If fall is around the corner, then winter must be following behind. And nothing says “comfy” during winter better than flannel in all its forms. Although the first flannels were likely made from wool, most flannel materials these days are 100% brushed cotton or a wool-brushed cotton blend. The brushing raises some of the fabric from the nap of the material, giving the flannel its extra-soft feel. Flannel is lightweight yet warm, making it a versatile fabric not only for clothing but also for home textiles.
Although flannel is often associated with the rugged outdoors, there are plenty of cute flannel styles from which to choose. Read on for our suggestions for comfy and cute flannel essentials you need this winter.
It has to be said: No winter wardrobe is complete without it having at least one or two flannel shirts. Originally, flannels were patterned in various plaids that were often based on traditional Scottish tartans. Plaid remains the most popular pattern, and it’s available in myriad color combinations, so you’re sure to find one that suits both your taste and your coloring. These days, it’s also easy to find flannel shirts in other fun designs. For example, style a leopard-print flannel shirt with black jeans for a great outfit. Or, pair a floral print flannel with a pair of solid leggings that picks up one of the colors in your shirt.
Add a long-sleeved thermal undershirt under your flannel if you’re layering for warmth. It’s your choice as to whether you button your flannel closed or leave it open to show the underlayers; the same goes for whether you leave the shirttails hanging out or tuck them in.
If you’re not a fan of shirts, consider a tunic instead. Like tunics made from other materials, flannel tunics are cut a little longer and looser than the typical women’s shirt, making them even more comfortable. You can find flannel tunics in different styles, from pullovers to partial button-downs, and with or without a collar.
For an especially feminine take on flannel, try a tunic with pin tucking or pleated details, and choose a floral pattern. Pair your tunic with bottoms in a contrasting texture, such as corduroy leggings (which make a nice change from denim jeans), and add a pair of ballet flats for a look that is as comfy as it is cute.
Flannel is no longer just for shirts (or tunics). For a fun and comfy look that will take you from running errands to meeting friends for drinks and everything in between, opt for a flannel shirt dress. Shirt dresses are so named because they have details that shirts do, such as a collar, cuffable sleeves, and buttons, but are longer like, well, a dress! They are also easy to clean: just toss in the washing machine and dryer—no trips to the dry cleaner needed. Wear your flannel shirt dress with ribbed tights and a pair of on-trend ankle booties for a stylish but cozy outfit.
Even before you add flannel to the mix, women’s lounge pants are probably among the comfiest articles of clothing in your dresser. Throw on your comfiest top and your favorite college or graphic sweatshirt. Whether you want to curl up with a book and a cup of tea or binge-watch your favorite TV series, you’ll be set for a day of lazing on the couch. Make it all about you by wrapping yourself up in a cozy blanket or donning a pair of comfy, plush socks to keep your feet as warm as the rest of you. If you end up having to run out to the grocery store for snacks or something more indulgent, such as a pint or two of ice cream, just slip on a pair of sneakers or flip-flops, and you’re ready to go.
If lounge pants aren’t sufficient, take it one step further and put on your flannel pajamas. If you’re not a fan of plaids, no worries. Flannel jammies come in all different prints. Try a multicolor Fair Isle print or some fun stripes. Some of the cutest designs show animals doing human-type activities: think cats drinking tea, dogs reading books, or cows peeping from behind trees. Best of all, whether you prefer two-piece PJs, nightgowns, or nightshirts, there’s a flannel for you.
One final note about flannel. One of the reasons flannel is so popular as winter wear is that it’s easy to care for. Just throw your flannels in the washing machine and dryer. Be aware that cotton flannel tends to shrink—sometimes significantly—so if you’re planning on layering, you may want to size up, so you have room underneath. When it comes to flannel, roomy is usually better than snug, but either way, you’ll be comfy and cute—and warm!—in your winter flannels.