Monday, July 15, 2024

A Man’s Guide to Styling the Humble Flannel Shirt

Everything You Need to Know About Wearing A Flannel Shirt

The flannel shirt has been a staple in men’s wardrobes for many years. They’ve incredibly versatile, coming as they do in a massive variety of colours and patterns. Here’s everything you need to know about styling up the humble men’s flannel shirt.

The Classic Flannel Shirt

Man sitting on ground in jeans and check shirt
Image: Isaac Ramirez, Unsplash

The “classic” way to wear a flannel is to simply add a pair of jeans, chinos, or fitted shorts. Men’s flannel shirts stand for comfort, simplicity, and style, and you don’t have to do much to do to it to make a great-looking outfit.

For a more rugged look, opt for jeans and a pair of boots, while chinos, a more subtle shoe, or even sneakers can add sleekness to your look.

Opened Up Flannel Shirt

Unbuttoned shirt worn over tee
Image: Brooke Cagle, Unsplash

The buttoned-down flannel with a t-shirt underneath is a look made famous by the “heartthrob” of most romance movies in the 2000s. While it may be cliche, it was and still is so popular for a reason. It adds more dimension to an outfit, and you can also create contrast if you wear a white t-shirt with a plain or checked flannel over it.

The Layered Flannel Shirt

Casual look shirt over white tee
Image: Foto Bakirkoy, Unsplash

Flannels are one of the easiest shirts to layer as they are often made from relatively thin fabric. This means you can easily have a t-shirt underneath, unbutton the flannel, and then wear a zip-up cardigan or jersey over the top. You can also wear a jumper and have the flannel collar sticking out to create a more preppy-type look.


For Summer, you can never go wrong with a flannel, a pair of fitted shorts, sneakers, sandals, or more casual shoes. One way to wear your flannel is to wear it buttoned up and roll the sleeves up or to wear a short-sleeve flannel.

You can also go the route of wearing a white tank top underneath your flannel shirt, with it being completely unbuttoned or half-buttoned. This will give you more of a “Miami beach” look, perfect for a day by the pool or outing.


layered flannerl shirt
Image: Egor Litvinov, Unsplash

Start pulling out those layered looks and boots for winter. Wear a flannel shirt under a cardigan or jersey, or on top of a long-sleeve T-shirt, etc. Pair with jeans and Chelsea boots, and you have an interesting, multi-dimensional outfit that is perfect for lunch with the family or a casual work dinner.


The best way to make a flannel more formal is to pair it with a sports jacket. A blazer will probably look too formal for a flannel, but a sports jacket gives you a similar look as a blazer, but it’s more on the semi-formal side of the spectrum.


Man Adjusting sleeves on Flannel Shirt
Image: Julian Alexander, Unsplash

Finally, any casual outfit loves a men’s flannel shirt. Jeans, shorts, sneakers, boots: they all work well with a flannel. Try swapping out a T-shirt with a flannel and you still have a great casual outfit.

A Few Thing to Remember When Styling Flannel Shirts

It would help if you remembered a few things when buying and styling a flannel; here are the best top tips.

Everyone’s familiar with the checked mens flannel shirt. Its distinctive checker board pattern is hard to miss and comes in a wide variety of colours and shades. They’re often seen as the more casual version of the flannel shirt. On the other hand, a plain flannel is made of the same material, but is simply one solid colour. Plain flannels give you the same comfort as a checkered one, but can be worn as part of a semi-formal or even formal outfit.

Flannel Shirt with jeans
Image: Dana Jm, Unsplash
When to Wear a Flannel Shirt
You can wear a flannel throughout the year and with almost any outfit. More importantly, you also need to know when NOT to wear them. Highly formal occasions and outfits don’t suit flannels. They’ll lower the tone of a suit, for example. Other than that, wear one whenever you like.

Buttoned Vs Unbuttoned
Buttoning up or not buttoning a flannel is often down to personal choice. Unbuttoning it with a t-shirt underneath is more casual, while buttoning up, even right to the top, can be a more formal/edgier look.

No matter how you wear a flannel, the shirt is relatively “outdoorsy.” This means that when it comes to foot wear, pick something a bit more on the rugged side. Cowboy boots, Chelsea boots, and Dr Martens are three styles that work incredibly well with flannels.

Flannel Shirt with a Suit
As we said before, it’s best to avoid pairing a flannel with a more formal outfit. However, there can be some exceptions. If the event isn’t formal but you want to wear a suit, the best choice is to opt for a sports jacket teamed with a plain flannel. Remember, a mens flannel shirt of any kind isn’t inherently formal, so it can be a bit tricky to make it that. If you feel it’s not working for you, opt for a simpler work shirt.

Featured Image: Erik Torres, Unsplash

To see more for men, go to: Men’s Styling: Getting Your Mojo on

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