Grunge is having a rebirth for Fall 2018—although with a cleaner, cooler perspective—and no other style icon represents the genre better than a thick, soft flannel shirt. Even if you’re not into prying the old Nirvana CDs out of their brittle cases, as the days grow cooler, a standby flannel shirt can be as warm and welcoming as an old friend.
While the fabric itself has a storied history that can be traced to 16th century Wales and paired with Scotland’s tartan pattern tradition, the shirts really came into the mainstream after WWII when dear old Dad (or Grandad) would keep a few around for outdoor adventures. Now everybody from preppies to hipsters and rockers to lumbersexuals need to have one in his wardrobe (including your girlfriend…she will swipe your favorite, softest shirt, so keep an extra on hand just in case).
Perhaps the greatest thing about a good flannel shirt is that, while it’s great to wear alone and untucked with a pair of broken in jeans, it can also be layered, stacked over a colorful T-shirt, or even tucked in and paired with a tweed blazer, bomber, or puffy vest. It’s a great sweater alternative and an easy, lightweight piece to throw into a backpack or backseat.
Maybe the ultimate flannel shirt statement, L.L. Bean’s classic plaids offer that perfect mix of tradition and street cred for preppies and grunge fans alike. The exclusive fabric is woven at a Portuguese mill and is offered in a selection of Bean’s own and traditional tartan patterns.
Marine Layer builds softness into its mission statement and stays true to its principles with this plaid flannel popover. The combo of a classic plaid and a vintage shape make this shirt a modern winner.
Mountain Khakis is known for its sense of adventure, and the Lundy shirt does not disappoint. Its horizontal stripes offer a slightly Western take on the classic, reminiscent of Mexican surfer ponchos.
Eddie Bauer’s heritage of rugged outdoor living translates nicely into this solid flannel shirt that is a perfect solution for the minimalist in all of us. It pairs with dark jeans and tonal sneakers for the modern office, but throw it on over a Henley, hiking pants, and boots, and you’re ready for adventure.
Toad & Co adds a clean, utilitarian update to the classic flannel shirt by losing the buttons and adding a quarter-zip closure. A soft, warm layering piece, you can also feel extra warm and fuzzy on the inside because of its organic cotton fabric and the company’s commitment to employing and supporting people with disabilities.
Faherty brightens the palette for flannel this season, while adding a bit of stretch to make its Seaview shirts even more comfortable. A somewhat faded finish lends instant character. We like pairing them with dark, raw denim for contrast.
We like Raleigh Denim’s more colorful take on Buffalo Plaid, but the welt pocket detail keeps this Made in the USA beauty clean and simple. It’s a trim fit that will look great with a neat pair of black jeans.
For just 55 bucks you can own this limited edition shirt from DOT, one of only 105 made. It features an engineered collar to prevent rollover and a skinny, modern fit. The inky, dark eggplant shades are a perfect pairing with hayrides and apple cider.
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