Ah, flannel shirts. They’re comfy, they’re surprisingly stylish and they’re perfect for afternoons spent curled up on the couch. But if you’ve ever wondered how to style one (when you eventually venture into society), we’ve got a few flannel outfit ideas to share. Here, 17 super fashionable women show off their best flannel outfits, so you can have your most stylish, plaid-filled winter yet.
Wondering How to Style Flannel? Here Are 17 Outfit Ideas to Try, According to a Fashion Editor
we’re in our ‘evermore’ era
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What’s the Difference Between Flannel and Plaid?
Did you know that flannel and plaid are not one and the same? Simply put, flannel is a fabric while plaid is a pattern. The most popular flannel clothing tends to be plaid button-up shirts, but you can certainly also find flannel in solid hues or other patterns too. And plaid, or tartan, can be printed on just about any fabric type—cotton, linen, even leather or denim. Of course, today the two are used pretty interchangeably, especially when talking about a button-up shirt.
What’s Best to Wear with Flannel?
There are tons of different styles you can wear with your flannel shirt and look fabulously chic, but the easiest option is just to lean into the outdoorsy origins of the material. You basically can’t go wrong layering a flannel shirt over a T-shirt or henley and some jeans, and accessorizing with a beanie and lace-up boots. When in doubt, go for “Evermore” vibes.
1. Tuck Your Flannel into a Pair of Cords
Go for full-on ‘70s vibes with a pair of colorful lenses and groovy flares. Then, give your outfit a modern edge by slipping on some pointy-toe flats and toting a mini bag as a finishing touch.
2. Opt for White Denim Over Blue
White, off-white or cream-colored jeans lend a lighter air to the heavier palettes that typically dominate in the winter. Tie this flannel outfit together with darker shoes like black ankle boots or navy loafers.
3. Wear Flannel with Leather
Tuck your cozy top into a sleek leather skirt for a super-chic combo that proves opposites attract. Prefer a more casual vibe? Try some slip-on sneakers and a long anorak. If you’re headed to a dressier affair, stick to classics like pointy-toe pumps and a minimalist clutch, instead.
4. Pair Plaid with Stripes
Plaid can be a tricky print to mix with other patterns, but it works beautifully with classic black-and-white or navy stripes. Be sure to opt for black trousers or dark-wash jeans to avoid overwhelming your ‘fit with too many colors or patterns, and keep your accessories similarly minimalist in design.
5. Use It as a Layering Piece
Add depth to an otherwise solid-colored outfit by layering a plaid flannel under a lightweight jacket. Even a small pop of red, blue or green can make the whole look feel much more interesting and transform a potentially bland monochrome ‘fit into a smartly layered ensemble.
6. Play with Proportions on Top and Bottom
If your flannel has more of a boxy cut, try pairing it with leggings and sleek knee-high boots rather than loose jeans or wide-leg trousers. The super-slim fit bottom balances out a boxier top to maintain your figure, all while looking wonderfully chic.
7. Lean into Flannel’s Woodsy Vibes
Chunky boots, loose-fitting denim and a knit beanie definitely amp up the outdoorsy nature of classic flannel. If you’d rather not look like you’re preparing for a camping trip the next time you hit the grocery store, add a silky cami underneath and a structured crossbody, preferably with some hardware details like a chain strap.
8. Try a Black-and-White Ensemble
If your flannel has a black-and-white pattern, lean into the minimalist vibes by keeping the rest of your outfit within the strict color scheme. Don’t stress too much about trying to get your whites or blacks to match exactly, you can have multiple shades in there if need be. The more important thing is to keep the fabrics all similarly casual to flannel—e.g., white denim over white silk.
9. Mix and Match Your Flannel Plaids
For more advanced print mixers, try combining multiple plaids at once. To avoid pattern overload, we suggest sticking to solid-hued accessories in neutral tones, like white or brown boots and a simple black handbag.
10. Use a Flannel as a Jacket
Or a shacket, as they’re called these days. Sport your favorite shirt as you would any other piece of outerwear and toss it on over midi dresses, athleisure, tailored separates and even sparkly evening wear. The world is your plaid-covered oyster.
11. Go for Classic ‘90s Grunge (with a Posh Twist)
Take inspiration from Monica Gellar and try a classic ‘90s combo: an unbuttoned flannel, a simple knit, straight-leg jeans and Dr. Martens. Just make sure to stick with non-distressed denim and flannels that are free from holes so the look reads more Gellar and less Cobain.
12. Wear a Longer Flannel as a Dress
If your shirt goes as far as mid-thigh, try buttoning it up and wearing it as a dress for a change. Over-the-knee or combat boots, like Dr. Martens, with tights will keep your lower half warm, and be sure to choose a jacket or coat that is either much longer or much shorter than the hem of your dress. Picking one that hits within just an inch or two of your hem runs the risk of making you look like an apple on stilts.
13. Try a Cropped Cut
Cropped flannels tend to look more like jackets than shirts, and the shortened silhouette lends a more modern, elevated feel to the woodsy staple. Wear them either with high-waist pants that hit at roughly the same point as your flannel’s hem or layered over a slightly longer sweater.
14. Try a Draped Flannel Silhouette
If you love the feel of super-soft flannel but worry it might look sloppy, try it in a structured cardigan or a draped scarf instead. Either will look especially elegant worn over tailored pants and a white blouse, while still maintaining those cozy, cold-weather vibes.
15. Make Your Plaids Work for Spring
Flannel isn’t just for fall and winter. You can also style it for those transitional days between seasons (particularly as we head into spring). To make them work in warmer weather, stick with colorful plaid patterns and pair them with lighter neutrals or pastels.
16. Go Big on Color
How do you make sweatpants and an oversize shirt not look like pajamas? Go all out with bright hues and accessorize with your daintiest structured handbag. You can also consider adding a belt to cinch your waist (either under or on top of your shirt) to help maintain some semblance of a figure under all that cozy knitwear.
17. Try a Monochrome(ish) Approach
If your flannel shirt has one main color, like the yellow plaid above, it may work well as part of a monochrome (or mostly monochrome) outfit. Coordinate as many pieces as you can with the color of your shirt, then use the other accent colors (in this case, gray, white and black) to finish off your look.