flannal lead
A reliable flannel jacket is ideal for times when you need an outer layer that’s not too light and not too heavy. Legendary Whitetails

Few things are as cozy and comfortable to wear when the weather starts to cool than a flannel jacket. They’re warm, extra-soft, and versatile enough to wear on the job or out to an evening on the town. Flannel made its way to the United States in 1869 when it was the original material used for long johns. Lumberjacks and railroad workers quickly adopted flannel because it was rugged and warm—both qualities that make flannel a great choice today. While those original flannels were all made from fine wool, flannels today are woven from all kinds of fabrics including wool, cotton, and synthetics. Flannel is a great jacket material, but with so many different types of flannel jackets to choose from, it’s hard to know what to buy. Here are three things to consider that will make finding the perfect flannel jacket a breeze.

Top Pick

This relaxed-fit option has plenty of room for movement and layering underneath and lets you keep your head warm on chilly mornings. Wrangler

There was a time when classic flannels from Orvis, L.L. Bean, and others were all made from 100-precent cotton. There was a good reason for this. Cotton breaks in nicely over time, growing softer and softer. And cotton does not retain body odors the way polyester does. You’ll notice a difference in the way true cotton flannel feels, too. Nothing beats that soft feel of cotton. Blended materials will add warmth and durability, however, which is why cotton/poly blends and even pure polyester flannels are so popular.

Great Value

This 100-percent cotton pick features a soft lining. Double stitching adds durability while two handwarmer pockets offer great storage. Legendary Whitetails

Flannel jackets are meant to be our best friends for years. As such, you want to make sure you buy them in the appropriate size so that you can come back to wear them every fall. Buy them too fitted and you’re liable to grow out of them, which would be a shame. Better to buy them just a skosh larger than your regular jacket size, especially if you plan to wear a sweater or down vest underneath as a mid-layer.

Built For Comfort

Red-and-black Buffalo plaid is the must-have flannel color. This one is made from 100-percent polyester so it will keep the warm air in and cool air out. Wrangler

When it comes to looking good in your flannel jacket consider the following:

  • Zippered flannel jackets look a little more modern. They’re practical, too. On chilly mornings you can zip them up higher around your neck for added warmth.
  • Button-front jackets lend a more classic, outdoor look. It’s a personal thing, but I think button-down styles pair up better with sweaters underneath than zippered designs, and you won’t need to worry about snagging your sweater fabric.
  • If you’re looking for a more traditional/casual look, checked patterns are the way to go. Solid colors are a bit dressier looking.
  • Regardless of pattern, stick to classic colors—red, green, grey, black and brown—for a great looking jacket you’ll enjoy for years.