The flannel shirt has become the epitome of the casual wardrobe. It’s a staple piece that every man should own and whether you wear it done up, undone or round your waist it works. Here’s our guide on how to style this versatile piece.
Personally, you can’t beat a good flannel shirt. Throw on a pair of black skinny jeans and loafers and you’ve got yourself a cracking casual look that’s stylish and, in my opinion, the new classic. Forget what you might think of the flannel shirt, forget the lumberjack stereotype and forget the grunge scene of the nineties, the flannel shirt has made a real comeback and here at The Idle Man we love it and we can’t see it going anywhere for a long time.
Flannel Shirt – Colours?
Flannel shirts come in so many different colours that finding one in your favourite shade is basically mission impossible. However, the nature of flannel shirts is usually checked. Therefore it’s important to balance out your outfit keeping in mind this sort of pattern.
Red Flannel Shirt
Finding a plain red flannel shirt can be a tricky task. And in all honesty, it’s quite a difficult look to pull off. There’s a considerable risk of looking like you stole Santa’s pyjamas shirt. That’s exactly what you don’t want. The beauty of men’s flannel shirts is that they’re extremely comfortable and are essential for creating an effortlessly cool style. However, you don’t want to look like you just literally rolled out of bed without making a stop to your wardrobe first.
Red and Black Flannel Shirt
With simply red flannel shirts out of the way, we can concentrate on more viable and most importantly, stylish options. If red is your favourite colour and you definitely don’t want to look like you’re wearing your couch blanket, a red and black flannel shirt is what you need. This might be a simple look that we’ve seen many times before. However, it’s the most classic flannel shirt out there for a reason. Pair it with a grey or black plain T-shirt, as the checked pattern will be the main focus. Put on your favourite skinny jeans and trainers or boots and you’ll be ready to go.
Green Flannel Shirt
The next stop in our journey across flannel shirts for men is the green flannel shirt. Inevitably associated with the lumberjack look, this shirt will be a great match to a full beard. Something to think about in case you were thinking of growing one… It’s best to keep styling simple when it comes to this specific pattern. Wear it buttoned up for a sleeker appearance. Throw a pair of Timberland boots in the mix and you’ll be chopping wood in style in no time.
Black Flannel Shirt
A black flannel shirt is the perfect autumn/winter alternative to your spring/summer lightweight black shirt. Now is the time to make space in your wardrobe for some thick flannel shirts. If you don’t already have a black flannel shirt, you should definitely get one this season. More often than not, black flannel shirts feature electric blue checks. They’re great to break up an otherwise tedious look. Match it with raw rinse jeans and Chelsea boots for a stylish finish.
Grey Flannel Shirt
Flannel shirts in grey are yet another versatile options when it comes to colour schemes. You can even smarten up your grey flannel shirt with a pair of sand chinos and your favourite and most reliable pair of boots. This combination will allow you to glide through most casual and even smart-casual situations.
White Flannel Shirt
A predominantly white flannel shirt is a great way to add a touch of light to your outfit. It’ll make the typically thick fabric appear lighter. Plus, just like black, white goes with most fabrics and it’ll allow you to pair this type of shirt with most items you already own.
Brown Flannel Shirt
Nothing says fall like brown. The colour of the leaves on the street, the burnt orange and brown fur of the foxes that will keep you company on your autumn walk home. What’s not to like about this great season? Needless to say that you need a brown flannel shirt in your wardrobe to create that cosy, leafy vibe. One of the best and most popular ways to style flannel shirts is to simply tie it around your waist. If it gets too cold you can just grab it and pop it on. It’s a functional and aesthetically pleasing way to accessorise.
The great thing about a flannel or plaid shirt is that they come in so many variations and they practically suit every body shape going, so everyone can benefit from wearing one.
The flannel shirt works great as a layering piece – just team a white T-shirt and a pair of raw denim jeans with an unbuttoned flannel shirt over the top. This creates texture and adds a little bit of detail to your look, plus it gives you an extra layer you can do up in case it gets cold.
