woman wearing Topo Designs Mountain Flannel walking through field
(Photo/Topo Designs)

The Best Women’s Flannel Shirts of 2022-2023

Flannel shirts are the unofficial cold-weather uniform of the outdoors. Ladies, suit up with these women’s-specific designs that run the gamut from performance to fashion.

Nothing says fall like a women’s flannel. Crisp nights by the campfire, brisk mornings chopping wood, and chilly days in town all pair perfectly with the warm and stylish shoulder-season staple.

Today’s flannels evolved from 17th-century farming roots, which eventually reached outdoorswomen in the last two decades. Now, a myriad of designs include shirts made from various fabric blends, technical features, and even heavy-duty jackets. Best of all, there’s a women’s flannel shirt option to fit every budget and style.

If you’d like to learn more about the details behind women’s flannel shirts, scroll to our buyer’s guide, frequently asked questions, and comparison chart below.

Otherwise, scroll through to see all of our recommended buys and get equipped for the colder days ahead or jump to the category you’re looking for:

The Best Flannel Shirts for Women in 2022-2023

Best Everyday Women’s Flannel: Patagonia Fjord Flannel

Made of 100% organic cotton, the Fjord Flannel ($99) from Patagonia is an updated take on the classic flannel that’s so buttery-soft it remains our number one choice every day of the week.

Once you put this button-up flannel on, you’ll never want to take it off. Luckily, it comes in a range of colors and washes up nicely, so you can wear it day after day.

There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles here, but that’s what we like. It’s simple, classic, and comfortable. And it’s the flannel we reach for first.

It’s also available for men, boys, and girls — because the family that flannels together stays warm together.

Specs:
  • Material: Organic cotton
  • Density: Midweight
  • Best for: All-day, everyday wear
Pros:
  • 2 chest patch pockets
  • Pockets have button-flap closures
Cons:
  • Cotton is not as technical as synthetic fibers

Check Price at REICheck Price at Patagonia

Best Budget Flannel for Women: Carhartt Rugged Flex Hamilton Flannel

Carhartt Rugged Flex Hamilton Flannel

This Carhartt shirt ($23-66) remains steadfast as a favorite — and for good reason. It’s impressively durable for the price without wading into scratchy, uncomfortable territory.

A blend of cotton and spandex, it has just enough stretch to allow for moderate range of motion. You can confidently chop firewood without feeling like you’re going to blow out the shoulders.

We like that it has a relaxed but slightly tailored fit. The sleeves can feel a bit short for women with long arms. But we tend to roll our sleeves up when working, so it wasn’t an issue for us.

This shirt may not be the most technical on the list. But for less than $80 and as low as $23, it could be your perfect campfire companion.

Specs:
  • Material: 97% cotton, 3% spandex
  • Density: Lightweight
  • Best for: Splitting wood, hanging by the campfire
Pros:
  • Spandex adds stretch
  • Can’t beat that friendly price
Cons:
  • Fit is a bit on the short side

Check Price at Amazon

Best Wool Women’s Flannel: Fjallraven Canada Shirt

fjallraven canada shirt

Looking for a time-honored wool flannel shirt? Then you need to meet the Fjallraven Canada Shirt ($165). It checks all the important boxes. The wool blend wicks moisture, dries quickly, and naturally stays stink-free.

We’ve found it comfortable next to skin, though it doesn’t have as soft a feel as some cotton options included here. The chest pockets have buttons and are just big enough to stash a card or bit of cash.

All in all, this has quickly become a favorite for chilly campsite hangs and cold winter days. And we feel good knowing it’s helping us tread lightly by using recycled wool.

