By Griffin Johnson
In a climate as trying as the one endured by the good people of Upstate New York, it seems only fair to some that they reserve the right to complain every once in a while. But there are still those stoic individuals that have decided to turn the other cheek to the cold and make the most out of what they are dealt.
“For six months of the year, people walk around here and all they talk about is weather. ‘Oh my gosh, it’s cold. Oh my gosh, I almost slipped on the way in. Oh my gosh, it’s gonna snow again. Oh my gosh there’s a storm coming, right?” says James DaRin, the Jamesville-DeWitt High School CAP adviser. “So instead of all that energy of negativity, and ‘when is spring coming?’ and all that kind-of stuff, I think, well let’s make it interesting.”
And for DaRin, making winter interesting came in the form of Flannel Fridays. “It just started because when you live in a place that is so cold, you start to embrace the little things like the comfort of a warm flannel shirt on Friday,” says DaRin. Now from December to the first day of spring in March, he, and others, have taken it upon himself to celebrate the flannel fabric every Friday.
Fellow flannel advocate and supporter of Flannel Friday is Student Counselor Will Hartley, who recognizes what an asset a flannel can be to the casual Friday wardrobe. “Friday has always been a day where, as faculty, we can wear jeans. It’s sort of a casual day, and what’s more comfortable than a flannel, let’s be honest,” says Hartley. “It’s a comfortable fabric, pleasing to the touch, and aesthetically pleasing. So why not?” he added. DaRin even went as far as to say, “I like to think a nice flannel can be downright majestic.”
But it isn’t all about the comfort of flannel to combat the cold for DaRin. It’s also about regional pride. “Certainly this is a cold climate thing for sure,” he says; “You’re not gonna have Flannel Friday in Florida, you’re not gonna have Flannel Friday in Hotlanta, you’re not gonna have Flannel Friday in Texas, right? I mean they may wear them there. Whatever. This is a necessity here.”
There was a time when it was difficult to be a flannel enthusiast at J-DHS, or anywhere around here for that matter, according to Hartley. “I can remember even as recent as just a few years ago, when the flannel was not a popular item,” says Hartley. “And I remember a couple years ago, there were times when I would have a beard in the winter and be wearing a flannel, and people would make Brawny paper towel jokes. They hurt a little bit. I’m not gonna lie there was some pain.” But, now Hartley is proud to see a beloved article of clothing being worn by more and more people.
When it comes to “flanneling,” a term recently coined by the two standout enthusiasts, Hartley and DaRin, there is a variety of ways to fly the flannel flag. “They go well with a nice fleece vest. They go well with a cardigan, or a crewneck sweater, or a v-neck sweater,” says DaRin. Apparently, there’s not much you can do wrong in terms of fashion when it comes to flannel. There are options for even the most humble of flannel wearers. “You don’t have to come in with the biggest, brightest flannel and nothing else. You can match it with something,” adds DaRin.
“As future goals,” says DaRin; “I’d like to see people wearing some sport coats over the flannel. Maybe corduroy, maybe a wool sport coat with elbow patches.” The possibilities are endless for DaRin and the already growing number of fellow flannelers.
DaRin has high hopes for this new flannel tradition, not just for the halls of J-DHS, but beyond. “They talk about red states and blue states. I’d like to see New York as a flannel state.”