My Grandma and my Step-Grandpa Ralph, an American who was in the Navy during WWII and loved our cottage for the endless opportunities to build things, bought a pair of red, plaid Mark’s Work Warehouse-style jackets in Kensington Market the first year we went up to Lake Simcoe. They have since become staples of our cottage wardrobes, recognizable in a myriad of summertime photographs scotch-taped on the cabin walls. Worried that we might misplace or ruin the originals, and wanting to keep the flannel tradition alive, I bought a blue plaid jacket at Value Village to add to the collection. My brother Tom promptly stole it, taking it back to university and, as I ruefully described it shaking my fist, turned it “into fashion.”
Then a funny thing happened: Tom spotted similar jackets all over campus. Plaid flannel jackets, so gawky, so nerdy, so clichéd Canadian, were not supposed to be a trend! No longer separating him from the crowd, he folded the jacket up and brought it back up to the lake.
The circle completed, as practicality begat anti-fashion begat fashion begat practicality, the plaid flannel jackets are once again worn for their comfort and warmth when trudging down to the beach in the early morning, curled up admiring the sunset and laying on the dock, listening to the black waves and watching the stars.
- Max Mosher