Among the most common fashion blunder is failing to recognize the distinction between plaid and flannel. Being the plaid lovers we all are, I think we ought to equip ourselves with the knowledge of the difference between flannel vs. plaid. To avoid any further mistakes, let’s discern flannel vs. plaid to trace back where this error may need in all chance come from once flannel was fictional, and also the most effective time to wear flannel.

What is Flannel?

Let’s cut to the chase: Flannel is the material/cloth and plaid is among the many design patterns you can make with flannel. Let me offer you a very simple equation:

Flannel = Material.

Plaid = Pattern.

What’s flannel made of?

Naturally occurring materials such as cotton, wool, and vegetable fiber are usually what’s flannel made of.

History of Flannel: When was Flannel Invented?

The 1600s. While the roots of the word flannel remain unclear, flannel was becoming a well-known material for clothing in the 1600s. The Welsh were among the first ones to seem to create a broader application for this material. One of the most important forms of flannel is its use as a blanket for sheep.

The 1700s. The flannel plaid finally made its way into society as an article of clothing. After 100 years from its assumed invention, the highland Scots used this as a material for their kilts. These kilts carried their family’s tartan or identity.

If within the middle ages, the Scots used crests, within the 1700s, the various tartans became a clan’s image of identity.

The 1800s. When the Industrial Revolution happened in the United States during the mid-1800s, it saw the rise of the extensive use of this cloth. Flannel made of cotton or wool were huge for workers working on railroads, probably because of the warmth and the endurance of this material.

The 1900s. America is big on flannel. In 1939, residents of Michigan established a holiday with the name of Red Flannel Day. It all happened due to heavy snow and freezing temperatures. 

The flannel became the people’s hero that gave them warmth at one of the coldest times ever recorded. Michigan residents still celebrate this festival until now. What a way to celebrate the performance of the flannel, am I right?

When were flannel popular? Who wears flannel? Why is there confusion?

In popular culture, usage of textile flannel shirt became in style to teens within the late 80s to the first 90s all due to yankee icons like Kurt Cobain of the band Nirvana.

Plaid flannel was among the popular varieties of vesture folks that famous rock’n’roll wore, apart from red and black, of course!

Aside from the men and working class, the plaid flannel also became popular with women! The Dukes of Hazzard’s lead, Daisy Duke (played by Catherine Bach) infamously wore the checkered plaid during the series’ run from 1979 to 1985. Later, the beautiful Claire Danes made plaid flannel her trademark in the series called, My So Called Life.

I guess the demand of flannel can be attributed mainly to the vibe it gives off to the wearer. We can attribute it to the roots of this material having sprung from the commercial Revolution and so showing in well-liked culture

That said, I believe we are able to contribute the error of occupation the flannel as textile or textile as flannel simply by staring at the long history of those two.

If you look at plaid, it is made up of numerous threads intersecting each other. These colorful threads are woven together tightly, it can only be made through the process of creating a durable fabric such as flannel. Flannel and plaid go so well together, they make a great combination, right?

Again, since flannel is the fabric/material that the plaid is made of, there can be non-plaid flannel or a non-flannel plaid. The most important thing to remember is our equation earlier:

Flannel = Material, Plaid = Pattern.

Why wear flannel?

If you ask me the question “Why wear flannel?” I would nimbly answer back.

I wear cotton flannel because of its performance. Upon knowing how rich the history of this fabric is, it makes me want to stock up on more cotton flannel for when the flannel season comes.

Flannel is a symbol of a country’s culture and Michigan, a state in America. I think there’s more to flannel than just being a winter staple (which is when the flannel season is).

I hope this guide has helped in clearing the air about the difference in plaid and flannel once and for all. If you suddenly become confused between flannel or plaid, remember our equation.