A good men’s flannel shirt will be a wardrobe heavy-hitter for you. Famously tough but comfortable, flannel has its origins among 17th century Welsh farmers who prized its ruggedness and warmth. In the centuries since, men’s flannel shirts have been field-tested by generations of factory workers, frontiersmen, lumberjacks — and dads. By the turn of the 20th century in the U.S., Paul Bunyan’s red-plaid work shirt wasn’t just the classic men’s flannel shirt — it was the iconically American shirt: tough, affordable, and bold, synonymous with rugged independence.
Whether it’s a chilly spring morning, a trip to the mountains, or an evening campfire, there’s nothing better than a heavy, thick, soft flannel shirt. And you’ll find the best men’s flannel shirts give you a classic that’s surprisingly versatile. Comfortable, easily layered under jackets or over a tank top, and, thanks to its collar and buttons, quickly dressed up when the occasion calls for it. It’s a must-have for the put-together man. Another reason we love them: They’re not so fancy that they can’t wipe spit-up from your baby’s shirt.
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While the shirt has been a staple on the backs of men for generations, we’ve found that some of the latest feature a slimmer fit, allowing you to have the same comfort without a refrigerator-sized silhouette. Regardless of the fit or feel, we’ve found your new favorites.
Best Flannel Shirts
Let's start with the ultimate classic, a Pendleton flannel that will stand the test of time.
Pros: This Pendleton, like its brethren, is woven in American mills and is made of midweight virgin wool. It has a notched spread collar, flap chest pockets, and adjustable two-button cuffs.
Cons: The fit is great, but the sleeves tend to be on the longer side.
You want warm flannel? Really warm flannel? Buy this shirt, which is made from 8-ounce thick flannel fabric.
Pros: If red isn’t your color, the brand has a huge variety of patterns, plaids and colors to choose from. The shirts are warm, thick, comfortable, and fit exactly as described. So order true to size. The pockets are sizable and actually functional, as opposed to being ornamental, which is a nice touch.
Cons: They’re as warm as advertised. So if you tend to overheat … well, you might want a different shirt.
One of our favorite brands, of course, delivers one of our favorite flannel shirts. Thanks to its relaxed shoulders and wider armholes, you never feel constrained and have more freedom of movement.
Pros: This flannel shirt stands out thanks to its wind-resistant fabric, meaning you can wear it to do yard work, or when you run from your car to the restaurant for dinner on a blistery night. You get adjustable button cuffs, a back pleat, a straight collar, and full button front. It’s made of 100 percent cotton.
Cons: It tends to run a bit small, so make sure it fits before making a commitment.
This shirt has a major lumberjack vibe, and is made of 100 percent heavyweight cotton that's machine-washable.
Pros: This is serious flannel. As in, not understated. The legendary buffalo-check plaid is a great match for tried-and-true flannel fans. But while the print is classic, this shirt itself has a more modern silhouette, with button-flap patch pockets and single-button cuffs.
Cons: It’s itchy, so wash it before wearing, which should help.
A commanding classic that's brushed on both sides for extra softness, this sharp, medium-weight flannel sails easily from yard work to dinner out.
Pros: Classic tailoring, lightweight organic cotton, and machine-washable. Compared with some of the heavier-duty flannels out there, this one’s especially great for layering or for wearing solo.
Cons: While rugged enough for shoulder-season outdoor chores, this hits the list mostly for its crisp, clean style.
Whether it’s an unseasonably cool morning or a fishing trip in Canada, the flannel-lined shirt jacket is designed to warm you up. Starting with a rugged canvas shell, its flannel sits just underneath and is super-soft against the skin. If you’re looking for a three-season piece that can endure the rigors of all, this is it.
Pros: Canvas was designed to withstand brutal conditions on the high seas, so it’s no wonder that the material became a workwear favorite. The 7.5-ounce shell is ultra-durable, but the brushed flannel lining is what really sold us. Second only to staying in bed, this is the most comfortable thing against the skin. We also loved the vents on the upper back, which ensured we had the breathability and range of motion for full body exercises like chopping wood.
Cons: More of a note than a con, but many Amazon customers reported that these run big, so if you’re on the fence, your best bet is to go down a size. But our chief critique is that the addition of canvas makes this the warmest shirt on the list — if you’re in the South or Southwest, you’ll be holding on to it for a few months until temperatures start to drop.
The old-school flannel shirt may be a classic, but it fits like a garbage bag. That’s why we love the Amazon house brand Goodthreads, which has updated this traditionalist flannel shirt with a trimmer fit for the modern man.