Specs:
  • Material: 70% recycled wool, 30% polyamide
  • Density: Heavyweight
  • Best for: Cold days, chilly campfire nights
Pros:
  • Wide size run from XS to XXL
  • Wool helps squelch body odor
Cons:
  • Pricier choice

Check Price at REICheck Price at Backcountry

Best Active Flannel for Women: Kitsbow Icon Shirt

Kitsbow Icon Shirt

For an outdoorswoman that doesn’t want to be held back by her clothes, the Kitsbow Icon Shirt ($259) checks the key boxes for high-action days. The Icon combines the awesomeness of Pendleton wool with Kitsbow’s performance-focused design.

The articulated shoulder vents and stretch gussets allow for full range of movement and dump heat when you need it. The abrasion panels on the elbows provide extra protection but also add a fun dash of style.

This technical flannel is impressively breathable, comfortable against bare skin, durable, and made in the U.S. Some of our testers wore it nonstop for the 6 months, and it still looked as good as it did on day one.

Being wool, it will keep you warm even if wet. Quality wool only has one downside, and that’s the price. But given its durability, this is a shirt you’ll own for many years.

Yes, the Icon shirt is an investment. But it’s worth it for a shirt that performs on the trail, looks good in town, and is built to last.

Specs:
  • Material: Pendleton merino wool
  • Density: Lightweight
  • Best for: Crushing the singletrack, hiking, everyday wear
Pros:
  • Elbow reinforcements
  • Reflectivity for night trips
Cons:
  • No snap or button to secure chest pocket flaps

Check Price at Kitsbow

Best Heavyweight Women’s Flannel: California Cowboy Women’s High Sierra

california cowboy high sierra flannel

California Cowboy impressed us with its first run of flannels as a brand — and now they are back with more women’s options. The star of the show? The Women’s High Sierra Flannel Shirt ($148). This puppy is high-quality, and ticks nearly everything you could ask for in a flannel.

Luxury Portuguese flannel? Check. Thick, terry cloth thermal lining? Check. Button-up cuffs? Check. Sunglass loop? Check. Double breast pockets? Check. Waterproof and zippered security pocket? Check. And yes, it even has a pocket for your beer.

California Cowboy calls the High Sierra its “signature après-ski flannel.” As it was on the thicker and warmer side of all the flannels we tested, we agree it is great for colder, snowier days, whether at the slopes or hunkering down in a backcountry cabin or hut.

We also loved the fit — which is accurate, though a tad longer in the arms — perfect for keeping you covered and cozy, right down to your wrists.

The High Sierra Flannel comes in sizes XS-XL, and in either checkered or plaid styles.

Specs:
  • Material: Portuguese flannel, cotton-polyester lining
  • Density: Heavyweight
  • Best for: Campfire hangouts, ski trips, light winter hiking, commuting, and everyday wear
Pros:
  • Interior hidden glove loop
  • Bottle opener included in pocket
Cons:
  • Too warm for warmer autumn days
  • An investment

Check Price at California Cowboy

Best of the Rest

Outdoor Research Feedback Flannel

Outdoor Research Feedback Flannel

There are a lot of great reasons to love this flannel. Engineered to be a “cold-weather favorite,” OR’s Feedback Flannel ($95) is a great option for fall or winter. Based on our test days, the polyester fabric is the perfect thickness, although it’s a bit wide in the shoulders.

The flannel is also easy to layer either with a jacket over or a shirt underneath, which we love. The attention to detail on this shirt with the two hidden zip pockets on the torso is great, and the quick-drying feature means it can withstand light exercise. And thanks to its polyester material, it’ll dry much faster than cotton flannel.

Specs:
  • Material: Polyester
  • Density: Lightweight
  • Best for: General wear (in the office, lounging by a fireplace), fall hiking, layering
Pros:
  • 2 hidden extra hand pockets near the hem (plus 2 chest pockets)
  • Bluesign-approved material 
  • UPF 50+ for sun protection
Cons:
  • Less tailored, wider cut isn’t everyone’s first choice 

Check Price at REI

REI Wallace Lake Flannel Shirt

REI Wallace Lake Flannel Shirt

REI’s Wallace Lake flannel ($75) is breathable, so it’s well-suited for outdoor activity. This one’s got thinner material and feels lighter than a traditional flannel. We recommend wearing it in temps above 45 degrees or wearing a shirt underneath for added warmth.

