National Flannel Shirt Day

Young man wearing a cozy flannel shirt, sitting by a campfire, surrounded by autumn leaves..
National flannel shirt day illustration

Ah, the flannel shirt. Is there anything more quintessentially cozy than wrapping yourself up in a plaid patterned piece of fabric? National Flannel Shirt Day is a celebration of this iconic garment that has been embraced by everyone from lumberjacks to hipsters. So, grab your flannel, pull up a chair, and let's dive into the warm and fuzzy history of this fashion statement.

When is Flannel Shirt Day?

It's national flannel shirt day on the 21st October.

A Brief History of Flannel Shirts

The origins of the flannel shirt can be traced back to Wales in the 16th century, where it was made from wool fabric. But it wasn't until the 19th century that flannel shirts gained popularity outside of practical uses. Lumberjacks, cowboys, and farmers started wearing flannel shirts for their durability and warmth.

Then, in the 1990s, flannel shirts became a fashion staple thanks to the grunge movement. Musicians like Kurt Cobain made flannel shirts cool, and suddenly everyone wanted to rock the cozy and effortlessly cool look.

Today, flannel shirts are more than just a fashion statement. They represent comfort, nostalgia, and a certain rugged charm. Whether you're wearing it to chop wood or sip a pumpkin spice latte, the flannel shirt is a beloved symbol of casual style.

How to Celebrate National Flannel Shirt Day

On National Flannel Shirt Day, embrace the coziness and versatility of flannel by incorporating it into your outfit. Wear your favorite flannel shirt with jeans or leggings for a relaxed and effortless look. You can also layer it under a sweater or jacket for extra warmth during the colder months.

Want to take your flannel game to the next level? Why not organize a flannel-themed gathering with your friends or loved ones? Have a flannel-inspired potluck where everyone brings a cozy dish like chili or apple pie. And of course, make sure to take plenty of pictures to document the flannel-filled fun!

History behind the term 'Flannel Shirt'


The Origins of Flannel

Flannel fabric has humble beginnings in the 16th century. It originated in Wales and was initially made from wool. The word 'flannel' is believed to come from the Welsh words 'gwalnen' or 'gwlanen', which mean 'wool' or 'woolen cloth'. At this stage, flannel was mostly used for undergarments and bedding due to its warmth and softness.

17th century

Early Beginnings

In the 17th century, the term 'flannel' originated as a term for a type of fabric made from wool or cotton. It was known for its softness and warmth, making it ideal for clothing in cold climates. Flannel shirts were originally worn by the working class, including farmers and lumberjacks, due to their durability and ability to keep them warm in harsh conditions.

17th century

Birth of Flannel Fabric

Flannel, a soft woven fabric made from wool, was believed to have originated in Wales in the 17th century. It was produced by carding fibers and then spinning and weaving them into a warm and cozy cloth. Flannel fabric became popular due to its insulating properties which made it ideal for cold weather.

16th century

The Birth of Flannel

Flannel fabric was first produced in the 16th century in Wales. The term 'flannel' originated from the Welsh word 'gwalnen,' which means woollen cloth. At this time, flannel was typically made from carded wool or worsted yarn. It was a warm and comfortable fabric, often used for clothing in the chilly Welsh weather.


Early Origins

The term 'flannel shirt' originated in the mid-19th century. Flannel fabric, made from wool or cotton, was commonly used for making warm and comfortable clothing. During this time, flannel shirts gained popularity among workers in various industries due to their durability and ability to provide insulation in colder weather.

17th century

Origin as a European cloth

In the 17th century, flannel fabric was first produced in Wales and Scotland. Its soft, warm, and durable properties made it ideal for clothing in cold and damp climates.


Origins in Wales

Flannel shirts have their origins in Wales, where they were traditionally made from soft, woven woolen fabric. The term 'flannel' derives from the Welsh word 'gwlân', meaning 'woolen cloth'. These early flannel shirts were primarily worn by Welsh farmers and shepherds due to the fabric's durability and warmth.

16th century

The Birth of Flannel Fabric

The origins of the term 'flannel shirt' can be traced back to the 16th century when the fabric called 'flannel' first emerged. Originally, flannel was a type of soft, warm, and loosely woven wool fabric. It was primarily made from worsted yarn or woolen yarn, giving it a distinctive texture and appearance. Flannel fabric was highly appreciated for its warmth and comfort, making it a popular choice for garments in colder regions.

