It's a staple for most of the guys I know. The plaid shirt. We gents don't get much say when it comes to the pattern options for our button downs. Polka dots, floral prints, gingham, checkered, can all be a bit elusive. If it weren't for the infinite possibilities of plaid we'd be in desperate shape, ready to die from fashion boredom.
My friend (and professional photographer) Aaron Brumbelow recently documented his collection of plaid paraphernalia for a grad school project. I hadn't planned on quoting him, but his answers to my questions were so great, I figured I'd just let him do the talking. Below is the result of his cataloging efforts: sixteen long and short sleeved plaid shirts in a range of blue and brown hues. I can appreciate the shirts hanging on the back of a desk chair. It's a familiar site, as my own shirts pile up the same way throughout the course of a busy week.
What gave you the desire to catalog your collection of shirts? To be honest, I am coming to the end of a quarter in graduate school and had to come up with a quick project for one of my classes. I wanted to do something completely different than what I am doing for my thesis. I am of the philosophy when it comes to making artwork to make it personal and work on what you are already interested in/collect. I collect and primarily wear plaid shirts. It's one of my staples along with my red beard and being a work-a-holic. So this exercise/project is about typologies - a Terry Richardson aesthetic - and clothing as objects. Plus I get asked by friends and colleagues all the time "How many plaid shirts DO you have?" and now I officially know.
Why do you like plaid so much? I love plaid. It's really the only thing I wear. Essentially about 2 years ago I decided I was going to make my wardrobe as simple as possible. I wanted to be able to grab any shirt out of my closet and pair it with any pant and be comfortable. Instead of choosing all black, I went all plaid. Plaid to me is quirky and fun. There are many patterns, weights, fabric, and color choices. I feel I can wear plaid in the darkroom and out to cocktails; it will be appropriate most places.
Do they hang in your closet in order by color? No, not in any particular order. I like that in the dark of the morning I can just reach in, grab whatever, and it will work for the day.
Do you only like certain kinds of plaids? I enjoy all paid. I like all the different colors and weights. I do tend to avoid orange and red, being a red head and all.
Which is your favorite? It would have to be the bold plaid with blue, yellow, and green, with thin red strips.
And finally, how do you feel when you where these shirts vs. your other button downs? Well I only have one other button down shirt that isn't plaid, and I never wear it (laughs). To me, style is about feeling good in clothes that show off your best assets, fit well, and express your personality. My plaid shirts do that for me.
Aaron, I couldn't agree more!
Thanks, Aaron. You're the man. No... you. You're the man. Ok, man. We're the man.