Warm, comfortable, and just a little bit punk, the flannel shirt has been seen as a staple and an acquired taste. Originally worn by Welsh farmers in the 17th century, it became fashionable in the 1980s and ’90s, when a washed-out version of the shirt became the uniform of misunderstood teens everywhere (think John Bender in The Breakfast Club). Down the line, it may have become lost amongst the flashy denim trends and the sexy silhouettes of the early 2000s, but now, flannel shirt is indubitably getting a modern re-write.
Spotted on the likes of Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber, the flannel shirt may just be the solution to trans-seasonal dressing woes. It dresses down any look and adds comfort and warmth, with the trick to nailing the flannel shirt trend being in the sizing. Wear it slightly oversized, taking on more of a shirt jacket hybrid that you can layer over a T-shirt and jeans. (This is the preferred formula of Olympia Gayot, J.Crew’s Head of Women’s and Kids’ Design.)
Ahead, see all of the flannel shirts and jackets in Byrdie’s edit of must-haves.
Eddie Bauer Fremont Flannel Frayed Hem Shirt
The flannel in this distressed-style shirt is made from a blend of cotton and Tencel that is “both soft and drapey,” Fujikawa says. It offers a generous fit for a relaxed appearance and won’t break the bank with an under-$100 price tag. Best of all, it has a wide range of sizes (it comes in petite, tall, and plus sizes), so it can work on virtually everyone.
Material: 54% cotton, 46% Tencel lyocell | Size Range: XS-3X (regular, tall, and petite)
Price at time of publish: $75
Uniqlo Flannel Checked Long-Sleeve Shirt
Price-wise, flannel shirts can run the gamut; however, some brands will give you the most bang for your buck. Take Uniqlo as an example: Its flannel shirt is cotton and easy to wash. It’s also less than $40, so you can buy it guilt-free, perhaps in all of the colors it’s offered in.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XXS-XXL
Price at time of publish: $40
Totême Checked Flannel Shirt
This versatile shirt from Totême works as a light outer layer or a standalone piece—features that make for a great return on any fashion investment. It’s made from checked flannel and has dropped shoulders, closed chest pockets, monogram mother of pearl buttons, and a rounded hem that’s longer at the back.
Material: 69% recycled polyester, 29% viscose, 2% elastane | Size Range: 32-42
Price at time of publish: $510
Best Size Range
Gap Flannel Big Shirt
This cozy flannel shirt is not only reasonably priced but a shirt for every body type—the most accessible top on this list. It comes in a size for virtually everyone and even offers tall and petite sizing as well.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XXS-3X (regular, tall, and petite)
Price at time of publish: $70
Denimist Oversized Checked Cotton-Flannel Shirt
Denimist's approach to Americana style is what makes its pieces so covetable. It’s made from soft checked cotton flannel in an oversized silhouette enhanced by dropped shoulders. Use the discreet front pocket for small items like lip balm or gum as needed as you wear it effortlessly half-tucked into your favorite pair of denim pants or cut-off shorts.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XXS-XL
Price at time of publish: $370
BLANKNYC Plaid Cropped Shacket
In this style from BLANKNYC, a cropped hem offsets the boxy shape of this lumberjack-inspired look. Wear it with tapered, high-waisted pants and your favorite knitted sweater underneath.
Material: 100% polyester | Size Range: XS-L
Price at time of publish: $98
Veronica Beard Fern Checked Cotton-Flannel Mini Shirt Dress
Any rock 'n' roll-inspired wardrobe would be remiss to not include a few different uses of flannel. Figure-hugging and mini in length, this shirt dress is made from soft cotton patterned with neutral checks. Wear yours with a pair of white, gogo-like boots or Mary Jane shoes.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: 00-10
Price at time of publish: $450
Acne Studios Checked Organic Cotton-Flannel Shirt
This Acne Studios shirt is made from plush cotton flannel that's grown organically, without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. It’s designed for a relaxed fit and patterned with pastel checks with a signature face appliqué on the chest. Use the internal drawstring at the hem to adjust the fit and wear it effortlessly with bike shorts in the spring and straight-leg denim for fall.
