trendy yet again. Now thanks to hipsters, your regular cozy look of a women's flannel tunic and leggings is not only considered comfortable but also cool and stylish. Just remember that the next time you scoff at that new artisanal coffee shop charging $6 for a cup of organic joe.

What Your Future Looks Like in Flannel

We are well past 2010, and the love for flannel shirts is still going strong amongst men, women, and children. Yes, kids love their soft and comfy flannel shirts as well. With all of this love to go around, it's safe to say that flannel isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Lean in to the comfort and security of a sure thing and stock up on men's flannel shirts, women's flannel shirts, and women's flannel tunics to mix in with the rest of your wardrobe loves. Not only can you wear these wardrobe staples on their own but they're also great items to layer under a down vest or cozy sweater for added warmth all season long. You can also wear this classic style well into spring by layering your beloved flannel tunic over a simple tee or tank top.

When it comes to your wardrobe needs, flannel shirts put in the work to keep your relationship strong. Don't miss out on a new wardrobe favorite. Stock up on flannel shirts today!

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