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How to Wear a Flannel Shirt for Men 2023

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Flannel shirts are the type of versatile clothing that should exist in everyone’s closet! They are comfy and can go with almost any type of casual outfit. With certain materials and styling, they can even transcend a solely casual look. Since they’re always on a come back one way or another, it’s important to know all the different ways you can wear them!


flannel variety banner

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different patterns and combinations. It’s all about finding a look that speaks to you and more importantly, makes you feel comfortable. There are few bold choices you can make with a flannel shirt, but we suggest trying those ones too. Here, we go over some suggestions on how you can best style these style icons.


What is a flannel?

flannel fabric

Existing for many years, flannel shirtsare manufactured with a certain type of fabric. Soft and woven, the fabric can come in wool or cotton. Its origins were initially for the working class, specifically farmers and any group of people who were hard laborers. This was due to their affordability plus their sturdy and comfortable fabric. Through the years, more patterns were introduced such as the checkered style resulting in the adoption by the grunge culture of the 90’s, making it a more edgy look. Even today, the flannel shirts thrives with many types of styles, making them a great addition to anyone’s closet and can even be worn in smart casual occassions. Take a look at Nimble’s collection of flannel shirts as you’re building out your own wardrobe. 


What are the different ways to wear a flannel?

flannel with jeans

1. Flannel Shirt with jeans

You truly can’t go wrong with denim and flannels. Jeans have a way of being a neutral ground, allowing you to focus on the different pieces of your outfit. A flannel shirt with jeans is the ultimate casual go-to. It’s one of the more practical stylings, but with different choices you can change your outfit drastically.

The first choice is what kind of flannel shirt you’re wearing. Is it a slim fit or a looser one? With a slim flannel shirt, it can also act as your shirt. Buttoning up your flannel shirt and then pairing it with boots or simple sneakers, gives you two different outfits right there. 

A looser and heavy flannel shirt allows you to experiment with the shirt you wear underneath. Given the different colored jeans available as well as the different shoe choices you can wear, the outfit possibilities are endless!     

2. Flannel Shirts around the waist

Is it a tad cliche with some hipster-tude? Maybe, but there is no denying that this is a bold look! Paired with boots and a leather jacket, you can achieve a very cool look whilst showing you’re not afraid to experiment with your clothes. 

To achieve this look all you have to do is unbutton your flannel shirt, wrap it around your waist just below the waist level, and tie it off with the sleeves. Wearing your flannel shirt this way definitely raises the attitude of your look and can be great in any casual day situation. If you’ve always wondered about this style, try it for yourself! Strut your stuff down the street and see how it makes you feel. It’s an easy fix if you don’t care for it. Just throw your flannel shirt on or under your leather jacket and you have another flannel look.   


3. Rolled-up flannel sleeves

flannel with rolled up sleeves

This is another flannel look that can be achieved very easily. Unbutton your cuffs and roll up your sleeves just above the elbow. If it’s the end of the summer and the beginning of fall, this can be a great way to have some layers whilst remaining cool in any lingering heat. 

In the same vein of pairing your flannel shirt with jeans, rolling up your sleeves can achieve a cooler look. Except with this option, it can apply to any pants or trousers that you decide to pair with your flannel shirt. Rolling up you flannel is also a great way to show off your forearms and flatters them in a way that shows off their definition. 

Rolling up the sleeves on a flannel you have buttoned up gives a slightly more put together look above a casual one. Push it even further by tucking in your slim fit flannel shirt into your pants, pair with some chelsea boots, and you have a very smart look.  


Layer your flannel

flannel with jacket layered

Layering is a great technique to apply to many types of clothing. It has the ability to pair different types of clothing with each other to create a synchronous look that can only be achieved with your layering. That is why pairing a t-shirt under your flannel or putting a coat over your flannel can create different moods as well as adding more warmth in the winter time

Another fun way to layer your flannel is to button it up and throw a v-neck sweater over the top. Then, fold up the sleeve cuff on your flannel over the cuff of the sweater and voila! You have achieved a smart, maybe even casual formal look. Sometimes there will be situations that require a bit of elegance, and this is one way to approach it.


Flannel for work

Though flannels are typically recommended only for casual use, there are ways to achieve a casual work vibe. This is where slim fit flannels come in clutch, because anything looser doesn’t work with slacks or trousers. Also be sure to pick the flannel that is the most vibrant and the least ratty. It will make putting the look together much easier!