16th century

The Rise of Flannel

Flannel fabric made its first appearance in the 16th century. The term 'flannel' comes from the Welsh word 'gwalnen,' meaning woolen cloth. It was originally made from sheep's wool, woven with a loose texture, resulting in a soft and warm fabric. The popularity of flannel grew rapidly due to its comfort and insulating properties, making it an ideal fabric for cold climates.


The Birth of the Flannel Shirt

In 1925, the term 'flannel shirt' originated with the introduction of a rugged, warm, and durable garment made from flannel fabric. Initially popular among workers and outdoorsmen, the flannel shirt gained recognition for its comfort, heat insulation, and ability to withstand tough conditions.


Flannel in North America

During the 18th century, flannel fabric made its way to North America. Scottish and Irish immigrants brought their traditional flannel clothing, known as 'tartan', with them. Flannel became popular among workers and farmers due to its durability and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions.

19th century

Introduction to America

During the 19th century, flannel fabric gained popularity in America. It was primarily used for undergarments and nightwear due to its insulating qualities.

19th century

Industrial Revolution and Plaid Patterns

During the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution brought advancements in manufacturing techniques, including the creation of mills and factories. This led to the mass production of flannel shirts, making them more accessible to a wider range of people. Additionally, this period saw the introduction of plaid patterns on flannel shirts, which became popular due to their visual appeal.


Flannel Shirts in Fashion

By the 1930s, flannel shirts had transitioned from purely utilitarian to a significant fashion trend. The conjunction of comfort and style led to an increased demand, with individuals embracing flannel shirts as a staple wardrobe item. The popularity of flannel shirts became particularly evident among college students and young adults.

17th century

Flannel in Scotland

During the 17th century, flannel production spread to Scotland. The country became known for its high-quality flannel, particularly in the region of Bannockburn. Scottish flannel was prized for its softness and warmth. It was commonly used to make bedding and undergarments.

18th century

The Rise of Flannel Shirts

During the 18th century, flannel fabric gained increased popularity, leading to the rise of flannel shirts. The softness and durability of flannel made it an ideal choice for creating comfortable and long-lasting shirts. Flannel shirts were particularly favored by laborers, farmers, and outdoor workers due to their ability to provide warmth in cold weather while remaining breathable. The popularity of flannel shirts continued to grow in the following decades, becoming a staple garment in many wardrobes.

19th century

Introduction of Flannel Clothing

In the 19th century, the popularity of flannel fabric led to the creation of flannel clothing, including the iconic flannel shirt. The shirt was made from the same soft and warm fabric and gained popularity among outdoor workers, particularly lumberjacks and farmers. Its durability and ability to provide warmth made it an essential garment in rugged environments.


Rise of Industrialization

As industrialization boomed in the late 19th century, flannel shirts became even more prevalent. The sturdy construction of these shirts made them suitable for rugged work environments, such as factories, mines, and construction sites. Their practicality, coupled with their affordability, contributed to their widespread use among blue-collar workers.

19th century

From Wales to America

During the 19th century, Welsh immigrants introduced flannel shirts to America. These immigrants settled primarily in the Appalachian region, where the rugged terrain and unpredictable weather made flannel shirts a practical choice. The durability and warmth of flannel made it a favorite among loggers, miners, and other outdoor workers.


Industrial Revolution and Mass Production

With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, flannel shirt production shifted from handcrafted garments to mass production. This allowed for cheaper and more accessible flannel shirts, making them increasingly popular among workers, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States.


Rise in Outdoor Recreation

During the 1920s, flannel shirts gained popularity among outdoor enthusiasts, such as hikers, campers, and hunters. The fabric's breathability and insulating properties made it an ideal choice for outdoor activities.


Flannel Shirts in Pop Culture

During the 1940s, flannel shirts began making appearances in pop culture, especially in movies and music. Iconic figures like cowboys and lumberjacks were often depicted wearing flannel shirts, solidifying their association with rugged masculinity. This representation in popular culture contributed to the flannel shirt's enduring appeal and fashion statement.

20th century

Flannel Shirt in Pop Culture

During the mid-20th century, flannel shirts experienced a surge in popularity, thanks to their appearance in popular cultural movements. In the 1940s and 1950s, flannel shirts became synonymous with the casual and rebellious style of the emerging youth culture. They were often worn by musicians, notably in the genres of country and rockabilly. The association with these subcultures cemented the flannel shirt's place in fashion history.


Flannel shirts for outdoor enthusiasts

In the 1930s, flannel shirts transitioned from being primarily worn as undergarments to becoming popular outerwear. Outdoor enthusiasts, such as lumberjacks and ranchers, embraced flannel shirts for their comfort, warmth, and durability.

