The Story Behind 3 of Our Favorite Plaids

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While we love returning to all the warm and textured layers of a fall wardrobe, there’s something especially cozy about a plaid shirt. It’s the unofficial uniform of the season, and even a brand-new plaid always feels a little familiar. With all the classic color combinations out there, how, exactly, can a plaid feel fresh? It just takes a little reading between the lines, if you will. We sat down with our design team to get the backstory on three of our new favorites.

Lansing Plaid on our Ex-Boyfriend Shirt
Let it be known that we consider plaid something of a neutral. It takes on the vibe of whatever it’s worn with: outdoorsy with denim, modern with a leather skirt, alluring with nothing else at all (though that’s another matter). It’s the chameleon of your fall wardrobe, so the details you can’t really see often make a pattern extra special, like the Lansing’s super-specific line widths. Our design team calls it a calm and balanced pattern. If you feel so inclined to bust out a ruler, the lined panels are exactly half the size of the solid squares they separate (and the lining is even a scaled-down version of the pattern).

Tulsa Plaid on our Slim Boyshirt
Now’s the part where we get a little specific, so allow us to use our Tulsa to explain. Technically speaking, a plaid is “a pattern of intersecting horizontal and vertical lines of two or more colors.” A plaid becomes a tartan when those intersecting lines mix to create new colors. Needless to say, there’s lots of room to play around with color and scale, and that’s what happened with our blue-and-orange pattern. Our design team spotted a muted men’s scarf at a vintage market and then brightened up the colors and enlarged the lines for our own version. The result: one of our most vivid plaids…er, tartans.

Buffalo Check on our Flannel Workshirt
A name like “buffalo check” sort of begs for an explanation. Turns out, it does have ties to the animal kingdom: the grid-like pattern was the official family plaid of buffalo traders who settled in Montana. (Way back, plaids were designed as something of a wearable family crest—a uniform.) To keep the timeless style feeling fresh, our design team did two things: picked an unexpected (but goes-with-everything) blue-and-green color combination and used the softest fabric possible—flannel that’s been brushed on both sides.

Above, The Ex-Boyfriend Shirt, The Slim Boyshirt and The Flannel Cargo Workshirt.

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Photography by Kate Owen.