15 In Styling Tips

Buffalo plaid and a great styling tip in MN

Buffalo Plaid

Loving red and black buffalo plaid so much I may need to bring it into my home


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.


Buffalo plaid shirt

Can you see how her red buffalo plaid shirt has a low cowl-type neckline?


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.


Buffalo print shirt

Soft neckline on the buffalo plaid shirt


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.


Buffalo plaid shirt with banded collar

Now you can see the original neckline


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.


Bemidji, MN

The Paul Bunyan State Trail in Bemidji, MN


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.


Paul Bunyan statue

Paul Bunyan statue in Bemidji, MN


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.


Buffalo plaid products

Buffalo plaid everything in Fargo, ND


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.


Family time in Perham

The Reitens enjoy a moment of plaid zen at the Nest in Perham


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!



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  • Reply
    November 8, 2018 at 5:13 am

    I love plaid, too! In fact, I’m sewing little plaid flannel throws for my grandsons this year for Christmas! And one of them is the buffalo plaid! I have a scarf, a blouse, hmmm, what else? I think that’s it, I love how that gal styled her buffalo plaid shirt! That’s so cool! And I love your family picture! Have a blessed day!

  • Reply
    Cori Kelly
    November 8, 2018 at 5:32 am

    The next time you’re coming through MN, you may want to stay a few days and come on down to the Faribault Woolen Mill! We’re only about 45 minutes from the Cities and have a rich history! And lots of Buffalo Plaid – https://www.faribaultmill.com/search?q=*buffalo* You can also tour the mill where it’s made! We have a charming B&B in town (Historic Hutchinson House) and even a craft distillery. You’re always welcome here!

    • Reply
      November 8, 2018 at 10:54 am

      Faribault makes wonderful woolens! I’m partial to their stripes.

  • Reply
    November 8, 2018 at 5:38 am

    I do love Buffalo Plaid but I don’t have any of the red/black combo. My favorite shirt is a cobalt blue/turquoise plaid…two of “my” colors. Your black and white plaid coat is just wonderful

  • Reply
    November 8, 2018 at 5:42 am

    We call buffalo plaid “hipster plaid” after a trip to the Twin Cities last fall where the beard oil/buffalo plaid game was strong, lol. It’s beautiful, though! I’m a Black Watch tartan person. The black and green and blue together makes me so happy!

  • Reply
    jodie filogomo
    November 8, 2018 at 6:07 am

    I love how you just get up and get other people involved for your blog Brenda!!
    And what a great way to change up the neckline of a shirt like that…you learn something new everyday, don’t you??

  • Reply
    November 8, 2018 at 6:30 am

    Have you ever been to Paul Bunyan Land near Nissan MN ?

    It was the highlight of our large extended families vacation several years when we rented cabins nearby. Hearing Paul mention your name as you walked in was magical! Not to mention taking pictures with Paul and Babe the Blue Ox. Great memories.

  • Reply
    November 8, 2018 at 7:57 am

    I love plaids. Last year I bought 2 pairs of plaid pants-one black watch and the other a red tarten. My school uniform included a black watch pleated skirt and I’ve had a soft spot for plaids ever since. I bought the black/red buffalo check scarf last year on sale. I think I’ll get a shirt, it looks great with a black vest as you’ve shown.

  • Reply
    Barbara Kraus
    November 8, 2018 at 11:19 am

    I have a large soft purple and black plaid scarf I really like.

  • Reply
    November 8, 2018 at 11:29 am

    So funny to see your post today Brenda! My husband and I were discussing a trip I took with my parents when I was 12 (I’m now 67) We went from Saskatchewan to Ontario to see my older brother and came back through the northern States. We stiopped in Minnesota and have pictures of my mom and I in front of the Paul Bunyan statue. Brought back awesome memories. Thanks for that!

  • Reply
    November 8, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Was passionate about Black Watch tartan as a young teenager (Mum made my clothes,so we could choose what we wanted). When we (husband & I) were in Edinburgh,Scotland in 2010, I saw the memorial tartan designed for Princess Diana in a shop window. It had been made in two colour-ways, one pale blue and the other pale pink. I HAD to have one!! The pink was scrumptious, but as a brunette, I bought the blue, in CASHMERE!!! It was available in a lambswool, fine wool or cashmere. (Cashmere is not that commonly worn here in South Australia-it’s very expensive,and our climate is fairly mild.) I paid a fortune at the time (would be worse now!!) but love having some beautiful cashmere with a special story behind it (and it feels divine around my neck). The colours used in my scarf are (in various proportions) 4 shades of blue (one is a very pale violet), white, red, and black.The (small amount of) red sounds strange, but without it the tartan would be a bit bland. The maker’s site is Lochcarron of Scotland, where you can see some of the memorial items, and read the back story. The colours shown do not do it justice as it is better in real life- soft and subtle,with a little kick in the brightest shade of the blues.

  • Reply
    November 8, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    Red and black buffalo check socks make a perfect Christmas gift. I gave these last year. Something about this combination says winter, warmth and holidays without going OTT.

    I like your finds. Scarves are another Christmas gift idea that will not (!!) be returned. Well, not by me.

  • Reply
    Elaine @ Following Augustine
    November 8, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    I love the black and white plaid flannel shirt that I found in our local thrift store last year. In fact, I’m wearing it right now and, of course, I headed for the mirror and tried tucking in the collar. I think I have a new look!

  • Reply
    Karen Winfield
    November 8, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    My ancestors being Scottish I have a favourite ‘plaid’ and that is the dress Stewart tartan.

  • Reply
    Trinnie Q
    November 10, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    I love the photo with all of you with your Dad! Beautiful !!! I hope you are safe ,during the fires ! Sending love from Oz x

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