The Moment of Truth: Are Flannel Shirts Always Plaid?

The Moment of Truth: Are Flannel Shirts Always Plaid?

Plaid flannel shirts look cool yet classic. But are flannel shirts always plaid? It’s a good question that has a great answer: Plaid is actually the pattern, and flannel is the fabric. So, while flannel shirts are often done up in plaids, they certainly don’t have to be!

A Brief History of the Plaid Flannel Shirt

The flannel shirt has a rich history. It was originally worn in Wales in the 17th century by farmers and made of wool to keep them warm. As flannel shirts have Welsh and Scottish roots, it’s easy to see why they would be associated with the tartan pattern that is a well-known part of those cultures. The tartan pattern evolved into plaid when American and British manufacturers began to replicate these traditional looks. Later, the flannel shirt was popularized in America by Hamilton Carhartt, who was innovating functional clothing for railroad workers; the flannel shirt was an ideal choice. The plaid print had long been associated with the flannel shirt, and so it became the traditional look for this particular piece of clothing.

Flannel Shirts Today

Today, flannel shirts have evolved in many ways. Not only are there men's flannel shirts, but there are also options for ladies and kids, too. They are still well-known for their warmth, but they are often created with fabrics made from soft combed or ringspun cotton, making them completely soft and comfortable. While you will still see plaid patterns commonly found on flannel shirts, there are also many other designs available, ranging from solid colors to cute contemporary prints to dots. The range of plaid patterns is also very broad today, so you have lots of color and style options even if you prefer a classic plaid. The classic button-down with a traditional collar is still a popular look, but there are other versions as well, including rounded and banded necklines, tailored shirts, tunic flannels, and more.

Color Options for Contemporary Flannel Shirts

Just like your favorite flannel sheets, you can find lots of different color choices in today’s flannel shirts for men, women, and children. The options range from pastel shades to bright and bold colors. You can find flannel shirts in neutral colors as well as shirts that have two, three, four, or even more colors in their pattern. Some women's plaid flannel shirts have a combination of deep and light colors, while others focus on only pastels or only vivid colors. You’ll find Christmas-inspired colors as well as jewel tones and deep shades perfect for fall and winter. Colors run the gamut from blues and greens to reds and pinks. There are also styles available that have a splash of contrasting color in the pattern to spice things up.

Stylish and Modern Plaid Flannel

If you enjoy the look of plaid, which is a smart yet relaxed look that you can wear almost anywhere, your choices are vast when it comes to flannel shirts. You’ll find styles such as:

Flannel pajamas are also popular in many of these plaid colors and styles.

Flannel Shirts in Solid Colors

Flannel shirts in solid colors have become very popular. These can be worn for relaxed, casual wear or worn tucked in and as work-appropriate attire. You can find lots of great solid color options, including pastel pinks, dusky blues, deep pinks, neutral tans, greens, dark blues, and reds, among others. Whether you prefer a light or bright color, a deeper shade, or a more neutral hue, there is a solid color you’re sure to love.

Fabulous Flannel Prints and Patterns

Maybe you want to venture into the world of flannel prints and patterns that aren’t plaids. Here’s where the fun really begins! When you go beyond traditional plaid prints and even solid colors, you’ll find a host of great prints and patterns. Consider styles like Fair Isle patterns, dotted shirts, checkered prints, black-and-white patterns that mimic a houndstooth look, herringbone shirts, dual patterns (such as using one type of colored plaid print on one side of the shirt and a totally different color combination on the other side), shirts with winter scenes, and more.

From plus size flannel shirts to toddler flannels, there are options in all sizes to suit every person.


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