Our last article discussed tweed as one option for a winter suit. This time we will look into another fabric ideal for a warm suit - flannel. Flannel fabrics are renowned for their softness, firmness and comfort.
In the process of creating flannel the wool goes through the step of napping to create a soft texture that hides the weave. Napping breaks up the surface fibers of the fabric giving it a soft, tousled appearance. The fabric is then shaved to achieve a more even texture. Flannel appeared first in the 17th century and most likely originated from Wales. Just like tweed, the woolen flannel has been very popular specially among the working class due to its various qualities: warmth, softness and moisture-wicking. In the dump and cold oceanic climate of Wales this breathable fabric hasn’t retained moisture due to it’s loose weave. Although today we see a lot of varieties of flannel made from cotton or synthetic fibers the first flannels were woolen and that is what we are going to discuss today.
Why has flannel become so popular for winter suits? First of all thanks to its thermoregulatory - this material keeps us warm without overheating. A lot of people also appreciate its softness, uncomparable to tweed. Due to its loose weave, woolen flannel is not so rigid and fits very well to the body. It is an ideal solution if you are looking for a complete suit, trousers only or just a jacket. Today's producers of this fabric offer flannels in a very wide range of colors from fuchsia to a classic charcoal. You can also choose its weight, depending on the intended use. Very heavy flannel may be used for outerwear, whereas the lighter one for a business suit.
The made-to-measure option allows you not only to choose the color and weight of the fabric but also to personalise your garment according to your needs. Contrasting lining, boutons, form of the jacket and trousers, everything will create an unique ensemble. Flannel fabric is also a good choice for a mismatched outfit which can be a less formal option for the office. This type of wool is particularly interesting for chinos especially when its color is navy blue, gray or brown and can be easily associated with different tops and jackets. An interesting variation of trousers would be the gurkha pants that you can pair with turtlenecks. If you choose a blazer, opt for a subtle pattern like a Prince of Wales or a houndstooth.
The British are indisputably among the best producers of flannel. Holland & Sherry proposes several collections from corded to worsted woolen flannel which gives you a range choice between heavier and lighter, more soft wool aka different utility. Worth mentioning are: “Classic Worsted Flannel”, “ Classic Flannel” and “Classic Woolen Flannel”.