Flannel’s soft touch and incomparable warmth have made it a go-to fall shirting fabric for almost as long as “fall shirting” has been a concept. A good fashion historian will tell you that the fabric emerged in Wales sometime in the 17th century as a less-scratchy alternative to traditional woolen garments.
But a couple hundred years later (perhaps around the ‘90s grunge movement) flannel became so inextricably linked with plaid that if you told someone you were wearing a flannel shirt to a party, they’d assume you’d look like you belonged on a jumbo pack of paper towels.
Thankfully, there are plenty of brands and designers who, this fall, have chosen to use flannel in its unchecked form. The ones who haven’t are using smart alternatives like gingham, windowpane, or patchwork patterns, and balancing them with trim cuts that don’t look super outdoorsy. The results? Supremely stylish shirts that’ll keep you warm without making anyone think you’re going logging after dinner.