Ihe expression “be on the line” has nothing to do with the shirt. Because, if it imposes itself in the dominant culture in the United States as utilitarian clothing for workers (from the lumberjack to the worker, all benefiting from the warmth of his flannel), the grandchildren of these workers have , reappropriated to get out of line.
In San Francisco, at the beginning of the 1970s, thanks to the liberation movements, Castro, the gay district, saw the emergence of a new style pushing the codes of masculinity to their climax. Plaid shirts, tight 501s, short hair and mustaches: In the wake of Tom of Finland’s illustrations of working-class men having a good time together, the “Castro Clone” embrace all the attributes of “macho man”, soon celebrated by the Village People – a disco boy band playing head-on with the American virile ideal.
In Los Angeles, style cholo, affiliated with Hispanic gangs, refers to a Chicana and Latina subculture. For both men and women, the trend is here atoversized : checkered shirt – fastened with the first button – worn over a white T-shirt, with loose chinos or shorts and high socks. A style that is spreading all over the world with the explosion of Californian gangsta rap drinking in these codes (notably the group NWA), to the point that a fascinating community is now concentrated cholo in Japan.
In Seattle, in the early 1990s, a music scene developed reflecting the frustrations and concerns of the younger generation. In this region where the forest industry is important and where the days can experience temperature differences of 20 degrees, the flannel checkered shirt (easily tied around the waist in case of heat stroke) is an ally of choice. On stage or behind the scenes, she accompanies members of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney or Soundgarden, from small to large venues. From a nonconformist movement, grunge became a fashion, supported by MTV and the success of Nirvana.
Two years before the death of Kurt Cobain, in view of the spring-summer 1993 season, the young Marc Jacobs chose to present a grunge collection for the American brand Perry Ellis. Breaking with the codes of the house, checked shirts, ripped jeans and long vests follow one another on the catwalk, worn by the supermodels of the time, including Kate Moss. A scandal, even a small revolution on the scale of women’s fashion: Jacobs is fired, but his career is launched. Thirty years later, for spring 2023, it was the same Kate Moss who returned in majesty to Milan in September for Matthieu Blazy’s second fashion show for Bottega Veneta. On the shoulders: a blue plaid shirt over a white T-shirt.