Thursday, December 20, 2007

What better time for wool, plaid and warmth? And nothing personifies the three more than the red-and-black buffalo plaid first pioneered by Woolrich in the late 1800s.

The simple tartan was manufactured into hats, hunting coats, flannel shirts and pants. And when such pieces were worn together (as they often were), the look launched a new term in the American lexicon: the Pennsylvania tuxedo.

Last year, Daiki Suzuki, the New York-based designer of Engineered Garments, was brought in to revolutionize and modernize the Woolrich brand, creating a unique European line that has crossed the pond just in time.

This winter, the American outdoor staple is in the sights of trend-hunters everywhere. The block print is cut on the bias for James Kendi's unique "dagger" tie and Woolrich's own shadow plaid belt.

Phillip Lim trimmed a round wool bag with leather and metal, while a trapper hat by Ralph Lauren's Rugby is trimmed in shearlinglike fleece. J. Crew went mad for buffalo plaid -- its holiday collection is chockablock with shirts and scarves for him, and even a matching taffeta dress and silk clutch for her.

It's never too late, apparently, to teach an old rag new tricks.

-- Cory Ohlendorf

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