October 4, 2022

Taylor Stitch

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.

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

Thickness

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.

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Stitch Quality

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.

The Best Flannel Shirts for Men

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Best Overall Flannel Shirt

Taylor Stitch The Yosemite Shirt

Best Upgrade Flannel Shirt

Filson Alaskan Guide Shirt

Best Affordable Flannel Shirt

RedHead Ultimate Flannel Long-Sleeve Shirt

Best Overall Flannel Shirt Jacket

Outerknown Blanket Shirt

Best Solid Flannel Shirt

Everlane The Brushed Flannel Shirt

Best Japan-Made Flannel Shirt

Warehouse & Co. Lot.3104 One Wash Flannel Shirt

Best Heavyweight Flannel Shirt

Iron Heart Ultra Heavy Flannel Check Western Shirt

Woolrich Flannel Check Cruiser Shirt

L.L. Bean Casual Button-Down Flannel Shirt

Wax London Whiting Overshirt

Ralph Lauren Classic Fit Plaid Flannel Workshirt

Wythe New York Flannel Work Shirt

L.L.Bean x Todd Snyder Organic Stretch Flannel Shirt

Portugese Flannel Mill Shirt

Pladra Elli Everyday Flannel Shirt

More Versatile Top Layers for Men

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