As soon as the temperature drops, there are certain pieces that start to make their way from deep in your closet to your daily rotation: heavier jackets, fleece, pants and flannel shirts. A workwear staple, the flannel shirt’s popularity has waxed and waned ever so slightly over the years, but, like a good pair of jeans, even when it’s not “trending,” it’s a piece that ought to be in every closet.

There’s a bit of a misconception that flannel shirts always feature a tartan or other check, but that’s not technically true. Flannel emerged in 17th century Wales, and strictly speaking, the material’s defining characteristic is its texture rather than its appearance. Flannel is used to refer to thick, brushed wool or cotton that has an extremely soft texture—if you were to look at a piece of flannel held flat at eye-level, you’d likely notice that it’s not smooth, with small, soft fibres sticking out.

What Is Flannel?

Before we break down a few of our favorite iterations, we should actually identify what flannel actually is. Often connected to plaid, a material does not need to be printed in order to be a flannel. Technically speaking, flannel is typically made from a thicker-than-average woven wool or soft cotton. Flannel is often brushed to create the fabric’s signature soft-to-the-touch texture.
Flannel History
Flannel shirts can trace their roots back to Scotland and Wales, where the finer, thicker wool was carded (brushed and detangled) before weaving. This process resulted in a durable cotton or wool flannel, which became a favorite among the working classes; by the time of the Industrial Revolution, the United States was producing its own flannel, which was disseminated among blue collar workers—especially those working on the Intercontinental Railroad. By the early 20th century, flannel shirts—and other garments made from the material—became a mainstay in North American workwear, worn by loggers, construction workers, ranchers and pretty much anybody who wanted to be comfortable when working outdoors. In the 1980s and 1990s, flannels became a signature of the burgeoning grunge music scene, epitomized by bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

The Best Flannel Shirts to Buy For Men

  1. L.L. Bean Chamois Shirt
  2. Pendleton Board Shirt
  3. Woolrich Buffalo Check Over Shirt
  4. Needles 7 Cut Flannel
  5. Off-White Flannel Shirt
  6. Fear of God Flannel Shirt Jacket
  7. RRL Overshirt
  8. Greg Lauren Studio Shirt
  9. Visvim Elk Flannel
  10. Saint Laurent Flannel Shirt
  11. Engineered Garments Flannel Work Shirt
  12. Beams Plus Flannel Shirt
  13. 3Sixteen Crosscut Flannel Shirt

What we’re getting at is: literally everybody loves flannel shirts. We’re no different and these are some of our favorites.

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