Once you have your perfect slim fit flannel, then you can button it up, pair it with a tie, and tuck it into your pants. If you have a blazer to match, then you can keep the sleeves rolled down. If a blazer is a bit too intense for your workplace environment, then just roll up the sleeves. All of these techniques paired together will give you a casual, but still professional vibe. 


Flannel with shorts

This can be a great beach look if you’re interested in covering up, but still want to navigate the summer sun with ease. There are different approaches you can take to achieve a put together look that is coherent. It may seem like flannels and shorts don’t go together, but they totally can! It all depends on which colors and fits you want to pair.    

Another bold look, you can button up or pair with a shirt, just be sure to roll up those sleeves! Making the look work is all about achieving a balance. Don’t keep the sleeves rolled down if you don’t have a t-shirt underneath. If you decide to button it up, balance it out with rolling up the sleeves and maybe don’t button up the first two buttons to relax the look even more.   


Flannel with a hoodie

large flannel over jacket

Flannels can be incorporated with a more street style look, if you’re interested in trying it. Sometimes you can have very loose flannels that make you look like you’re swimming in it, if you wear it with nothing else. This is when you’re able to wear it over more bulky and long-sleeved clothing.  

If you have an oversized flannel that has a lot of room for stretch, try pairing it over a hoodie. Sometimes there are coats that incorporate flannel designs and those can work just as well! Otherwise, an oversized flannel will do the job just fine. Don’t bother trying to button up unless you want to look like a burrito fighting to get out of its aluminum wrapping. The possibilities can be endless with the different color combinations you can achieve. Then, adding any matching sneakers can really bring together the casual street style you’re going for. 


Red flannels

woman in classic red flannel

The best red flannels incorporate a checkered pattern or a plaid flannel shirt pattern. Red is one of the more iconic colors when it comes to flannels. Which is why, we thought it warranted its own section. If you want a more rock and punk look then red flannels are the best colors you can wear to achieve that look. You won’t have to worry about looking like a picnic table or just a plain pajama shirt. Pair it some blue or black jeans and you can vary your rock look from alternative all the way to a grungier style.  

Other style tips to consider

  • Pick checkered or plaid styles, especially for casual looks.
  • Go for classic colors, such as red, black, green flannel shirt, and grey flannel shirt. They are the easiest to style around. 
  • If you have bolder patterns and designs, then match it with simple and neutral outfits.
  • For the best casual looks, be sure to pair your flannel shirt with a T-shirt, blue jeans, and some boots or sneakers.
  • When it’s time to brace the summer heat, tie your flannel shirt around your waist or roll up the sleeves.
  • For a smart and formal casual look, wear your flannel tucked in with some chinos, a belt, and some chelsea boots or suede shoes.


Sometimes it can be hard to figure out all the ways you can style a simple piece of clothing. That’s when articles like these can help to give you a sense of the possibilities, and remind you to keep in mind the things to avoid when styling with your flannel: don’t mix up typical flannel prints such as plaid with other patterns like stripes or checkered clothing, unless you’re purposefully going for a maximalist look. But more importantly, just have fun and be yourself! What’s important is what you like and what you’re comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries, but when it comes to flannels there aren't too many boundaries that need pushing in the first place. If you’re looking


1. How do you wear a flannel shirt?

Wear a Flannel Shirt Alone with Sneakers or Wedge Sneakers This Fall.

- Wear with shorts for a cute transitional fall look.
- Under a cardigan.
- Wrap your leggings around your waist to cover your bum.
- In a pair of Boots or Booties.
- Sweater substitute.
- Wear a vest with it.
- Skirts Make a Statement.

2. Should I wear a shirt under a flannel?

You may wear any type of shirt underneath, but an undershirt will absorb perspiration and keep your body cooler. Under the flannel, you can layer a jacket or sweatshirt in the fall and winter. A layer of flannel over a sweater is a great way to stay warm in the winter.

3. How many flannel shirts should I own?

Flannel shirts are timeless wardrobe staples and must be owned by anyone who appreciates warm fall attire.

4. Can you wear a tie with a flannel shirt?

Remember that suede shoes usually go well with flannel ensembles, so you can opt for an open loafer with wool socks or traditional ankle boots to complete your look. Consider wearing a woolen tie instead of the traditional silk tie to complete your formal ensemble.

5. Why are flannel shirts awesome?

A men's flannel shirt instantly transforms you into a pumpkin patch resident, whether you are wearing it to work or on a night out with friends. It makes no difference - the flannel instantly transforms you into a traditional fall outfit.  It's such a good look that it's possible that a female friend or partner may steal it to make her own cute outfit