There isn’t a lot of love for flannel shirts, and I don’t know why. Here in the south, the flannel shirt is a great layer when it gets cold. Now, cold in the south means under 50 degrees. I’m not talking about tundra that is above the Mason-Dixon. Months and months of below freezing temperatures is a debilitating thought.
Flannel that is worth talking about is made from cotton, wool, or a combination of the two (80% cotton 20% wool shirts are incredible. Own some). The key to flannel is that the fabric is brushed, either on one side or on both. “Flannel” is often mistaken when referring to the plaids. The plaid design is referred to as a tartan, and the fabric is flannel.
It’s hard to imagine the damage that the old Abercrombie afghans-with-buttons shirts did to the iconic flannel shirt. While they were bulletproof, they had zero style. While flannel shirts have been around for a hundred years, they are making a resurgence from some serious brands. The best part – they are focusing on an updated fit. So a soft, natural fabric that fits well? Let’s get on that bandwagon.
Ledbury does a great job with their shirts, offering them in regular fit and slim fit. A nice touch with Ledbury shirts are the point collars and the good buttons. Check out the Haynes, the Hartley, and the Graham.
RRL is on the left, which has a bit of a camp feel with the two pockets. Still, the bold plaid and the updated fit give it a great look. Uniqlo is hard to beat – if only for the price point. The blue and green example screams fall. LL Bean Signature is based in the great white north, so clearly they know what they are doing with flannel.
Sid Mashburn is dipping his toe into flannel shirt options for the sartorially inclined. These shirts are extremely soft, and aren’t that thick. Perfect for Atlanta weather…go figure. The plaids are masculine and the point collar dresses them up. They have the same fit as his other dress shirts – narrow shoulders, high armholes, and a slim fit.
The Jack Spade version of the buffalo check is a welcome option for us who love the classic look but in an updated fit. We’ve all owned a couple Land’s End flannels in our lives, and while they may tip towards the ‘casual’ end of the flannel spectrum, they have the widest selection of tartan plaids. How great does this one look? The final example, Gant Rugger rarely misses. This blue and cream is yet another example.
Use an updated flannel shirt just like a dress shirt or a gingham. Just don’t wear them with a tie. While they have an updated fit, they are still a little bulky, so matching a tie will look a little contrived. Don’t be afraid to wear these with a good pair of trousers and loafers. Put a solid sport coat over it for a very finished look. If you are going to wear it with jeans and boots, choose wisely – wear jeans that fit as well as the shirt. Wear boots that don’t look like you just changed the oil in your car. Of course, cowboy boots work very well with the updated flannel shirts.
These are cotton, so you can wash and iron them. Hang to dry… If you take them to the dry cleaners it’s OK, just don’t add any starch. Remember – the softer the better. This way, she’ll “borrow” it from you tomorrow morning.