It would be hard to come up with an article of men's clothing that better represents fall than the humble men's flannel shirt. As summer passes to autumn each year, we eagerly look to the flannel shirts that have been hanging in our closets since spring. We're willing to accept shorter days and colder temperatures if it means slipping into our favorite fall staple for men once more. Here are just a few of the reasons why we consider flannel shirts a perfect match for the fall season.
It's not news that the period between Labor Day and Thanksgiving can be challenging to dress for. During this portion of the calendar, you can experience balmy, sunny afternoons and windy, chilly nights. That weather may be pleasant, but it's tough to stay in a single outfit all day without feeling either overheated during the daytime or cold at night.
Rather than wearing a t-shirt by itself or layering a men's sweater over a button-down, consider using your flannel shirt as the season's first piece of outerwear. Start with a men's t-shirt as a base layer, and wear your unbuttoned flannel shirt on top, as if it were a men's cardigan sweater –only lighter. If the afternoon proves particularly warm, you can even take it off and tie it around your waist. Then, as temperatures begin to drop in the evening, you can button up your flannel shirt as the weather requires.
Later in the season, you can rely on your flannel shirt as a base piece for layering. Start with a flannel shirt, and then top it with a cozy shawl collar cardigan, a blue hopsack blazer, or whatever other piece the temperature and the setting calls for.
People tend to think of summer as the prime time of the year to be outside, but we'd argue that the best opportunities for outdoor work and play come with the autumn season. On the recreational side, you've got country hikes for admiring fall foliage, long walks around the neighborhood for Halloween, and family touch football games after Thanksgiving dinner. And on the chore side, you can expect to experience leaf raking, leaf raking ... and some more leaf raking.
What this all means is that you'll want to have an article of clothing that's practical, casual, and capable of taking a little rough play, whether that comes in the form of a pick-up football game or a leap into a leaf pile. The flannel shirt is an ideal choice for any of the aforementioned scenarios: its substantial ringspun cotton fabric means that you won't have to baby it, and its thicker weave and raised texture will help it to brush off stains and dirt and look better longer.
Here's a statement we can make with 100% certainty: fall is prime time for plaid. And while plaid may come in many forms–scarves, blankets, dog beds, etc–there's no vessel quite as pure as the plaid flannel shirt.
The flannel shirt exemplifies everything a plaid pattern stands for. It's rustic; yet not out of step with modern times. It's fun, but without attracting too much attention. It's classic, without ever appearing stuffy.
And then there are the colors of plaid: the rich reds, earthy greens, fiery oranges, and scores of other hues that appear within the pattern. You don't have to be a poet to see how they might be compared to the changes that affect forest foliage every fall. In many ways, wearing a plaid flannel shirt is like wearing fall itself.