Building the Millennial Closet: The Flannel Shirt




In walks a guy wearing this great flannel shirt. Classic, timeless, not too understated and soft. A woman from across the bar locks eyes with him, and then his shirt. “I just want to snuggle him”, she tells her friend . . . “hot chocolate, Charlie Brown ‘Netflix and chill’ kind of snuggle . . . God, I love a man in flannel.”

End Scene.

If this this is how you imagine your next rendezvous. And this is how you want her to remember her first -- and hopefully, not last -- encounter with you, then get thee a flannel shirt sir, in-fact, get a few! Right away, I know what you’re thinking "There are too many to choose from, so many plaid variations, so many color combinations! How do I even begin to pick one?! ."

Well, not to worry, we are here to help.

Let’s start with some basics– style and color. Solid-colored flannel shirts exist, but plaids are just more fun, however there are exceptions. We love Christmas plaids, but seasonal versatility is ideal. If you can, choose flannels that easily transition from fall to winter (Think green, brown, plum, red, navy or burnt orange). Typically, any combination of green, red, and blue gives off that nativity feel. In the right setting, this might be just what you need (we actually encourage owning one good holiday flannel), but trust us on this one, you’ll get more wear out of your shirt and value for your wallet with a more season neutral piece. The key is finding a timeless plaid pattern that you can enjoy for years to come, like this green and navy one.

Next, a quick education on patterns. The most popular types of plaid are: Tartan - classic and traditional

Tattersall - versatile and easily blends between seasons

Windowpane Check - a bold choice for the nonconformist

Madras - jaunty, cheery, bright and scarcely available in flannel

Gingham - casual and outgoing (and one our favorites)

Glen Plaid - for those who take themselves too seriously . . . seriously.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to patterns (except for maybe Glen Plaid), as long as you like the look and feel. Remember, what you wear says a lot about you, so choose wisely. Moderation is crucial to your flannel game. Four or five well chosen pieces is sufficient. Anymore than that might be overkill.

Now, let’s talk weight and fabric. During early fall, a light to midweight flannel shirt should do the trick. You can still layer them with a fall jacket, sweater or hoodie, and not overheat. As winter settles in, post-Thanksgiving, you’ll probably want a couple of heavyweight pieces to layer under a coat. In terms of fabric, most flannel shirts tend to be made with cotton, which makes weight an important consideration.

Last, but never least, is fit. Fit always matters, but flannel allows you to be more cavalier with your choices. More formal occasions, like a dinner date, demand a closer fit. And seriously, don't be that guy who thinks lumberjack attire works for a dinner party. Wearing a sweater over your shirt? Individual layers should be tailored and lightweight.

But if you're kicking back with friends or chopping some wood, oversized and untucked totally works. We applaud your brawny woodsman skills.

In general whatever flannel you choose, wear it in good health . . .