Not to be confused with plaid patterning, flannel is a fabric derived from wool or cotton that has been brushed to create a soft and fuzzy surface. With Welsh origins, flannel was developed to retain wool’s durability and warmth but finessed with a metal brush to be softer and more comfortable to wear directly against the skin. For centuries, wool-based flannel was used throughout Europe as the ideal fabric for warm winter clothing. From hats to shirts to outwear, flannel proved to be a durable, affordable, and warm choice during wet and windy winters.
Today, flannel can be derived from wool, cotton or synthetic fibers and is most often used to make garments and blankets. From working-class uniforms to grunge self-expression to hipster wardrobes, flannel has proven to be a long-loved fabric in fashion but unlike trends, flannel will never go out of style.