Material: 100% organic cotton | Size Range: XXS-L
Price at time of publish: $420
Isabel Marant Étoile Ervey Checked Flannel Jacket
Isabel Marant Étoile's jacket has a muted color palette to match much of your existing wardrobe, whether you tend to go bold or lean into neutrals. It's made from a thick wool blend and patterned with classic checks for the quintessential outerwear effect.
Material: 33% wool, 28% polyester, 18% acrylic, 9% cotton, 7% silk, 3% polyamide, 2% other fibers | Size Range: XS-L
Price at time of publish: $850
R13 Drop Neck Combo Work Shirt
If you love a distressed look, R13 makes a rugged, patchwork-infused style that you’re sure to love. It has an oversized drop neck and frayed edges, and it incorporates two Japanese plaids, which the makers pieced together for a deconstructed, streetwear-inspired look.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XXS-L
Price at time of publish: $595
Carhartt Loose Fit Heavyweight Flannel Shirt
Sometimes, a true workwear shirt is better than any shacket or oversized number you could come up with. This one is made from heavyweight cotton that feels soft but durable. It also provides enough range of motion for virtually every activity under the sun.
Material: 97% cotton, 3% spandex | Size Range: S-4X (regular); L-3X (tall)
Price at time of publish: $50
Our top pick is a classic: the Eddie Bauer Fremont Flannel. Not only is it under $100, it comes in a wide size range and several different colors. If you’re willing to splurge, you can’t go wrong with Totême’s Checked Flannel Shirt for fall.
Meet the Expert
- Olympia Gayot is the Head of Women’s and Kids’ Design at J.Crew.
- Kelly Fujikawa is the Vice President of Design at Eddie Bauer.
What to Look for in Flannel Shirts
Flannels are great layering pieces and quite adaptable, our experts say, and the fit is directly related to the style you're looking to channel. You can bring out your inner Americana by wearing it shrunken, as a true button-down shirt or a size up to include a T-shirt for fall. If you’re planning to wear your flannel shirt as a shacket with multiple layers underneath for colder weather, don’t be afraid to go up a size or two.
“Some of my favorite flannels are super soft and drapey and others are heavier and more durable, but the best flannel shirts feel like they’ve been lived in and loved for years,” Fujikawa says. Indeed, flannel fabrics are well-known for being cozy due to their soft fibers of wool and brushed cotton. They’re also known for warmth, as the material is generally able to retain heat well, making them a popular choice for outdoor clothing, winter pajamas, and blankets. Finally, they’re moisture-wicking and breathable, meaning that the fabric won’t trap moisture in and can instead wick it away. (The most high-quality flannel is made of wool, a natural fabric that is well-known for its moisture-wicking abilities.)
How do you style a flannel shirt?
If you’ve gone for the classic flannel shirt, you’re in luck, as there are infinite styling possibilities. In cool weather, you can style them over thin turtleneck knits, tucked into baggy denim pants or straight-leg trousers. Meanwhile, for a casual night on the town, you can go a little grunge by throwing it over a long slip dress and combat boots.
“I love a flannel open on top of a white tee and white worker jeans or utility pants,” Gayot says. “It also looks great when it gets cold worn under a cashmere sweater with the collar and cuffs peeking out.”
Can you dress up a flannel shirt?
“A flannel shirt can make a dressed-up outfit look cooler,” says Fujikawa. “It can give a very nonchalant, cool girl vibe even if you’re dressed for work or an event.”
How do you care for flannel?
Flannel shirts do need the proper care to ensure they last, particularly if you’re going to invest in a top-quality version. The cardinal rule of taking care of flannel is to not wash the shirt in hot water, as it will likely shrink (after all, most are made entirely from cotton). Use a touch of fabric softener to make sure it stays plush and try not to put it in the dryer for too long or too often unless you’re looking to shrink it.
Why Trust Byrdie
Hayley Prokos is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor focused on fashion and lifestyle. She contributes regularly to Byrdie’s commerce section and has a passion for sourcing chic and practical pieces with long-term wearability. After hours of researching and chatting with our experts, she’s gathered enough insight to determine which flannel shirts are worth buying.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find flannel shirts from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at email@example.com, and we will evaluate the product ASAP.