Kurt Cobain's go-to has had a rethink, courtesy of some of the most innovative designers in the world
Versatility in fashion should be a new industry rule. Items that can be utilised in endless styling situations don't just make getting dressed easier, they're also more sustainable than those one-off pieces that look great at a party, then spend the rest of the year at the back of the wardrobe. Here rise the flannel shirt, arguably one of the most versatile items of clothing in menswear. Come rain or shine, summer or winter, business or pleasure, the flannel shirt will always work.
But what exactly is a flannel shirt? If you said "checked", then you're wrong. A common misconception is that a flannel shirt must come in typical lumberjack checks, especially the buffalo check that was originally produced by the Woolrich mill in around the 1850s. But no: the ‘flannel’ nature of the shirt relates to the soft fabric (most commonly) made from either cotton or wool, then brushed to raise the nap and make it softer and warmer. Traditionally, the workman’s checked shirt was the most popular, however as the shirt style became more commercial, brands explored new designs and a wider range of varieties were introduced.
The flannel shirt has had a prominent position in iconic fashion aesthetics, from the 1850s workmen to the grungy days of Nirvana. As ever, the cyclical nature of the fashion industry has revitalised the shirt and it’s back. Seen heavily in the men’s January A/W '20 shows, from brands like Gucci, Dries Van Noten and Daks. However, this time around it's focused less on bearded woodsman, more on creativity and originality: frayed hems, multi-layered stitching and outlandish patterns. our favourites will ensure your flannel is perfect for 2020, not 1820. Think less Buffalo Bill, more Billy Porter.