There was plenty of room in the shoulders — extra, even — in the medium size. It’s a solid pick for those with wider hips, broader shoulders, longer arms, or larger busts. We recommend sizing down if you like a more form-fitting feel.

As a coal miner’s granddaughter, our tester digs the pickaxe accent on the top snap closure. The buttons on the two chest pockets are reinforced, as are the shirt’s side seams (with gussets where they meet the hem).

Specs:
  • Material: Cotton
  • Density: Midweight
  • Best for: Stacking wood, active pursuits
Pros:
  • Broad size run from XS to 3XL
  • Many color options
  • Lower price point
Cons:
  • Roomy fit might not be a green light for some
  • Cotton does not dry as fast as synthetic fibers

Check Price at REI

Duluth Trading Folklore Flannel Tunic

Duluth Trading Co Folklore Flannel Tunic

When you need a bit of extra coverage, reach for this thick and double-brushed flannel tunic ($70). The longer cut and drop-tail hem means it pairs well with leggings and won’t ride up during the day’s work.

Most of all, we like how this shirt doesn’t restrict movement. With hidden underarm gussets and a bi-swing back, you can easily chop wood or reach up high without feeling like you’re about to Hulk out of this shirt.

It’s faded slightly over a year of washing and wearing, but that could be avoided if you hang to dry. Otherwise, it’s held up well, and we haven’t had any problems with shrinking. This is a solid, hardworking flannel that gives an extra bit of coverage.

Specs:
  • Material: 69% cotton, 31% polyester
  • Density: Midweight
  • Best for: Chopping firewood, farmhouse chores, everyday wear
Pros:
  • Size spectrum from XS to plus sizes up to 3XL 
  • 4 pockets, including 2 chest pockets and 2 hand pockets
  • Integrated microfiber cleaning cloth under hem is a great tool for cleaning glasses or phone screens
Cons:
  • Moderate weight might be too warm for some conditions  

Check Price at Duluth Trading

Legendary Whitetails Cottage Escape

Legendary Whitetails Cottage Escape

In need of an extra campfire layer one weekend, we grabbed the Legendary Whitetails Cottage Escape ($30-35) on a whim. Surprisingly, it became a mainstay. It’s a fun option if you’re excited to jump on the flannel train and are looking for a classic look and budget price.

It doesn’t have any bells or whistles and probably won’t last a lifetime. But for less than $50, it’s a good, basic flannel. It’s available in several classic color combos and fits as expected.

Specs:
  • Material: Cotton
  • Density: Midweight
  • Best for: Casual campfire outings, backyard barbecuing
Pros:
  • Nearly 20 pattern options
  • Economic choice
Cons:
  • Not as durable as higher quality or denser flannels  

Check Price at AmazonCheck Price at Legendary Whitetails

Flannel Shirt for Women Comparison Chart

Flannel Shirt Price Material Density Best for
Patagonia Fjord Flannel $99 Organic cotton Midweight All-day, everyday wear
Carhartt Rugged Flex Hamilton Flannel $23-66 97% cotton, 3% spandex Lightweight Splitting wood, hanging by the campfire
Fjallraven Canada Shirt $165 70% recycled wool, 30% polyamide Heavyweight Cold days, chilly campfire nights
Kitsbow Icon Shirt $259 Pendleton merino wool Lightweight Crushing the singletrack, hiking, everyday wear
California Cowboy Women’s High Sierra $148 Portuguese flannel, cotton-polyester lining Heavyweight Campfire hangouts, ski trips, light winter hiking, commuting, and every day
Outdoor Research Feedback Flannel $75 Polyester Polyester General wear, fall hiking, layering
REI Wallace Lake Flannel Shirt $75 Cotton Cotton Stacking wood, active pursuits
Duluth Trading Folklore Flannel Tunic $70 69% cotton, 31% polyester Midweight Chopping firewood, farmhouse chores, everyday wear
Legendary Whitetails Cottage Escape $30-35 Cotton Midweight Casual campfire outings, backyard barbecuing
topodesigns flannel
Flannels can be a great layer year-round; (photo/Topo Designs)

