Outside of summer, beach towns are quirky places – but oftentimes, the off season can define a place. Between swells and trips to the hills, locals are often left to amuse themselves, which can get interesting. Like many places where folks love the outdoors, if there’s an “unofficial” uniform around our parts, it’s flannel. From the first chair to the art district, surf checks to neighborhood ramps, there’s a flannel for every style and climate.
We rounded up a bunch of locals – climbers, skaters, backpackers, and surfers – for a fun evening of hatchet-throwing and other mischief, to try out ten flannels that are fun year-round.
Billabong tells us “Life’s Better in Boardshorts,” but that’s not reality to most for a few more months. The brand recently created their Adventure Division and developed the printed polar fleece Furnace. It’s a hooded button down, with the key addition of a DWR-coating. For best use, think British Columbia or Ireland, where being wet equals being cold. The Furnace Hoody Flannel also features stretch polar fleece and zippered hand pockets.
The original snowboard company claims the Grace Sherpa Flannel is “seriously soft,” and we can verify that. This everyday essential flannel tells two stories. The outside is premium patterns of 100-percent cotton heavyweight fabric weave, all about strength and determination. The inside is all about cozy comfort with Sherpa Fleece body lining. Burton’s flannel includes a chest pocket and regular fit: Button-up, buttercup.
When it comes to American heritage brands, Pendleton Woolen Mills is right up there with Lee and Coca Cola, with a history dating back to exploration of Oregon in 1863. Incorporating Native American designs, they set a standard for durability and quality with the Pendleton Trade blanket, and are still family owned and operated. The Board Shirt was co-opted by West Coast surfers in the early 60s before there was a surf industry. This is a more styled, fitting version, made of premium, machine-washable wool sourced from ranchers near the Pendleton mill. The flannel features a square bottom and two bias-cut pockets, and works well for climbing as well as throwing the occasional hatchet.
If your moral compass is as important as your style, Patagonia is the obvious choice for your go-to flannel. The company continues to lead the outdoor industry in ethics and sustainability. Twenty years ago, Patagonia recognized the environmental impact of growing conventional cotton and began using organics. Made for tracking winter swells and chasing powder, the Fjord is a handsome traditional straight-hem button-down of warm, durable, heavyweight, 100-percent organic cotton flannel. And if you happen to gash your flannel with a hatchet, they’ll fix it.
We wanted to find a flannel that was actually made in the US and here it is. Vermont Flannel is a company founded by a husband and wife team that has been making products for over 25 years. The Fitted, available for both men and women, is their classic silhouette with a slimmer, fitted cut. They boast fine European fabric that is hand-cut and sewn in the heart of New England. The shirt is so Vermont it should come with a bottle of maple syrup. Here you see the Bluegrass colorway.
Jetty is a New Jersey company, local to our area. They not only do their own screenprinting, but they actually design the one-of-a-kind patterns on their button-down shirts. The Flint also comes in a Sherpa-lined option for those colder climates. They both feature a herringbone weave with custom details and embellishments. This is a great option if you’re looking for style and comfort in an upcoming brand.
Kelly Slater is one bright dude – from his knowledge of WSL Tour venues, to the mechanics of a wave pool, to what’s in our food. When he launched his apparel company, Outerknown, most of us assumed he was going to do it right and so far, he hasn’t proven us wrong. The Outerknown Blanket shirt is 100-percent organic cotton heavyweight twill, soft and breathable. True to the brand’s sustainable focus, organic cotton farming conserves 90-percent more water and supports biodiversity. Rugged and sturdy, it’s built for travel with a relaxed fit for layering and implements a nifty chest pocket with Corozo buttons. You’re looking at the Cusco Plaid pattern.
When it comes to action sports, there are few brands that have the enduring legacy that Vans holds. The footwear company was founded in California in 1966, and from then until today have helped to define style in skate, surf, street and snow. It’s no surprise that they come out with epic flannels every year. The Box is 100 percent CBI Cotton yard-dyed flannel with a tailored fit. This is the Ambrosia Dress Blues.
You love flannels. You love hoodies. Sometimes you love a hoodie under a flannel. This is the best of both without that bulky, layered look. Brushed checked flannel is complemented by a soft-as-clouds French terry hood. And Dakine’s history is rooted in the elements – snow, bike, wind, and surf. This option is completed with flat, cotton draw cords, and antique brass snaps. Fresh style with a two-year warranty.
If there’s one brand that has really made a mark in our world in the past few years, it’s Brixton. They’ve eschewed the standard beachwear for a more styled look – a little more edge inspired by bike culture, streetwear and rocker influence. The Bowery comes in a standard fit with two chest pockets. Their materials vary depending on the color, but they all look tight as hell.
Photos: Ryan Johnson
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