Flannel is one of the most versatile Fall/Winter fabrics around. Typically I find that people mistake flannel as a shirt with a plaid or tartan pattern, but in actuality it is a type of fabric. Depending on its intended use, flannel can be woven in multiple ways. Most commonly, flannel is a soft woven fabric that is made out of cotton, wool, or synthetic fibers. This process is typically completed for making items such as shirts, jackets, blankets and many other commodities that require a soft touch. The more traditional way of making flannel is produced using worsted yarn which gives the fabric a more stiff appearance and is used typically for tailored garments.
Originally flannel came in 4 colors; white, blue, brown and black. At the time, they would mix these coloured wools together to get the desired colour variation. Today, most colors are rather made from dyeing yarn.
The first documentation of flannel fabric came from Wales, UK in the 16th century, but the name flanelle was not used until the 17th century. Flannel slowly became very popular in the 20th century when athletes and celebrities donned the fabric as a cold weather essential. Although, flannel really hit its peak in the 1990’s as grunge bands, such as Nirvana, wore tartan flannel shirts as a trademark to their iconic shaggy look.
As I briefly stated before, flannel comes in a variety of menswear options. If I had to choose one flannel piece to buy, it would definitely be a worsted wool flannel suit. This suit will not only keep you warm in the winter, but it is softer to the touch than other heavy weight tailored garments such as tweed. Flannel suits also come in a variety of prints, are more durable, and cost friendly in comparison to the likes of a cashmere version.