Why You Should Trust Us

Our GearJunkie team has been testing flannels in the Rockies and across the U.S. for several years. Our crew of ladies has pulled out flannels for everyday yard work, errands, and travel as well as campouts, playing with the kids, gardening, hiking, riding cruisers, and more.

While testing women’s flannel shirts, we pay attention to overall fit, quality, breathability, insulation, range of motion, and value. We take note of the other key details including softness, buttons (placement, size, durability, quality), seams, hems, center back length, collar, and pockets.

Beyond our field testing and examinations, we stay afloat on the most innovative, popular, top-rated, and legacy designs available for women today. We make sure to choose a range of flannel shirts that serve various users, applications, and budgets.

OR flannel close up on female in a park outside
The majority of our top women’s flannels are button-up; (photo/GearJunkie)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Women’s Flannel Shirt

These iconic shirts are defined by three key characteristics: softness to the touch, warmth, and moisture-wicking ability.

Flannel shirts were first developed by Welsh textile workers in Wales in the 17th century. The designs refurbished leftover sheep’s wool, a textile that retains warmth when exposed to moisture.

Wool also resists odors and UV light and can block the wind. For farmers in a cool, overcast climate, the material was perfect and quickly became a staple.

The design evolved to include worsted yarns as an option, which includes a variety of mixed fibers such as cotton.

Next, flannels spread from Europe to the United States during World War I, when a flannel layer was included in the uniform of soldiers. Today, flannels remain a utility choice for outdoor recreation, work days, and everyday outside life.

Materials

In addition to wool, many fibers and hybrid blends are used to create women’s flannels today including cotton and polyester or other synthetic materials.

  • Cotton: soft, comfortable next to skin, notorious for not drying fast when it becomes wet
  • Wool: warm/insulating, breathable, resists odors, not as soft as cotton, retains warmth when wet
  • Synthetics: increase durability and elasticity in a shirt, dry quickly when wet, not as warm as wool

If you plan to do high-output activity that’ll make you sweat while wearing your flannel, we recommend a synthetic blend. Although, wool is likely the best choice if insulation is the number one priority.

Wool doesn’t dry as quickly as a synthetic fiber when wet, from sweat or rain, but retains warmth regardless of dampness. If you won’t be sweating outdoors, cotton is a comfortable, excellent choice.

Fit

One of the greatest virtues of the evolution of the flannel is women’s-specific designs. Made for gals, these flannels offer a proper complimentary cut around the shoulders, chest, and waist compared to men’s shirts, which are often boxy, wide, and loose. The length of the torso and arms is also dialed for ladies.

All women’s flannels are generally at least a tad roomy and super comfortable and offer a range of movement. But some cuts and fabrics hit those three marks more than others.

In general, one flannel option is a more form-fitting, athletic silhouette such as the Kitsbow Icon Shirt. While the shirt hugs the body more closely, it also is designed for high movement with articulated shoulders and a blend of fibers for stretch.

Other styles offer a relaxed, moderately baggy fit like the REI’s Wallace Lake flannel, Carhartt Rugged Flex Hamilton Flannelor the California Cowboy Women’s High Sierra.

Another unique take on the feminine flannel is a tunic, like the Duluth Trading Folklore Flannel Tunic, offering an extended length.

You can always size up if you prefer an even roomier fit.

The Best Women's Flannels includes the Topo Designs Work Shirt
Flannels can be layered over a base layer and beneath a midlayer or outer layer jacket; (photo/Topo Designs)

Fabric Weights or Density

The heavier the flannel weight, the thicker the material will be and the more insulation it will offer. In technical terms, g/m² (grams per meter squared) is the weight of a square meter of fabric.

