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Are you mourning summer yet? Have you packed away the barbecue and put your shorts in storage? Have you already complained about how gloomy the evenings feel, how soon the sun drops and night closes in?

Well, cheer up. Yes, it’s dark early. Yes, it’s only going to get even darker, even earlier. Yes, temperatures will plummet and you’ll be sandblasted by horizontal rain for the next six months. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Because the worse the weather gets, the more opportunities you have to wear those cosy, comfy, fleecy shirts that make us actually look forward to winter.

We don’t just love flannel shirts because they’re soft. They’re also wardrobe workhorses that go with anything and, if you pick your colours and patterns wisely, can transform even the dowdiest foul-weather looks into outfits jammed with personality.

Take the trio on show here, from the plaid shirt experts at Jack & Jones. In the middle, a simple monochrome whose interlocking checks make it exponentially more interesting than any plain black or white shirt ever could be. But, because it’s colourless, there’s nothing it won’t go with. It’s like a magic trick, in which the easiest-to-wear piece in your wardrobe somehow transforms into one of its most distinctive.

On the right, the same pattern (and texture) appears in blue and green, which are colours that we believe certainly should be seen. It’s slightly less muted but just as versatile, because it sticks close to menswear’s core palette. You could wear this shirt with jeans and a pea coat, or under a blazer, and it wouldn’t look out of place. It would, however, add just enough distinctiveness to make the entire outfit feel more deliberate.

Finally, the mustard number on the left, which is the easiest way we can imagine to introduce some colour to your autumn wardrobe. On its own, that shade could feel a bit attention-seeking. But navy and white are the touches of neutrality that tone the whole thing down. Darkening days tend to have the same effect on men’s wardrobes, with brightness evicted in favour of greys, blues, and blacks. A checked shirt can be the antidote to this slide towards dullness. After all, when the weather won’t provide, you need to find your sunshine somewhere else. This season, a checked shirt will help you look on the bright side.

Words: Tom Banham
Styling: Alexander McCalla