Along with all the fun parts of fall—the apple cider, the hay rides, the slice of pumpkin pier after Thanksgiving dinner—comes this uncomfortable truth: the days are getting shorter, and colder. While you may start the season in men’s jeans and a t-shirt, you’ll be bundled up from head to toe by the time it transitions into winter.
Perhaps no other time of the year involves such a radical change in dress as does fall. But there is one article of clothing you can count on staying warm with from start to finish, and that’s the men’s flannel shirt.
When the first stirrings of fall appear in the time after Labor Day, you’ll learn that relying on a t-shirt just doesn’t cut it anymore. But at the same, layering a men’s sweater or sweatshirt over that t-shirt would be too much. This circumstance is what we’d call an “early layering dilemma.”
You can solve it by utilizing your flannel shirt as the season’s first piece of outerwear. Stick to that jeans and a t-shirt outfit, but add the flannel shirt on top. You can wear it open as it if were a men’s cardigan sweater so long as the day remains warm, but when the sun sets and the evening grows chilly, you can gradually button it up until it’s being worn like a shirt jacket.
As fall progresses, you will eventually come to rely on the flannel shirt as a base layer. This is a fantastic choice for a few reasons: the brushed-on-both-sides quality that defines flannel allows for greater heat retention, making it an excellent insulator. It also makes flannel soft to the touch and exceedingly comfortable when worn next to the skin.
At first, you can try wearing your flannel shirt below an open cardigan sweater. Aside from providing just the right amount of warmth needed in late October or early November, the combination of a plaid flannel shirt and a solid-colored cardigan is a classic combination. If you’re looking for some extra warmth, you can also decide to wear that flannel shirt under a chunky shawl collar sweater.
Another excellent choice for mid-fall insulation is to wear your flannel shirt below a fleece vest. And for extra warmth, you can bump up that fleece vest to a fleece quarter-zip sweater or even a men’s fleece jacket.
Later in the season, you may require a sweater that provides more coverage. In this instance, you can opt for either a crewneck sweater or a men’s v-neck sweater. They each have different origins and levels of formality, but you may find that each complements a flannel shirt well.
The athletic origins of the crewneck sweater dovetail with the inherently casual nature of a flannel shirt. But the slightly less casual v-neck sweater can dress up a flannel shirt by framing its collar.
So far, most of these examples have centered on what can be worn with a flannel shirt to keep you warm when spending time outdoors. But we haven’t yet touched on the utility of keeping warm with a flannel shirt indoors.
The brushed, soft quality that makes a flannel shirt so comfortable also lends it to wear around the house during your time off. Think of it as a better, warmer option in situations where you might otherwise be wearing a t-shirt. For instance, above a pair of favorite flannel pajama pants or under a cozy bath robe.
Imagine the flannel shirt as the perfect building block for whatever the fall season might throw your way. No matter the scenario, you can rest assured that a flannel shirt will see you through in comfort and warmth.