Thick Flannel Shirts

Over the weekend, Jesse listed this Spring’s Seven “Must Have Or You’ll Die” Essentials. Do you know why? Because he lives in Los Angeles, and in Southern California, the four seasons are: spring, summer, summer with slightly chillier nights (but not by much), and spring with slightly chillier nights (but again, not by much). Dear readers: know that I - as your correspondent in the Bay Area - understand that we’re still solidly in winter. Here in the Bay, it’s still cold enough to need chunky sweaters, heavy coats, and the occasional pair of gloves. 

It’s also useful to have a few thick flannel shirts around. I’ve been wearing mine every once in a while with jeans and a leather jacket, and prefer ones made from heavy, coarse fabrics. My favorite sources so far include:

  • John Lofgren: A highly underrated and underappreciated workwear label. Really nice, thick fabrics made into shirts with slightly short, vintage-y cuts. Available at John Lofgren’s site directly, but also Self Edge and Bench & Loom (although the last two don’t have woven shirts right now).
  • Flat Head: A Japanese workwear label that draws a lot of inspiration from American motorcycle and hot rod subcultures. They have two lines of shirts – the mainline, which is slim and shorter fitting, and Glory Park, which is just a touch bigger. Of all my flannels, these are easily my favorite, but they’re expensive. If you don’t mind the price, they’re available at Self Edge and Rivet & Hide.
  • Five Brother: A genuine workwear label that recently started making slim fitting shirts for the fashion crowd. These are made from vividly colored fabrics with coarse weaves and a dry hand. Of all the companies on this list, Five Brother probably offers the best price to value ratio. You can find them now at Bench & Loom, but in the past, Context and Hickoree’s has also carried them (they will again this fall).
  • Nigel Cabourn: Always a favorite, but his prices are stratospherically high. If it matters, his flannel shirts are sometimes reversible, although the other side of the one I bought is perhaps too “fuzzy” to realistically use. Still, he has some nice subtle detailing that the other brands don’t offer (unique pocket designs, smoke mother-of-pearl buttons, and extra, extra thick fabrics). Available at Nigel Cabourn’s own website or any of his stockists. If you’re not able to afford those retail prices, you’ll have to trawl Yoox and eBay like me.
  • RRL: Ralph Lauren’s ranch inspired sub-label. The fabrics on RRL shirts really run the gamut, but in general, they’re typically a bit flimsier than the aforementioned brands (at least when it comes to fall/ winter shirts). On the upside, they can often be found on deep discount (I bought mine for about $75). These are available at Ralph Lauren’s website, and certain niche stockists such as Unionmade and Frans Boone.

The best part about wearing thick flannel shirts? With designers such as Daiki Suzuki and Heidi Slimane incorporating them into last year’s looks, you can simultaneously feel very “aritansal heritage workwear” and “high fashion au courant.” Plus, Rick Owens wears them! The dream of the 90s is alive in menswear. At least until spring comes for the rest of us. 


Engineered Garments SS15

Daiki Suzuki delivers another outstanding collection: a perfect materialization of the vintage-inspired aesthetic Engineered Garments has been known for. Mixing elements of British military stationed in India with a somewhat preppy influence, the result is an incredible mix of pattern and texture, spread throughout reinvented classics.

Apolis - Indigo Wool Chore Coat

Engineered Garments - Plaid Flannel Work Shirt

Levis Vintage Clothing - 519 Cords

Postalco - Notebook

Independence - Handmade Brand Pencil

Oak Street Bootmakers - Trench Chukka

That said, I want people to have fun when they’re wearing Engineered Garments. I want them to take part in this world I’ve created. I think with most fashion brands, you pay a lot of money and then you have this ready-made outfit and it’ll definitely look good because it’s expensive and well made. But with Engineered Garments, I don’t want the clothes to look perfect immediately. I think people should have to put some work into it. I think it should only look really good if the clothes match your taste, and you bring something of yourself to it. I think of Engineered Garments as clothing for people who are really into clothing.
—  Daiki Suzuki

Post O'alls - Idigo Swirl Engineer’s Jacket

Kapital - Paisley Selvage Bandana

Kapital - Bandana Ring 

Engineered Garments - Olive Ripstop Fatigue Pants

American Optical - Deadstock Safety Glasses

Inventory Magazine - Issue 10

Five Brother - Chambray Shirt