How to Style a Flannel

Think of your favorite Fall go-to. Let me guess... is it a flannel? Nothing speaks Fall more than your favorite flannel with a pair of classic denim. It’s popularity is derived from the warmth and functionality it brings. As the woven top became modernized through time, different variations of designs, silhouettes, and colorways emerged. Flannels can be used as a top or bottom layer for outfits, allowing for more versatility and creativity. Although there’s no wrong way to do it, here are some different ways to style a flannel from common to less conventional. 


One of the modern ways to style a flannel is in a professional setting. I know what you’re thinking, how can a flannel possibly be worn at work without looking too underdressed? With a simple crewneck sweater, you can elevate an otherwise casual piece. The detail of pattern at the collar and cuff accompanied by chinos or slacks creates a smart business outfit. It’s important to remember that while flannels aren’t deemed professional, it’s all based on how you style it and the pieces used to bring it all together. The colorways for this particular style should include muted hues and smaller plaid patterns.  


The most familiar method is to simply layer with a tee. Typical base colors for shirts are neutrals such as white, black, and gray so you can mix and match with any style. Monotone tops are easy to match, but multicolor are a bit complicated. Let’s say you have a flannel with navy, green, and charcoal. While you could play it safe with a white tee, instead aim for a vibrant look and go with a green tee to really highlight the color in your flannel. With more colors to work with, you can create a fun outfit that shows personality. Slimmer, lightweight tees are usually preferred to avoid a bulky appearance. Rolling the sleeves gives a relaxed feel.  


For the old souls who prefer a classic aesthetic, add a vest or jacket. It’s one of the most celebrated ways to wear a flannel as the combination is ageless. Whereas a tee can appear youthful, outerwear is for everyone. The key in a classic look is to let the flannel speak for itself; if adding a vest, make sure that it’s in a neutral, solid color that way it doesn’t clash. It’s beneficial to stick to navy, black, or dark colors. Focus on thicker patterns for a stylish contrast that remains timeless. Jacket options are endless. Leather and bomber jackets give off a rugged feel or opt for denim for an alternative outfit. 


For the trailblazers and trendsetters, do you pride yourself on being different? Of course you can always choose a flannel to go with jeans, but how can you make your look different than anyone else? One of my personal favorites is the oversized flannel with sweatpants. This is a very contemporary look that allows for comfort and edge. You could roll the sweats up at the bottom, cinched at the ankle with your choice of low top sneakers. Nike Air Max 97s are a great selection for this look. The oversized silhouette can add depth and transforms the item from shirt to outerwear. A unique streetwear alternative is including a bold colored flannel over a hoodie, with cargo pants & sneakers for a finishing touch. The addition of a beanie in a primary color of your flannel is great for coordination. With this combination, sneaker colors are based on how vivid you want your look to be. A staple white sneaker never fails but take a risk with a color-matched pair. 

With the adaptability of flannels, what’s not to love about them? Although they thrive in the Fall, this item can be a year around staple depending on the weight of fabric. While it may be more convenient to wear on the weekend, don’t shy away from incorporating it into your business wardrobe. Flannels can make a great addition to any look. I challenge you to style your favorite flannel in a way you normally wouldn’t and post & tag us on Instagram. Ready, set? Go!




Kaya Washington
Stately stylist, writer, and designer based in Los Angeles, CA