CALL US NOW: 0207-700-2354
FREE UK shipping on orders £40+ (excl. sale items)

Look both classy and trendy with mens vintage plaid shirts

December 16, 2019

Rock the timeless trend of mens vintage plaid shirts and show your style savvy. Flannel shirts never went out of style, so wear them today with your current favourites.


Mens vintage plaid shirts, especially the timeless designer options from Ralph Lauren or Tommy Hilfiger, are a classic way to rock the evergreen trend of flannel for Fall and Winter wear.

mens vintage plaid shirts - Young guys in flannel shirts

Young guys in flannel shirts

The story of mens vintage plaid shirts


For a trend that has a long and varied heritage, yet continues to elevate everyday wear today, nothing beats mens shirts done the plaid way, so take a deep dive into this fascinating history now.

Multicoloured mens vintage plaid shirts - flannel


European origins

  • European origins of Flannel shirts: so much more than just plaid, flannel is a durable, warm and versatile fabrication that was used hundreds of years ago, mainly for its warmth. With origins as far back as the 17th century, flannel shirts created in Wales replaced earlier woollen men shirts of the time.


Fashioned out of worsted fibres with napping on both sides and derived from sheep’s wool, flannel shirts offered much better durability and warmth in the cold and wet Welsh winters. Called “Flanelle” by the French and “Flanell” by the German, this fabric soon spread across Europe as a working man’s choice of winter wear.

Overlap of flannel fabric

Overlap of flannel fabric

Manufacturing facilities

Manufacturing facilities for flannel shirts sprang up all across Europe and by the 19th century, the mechanical process known as carding was invented, which made the production of flannel shirts much more efficient and cost-effective.


  • Flannel Shirts cross the pond:  By the late 1800s, Hamilton Carhartt of the heritage Carhartt clothing house picked up on the European trend of flannel shirts and started using this fabric for mens vintage plaid shirts worn as uniforms by America’s military personnel. Besides military uniforms, mens vintage plaid shirts were quickly adopted by railroad workers in the Wild West of America, then by construction workers across the nation.


Flannel was also used to construct one-piece long underwear and work overalls for outdoor work, providing ideal protection from wet and cold weather.

Rocking his flannel shirt

Rocking his flannel shirt

20th century

By the early 20th century, mens vintage plaid shirts gained status as a rugged man’s chosen wear and men shirts styled in Buffalo plaid became synonymous with outdoorsy masculinity, ala Paul Bunyan.


  • Mens vintage plaid shirts during World Wars:  flannel shirts were once more called into military service during the two world wars, when this fabric was used for undershirts, belts and linings in field jackets.

Gregory Peck in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, 1956

Gregory Peck in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, 1956

  • Rise of the Gray Flannel Suit:  epitomized by the cultish book and movie, “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit”, we see flannel used in a totally different way, this time as the fabrication for sober workwear suits in the 1950s.


In the 1970s, “Grey Flannel” was one of the original designer colognes for men, perfect for adding a touch of personality to the working man’s gray flannel suit.


  • Mens vintage plaid shirts the grunge rock way:  men shirts done in plaid styles saw a resurgence in fashion in the 1990s, when grunge rockers inspired the look from bandstands to streetwear.

They became a symbol of cool I-don’t-care rebellion, paired with ripped jeans and combat boots by rock bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains.


  • Laid-back cool of flannel shirts:  today’s reimagining of this timeless look is all about laid-back casual style that takes you from casual Fridays to weekend sports events to outdoor hiking.

James Iha in his flannel shirt, 1995

James Iha in his flannel shirt, 1995

Heritage clothing

Heritage outdoor clothing houses like Pendleton and LL Bean sell high-end designer versions of flannel shirts, especially designed to keep you warm and dry and stand up to all kinds of outdoor activities.


Then there are runway designers from Tommy Hilfiger to Ralph Lauren to Dior, who offer their own modern versions that are an upmarket version of the casual look, styled to wear with work suits and dress pants for modern youthful panache.


Mens vintage plaid shirts have evolved through the fashion decades from sturdy workwear in Wales to the emblem of office wear suits in the 1950s to the symbol of rock rebellion in the 1990s and today are a ubiquitous and timeless statement of cool masculine style.

Multicoloured mens vintage plaid shirts

Multicoloured mens vintage plaid shirts

Best places to source mens vintage plaid shirts

Now that you know the backstory of mens vintage plaid shirts, rock yourself some flannel shirts either in original throwback style or in their current spins. Here are some of the best places to find them.

90s Grey And White Flannel Shirt

90s Grey And White Flannel Shirt

  • Rustyzipper

Find mens vintage plaid shirts in authentic flannel done the grunge rock way at Rusty Zipper.


This online marketplace offers you a curated collection of original flannel shirts from all the past fashion decades, so shop all men selections of throwback style and find the perfect plaid selection to go with your everyday casual look or to elevate your more formal wear.


  • Etsy

Etsy offers original, customized and hand-made choices in mens vintage plaid shirts.


You know when you shop at Etsy that you are getting truly one-of-a-kind heritage men shirts in classic plaid combinations of green and orange, red and black or blue and white, in all kinds of sizes and all ranges of price to suit every taste and budget.


Check out their mens vintage plaid selection in original 1990s Carhartt options, or even earlier throwback styles from the 1930s patterned along military wear styles.

  • Beyondretro

Beyond Retro is the perfect place to find warm, versatile and easy to wear mens vintage plaid shirts.


Flannel shirts in an assortment of colours and patterns perfect for your winter wardrobe, or long sleeved checked shirts in lighter fabrications, perfect for warmer days and nights.


Beyond Retro offers added benefits like next day delivery under certain conditions, and you can shop all men sizes and cuts at this site.



Source yourself some mens vintage plaid shirts at Amazon from the mid 1940s in Texas orange, casual button-down styles, in a range of sizes and with free shipping under certain conditions.


Amazon is the largest global seller of mens vintage plaid shirts, so check out their huge selection from the past, to modern takes on this timeless trend.

mens vintage plaid shirts - 90s Oversized Plaid Flannel Shirt

90s Oversized Plaid Flannel Shirt


Shop Style offers you high quality, upmarket mens vintage plaid shirts from designers like David Bitton, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.


Flannel shirts in weatherproof fabrications and a range of fits from oversized as an outer layer to fitted for wearing under blazers, you are going to find some stylish men shirts here.


Armed you’re all caught up with this knowledge of the rich and varied history of mens vintage plaid shirts, and the best places to source them from. It’s time to get inspired by this classic style and inject some flannel shirts cool into your off-duty look and some designer brand versions into your daytime wear.