10 best men’s flannel shirts that are a winter wardrobe essential

Dress stylishly in cold weather thanks to Uniqlo and Patagonia’s thick and long-sleeved sartorial staples

Paddy Maddison
Tuesday 03 November 2020 15:48
<p>In order to help you pick the right one, we assessed the fit, how the fabric felt and how it layered up</p>

In order to help you pick the right one, we assessed the fit, how the fabric felt and how it layered up

The flannel shirt is traditionally a staple garment for those who spend their days in frigid temperatures. 

The brushed, fleecy finish acts as a barrier against the cold and the thickness of the fabric means it can stand up to the rigours of daily abuse.  

But, being an Alaskan lumberjack isn’t a prerequisite for enjoying this time-honoured winter warmer. 

As well as the practical benefits, the flannel shirt has plenty going for it in the style department too.

In fact, in our opinion, no man should be without one in their autumn and winter rotation. It’s a great layering piece, a cosier alternative to an Oxford shirt, and the tactile element makes it perfect for adding a touch of depth and texture to almost any outfit.

In order to help you pick the right one, we tried out a wide range of flannel shirts to suit every taste and budget. We assessed the fit, felt the fabric, layered up and got out and about to paint you the best possible picture before you part with your cash.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

NN07 levon flannel shirt

No one knows how to get cosy better than the Scandinavians – they even have a special word for it: hygge. Little wonder, then, that it’s a Danish brand that’s responsible for the best flannel shirt we tested. The NN07 levon flannel shirt is one of the brand’s core pieces and comes in a dizzying array of muted, monochrome, earthy and autumnal shades. It’s quite a large fit in the body without being baggy, making it perfect for layering up. That being said, if you like a trim fit, you may want to size down. As far as the fabric goes, it’s definitely on the thinner end of the flannel spectrum, but that makes it highly versatile and perfectly suited to general daily duties.

Filson vintage flannel workshirt

Filson’s traditional American outdoor garb has been around the block a bit, so if you’re looking for a classic, thick flannel shirt that even the most weather-beaten outdoorsman will be impressed by, this is it. Made from breathable midweight cotton, it’s ideal for layering up in the cold weather and comes in a range of traditional check patterns.

Uniqlo x JW Anderson flannel check shirt

For those unfamiliar with JW Anderson, allow us to fill you in. It’s a British fashion label founded by designer Jonathan Anderson; whose clothes can cost anything up to £4,000. Being able to bag a shirt designed in collaboration with the man himself for less than £30 is an opportunity not to be missed. This checked flannel from the latest Uniqlo x JW Anderson collaborative collection features a straight hem, a soft cotton construction and the JW Anderson logo in tonal stitching to the bottom right-hand side.

Portuguese Flannel montauk shirt

Portuguese Flannel is an expert when it comes to making these tpyes of shirts. But you probably already guessed that – the clue is in the name after all. The brand’s shirts are made by master craftsmen in northern Portugal, using exclusive fabrics, produced in the traditional Portuguese way. This stripey number makes a nice change from the usual checked or plain flannels and offers a great way to bring a splash of Mediterranean colour to cold-weather outfits. 

Everlane brushed flannel shirt

If all you want is an understated, ethically produced flannel shirt for a fair price, then this one from Everlane is for you. It comes in a selection of simple, winter-ready colours and features a slim fit, meaning it can easily slot underneath more substantial layers. A handy tool on the Everlane website allows you to check out the factory where your shirt is made before you click buy and the direct-to-consumer model means you save a few pounds too. 

M&S pure cotton flannel shirt

Getting your hands on a decent flannel shirt doesn’t have to mean emptying your wallet. For proof, head to British high street mainstay M&S for this classic, stripped back option. It’s simple, stylish, timeless and such good value you can afford to stock up. Plus, the cotton is sustainably sourced, so you can feel good about your purchase. 

Adsum plaid workshirt

Brooklyn-based brand Adsum takes its cues from the cities and countryside of north east America. The result is a range of high quality, casual garb perfectly suited to everyday life in urban environments, but often with an outdoorsy twist. This shirt is a core staple for the NYC brand and in heavy blanket flannel, it wouldn’t look out of place hanging up by a roaring fire in a remote cabin in the woods. It’s finished in a bold check pattern, with flap chest pockets and a discreetly branded tab to the side.

Patagonia fjord flannel shirt

It’s thick, it’s heavy and it’s big. Patagonia’s fjord flannel shirt is ideal for anyone looking for a really robust mid-layer that can take a lot of wear. The fit is quite long in the body and the fabric is reassuringly weighty, making it great as an overshirt but not so much as a standalone layer. This is the sort of flannel shirt that would work well when worn open over a T-shirt or even some knitwear to really seal out the cold. 

A.P.C. surchemise trek shirt

A.P.C.’s trademark brand of understated Parisian chic has made it a firm favourite with the sort of people who like to let the cut and quality of their clothes do the talking rather than relying on OTT branding. This classic check flannel is a fine example of what the brand does best: simple wardrobe staples crafted to the highest standards. Expect a clean regular cut, high-quality materials and outstanding attention to detail.

Fjällräven Canada flannel shirt

When you close your eyes and picture a flannel shirt, chances are it’s probably something a lot like this one from Fjällräven. The red and black check design is instantly recognisable as that traditional lumberjack style to which the modern flannel owes so much. This one is rendered in heavyweight wool-blend fabric and features the Fjällräven arctic fox logo on the sleeve in leather. It fits large, so you might want to opt for the smaller size if you’re usually in between.

The verdict: Men’s flannel shirts 

As is the case with most things in menswear, it’s more cost-effective to spend a little extra for a quality flannel shirt that will stand the test of time. That’s why we’d recommend NN07’s Levon shirt. It’s not the cheapest in this round-up, but it is the best value for money in terms of fit, fabric and overall quality. It isn’t super thick though, so if you’re looking for something more substantial, Fjällräven’s Canada shirt is hard to fault.

Don’t let your outfit fall short at your trousers, read our review of the best men’s jeans 

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