If fall had a uniform, it would be flannel. Why? Let us count the ways. It’s timelessly, effortlessly cool. It’s soft, and only gets better with age. It’s warm, and works just as well under layers as it does over them. Want to climb a tree, ride a horse, mend a fence, drink a beer or chill by the campfire? Flannel can hang. And don’t even get us started on the multitude of styles, patterns, and ways to wear it (more on that below). What we’re saying is, flannel is endlessly versatile, and endlessly awesome.
It may seem like flannel was born in the 90s, right along with grunge music and lugged boots. But it actually goes all the way back to 17th century Wales, when textile workers used leftover sheep’s wool to create a fabric that was warm and comfortable without being itchy. Word of the wonders of flannel spread, and by the Industrial Revolution, it was the fabric of choice for Europe’s working class. The U.S. was slow to catch on, but we got there eventually—in WWI, flannel was employed as a warm midlayer in soldiers’ uniforms, and the rest is history.
Our love affair with flannel has endured, and these days, it comes in any number of colors and textures made from wool, cotton or synthetic fibers. But as great as all flannel is, we’ve got to say, ours may be a cut above the rest: Made from a super-sustainable combo of recycled polyester and recycled cotton, ours has all the epic flannel qualities we mentioned above, but with a fraction of the eco-footprint. Pretty cool, huh?
Now that you know where flannel comes from and what makes it so amazing, let’s talk about how to wear it. Spoiler: There’s no wrong way. Still, we’ve got some ideas to get you started.
Size it up
One of the coolest things about flannel is it doesn’t have to be exactly your size—in fact, it’s even better if it’s not. An oversized flannel can be tucked into jeans or worn open over your favorite tee. If it’s big enough, you can even wear it as a dress with tights and boots. The point is, there’s no such thing as a too-big flannel.
Outfit rec: The Airsmyth Long Sleeve Shirt may be in our men’s section, but ladies, don’t let labels stop you from stealing—sorry, we mean borrowing—this one for your own outfit needs. We recommend a simple French tuck with our Earthworks Ankle Pant. Pairs especially well with a frosty bevvy in hand.
Layers for days
There isn’t a lot of clothing that works as well under layers as it does over them. But that’s flannel, baby. Goin’ to dinner with the fam? Button it up and wear it under a nice sweater. Need some warmth when the sun goes down? Have a flannel on hand to throw over whatever you’re wearing, be it tank or henley. Not quite ready to wear it? Tie it around your waist for a totally ‘90s throwback that will earn nods of respect at the dive bar.
Outfit rec: Layers don’t have to be complicated. Try out our Ranchero Long Sleeve Shirt in Straw over the Tempo Short Sleeve Crew in Navy. Feelin’ fancy (and/or chilly)? Throw on the Men's Wilde Crew Sweater in Brown Sugar. Lookin’ good, cowboy.
Play with textures
You know that friend in high school who was friends with everyone? Who could toss a ball with the jocks, gossip with the theater kids and crack physics jokes with the nerds? Flannel is that friend. It mixes and matches with vintage leather, denim of all shades, chunky knits and worn-in t-shirts. You can even wear it with other prints like stripes, florals or other flannels. Basically, flannel is a neutral.
Outfit rec: Try out the Folk Yeah Shirt Jacket in Lupine over the Rosalinda Dress in Big Sky Vine Print. Pair with your most-loved sneaks or, for added pizzazz, knee-high boots. Warning: There will be compliments.
Flannel is great for outdoor pursuits, but let’s not forget that it works just as well when it’s time to get cozy. And as good as flannel shirts are, why should our arms get to have all the fun? Enter flannel pants, the height of loungewear perfection. Whether you’re sleeping in or flipping pancakes for the whole ski squad, flannel pants are the comfy-time companion you need when the weather gets nippy.