What is Buffalo Plaid?

Anyone can wear buffalo plaid clothing for any occasion, so you’ll likely see it almost anywhere. Because of the warmth it brings during the cold weather, people usually wear it during colder seasons.

Buffalo plaid patterned clothing has become one of the most popular attires, especially during the festive season. It’s almost like the black-and-red-checkered pattern can be seen everywhere.

It can be used to make anything from matching couples’ pajamas to cute outfits for your dog. You can also use burlap and buffalo plaid wreaths to wrap presents and beautify your home.

What’s The Meaning of Buffalo Plaid?

red and black Buffalo Plaid

Buffalo Plaid, also known as Buffalo Check, is a fabric pattern characterized by a crisscrossing of horizontal and vertical stripes that results in a huge square check pattern. It is a common interior design option for window treatments and furniture upholstery.

Buffalo check and plaid textiles come in various color schemes and textures. The pattern can be printed on a base fabric that is often white or off-white, or it can be made by weaving using many colors of yarn. Either way, the outcome is a soft and vibrant patterned fabric for window treatments and furniture upholstery.

Buffalo plaid was originally worn for its utilitarian value rather than its aesthetic appeal even before it gained popularity.

These days, the buffalo plaid patterned clothing has been considered haute couture, as seen on Dior’s fall/winter 2019 runways. Even Marc Jacobs, too, had revived his iconic 1993 Grunge Collection for Perry Ellis, which includes many buffalo plaid pieces.

plaid pants

The buffalo plaid pattern is deeply ingrained in American popular culture. The fact that the pattern may be adapted to suit either gender is a major factor in its widespread popularity in the fashion industry. And because it can be scaled up or down without changing the overall look of the pattern, Buffalo plaid is a versatile choice for retailers and decorators.

Origins of Buffalo Plaids

No matter the situation or period, a buffalo plaid fabric never goes out of style. The checkered fabric was known to have been very popular in the 1800s in Scotland. It was later brought to America in the form of warm blankets and was heavily popularised by the fabric company; Woolrich because of its traditional red and black color.

Many people often assert that the MacGregor Red and Black, red color represented “a sorcerer’s hex, a dye distilled from the spirit blood and ghostly souls of McCluskey’s prey and enemies ‘. 

They also believed that the Buffalo’ plaid’ got its name because the Native Americans could not pronounce the Scottish Gaelic word for a blanket (pladger), so they called the blankets plaids.

Why is Buffalo Plaid So Popular?

Buffalo plaid is a pattern that never seemed to lose its popularity. Its influence on fashion and interior design may be traced back to the 1920s and has persisted through the present day.

The print’s simplicity (uses just two colors and squares of uniform size) and its incorporation into popular American culture as an outdoorsman’s print, thanks to television and cinema, contribute to its enduring popularity.

Its rapid rise in popularity began in the 1950s and continued through the 1980s and today. It was originally depicted in a predominantly red and black pattern. However, nowadays, the term “Buffalo Plaid” is now commonly used to refer to any huge plaid that features a crisscross pattern of white and black. 

That’s why it has remained trendy.

What’s the Difference Between Buffalo Plaid and Other Plaid Types

Buffalo Plaid exists as a pattern that is quite different from other types of plaid patterns. Some of these patterns include; 

Buffalo Plaid Vs. Gingham Plaid

Buffalo Plaid Vs. Gingham Plaid

Both of these are types of Plaid, and the main difference between them is the size of the pattern. The Buffalo plaid has a much larger pattern size in red and black design, while the gingham print has a smaller check pattern in red, white, and blueprints woven with white. However, both prints have all their checkers square and the same width.

Gingham plaid is usually seen in table napkins and tablecloths for picnics and outdoor gatherings. They also are popular in clothing design trends for dresses. The plaid type has big, thick lines forming tiny, transparent squares.

Buffalo plaid can usually be seen on outdoor flannel clothing. They are somewhat popular in upholstery, but the red color is replaced with something more neutral, like black and beige.

