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 2 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:
- Best Everyday Women’s Flannel: Patagonia Fjord Flannel
- Best Budget Flannel for Women: Carhartt Rugged Flex Hamilton Flannel
- Runner-Up Best Flannel: Roark Alpine Long Sleeve Flannel
- Best Wool Women’s Flannel: Fjallraven Canada Shirt
- Best Active Flannel for Women: Kitsbow Icon Shirt
- Best Heavyweight Women’s Flannel: California Cowboy Women’s High Sierra
- Most Sustainable Flannel: Outerknown Blanket Shirt
- Best of the Rest: Outdoor Research Feedback Flannel
- REI Wallace Lake Flannel Shirt
- Duluth Trading Folklore Flannel Tunic
- Legendary Whitetails Cottage Escape
The Best Flannel Shirts for Women in 2023
Patagonia Fjord Flannel
- 2 chest patch pockets
- Pockets have button-flap closures
- Cotton is not as technical as synthetic fibers
Carhartt Rugged Flex Hamilton Flannel
- Material 97% cotton, 3% spandex
- Density Lightweight
- Best for Splitting wood, hanging by the campfire
- Spandex adds stretch
- Can’t beat that friendly price
- Fit is a bit on the short side
Roark Alpine Long Sleeve Flannel
- Material 60% organic cotton, 40% repreve (performance fiber made from recycled plastic bottles)
- Density Light
- Best for Around town, camp life, travel, cruiser bike rides
- Sustainable materials
- Moderate price
- Not the heaviest flannel if your looking to bundle up in arctic conditions
Fjallraven Canada Shirt
- Material 70% recycled wool, 30% polyamide
- Density Heavyweight
- Best for Cold days, chilly campfire nights
- Wide size run from XS to XXL
- Wool helps squelch body odor
- Pricier choice
Kitsbow Icon Shirt
- Material Pendleton merino wool
- Density Lightweight
- Best for Crushing the singletrack, hiking, everyday wear
- Elbow reinforcements
- Reflectivity for night trips
- No snap or button to secure chest pocket flaps
California Cowboy Women’s High Sierra
- Material Portuguese flannel, cotton-polyester lining
- Density Heavyweight
- Best for Campfire hangouts, ski trips, light winter hiking, commuting, and everyday wear
- Interior hidden glove loop
- Bottle opener is included
- Too warm for warmer autumn days
- An investment
Outerknown Blanket Shirt
- Versatile yet thick layer
- One of the few completely cotton options on our list (providing priority softness)
- More than 20 vibrant color and pattern choices
- Density is not very compressible for packing away
- Bigger investment
- Only two size options: XS/S and M/L
Outdoor Research Feedback Flannel
- Material Polyester
- Density Lightweight
- Best for General wear (in the office, lounging by a fireplace), fall hiking, layering
- 2 hidden extra hand pockets near the hem (plus 2 chest pockets with button closure)
- Bluesign-approved material
- UPF 50+ for sun protection2 hidden extra hand pockets near the hem (plus 2 chest pockets with button closure)
- Bluesign-approved material
- UPF 50+ for sun protection
- Less tailored, wider cut isn’t everyone’s first choice
REI Wallace Lake Flannel Shirt
- Broad size run from XS to 2XL
- Many color options
- Lower price point
- Roomy fit might not be a green light for some
- Cotton does not dry as fast as synthetic fibers
Duluth Trading Folklore Flannel Tunic
- Material 69% cotton, 31% polyester
- Density Midweight
- Best for Chopping firewood, farmhouse chores, everyday wear
- 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
- Moderate weight might be too warm for some conditions
Legendary Whitetails Cottage Escape
- Nearly 20 pattern options
- Economic choice
- Not as durable as higher quality or denser flannels
Flannel Shirts 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||$29-59||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||$289||Pendleton merino wool||Lightweight||Crushing the singletrack, hiking, everyday wear|
|California Cowboy Women’s High Sierra||$168||Portuguese flannel, cotton-polyester lining||Heavyweight||Campfire hangouts, ski trips, light winter hiking, commuting, and everyday use|
|Roark Alpine Long Sleeve Flannel||$89||60% organic cotton, 40% repreve||Light||Around town, camp life, travel, cruiser bike rides|
|Outerknown Blanket Shirt||$148||Cotton||Heavyweight||Camping, everyday use, picnics|
|Outdoor Research Feedback Flannel||$95||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||$22-35||Cotton||Midweight||Casual campfire outings, backyard barbecuing|
Why You Should Trust Us
Our GearJunkie team has been actively testing flannels in the Rockies and across the U.S. for several years — but has decades of experience with wearing this essential layer. 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. We care about sustainable design, and the industry is still catching up.
Beyond our field testing and examinations, we stay afloat on the newest, 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. If you’re looking for a flannel for any of the important guys in your life be sure to check out our guide to the best flannels for men.
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. While they may not perform as well during active pursuits as a lightweight fleece jacket, most folks agree that they have better style for around-town wear.
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.
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 REI’s Wallace Lake flannel, Carhartt Rugged Flex Hamilton Flannel, or 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.
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 premier 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.
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!
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 ($22-35) or Carhartt Rugged Flex Hamilton ($29-59). 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 ($168), Kitsbow Icon Shirt ($289), 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.
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, 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!
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.
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.
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 Escape, Duluth 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 of how you want to use it, and then use our guide to find the best option for you.
The warmest women’s flannel in our guide is California Cowboy Women’s High Sierra Flannel Shirt, which 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.
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.
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.
We’re big proponents of washing our clothes less in order to be mindful consumers, 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 3-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., campfire, or dirt smudges, or when we’ve used bug spray, those are all signs to get a good wash in.
Be sure to follow the instructions on the garment.