Howler Brothers Harkers Flannel Review
With winter weather bearing down on most of the U.S., the warmth and utility of flannel is officially back in season.
Even here in Southern California, we’ve faced some cold weather over the last few weeks. It’s been perfect for testing the Howler Brothers Harkers Flannel shirt I ordered in a Box Plaid – Station Blue style and color combo.
The shirt has fared very well overall. Its material and design quality are unmistakable. It is functionally great. And the shirt is the kind of piece that makes a man’s closet happy. Yet, for me, the fit could benefit from a slight tweak or two.
Howler Brothers Harkers Flannel Material
The Howler Brothers Harkers Flannel shirt is constructed of a remarkably soft polyester and cotton blend. This cloth exudes comfort with a hint of luxury.
And it’s warm. It’s very warm. For several days this month, winds have blown down from the mountain ranges of Southern California, across the valleys, and through the beach city where I live. Mornings have been dry and frigid before the sun rises, and the mercury has plummeted after sundown. The Harkers Flannel has been more than sufficient insulation against these desert-like chills.
In true cold-weather climes, the shirt would make a worthy layer for bundling against the elements.
At the cuffs, elbows, across the upper back, and at the right shoulder (where a hunters yolk is found), the material is layered two-thick for added durability.
Howler Brothers Harkers Flannel Design
Those second layers of material aren’t just for function. The elbow patches, hunters yolk, upper back section, and left-hand chest pocket serve in a style capacity as well. The box plaid pattern is rotated 90 degrees in these areas. The effect is a cool accentuation of the box plaid design.
The rotated cloth layering also draws the eye to the unique elbow patch and hunters yolk features. These accents give the shirt character and visual depth by breaking up the plaid pattern.
The Station Blue color is a deep hue, finished off in gauzy texturing that softens the bold pigment. The white box pattern that intersects the blue is creamy in tint. Together, the hues are easy on the eyes and underscore the shirt’s softness and luxurious comfort.
Catchy orange stitching holds the Howler Brothers Harkers Flannel together. While the orange is almost unnoticeable along the seams, it stands out beautifully at the button eyelets. The orange stitching is a flourish of sartorial élan that once was the reserve of custom wardrobe pieces. Now, such details have migrated to mass-market clothing; but the touches continue to read very high-end. The color lends some punchy charisma to this flannel shirt. And let’s face it: The trick of turning flannel into an elegant, even buoyant, garment is no mean feat.
The shirt’s buttons, by the way, are machined from metal and display the Howler Brothers name in a nice piece of branding work. The buttons stand out against that orange eyelet stitching and emphasize masculinity and modernity.
A Howler Monkey logo at the rear of the left shoulder tells the rest of the branding story. The logo is easy to miss, however. I wonder why the shirt’s designers didn’t use the orange thread from the shirt’s stitching for the logo. As it stands, the color of stitching used gets lost in the plaid. When your logo’s a Howler Monkey, it seems immoral not to let that simian scream.
Howler Brothers Harkers Flannel Fit
The fit of the Howler Brothers Harkers Flannel shirt is my only gripe with this product. Material and design are both top-notch. Fit is a little funny. It’s certainly not bad, but it’s not quite ideal. And it’s a minor complaint. Let me explain.
This shirt fits me perfectly across the shoulders. It couldn’t be better. I have custom-made dress shirts with more wiggle room and looser edges. Perfect.
The sleeve girth is perfect. It’s loose enough that I don’t have to worry about mobility issues. But it’s tight enough that I don’t look like a kid in his big brother’s clothes. If I flex my upper arms, there’s about an inch of extra material. At the forearms, there are about two inches of extra material. Perfect.
Here’s where things get less than ideal. The girth of this shirt’s body is bit too wide, while the body length is on the short end of normal. The sleeves are also just a hair short. The net effect is a fit in the body that is both a bit big and small at the same time – a little wide and a little short. If either the body girth were slimmed or the body length were extended, the shirt’s fit would be just fine.
It’s a shame the body is cut as it is because the shoulders and girth of the sleeves are so well trimmed. In fact, the issue is really only noticeable because of the inconsistency between the snug fit in the shoulders and sleeves and the loose fit of the body.
Now, it’s certainly possible this shirt will fit others just fine. But for those who tend to feel more comfortable in “slim” or “athletic” cut shirts, the Howler Brothers Harkers Flannel may leave you wishing for a snugger fit.
Who Howler Brothers Harkers Flannel Is For
With warm, comfortable material and unique design cues, the Howler Brothers Harkers Flannel shirt is the kind of piece that adds utility and flair to a winter wardrobe. There’s a lot to love about this shirt, including its singular character and soft-brushed finish.
For slimmer folks or those who prefer snugger fits in the body, this shirt might not offer the silhouette you’re after. The complaint is a minor one, however. This shirt is very wearable, and its dimensions are certainly acceptable. I’d have personally preferred this shirt in a slim fit cut.
Sizing, Styles, and Colors
Fit is true to the sizing chart included on the Howler Brothers website. However, as noted, the cut of the shirt is relatively wide across the body. Body and sleeve length seem a hair short for the body width.
After several machine wash cycles, the shirt has not undergone any fading or shrinkage. Due to concerns about body and sleeve length for me, I have not machine dried this shirt. Hang-drying time is relatively short.
The Howler Brothers Harkers Flannel shirt is available in Mesa Plaid – Misty Blue, Box Plaid – Conifer Green, and Box Plaid – Station Blue.
The Howler Brothers Harkers Flannel shirt offers plenty of comfort and style. It’s the sort of shirt that can stand up to the cold and is built for heavy use. For me, this piece only misses on fit because I prefer slimmer-fitting shirts.
Howler Brothers also offers other pieces of unique outerwear, including the Howler Brothers Horizon Hybrid Pants, which were previously reviewed by Active Gear Review.
For more information and purchase, please visit: www.howlerbros.com.