While your winter clothes should be one their way to the attic, a men’s flannel shirt in the summer has plenty of uses. Whether it’s a chilly spring morning, a trip to the mountains, or an evening campfire, you’ll find having a flannel handy pays off. Comfortable, easily layered over a tank top, and, thanks to its collar and buttons, quickly dressed up as the occasion calls, 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.
Both stylish and deceptively simple, the Howlers Brothers' flannel is a closet staple. It has a button-down collar, roll-up sleeve tabs, and a vented rear yoke for air flow, to prevent overheating. It's made of a light and quick-drying nylon-poly blend with engineered stretch, which makes it just as ideal for outdoor hikes as indoor dinners. Plus, it has a sunglass-cleaning microfiber at the hem.
Pros: This is the shirt you need to take you from work to barbecue to fishing. It does it all, and even has UPF 35 sun protection.
Cons: No cons when it comes to this shirt, which is pretty much perfect.
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 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 note than con, many Amazon customers reported these run big, so you’re best sizing down if on the fence. But our chief critique is that the addition of canvas makes this the warmest shirt on the list, and if you’re in the South or Southwest, you’ll be holding onto it for a few months until temperatures start to drop.
We’ll admit that while iconic, the traditional flannel shirt fits like a garbage bag. That’s why we love the Amazon house brand Goodthreads, which has updated this classic in its 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 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 restricting.
Cons: Amazon must have taken notes from all the other brands it sells, because its house brand has little to complain about. The only downside we could come up with is that it’s not a better-known label, but after all, it’s the man who makes the clothes, and not the other way around.
The mountain west is a phrase that gets thrown around from time to time, and the Legendary Whitetails flannel shirt epitomizes this collision. Half flannel, it also has the classic country style of a pearl-snap shirt down to the yoke on its back. It’s genre-bending in all the best ways.
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: yoked shoulders with button snaps down the placket, cuffs, and chest pockets. This is the best of both worlds. 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 traditionalist. Agreed that this isn’t the most avant-garde, but it’s a hybrid of a classic, and for some men, classics should never undergo tampering.
Surprise: Classic menswear brand Chaps makes a damn good classic flannel with its 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 other, thicker 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 and wear often, this leads the pack.
Cons: Many a modern man has difficulty finding sleeves that don’t stop halfway down the forearm. Conversely, 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 eight-ounce, ring-spun cotton flannel, this is a beefy fabric that can handle a few weekends spend 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 from 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: Buffalo check is the classic pattern for flannel, which is exactly why J.Crew selected it to capture essential Americana. 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 and button-down placket and Oxford collar. Possibly just because of its WASPy association, we peg this as the most versatile shirt on the list, equally at home playing family-reunion football or jammed into a pair of khakis.
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.
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