In a year as unsettling as this one, it’s nice to have things you can rely on. And the best flannel shirts for men—like the law of gravity or the Knicks’ perpetual irrelevance—are as steadfast and dependable as can be. For going on two centuries now, weighty flannel shirts have been adopted and reinterpreted by just about every demographic and subculture imaginable: frontier loggers, WWII sailors, greasers, surfers, punks, skaters, west coast rappers, grunge kids, rock climbers, contractors, mustachioed Williamsburg hipsters, hypebeasts, yoga moms, tech bros, present-day NBA tunnel style kings. That universality is a testament to the fabric itself: resilient enough to take a beating on a jobsite, comfortable enough to swaddle up in on weekends, respectable enough to wear on a date or out to brunch with your folks or on a Zoom call with your boss.
The very best flannel shirts are endlessly adaptable—you can wear ‘em on their own or over stuff like a jacket, with jeans or sweats or dress pants or cargoes or gym shorts—and they’ll never not look entirely on point. They’re comforting and time-tested, and you’re going to need as many of them as you can muster to make it through the winter in style. Here are the 21 best flannel shirts for men to buy right now, in heavy plaids and thick stripes and foliage-inspired tones that’ll fit in seamlessly no matter your taste or wardrobe.
The Skater Flannel
Skateboarders have been riding in flannel work shirts—and looking cooler than cool in ’em—for decades now, so it makes sense that a skate legend like Jason Dill would deliver the most bang-on perfect flannel we’ve seen in some time. The shirt, from Dill’s label Fucking Awesome, is indeed fucking awesome. It’s cut boxy and relaxed from beefy, beautiful, 3D-textured fabric, with contrasting tones on the body and arms for an extra level of pop. Even if you’re too clumsy to ever step foot on a board, you’ll emit some serious attitude anytime you pull this on.
The Heritage Flannel
When it comes to flannel shirts, it doesn’t get more iconic than Woolrich, which has been doing its buffalo-check thing for over 150 years now. Still, we wouldn’t count this shirt as a favorite if it didn’t hold up to 2020 standards. It fits well, feels great, and comes in all the old-school color combos we love. Plus, you can’t beat that price for a shirt that’ll last you literally forever.
The Workwear Flannel
Hardy flannel shirts are a workwear staple, and Carhartt remains the first name in workwear. The Michigan stalwart’s WIP sub-label takes all the authentic goodness that’s kept them in business for 130 years and translates it for a younger, more streetwise audience. The heavyweight wool-blend and bar-tacked pockets are built to withstand life on a jobsite, but the slightly trimmer silhouette makes it easier to incorporate into your everyday rotation.
The Budget Flannel
Still not convinced a flannel shirt is exactly your vibe? Take this $20 banger for a test drive. In addition to its classically handsome exterior and entry-level pricetag, it’s also every bit as soft and warm as that Snuggie you definitely don’t wear on the couch all weekend. Even if you don’t wind up introducing it to your actual wardrobe (you will), it’ll be a fine addition to your increasingly important at-home cozy rotation.
The Right-Now Flannel
Over the last few years, there’s been no bigger trend in menswear than the camp collar—the louche, breezy neckline first popularized on vacation shirts back in the ’50s. These days, though, you don’t have to wait for a blazing summer day to dust off your best silky Hawaiian joint and get your camp collar fix. Shrewd shirtmakers have been attaching them to all manner of fall-appropriate garb of late, like this fetching flannel shirt from Corridor. Between the wide-open collar and waffled texture, this is about as far from Brawny Man energy as a plaid flannel can get.
The Refined Flannel
Outside of your typical lumberjack plaid, the most common variety of flannel shirt might be the CPO—a traditional US Navy overshirt designed to keep officers toasty while performing cold-weather duties out at sea. In the hands of Atlanta suiting god Sid Mashburn, however, the CPO becomes something else entirely. The fit is slim and tailored, the typical navy blue is now a rich forest green, and the collar is done in Mashburn’s preferred spread style. It still boasts all the function of the original specimen, but is also now privy to a whole new world of possibilities: it’ll look as good buttoned over a turtleneck and tucked in with a suit at a holiday party as it will paired with a striped tee and chinos on the weekend.