19th century

Flannel Shirts in Fashion

In the 19th century, flannel shirts started to make their mark in the fashion industry. They transitioned from being solely practical and utilitarian to becoming stylish fashion items. The versatility of flannel fabric allowed for the production of shirts in various colors and patterns, adding a touch of individuality to the garment. Flannel shirts became popular among different social classes, worn by both working-class individuals and well-to-do gentlemen. This widespread adoption propelled flannel shirts into the realm of fashion.

20th century

Popularity and Cultural Significance

Flannel shirts gained significant popularity in the 20th century, particularly in the United States. They became associated with various cultural movements such as grunge music in the 1990s, where musicians like Kurt Cobain frequently wore flannel shirts on stage. The shirts became a symbol of rebellion and nonconformity, representing an alternative to mainstream fashion.

19th century

Flannel Shirts Emerge

In the 19th century, flannel shirts began to rise in popularity. The development of the cotton industry in the United States led to the creation of cotton flannel, which offered a lighter and more breathable alternative to traditional wool flannel. Flannel shirts became favored by workers, especially those in the logging and farming industries, for their durability and comfort.


Flannel Shirt Manufacturing

In the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution led to the mass production of clothing, including flannel shirts. Textile mills in Europe and North America started manufacturing flannel shirts on a larger scale, making them more affordable and widely available. Flannel shirts became a staple garment for workers, specifically lumberjacks, due to their durability and insulation.

20th century

Flannel's Pop Culture Moment

In the early 20th century, flannel shirts gained popularity beyond workwear. Hollywood movies, especially Westerns, portrayed cowboys and rugged heroes wearing flannel shirts, contributing to the fabric's association with masculinity and adventure. Additionally, musicians of various genres began incorporating flannel shirts into their fashion statements, further cementing its cultural significance.


The Grunge Movement and Flannel

The early 1990s brought about a flannel revolution, thanks to the rise of the grunge music subculture. Grunge bands, such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam, displayed a signature style characterized by oversized flannel shirts, torn jeans, and a disheveled appearance. This iconic look perpetuated the association of flannel shirts with a sense of rebellion and nonconformity.


Flannel shirts in popular culture

During the 1940s, flannel shirts became associated with the 'lumberjack' aesthetic. This association was further reinforced by the rise of Hollywood western films, in which flannel-clad characters became iconic symbols of the rugged American frontier.


Flannel in Fashion

During the 1930s, flannel shirts found their way into mainstream fashion. The iconic American brand, Woolrich, popularized flannel shirts by introducing them as fashionable outerwear. Flannel shirts became associated with the ruggedness of outdoor activities and the simplicity of American workwear.


Grunge Fashion and Flannel

The 1990s marked another significant milestone for flannel shirts. The rise of the grunge music scene brought flannel shirts to the forefront of mainstream fashion. Bands like Nirvana popularized the grunge aesthetic, which often included a flannel shirt worn over a t-shirt or tied around the waist. Flannel shirts became a symbol of the alternative and anti-establishment culture of the time, influencing both fashion and music.


Adoption by Subcultures

In the 1950s, flannel shirts became closely associated with various subcultures, including the Beatniks and Rock 'n' Roll rebels, who adopted the garment as a symbol of counterculture fashion. This cultural association continued to evolve over the years, with flannel shirts being embraced by grunge bands in the 1990s.


The Grunge Movement

In the 1990s, flannel shirts experienced a resurgence in popularity with the rise of the grunge movement. Musicians such as Kurt Cobain and bands like Nirvana popularized the 'grunge' fashion style, which often featured oversized, worn-out flannel shirts. Flannel shirts became a symbol of rebellion and non-conformity, deeply intertwined with the angst-ridden music and culture of the era.


Fashion Staple and Versatility

Today, flannel shirts are not only associated with workwear but have also become a fashion staple in casual and street style. They are known for their versatility and can be worn by people of all ages and genders. Flannel shirts are available in various colors, patterns, and weights, appealing to different fashion tastes and climates. They continue to be valued for their comfort, durability, and timeless appeal.


Flannel Shirts Reimagined

In recent years, flannel shirts have experienced a resurgence in popularity. Designers and fashion houses have reimagined the flannel shirt in various ways, incorporating modern cuts, vibrant colors, and innovative patterns. Flannel shirts have become a versatile wardrobe staple, transcending seasons and bridging the gap between casual and formal attire.

