Women's flannel shirts

The flannel shirt: a fall and winter layering essential.

When it comes to fall and winter layering, the flannel shirt can be considered an essential building block. Whether you plan to wear it as your first layer of defense against a chill or position it as a starting point in your quest to stay warm, there's no question that a flannel shirt will serve you well. Below are some of our preferred ways to work a flannel shirt into easy, practical outfits that you can count on from the moment the leaves change to those first real snow falls in winter time.

Flannel shirt a light outer layer

It's not news that the short-lived shoulder seasons between fall and winter (or between winter and spring) are some of the trickiest to dress for. When temperatures can fluctuate wildly from the morning to mid-afternoon to post-sunset, figuring out what will provide you with warmth when you need it without overheating you when you don't can be a real head-scratcher.

Our advice is to use a flannel shirt as your first layer of outerwear. Think of it as a jacket for all intents and purposes, only one that can be more easily packed away and tied around your waist if temperatures deem you take it off.

Underneath, you can wear something simple like a T-shirt or a blouse. When you start to feel a little cool, throw the flannel shirt back on. And if the temp really dips, button it up to the neck.

Flannel shirt as a base layer on its own

A flannel shirt can take the place of that tee shirt or blouse as we get into the shoulder season of the shoulder season, aka the earliest part of fall. Now it's getting cold enough to wear the flannel shirt on its own, yet it's not quite warm enough to start reaching for additional layers or outerwear.

However, you can still wear the flannel shirt alone as a layered outfit. Simply wear a tee shirt or blouse below, or even a finely woven turtleneck underneath.

Flannel shirt as a base layer under fleece

As we move deeper into the fall season and approach winter, it won't be enough to simply wear the flannel shirt over a tee shirt or on its own. Now you'll want to seriously consider what else you can be layering on top of it. The first stop on your way to full-on winter layering should be fleece.

You can start with a fleece quarter-zip, which is easily packed and can be thrown over your fleece base layer without a fuss when you need its warmth. As temperatures continue to fall, you can opt for a fleece jacket instead.

Flannel shirt as a base layer under a sweater

Now winter has really arrived, and your layering game is getting serious. When you reach for outerwear, it will no longer come in the form of a fleece quarter-zip or fleece sweater. You're more likely to be wearing those items over a flannel shirt and under a women's winter parka.

When layering with multiple items, the inherent warmth of a flannel shirt and the soft comfort provided by its brushed quality make it a reliable and comfortable base layer. The range of sweaters that you can layer over it is almost endless. For a classic lazing-around-the-house-look, throw on a cozy cardigan. For something a little more modern, try a v-neck tunic or a quarter zip sweater. And if you're really concerned about keeping cold out of the question, layer it under a cozy crewneck cashmere sweater or even a cashmere turtleneck. Lastly, don't underestimate the value of slipping a Sherpa-lined flannel bathrobe over your flannel shirt when relaxing at home.

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