I picked up a couple of Uniqlo flannels last month and have been happily surprised by how often I turn to them for casual wear. They’re admittedly pretty simple – no high-end materials or unique detailing – but they come at fraction of the price that designer labels are charging these days. Plus, these are plaid flannel shirts – the kind of staple that was part of the thrifted ‘90s grunge look, which designers such as Hedi Slimane have been ripping off and repackaging for 100x the price. The cheap versions are arguably the originals.
Like most non-workwear flannels, these are thin, which makes them great for layering. You can wear one open, layered over a t-shirt, with the sleeves rolled up so you don’t look too stuffy. When the weather gets cold, you can also throw on a jacket. I like field jackets in this case, but leather ones also work well. This makes for a nice, comfortable look, without any of the bulkiness that a thicker flannel might bring.
If you wear a flannel shirt on its own, however, then you might want to add what Jesse sometimes calls a “point of distinction.” That means something to set what you’re wearing apart, so it doesn’t look too simple or boring. For me, this would be a pair of really beat-up jeans and some tan jodhpur boots, which is a type of strapped ankle boot similar to the Chelsea. I also like wearing my flannels with a mid-length steerhide wallet and some jewelry I bought from Self Edge.
At full retail, Uniqlo’s flannels cost $30, but you can sometimes find them on sale for $20 (which is how much I paid for mine). For something more affordable, try visiting your local thrift store. After all, many of those higher-end flannels are just inspired by thrift store finds. In a recent talk with The Fashion Law, Courtney Love said of the Saint Laurent FW13 collection: “It reminds me of Value Village. Real grunge. I love that rich ladies are going to pay a fortune to look like we used to look when we had nothing.”
Pictured above: Green field jacket from Aspesi; white pocket t-shirt from Barns, red plaid flannel shirt from Uniqlo; straight legged jeans from 3sixteen; tan jodhpur boots from Ralph Lauren; mid-length wallet from The Flat Head; bracelet and necklace from Self Edge; and horsehide Clint Stitch belt from Don’t Mourn Organize.