For the warmer months, there’s nothing I like more than wearing an oversized flannel shirt with a pair of shorts. Worn with a black or white tee underneath in case it gets too warm, then opt for taking the shirt off and tying it around my waist for another casual look that’s stylish and versatile.
The flannel shirt is the perfect transitional piece – worn in winter as a long sleeved version with the perfect layered look and in the summer you can opt for the short sleeved version. This will look great paired with boat shoes for that ultimate in summer casual.
A smarter look may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking of wearing a flannel shirt, but hear me out. Worn over a plain white tee or under a jumper you can have a smarter and a little bit different look for when you’re out in the evening. Don’t go for louder colours when picking out an evening shirt – you’ll want to keep them subdued and versatile so as to not throw off you whole look. Personally, I’d go for a shirt that has a base colour of white then layered with a blue or green over the top, just so you can team it with more colour options.
Try wearing a pair of smarter looking jeans rather than trousers. This keeps the outfit a lot more comfortable and less rigid when you’re wearing it. Go for a raw denim pair as these look smart straight off the bat and are dark enough to work in a more formal setting.
Throw on a pair of tasselled loafers in a deep burgundy or oxblood colour to add a little colour and detail to your look. This pair from G.H.Bass & Co are perfect for teaming with your outfit – sleek, stylish and classic they’ll see you through a number of occasions and be the perfect transitional footwear piece in your wardrobe.
This is probably the way that most of us choose to wear a flannel shirt, but just because you’re being casual doesn’t mean you can compromise on style. This shirt from Levi’s is spot on for pulling off a casual look this season as the colours are perfect for this season and it’s thick enough to be worn on its own.
Teamed with a pair of raw denim jeans as the colour is perfect for this season and thrown on a pair of trainers from Vans for good measure. A flannel shirt can work as a great layered look, simply wear a plain white tee underneath your shirt and leave the first three buttons done up and the rest unbuttoned. This adds detail and gives a slightly urban edge to your outfit, so it’s worth giving a go – you never know, you may surprise yourself and like it!
When we speak about flannel we, of course, mean the material rather than the print. Flannel itself has been around for centuries, with farmers and the working classes developing this material for warmth. It was cheaper to make and could be easily accessible due to the population of sheep and other various woollen animals.
No-one is clear on where the name actually came from – the French named it flanelle and the Germans flannel, and so we have decided on the name flannel. As the centuries moved on, the working classes still wore this fabric to work in but had developed new designs to make them more interesting than the plain grey that was the norm. This is where we saw the introduction of the classic checkered print in the shirts, solidifying its name in the world of fashion.
During the nineties, the flannel shirt was adopted by a sub-culture known as grunge. This particular sub-culture was fuelled with the music from people such as Kurt Cobain from Nirvana and Pearl Jam.
The best things in the fashion industry have stemmed from practicality. Just like the biker jacket or denim, the flannel shirt has persisted throughout the years and is now a mainstay of every man’s wardrobe.
How to Wear Flannel Shirts
- Embrace the checks – flannel shirts are cool, show your shirt off with pride.
- Get the classic colours right – red, black, blue, brown, grey, white and green, you’re not short of options.
- Go lumberjack – pair your flannel shirt with a pair of relaxed fit jeans and Timberland boots for the perfect look.
- Experiment – a horizontally striped flannel shirt can have endless combinations, be daring.
- Style – smarten your flannel shirt with a pair of penny loafers or dress it down with a pair of trainers.
On That Note
The flannel shirt is a wardrobe staple. It can be worn casually or dressed up for a more formal occasion, the choice is yours. Like most fashion pieces we wear today, the flannel shirt stems from practicality and the working classes decades ago. We have simply adopted it to fashion. There’s nothing better than a piece of clothing that has a bit of history to it.