How to Wear a Flannel Shirt for Men 2024

how to style a flannel for guys

Updated by Sonia Su

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 and how to wear flannel for men.

In this guide, we'll go over what to wear under a flannel, how to style a flannel for guys, how to tuck in a flannel and wearing a flannel over a sweatshirt. In another article, we also go deeper into discussing what is flannel, the difference between flannel vs plaid. A collection of our favorite men's plaid shirts here.


flannel variety banner

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different patterns and combinations when it comes to choosing what flannel to wear. 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 when deciding what to wear with a flannel shirt, but we suggest trying those ones too. Here, we go over some suggestions on how you can best style a flannel for guys.


What is a Flannel?

flannel fabric

Existing for many years, flannel shirts are 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 occasions. Take a look at Nimble’s collection of flannel shirts as you’re building out your own wardrobe. 


How to Wear a Flannel with Jeans

You truly can’t go wrong with denim and flannels during the fall. Jeans have a way of being a neutral ground, allowing you to focus on the different pieces of your outfit. A flannel shirt, whether as a button-up shirt or not, with jeans, straight-leg jeans, or skinny 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 and how you choose to wear your flannel for men.

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. Our favorite blue and white flannel shirt for men here. A flannel shirt buttoned up and then pairing it with chunky 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 on how to wear flannel shirts for men are endless!

flannel with jeans

How to Style a Flannel around the Waist for Guys 

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 option when deciding how to wear your flannel.


How to Wear a Flannel with Rolled-Up Sleeves 

flannel with rolled up sleevesThis 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 and a great way to style a flannel for guys.

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 your 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.


What to Wear under a 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 men's slim fit 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. When considering what to wear under a flannel, go for slim fit articles of clothing like the following:

    Another fun way to layer your flannel or oversized 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.

    The opposite way to style a flannel for guys with layers is throwing a larger flannel over a sweatshirt. If you're liking the pattern and colors of your flannel, it makes sense to wear it on the outside as well. These combinations give you plenty of options when deciding how to wear a flannel for men.


    How to Wear Tucked-In Flannel for Work

    Though flannel shirts are typically recommended only for casual use, there are ways to achieve a casual work vibe by tucking in your flannel as a way to style it. 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 as that will look the best when tucked in. It will make styling a flannel outfit much easier and people can tell you know how to wear a flannel.

    Once you have your perfect slim fit flannel shirt, then you can button it up, pair it with a tie, and style the flannel tucked in. 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, and provides another option when deciding how to style a flannel for guys.


    How to Wear a 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 flannel shirts and shorts don’t go together, but they totally can! It all depends on which colors and accessories go together when deciding how to style a flannel for guys.

    Another bold flannel outfit, 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. As mentioned above, you can always try a flannel shirt over sweatshirt or have a tucked in flannel to provide some options with shorts.  

    How to Style a Flannel over a Sweatshirt or Hoodie

    large flannel over jacketFlannel shirts can be incorporated with a more street style look, if you’re interested in trying it. Sometimes you can have very loose flannel shirts 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 shirt that has a lot of room for stretch, try pairing it over a hoodie by putting the flannel over the sweatshirt or sweater. Sometimes there are coats that incorporate flannel designs and those can work just as well!

    Otherwise, an oversized flannel shirt over sweatshirt look 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 and add another option for how to style a flannel shirt for guys.


    How to Wear a Red Flannel for Men 

    woman in classic red flannel

    The best red flannels incorporate a checkered pattern or a plaid flannel shirt pattern. This red and blue flannel shirt from Nimble Made is our favorite slim fit red flannel that isn't too red. Red is one of the more iconic colors when it comes to a flannel shirt, 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. Consider an oversized flannel. These tips will prepare you with a roster of how to style a flannel for men.

      Other Flannel Style Tips to Consider

      • Pick checkered or plaid flannel styles, especially for casual flannel outfit.
      • Go for classic flannel colors, such as red, green, grey, or black flannel shirt. They are the easiest to style around.
      • If you have bolder patterns and designs than a typical plaid print, then match it with simple and neutral outfits.
      • For the best casual flannel outfit, be sure to pair a t-shirt under a flannel shirt with blue jeans, and boots or sneakers. Or go with the oversized flannel shirt over sweatshirt look.
      • When it’s time to brace the summer heat, tie your flannel shirt around your waist or roll up the sleeves. For winter, try a long sleeve thermal Henley and combat boots.
      • For a smart and formal casual flannel outfit, wear a tucked in flannel shirt with some chinos, a belt, and some Chelsea boots or suede shoes.

      Conclusion on How to Wear a Flannel for Men

      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 flannel with other patterns like stripes or checkered clothing, unless you’re purposefully going for a maximalist flannel outfit.

      But more importantly, just have fun and be yourself! What’s important is what you like and what you’re comfortable with when it comes to styling a flannel shirt for guys. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries, but when it comes to a plaid flannel shirt there aren't too many boundaries that need pushing in the first place when it comes to deciding how to wear flannels for men.

      Frequently Asked Questions on How to Wear a Flannel for Men

      How are you supposed to wear a flannel?

      To wear a flannel shirt, simply button it up starting from the bottom, ensuring it fits comfortably around your torso. You can wear it alone or layer it over a t-shirt for added warmth and style. Roll up the sleeves for a relaxed flannel outfit, and pair it with jeans, casual pants, black pants, or black leggings for a classic, laid-back outfit.

      How to wear flannel in 2023?

      In 2023, flannel can be styled in various ways to achieve a trendy look. Try layering it over a graphic tee with distressed jeans for a casual yet stylish vibe, or pair it with a leather jacket and black skinny jeans for a more edgy ensemble. Don't be afraid to experiment with different patterns and colors to personalize your outfit and make a fashion statement. For women, flannel can be paired with a white tee or white blouse, black leggings, and knee-high boots.

      Are you supposed to wear something under a flannel?

      Whether or not you wear something under a flannel shirt depends on personal preference and the specific style of the flannel. Some people prefer to layer with a t-shirt or tank top for added warmth or coverage (a white tee or white blouse for women), while others wear flannels as standalone tops. Ultimately, it's up to individual comfort and style choices.

      Should flannel be open or buttoned?

      Whether to keep flannel buttoned or open depends on personal preference and the desired style. Leaving it open can give a more casual and relaxed flannel outfit look, while buttoning it up can create a neater and more polished appearance. Ultimately, it's about what makes the wearer feel comfortable and confident.

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