My favorite sister-in-law and I are crazy for red and black buffalo plaid. (She’s my only sister-in-law.) When I visited Minnesota last January, I wore my buffalo plaid scarf from J.Jill. It’s so cozy! Wendy loved it so much that I went online to buy her one, only they were sold out everywhere. When I got back home, I checked the J.Jill store in Corte Madera every week or two to see if by chance one showed up. It was pretty hopeless. It wasn’t pretty hopeless, it was flat out hopeless. Of course, you can’t tell that to a determined woman.
One day I walked into the store, and I could see the red and black flannel print from about twelve feet away on an accessories table. It stood out against the early spring deliveries of floral scarves. My steps hastened. Someone had returned it, and it was on sale! I sent it off to Wendy that day. I texted her and said, “Something is coming your way and you’re going to love it.”
Last month when I was in Perham at my favorite hangout, the Nest, I spotted a water bottle in “our” plaid. I couldn’t wait to show Wendy. She snapped it right up. She’s a woman who knows what she likes and goes for it.
A couple of days later I was in the Nest doing my morning writing when these two women showed up. It had started raining that morning and they were wearing hats and Hunter rain boots. They sat down with their drinks and I tried to contain myself. You see, one of them was wearing a buffalo plaid shirt in our colors and I knew Wendy would want to see it.
I gave them their space and kept writing, but then I got nervous that they might get up and leave. I went over to their table and told them about Wendy and asked if I could take a picture of them before they left. They were Minnesota nice and said yes.
I went back to my writing, but I kept looking over at the woman in the black brimmed hat who turned out to be Katherine. I loved the soft neckline of her shirt. She wore a gold necklace right at the base of her neck. These shirts can be very lumberjack-like (more about that later), but hers was feminine, pretty.
I got up to leave. I walked back to their table, asked a few questions and then we took pictures. That’s when I discovered the secret to Katherine’s pretty neckline. This flannel shirt actually had three buttons and a banded collar like you see, below. She’d tucked all of that under so you didn’t see that part. The shirt had gone from a V-neckline to a soft cowl-type neckline. You can see the difference below after she’d pulled it out.
The softer neckline suited her so well. I can’t wait to try this!
Why is this called Buffalo Plaid?
I know several of you are going to wonder what Buffalo Plaid is, so I found a great source to explain it. When you click on the link, the first picture on the top right is of Paul Bunyan, the lumberjack, wearing a very large buffalo plaid shirt. That’s because he’s an 18-foot statue that you can see for miles before you get into Bemidji, Minnesota where Paul Bunyan and his blue oxen have entertained families for decades.
My parents took us to Bemidji several times. To a kid from the flat prairies of North Dakota, something as tall as Paul was awe-inspiring. I remember the anticipation as we got closer and closer. We’d strain our little necks, fighting to be closest to the window. We weren’t buckled in, because there were no seat belts at that time. The kid who spotted giant Paul Bunyan first won honors that didn’t come with prizes, just bragging rights.
From where I was in Perham wearing buffalo plaid, then spotting buffalo plaid in gifts, and stalking others wearing it, Bemidji is only 90 miles away. What are the chances I’d be in this hotbed of plaid?
Evidently, the buffalo plaid is mighty popular and not just our secret
The day I was flying home, Wendy was attending a harvest market in Fargo. When I landed at SFO, there was a text from her. She sent this picture.
Wowzers! I asked her if she’d purchased one of each. She said, “No, but I wanted to.”
The family photo (more plaid)
I leave you with a photo of my family at the Nest in Perham. There are a few plaid lovers in this picture. My brother Kirk mainly wears T-shirts from places he’s been to. My favorite sister-in-law is wearing our scarf. She loved the black and white plaid coat I’m wearing so much that last weekend she went on eBay to look for it and found it in her size. Oh for the love of plaid.
And there’s dear Dad. His plaid shirt is peeking out from under his warm outer layer. We actually talked about driving to Bemidji on this last trip but didn’t manage to fit it in. I wonder how tall Paul Bunyan would look through my grownup eyes. Such fun.
Is there a plaid or a tartan that you love most? Or a plaid color combination that you’re crazy for? How do you do plaid your way? I love seeing men wearing plaid pants at the holidays. Will you buy them for your loved one? Let’s have a plaid party!