  • 150-190 g/m²: lightweight flannel, great for fall and spring, wearing indoors, mild climates
  • 200-250 g/m²: midweight flannel, moderate winter climates, outdoor activity
  • 250 g/m² and above: heavyweight flannel, extreme winter conditions

For the most part, the actual fabric weight is not typically easy to find during research. Here, we categorized our flannels into three general areas — lightweight, midweight, and heavyweight — to help give you an idea of what to expect for each shirt’s density.

In our guide, the majority of our top picks for women’s flannels are midweight options, including the Legendary Whitetails Cottage Escape. The California Cowboy Women’s High Sierra Flannel Shirt is our premiere heavyweight choice. Less dense, lightweight shirts (which still provide warmth) include OR’s Feedback Flannel.

The textiles used in each flannel also play a hand in overall warmth such as wool, which offers great insulation.

Closure Style

The most common hem-to-collar closure on women’s flannels is a line of buttons. The second most common choice is snaps.

Most of our top picks are outfitted with buttons, simply because they’re most common. The Kitsbow Icon Shirt has snaps, which are a great form of insurance for a technical flannel, because buttons are more likely to become unthreaded, break, or tear off during intense activity like mountain biking or lifting hay bales.

Snaps are easier and quicker to undo compared to buttons. Some people prefer the aesthetic.

Not all buttons are created equal. Cheaper or less durable buttons can be prone to cracking and quickly break down in the washing machine, based on our experience. Unfortunately, many brands do not openly share their button selection. Many shirts include an extra button — be sure to keep that on hand!

female gear tester wearing the California Cowboy High Sierra Women's Flannel
Various pocket options exist on women’s flannels including chest pockets and hand pockets; (photo/GearJunkie)

Construction

A high-quality, long-lasting flannel shirt is defined by the materials and overall construction.

For example, some shirts are double- or triple-stitched in high-use areas such as the shoulders. The use of flat-fell seams increases durability, removes the raw edge, and looks svelte without adding bulk.

Alternatively, shirts can have a basic serger, or overlock, stitch, where the two opposing panels are stitched together with an exposed edge on the inside. An overlock stitch is easier to produce and is reflected in a lower price. However, an overlock stitch doesn’t feel as smooth as a flat-fell seam plus it can snag or fray.

While a well-constructed shirt will cost more upfront, the invested time and materials for the construction will help increase the lifespan.

Price and Value

The tags on women’s flannel shirts range from less than $50 to more than $200.

On the lower end, you can more easily grab an economic flannel like the Legendary Whitetails Cottage Escape ($30-35) or Carhartt Rugged Flex Hamilton ($23-66). At less than 100 bucks, you can also grab the Duluth Trading Folklore Flannel Tunic ($70) or REI’s Wallace Lake flannel ($75).

Middle-of-the-road flannels that hover near $100 include OR’s Feedback Flannel ($95) or the Patagonia Fjord Flannel ($99).

At a higher price point, you’ll find the California Cowboy Women’s High Sierra Flannel Shirt ($148), Kitsbow Icon Shirt ($259), and Fjallraven Canada Shirt ($165).

Higher priced flannels typically reflect a higher quality, more refined, tailored fit, technical design points — such as articulated shoulders or unique pockets — and sustainable materials. Typically, high-end flannels are durable and made of well-constructed wool or fabric blends that are flexible, breathable, and warm. Flannels with a larger price tag might also be denser, lined, or heavier-weight materials for colder conditions or sedentary activity.

On the other end, lower-cost flannels are still made well but not as durable and the fabric blend is not as complex, so they won’t be a workhorse but usually function well for everyday use.

checkered Outdoor Research flannel
Flannel cuffs can be buttoned or rolled up for adaptability; (photo/GearJunkie)


FAQ

What Is Flannel?

