There are some pieces of clothing that should be non-negotiable wardrobe mainstays. Think the likes of white sneakers, high quality plain T-shirts, classic chinos and trusty blue denim jeans. Another failsafe staple that too often goes overlooked is the flannel shirt. Ever-versatile, ultra-comfy and ideal for layering, this easy-to-wear shirt is a menswear classic for a reason. It's been beloved by many since its origins as a warm and durable workwear garment in 16th century Wales, during wars and revolutions, as a 90s grunge staple, through to today.

What exactly is a flannel shirt?

Frequently confused with plaid, flannel actually refers to the fabric rather than the pattern of a shirt. Flannel is a woven fabric that's typically made from cotton or wool and often brushed for a soft, almost fuzzy texture, although flannel shirts can also be unbrushed or brushed on only one side. Flannel shirts usually have a thicker weave than most other cotton shirts, making them ideal for the colder months.

How to wear a flannel shirt

The flannel shirt has evolved beyond its associations with lumberjacks and non-conformist Nirvana-obsessed teenagers to become an everyday wardrobe hero. Its relaxed, easy-to-wear aesthetic lends it ultimate versatility, making it the ultimate trend-transcending piece that will stand the test of time. Wear yours with selvedge denim jeans and canvas sneakers for an updated take on 90s style, or with smart tailored trousers and leather loafers for a dressier look. The choice is yours whether you wear it buttoned up or undone over a plain tee.

5 of the best men's flannel shirts

A Day's March Cardiff Flannel Shirt

This flannel workshirt from Stockholm-based menswear label A Day's March is the perfect year-round layering tool. Wear it unbuttoned over a plain tee with jeans and boots or done up and teamed with soft tailoring. The roomy patch pockets enhance its functionality and lend it a utilitarian quality.

ISTO. Heavyweight Flannel Shirt

Portuguese brand ISTO. specialises in laidback premium staples, like this irresistibly soft shirt. Crafted from 100% organic heavyweight cotton with a fuss-free, understated aesthetic, it's guaranteed to become one of those wardrobe staples you reach for time and again.

Corridor Forest Day Flannel Work Shirt

This workwear-inspired checked shirt from New York-based label Corridor is responsibly crafted in India from super-soft heavyweight flannel. Play up the utilitarian aesthetic by teaming it with corduroy trousers and chunky Derbies.

Riley Studio Recycled Flannel Check Shirt

Riley Studio proves that style and sustainability can go hand in hand with its eco-friendly essentials, one of which is this recycled flannel check shirt. It's made using innovative EcoLife yarn, which is a blend of 55% recycled polyester and 45% recycled cotton, created with zero water usage and no harmful chemicals. A win for the planet and a win for your wardrobe.

SIRPLUS Grey Checked Flannel Shirt

Sustainably crafted in Portugal from a blend of responsibly sourced cotton and merino wool, this super-soft flannel shirt from SIRPLUS is the sort of piece you'll never want to take off. And who says you have to? Wear it with cords, denim or even a suit.

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