Historically, plaids were used in Scotland to represent different clans. The Buffalo plaid is said to have originated from the Rob Roy clan. And there are still debates on the true origin of the Gingham plaid, whether from the Western or Asian culture. But the word comes from the Malay word genggang, which means striped. Some believe it was invented in Manchester, England, in the middle of the 18th century.

While Buffalo plaid and Gingham have equal widths in both directions, other types of plaids have designs in different lengths, colors, and sizes.

Buffalo vs. Tartan Plaids

Buffalo vs. Tartan Plaids

Tartans are among the world’s most well-known and identifiable plaids. The Royal Stewart and Black Watch are among the most well-known tartans. 

They are typically made in Scotland using woolen fabric. Tartans are known as the traditional Scotland plaid, and multicolored tartans have distinctive names that designate a community or clan. 

Tartan and Plaid both feature woven designs with two or more colors crossing over each other. The main difference between plaid and tartan designs lies in their association. Plaid refers to any woven design with crisscrossing horizontal and vertical lines, while tartan refers to a unique pattern associated with a specific clan or organization.

In this case; the term “plaid” describes a red and black color crisscrossing design, and “tartan” refers to a unique plaid pattern that belongs to a Scottish family. Clan tartans originated in Scotland in the fifth century and remain important today.

Buffalo Plaid vs. Flannel 

Buffalo Plaid vs. Flannel 

Flannel and buffalo plaid are not the same. While both of them usually go together, flannel is a fabric, while Plaid is a pattern. Flannel comes in different patterns or solid colors, while buffalo plaid comes in different colors and fabrics. Although flannel can be made in numerous patterns, Plaid is the most used pattern on flannel fabric.

Flannel is a warm fabric mostly made of wool and cotton. Its comfort and warmth make it the best option for making blankets and sheets, especially during winter.

Buffalo Plaids vs. Checks 

Buffalo Plaids vs. Checks 

Buffalo plaids and checks are designs made through weaving.

Both are made up of long, intersecting bands, lines, or stripes that run horizontally and vertically. These bands, lines, or stripes can be made of several colors, probably just two or three.

Plaid or even check is a mixture of intersecting lines, but both are naturally distinct from each other.

The chess board is the best analogy for a check pattern since it has only two primary colors, is geometrically symmetrical, and is made up of lines and stripes that meet to form squares with precise geometrical dimensions rather than just random lines (which is the case in plaid fabric).

A plaid pattern differs from the chessboard pattern in that it comprises stripes of various colors crossing one another; these stripes could have varied geometric patterns and are not required to be squares in every respect.

How Much Does Buffalo Plaid Fabrics Cost?

It typically costs around $8 to $15 for a flannel buffalo plaid fabric type and over $25 per yard for an Ambesome plaid fabric for loggers. 

Cotton buffalo plaid fabric costs around $13 per yard, while its fleece counterpart sells for around $14.

Some Buffalo Plaid Applications

Buffalo Plaid can be incorporated in various ways, both as a decorative element and as handicraft material. That being said, the Buffalo Plaid pattern isn’t just for clothing and blankets; it’s also used in various other decorative contexts, such as table settings, throw pillows, paper crafts, upholstery, quilts, and even kitchenware.

Paper and fabric collections also feature Buffalo Plaid designs. Some of the embellishing applications are table runners, ribbons, kitchen towels, and DIY projects.

Some Care Tips for Buffalo Plaid Fabrics 

You can observe these care and maintenance tips to ensure your buffalo plaid fabric remains in top shape.  

  • Washing instructions for buffalo plaid fabrics call for a regular warm or hot wash cycle and a detergent designed for cotton and wool textiles. 
  • Before rinsing your fabric in cold water, you should first ensure that any solids have been removed.
  • Also, it is recommended that you rinse with cold or warm water one more time to remove any leftover detergent. You can do this step.
  • You can either hang the item up to dry or use the dryer on the delicate/low heat setting for your buffalo plaid fabrics. 
  • Like other fabrics, buffalo plaid patterned clothing should be stored in dry areas at room temperature to prevent molds from growing on them. 

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