9.29.2009

Roll out the flannel

(Editor's note: I'm jumping the gun a little here, but the blustery taste of autumn we're getting in Redding made me think of this ode to flannel.)

That crisp snap in the air marks the arrival of our favorite time of year: Flannel Shirt Season.

During the hot months, we all go around dressed as if we’re on our way to Physical Education class. But in autumn, the flannel shirt replaces (or layers over) the ubiquitous T-shirt, briefly turning the whole nation into lumberjacks. During the seasonal window between cutoffs and heavy coats, the fluffy flannel shirt is the ideal garment.

Unless you live where it’s really cold and/or work outdoors, a flannel shirt is all you need on most days (though pants are a good idea, too). When you go outside, you’re usually only exposed to the elements for those few minutes between indoors and in-the-car and indoors again. Why bother with a jacket?

When it gets colder, a flannel shirt is perfect for layering, especially if you like the “grunge” look or own a skateboard.

Unless it’s a formal occasion, you never really have to tuck in a flannel shirt. This is important to those of us who are equatorially challenged.

Most flannel shirts have two pockets, often with flaps, giving the wearer room to carry around a lot of unnecessary stuff.

Lumberjacks are cool. Ditto Eddie Vedder.

Wearing flannel shirts indoors means you can keep the climate-control settings a little lower, and save on your utility bills. For further information, see “Domestic Harmony and the Treaty of Thermostat,” Lawrence F. Hongenecker, 1989.

Flannel shirts last a long, long time and always look pretty decent, right up to the point where your elbows poke through the worn fabric. And for another two years beyond that, if you wear the sleeves rolled up. You can cut off the sleeves altogether, but only if you’re willing to be mistaken for Larry the Cable Guy.

How do you know when a flannel shirt is too worn to go out in public? When passers-by keep trying to give you nickels. Time for that flannel shirt to take on a new life as a “rag.”

Flannel shirts were embraced early on by those of us who work at home. We don’t have to worry about a dress code, so we gravitate toward the most comfortable clothing. We recognized that there’s a reason why they make pajamas out of soft flannel.

Flannel shirts are legal pajamas. You can answer the door, run to the store, be seen by your children’s teachers, all while wearing your jammies. If people notice you’re rumpled, they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. They’ll say to themselves: Maybe he’s a lumberjack.

The danger, of course, is when you start wearing the same shirt around the clock. If you’re already in your comfy pajama shirt, there’s really no reason to change for bed. Then you get up the next morning and, what do you know, you’re dressed already. This can go on for days. Pretty soon, you’re giving a whole new meaning to “grunge.”

Pair your favorite flannel shirt with sweatpants, and you never have to change again. Every day’s a round-the-clock pajama party.

Caution: You can wear that get-up out of the house only if you utilize drive-thru windows. If you see anybody you know, wave and zoom away. But don’t get out of the car. Nobody looks good in sweatpants. Trust me.

Maybe some flannel trousers, though. Loose, comfortable. Something in a nice plaid to match your lumberjack shirt. Wait, that’s pajamas again.

Note to self: Idea for a successful business -- Drive-thru Pajamas. Seasonal sales on flannel shirts. Hmm. Sleep on it.

1 comment:

Catalyst said...

Ahh, the benefits to working at home. Note, if you live alone, you can work mostly naked, or completely so.