A flannel is a warm shirt constructed with loose-fitting fabric that’s noticeably soft to the touch. Flannels are made with a range of fabrics including wool — the most traditional material used to make a flannel — as well as cotton, synthetic fibers, or various blends.

After being loosely woven together, the yarns are brushed using a fine metal brush on the interior or exterior or both to create a buttery smooth texture. The brushing technique is called napping, which raises the fibers.

Typical flannels are long-sleeve. They come in various densities or fabric weights including light, medium, and heavy.

Flannels are utilitarian, excellent layering pieces, and cozy!

What Flannels are Most Durable?

In our experience, the most durable women’s flannels are often synthetic and wool blends followed by cotton flannels.

Some flannels are reinforced for additional tenacity like the elbow panels on the Kitsbow Icon Shirt.

However, the lifespan of a flannel is also influenced by how the shirt is used (are you mountain biking through dense forest, hauling firewood, or walking the dog?) and following the shirt’s care instructions.

What Is the Difference Between Flannel and Plaid?

Plaid is a pattern. The popular arrangement is a criss-cross of horizontal and vertical lines of various colors, which often range in widths and boldness. Plaid patterns range in color combos and fabric types.

Many flannel shirts are designed with a plaid option. Flannels are also available in solid color options or other unique patterns.

How Do I Choose a Flannel?

Start with how and where you want to use your flannel shirt.

If you intend to wear your flannel outside or as a jacket, consider a wool, insulated, or heavyweight flannel. In our guide, that would be a flannel like the California Cowboy Women’s High Sierra Flannel Shirt or the Fjallraven Canada Shirt.

For those that want a technical flannel for activities like biking, backpacking, and climbing, look no further than the Kitsbow Icon Shirt.

Otherwise, for everyday use, camping out, or light chores we enjoyed a range of women’s flannels like the Legendary Whitetails Cottage EscapeDuluth Trading Folklore Flannel Tunic, REI’s Wallace Lake flannel, and OR’s Feedback Flannel.

Ultimately, the best women’s flannel will be the design that meets your needs. Take stock in how you want to use it, and then use our guide to find the best option for you.

What's the Warmest Flannel?

The warmest women’s flannel in our guide is California Cowboy Women’s High Sierra Flannel Shirtwhich is lined with a cotton-polyester thermal layer and a dense, softly brushed exterior. The brand says it’s made for on and off the ski lift — on a calm, sunny spring day, we’d definitely wear this shirt on the lift as our outer layer. We also love wearing this warm flannel as a daily driver on super frigid winter days.

What's the Most Comfortable Flannel?

The most comfortable flannel is the one that fits us best. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than feeling like you’re going to bust open the shoulder, upper back, or buttons across the chest on a women’s flannel shirt while you’re shoving a bag into the overhead bin on a flight or riding your bike to work.

Take a close look at the sizing charts for each brand because they’re all unique and measure yourself for your most up-to-date size. Be sure to consider if you’ll need extra room for high-stakes movement like picking up the kiddos or swinging an axe to cut firewood.

How Long Do Flannels Last?

Our high-end flannels typically last 4-6 years with the most consistent use in the fall, winter, and spring months. Many of those flannels have experienced broken buttons, unthreaded buttons, small holes, pilling, or a decrease in elasticity over that time.

The lifespan of a flannel is also influenced by how the shirt is used (are you mountain biking through dense forest, hauling firewood, or walking the dog?) and following the shirt’s care instructions.

How Often Should I Wash My Flannel Shirt?

We’re big proponents of washing our clothes less in order to be a mindful consumer, saving water, electricity, laundry detergent, and money. Washing clothes less also lengthens the lifespan of the material.

That said, when we go away for a three-day campout and only bring one flannel, we usually need to wash it when we come home. When there’s a noticeable stench, from B.O. or campfire, or dirt smudges, or we’ve used bug spray, those are good signs to get a good wash in.

Be sure to follow the instructions on the garment.


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