You can't spell flannel without fall and now is prime time for the classic shirt to come out of the woodwork and into the crisp air. Like beanies and duck boots, it's a style staple of the season, but it also works well at the end of summer, too, a la Brad Pitt. You'd do well to have a few tasty tartans in your closet. But not all plaid shirts are flannel shirts.
Best Overall Flannel ShirtTaylor Stitch The Yosemite Shirt Read More
Best Upgrade Flannel ShirtFilson Alaskan Guide Shirt Read More
Best Affordable Flannel ShirtRedHead Ultimate Flannel Long-Sleeve Shirt Read More
Best Overall Flannel Shirt JacketOuterknown Blanket Shirt Read More
Best Solid Flannel ShirtEverlane The Brushed Flannel Shirt Read More
What Is Flannel?
The term has been used interchangeably to refer to plaid at large, though flannel is a specific type of fabric independent of the pattern overlayed on top of it. It's believed that flannel stems from Welsh origins (as far back as 400 years ago) and was originally a type of woven fabric made from carded or worsted wool, which is essentially wool that's been prepped for weaving.
Today, flannel is most familiar as a brushed fabric rendered in cotton, but it can be made with wool as well as man-made materials, like polyester and acrylic. The brushed quality is what gives flannel fabric its softness and warmth, making it a common fabric for chillier months. It's seen in blankets, pajamas and especially shirts, often in some type of plaid, though it can be made in solid colors.
You can learn more about the history of flannel here.
What to Look for
Good flannel shirts are thicker than the usual oxford or broadcloth button-up and get better with age. They're hefty enough to pair with a thermal shirt but soft enough to wear on their own. They're also more versatile than a typical button-up and can do double duty as an overshirt or a shirt-shirt.
Cheap flannel is easy to rip. As such, invest in a shirt that's both made from better fabric and put together in a more polished way, meaning the stitches will stay together, not fray or fall apart. $100 or more is a fair price to pay for a shirt that'll last — and you'll want it to.