Making a great women's button-down means throwing the standard formula out the window
I love flannel shirts: the brushed plushness of their fabric, the visual texture of the plaids, the combinations of color. But it can be devastatingly hard to find one that fits me well.
These shirts were originally tailored to fit men’s broad, angular chests. Classic button-downs use a lot of straight seams, which look sharp on guys but can get bucked by women’s curves. Case in point: the button-front closure. We’ve all seen (or experienced) how gaps often open up between those buttons to expose an eyeful of skin.
That leaves us with two choices: we can wear our flannels unbuttoned or over a tee, like cardigan sweaters, or we can pull on Duluth Trading Company’s Crosscut Wicking Flannel Shirt ($55).
The shirt throws a few curves into the standard cut. The back seams are slightly hourglass-shaped to create a better fit around the waist and underarm gussets and darts on the chest create plenty of room for substantial cup sizes. Hidden stretch panels on the back (at the shoulders) let me reach and bend without feeling bound up in fabric. A few hidden buttons on the placket prevent gappage. And because the extra closures aren't visible, I don’t look like I’m wearing an obsessively buttoned shirt.
Admittedly, the fabric’s blend of 60 percent cotton with 40 percent polyester doesn’t feel as cozy as all-cotton numbers, but it is faster-drying, which I’ve appreciated while fly-fishing and paddling. And it fits, which makes this shirt a marvel.
Two More Great Women’s Flannels
The Pladra Women’s Peregrine ($119) uses long darts to take in fabric at the waist and let it flare at the hip. The 100-percent cotton fabric feels bath-towel plush, and the eagle pattern lining the cuffs and collar looks great.
Yeah, boobs sometimes interfere with the functionality of traditional chest pockets, so Stio left them off its Dovetail Flannel Shirt ($95). Nothing’s lost: it still looks like old-school flannel, but with curved seams that keep the fabric from binding across the bust.