Pros: The all-cotton fabric has been specially processed so that it already feels like your favorite shirt from the first wear. The rounded hem is also great for an untucked, casual weekend look, though you can easily stuff it under a belt for relaxed nights out. The slim fit traces the chest without being overly restrictive.
Cons: Amazon must have taken notes from all the other brands it sells, because its house brand has little to fault it. The only downside we could come up with is that it’s not from a better-known label, but then again, it’s the man who makes the clothes, and not the other way around.
The American West is a rich mix of confluence and contradiction, and the Legendary Whitetails flannel shirt epitomizes that history. The best of both worlds, this is a flannel shirt with Western tailoring: yoked shoulders with pearl-button snaps down the placket, cuffs, and chest pockets.
Pros: Combining classics can be hit-or-miss, but Legendary Whitetails gets it right by not overdoing either. The thick cotton fabric comes in some great complimentary-colored patterns, which are handsome in their own right and durable thanks to triple-stitched seams. But look closer and you’ll find the traditional Western shirt details — it’s genre-bending in all the best ways. Bonus: In addition to standard lengths, it’s also available in several tall sizes.
Cons: This is another shirt that, if you’re on the fence between sizes, Amazon customers suggest sizing down. Beyond this, we’d suggest other options if you’re a flannel traditionalist. This isn’t the most avant-garde flannel out there, but it’s a hybrid of two classics, and for some men, such things should be left alone.
Surprise: Classic menswear brand Chaps makes a damn good classic flannel shirt. It’s as easy to wear as it is to look great in.
Pros: A single chest pocket, button-down front and sleeves, and soft all-cotton flannel: This is the quintessential men’s shirt. But there are also a few nice details we’d be remiss not to highlight. Lighter in weight, this is easier to wear year-round than the heftier options on this list. We also like the fact that its fabric is moisture wicking — another benefit in warmer temps. If you’re looking for a shirt to look good in and wear often, this leads the pack.
Cons: Many a modern man has difficulty finding sleeves that don’t stop halfway down the forearm. But, in this case, some Amazon customers complained about this shirt’s sleeves being too long. Still, it’s better to be too long than too short — just roll them up a turn or two.
Carhartt has been a dependable workwear brand for generations of men doing dirty jobs. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that its flannel shirt is one of the most durable on the list, and it’s a must for any man doing manly things.
Pros: Made from a thick 8-ounce, ring-spun cotton flannel, this is a beefy fabric that can handle a few weekends spent working under a car. We also liked the fact that it’s pre-shrunk, so when it gets dirty, you don’t take a seemingly new-fitting shirt out of the dryer. It has a roomy fit for plenty of movement and ample opportunity to layer underneath.
Cons: “Cripes! I felt like a little kid trying on daddy’s clothes,” wrote one Amazon customer. These are roomy (some might even say boxy) shirts, and unless you like the roomy look, it’s probably not the best option for casual trips. But if you’re looking for a shirt that can withstand the worst thrown at it, this is the one.
Fashion is rarely cheap, but the J.Crew Mercantile flannel shirt is surprisingly affordable for such a good-looking shirt. While updating the fit and feel of this American classic, it hews closely enough to the original to warrant inclusion on this list.
Pros: This is a slight variation on a timeless theme that still manages to capture essential Americana, albeit with a lighter look (and feel) than some of the tradition-bound shirts here. Made from cotton and tailored to perfection, this should be required wear for every man.
Cons: Admittedly, our enthusiasm is more on its looks than on its performance. As mentioned in other reviews, this style’s roots met the demands of the workingman. If you’re in the market for a shirt that can take a licking and keep on ticking, go to other, more robust — and more wide-fitting — options.
Classic New England prep meets an American standard in the Vineyard Vines shirt. What does the lumberjack wear to Nantucket? It’s right here.
Pros: Maybe it’s the faded colors or the embroidered spouting whale, but this shirt just screams the Northeast aesthetic. But lest you think that the company is breaking all the rules, this shirt still features a medium-weight cotton fabric, button-down placket and Oxford collar. Possibly just because of its preppy associations, we’d peg this as the most versatile shirt on the list, equally at home playing family-reunion football or jammed into a pair of khakis for casual Friday.
Cons: This is admittedly a take — as great as it may be — on the classic flannel. Takes can sometimes age as well as a plaid cummerbund. Thankfully, this modification is slight and rather tame.
The standout feature of this flannel shirt is its yarn blend, which lets it dry fast while also giving you ultimate comfort and softness.
Pros: This is ultra-soft flannel, with rolled shoulders, a button-down collar, front pockets with button-through flap closure and an extended tail. You’d expect nothing less from a brand founded in 1883 in Michigan.
Cons: The fit tends to be on the more snug side, so order a size up.
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