20th century

Flannel Shirts and Subcultures

In the 20th century, flannel shirts became closely associated with various subcultures. In the 1930s, lumberjacks and outdoor workers commonly wore flannel shirts, solidifying its association with ruggedness and masculinity. Later, in the 1990s, flannel shirts gained popularity in grunge culture, with bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam popularizing the 'grunge' fashion style that prominently featured flannel shirts.


The Grunge Movement

The 1990s witnessed a significant revival of flannel shirts with the rise of the grunge music scene. Bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam popularized the 'grunge' fashion aesthetic, characterized by disheveled looks, baggy jeans, and of course, flannel shirts. Flannel became a symbol of counterculture and anti-establishment, making it a fashion staple of the era.

20th century

Flannel Shirts in Popular Culture

During the 20th century, flannel shirts became synonymous with certain subcultures and popular culture movements. In the 1920s, flannel shirts were associated with lumberjacks and outdoor workers, symbolizing ruggedness and a connection to nature. In the 1990s, flannel shirts experienced a resurgence in popularity as grunge fashion took the world by storm. Musicians like Kurt Cobain popularized the iconic flannel shirt look, contributing to its iconic status. Flannel shirts became a symbol of rebellion and nonconformity, even making their way onto the high-fashion runways.


Flannel Shirts as a Fashion Staple

Today, flannel shirts are considered a timeless fashion staple. They have transcended their humble origins and are now worn by people of all backgrounds, genders, and ages. Flannel shirts continue to be valued for their comfort, warmth, and casual appeal. Whether it's for a casual day out, a cozy winter outfit, or a vintage-inspired fashion statement, the flannel shirt remains an enduring trend in the world of fashion.


Flannel in Pop Culture

In the 1990s, flannel shirts experienced a surge in popularity thanks to the grunge music scene. Bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam embraced the flannel shirt as a symbol of their anti-establishment, rebellious attitude. The fashion industry quickly caught on, and flannel shirts became a defining fashion trend of the decade.

Present Day

Continued Popularity

Flannel shirts remain a popular fashion choice today. They are often worn for their casual and cozy appeal, especially during the fall and winter seasons. Flannel patterns and colors have expanded to include a wide range of options beyond the traditional red and black checkered pattern. Additionally, flannel has found its way into various fashion styles, from hipster fashion to outdoor enthusiasts' wardrobes.


Flannel shirts and grunge fashion

In the 1990s, flannel shirts experienced a resurgence in popular culture through the grunge music scene. Bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam popularized the 'grunge' fashion trend, which involved wearing oversized flannel shirts as a symbol of rebellion and non-conformity.


Flannel's Fashion Evolution

Flannel shirts have transcended their rugged workwear origins and achieved a timeless fashion status. Today, flannel shirts are available in a wide range of colors, patterns, and fabric blends. They have become versatile pieces that can be dressed up or down, making appearances in both casual and formal settings. Whether worn for their warmth, comfort, or style, flannel shirts continue to be loved and embraced by people worldwide.

Present Day

Versatile Styling and Fashion Staple

Today, the flannel shirt remains a fashion staple, transcending its workwear roots. It has evolved into a versatile garment that can be dressed up or down for various occasions. Flannel shirts are available in a wide range of colors, patterns, and cuts, making them adaptable to different personal styles. Whether worn as a traditional button-up shirt or as a layering piece, the flannel shirt continues to be a beloved and enduring piece of clothing.


Fashion Staple and Symbol of Lumberjack Style

Today, flannel shirts have become a fashion staple, transcending their practical origins. They are widely worn for both style and comfort, with various patterns and colors available. The iconic red and black plaid flannel shirt is often associated with the rugged lumberjack aesthetic and has become a symbol of casual fashion.


Fashion Staple

Today, flannel shirts continue to be a fashion staple, transcending their humble beginnings as workwear. Fashion designers have incorporated flannel into their collections, offering various styles, patterns, and fits. Flannel shirts are now worn by people from all walks of life, cherished for their versatility, comfort, and timeless appeal. Whether as a cozy layering piece or a fashion statement, flannel shirts remain an enduring cultural touchstone.


Flannel as a Cultural Symbol

Today, flannel shirts continue to be a beloved fashion item and cultural symbol. They evoke a sense of nostalgia for the simplicity and authenticity of the past. Flannel shirts are not just associated with practicality and comfort but have also become a fashion statement, representing a laid-back and effortlessly cool style.

Did you know?

Did you know that flannel gets its name from the Welsh word 'gwalnen,' which means 'woolen cloth'? Now you can impress your friends with your flannel trivia knowledge!


nostalgia comfort style fashion cozy coziness flannel

First identified

21st October 2016

Most mentioned on

21st October 2016

Total mentions


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