How Brad Pitt Made Men Mad for Plaid

From WSJ By Jacob Gallagher

Last fall, the paparazzi snapped the actor in a cashmere flannel with mega-checks that cost around $2,000—and the shirt went viral. Equally arresting but less paralyzingly priced: these five cotton options.

IT WAS THE flannel that shot across the internet. In mid-November, actor, producer and perennial hair icon Brad Pitt was handing out groceries in Los Angeles as a charitable gesture in the lead-up to Thanksgiving. The paparazzi on hand captured Mr. Pitt’s charmingly casual outfit: a pair of white slip-on sneakers, distressed (but likely pricy) blue jeans and a flannel shirt with an unusually intense red, black and white check pattern. That beguiling flannel stole the show and fans raced to identify it. Though they floated many theories online, few picked the right brand: A representative for Mr. Pitt confirmed that the shirt is by God’s True Cashmere, a minuscule shirt company run by holistic healer and jewelry designer Sat Hari Khalsa, whose cashmere flannels can be had for around $2,000.

Even in the grainy, zoomed-in photographs that colonized the internet, it was possible to decipher what made Mr. Pitt’s shirt special, apart from its breathtaking price. The flannel itself was far hardier than the wafery material you usually find at shops like the Gap or Uniqlo. And its tri-colored checks were atypically large and graphic, shot through with fine, dotted lines. 

The pattern’s blown-out scale is what takes this flannel from a simple shirt to a sensation. Dan Snyder, the owner of Corridor, a Brooklyn-based clothing label, described the print as a “macro” plaid: It’s as if a plaid pattern were viewed under a microscope and then a shirtmaker transferred that zoomed-in perspective onto a button-up. Mr. Snyder noted that few textile manufacturers actually make such overscaled patterns today. That’s why eagle-eyed commenters online were convinced that Mr. Pitt’s flannel had to be vintage, with some specifically pointing to brands like Big Mac, a workwear label started by JC Penney in 1922.

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