Flannel, how we love you. While we're more than capable of waxing poetic on all the ways that a good flannel shirt (or even a flannel garment that isn't a shirt) makes us excited for the approach of fall and winter, it would be more useful to you if we provided our top ten favorite ways to style a flannel for fall. So without further delay, here's a quick list to get your mind thinking about all the ways you'll style flannel this fall.
It's the most obvious answer, but still a good one. A flannel shirt is precisely the sort of unfussy, hard-working article of clothing that pairs naturally with a favorite pair of everyday women's jeans (in our opinion, the more faded and worn-in, the better). Plus, the dark monochrome of indigo provides a sober frame for even the loudest and boldest of plaid patterns your flannel shirt may be carrying.
Like jeans, a pair of chino pants will serve as a neutral framing device for any loudly patterned flannel shirt in your closet. However, chinos give it less of a rugged workwear vibe and fit a classic preppy aesthetic instead. They're also more workplace-appropriate, in case you are counting on wearing a flannel shirt to the office one day.
Here's where things start to get interesting. Perhaps you find yourself in that shoulder season of early fall, when it's not quite warm enough to wear a t-shirt or blouse by itself yet too chilly to go outside without some sort of extra layer. In this instance, your best bet may be to simply pull a flannel shirt over a lighter shirt underneath, and leave it buttoned or unbuttoned as the temperature demands.
As we move further into fall and the temperature drops, you'll eventually find yourself relying on a flannel shirt as a first layer rather than a second. When this happens, you'll want to reach for a warmer, versatile second layer, and a simple fleece jacket will provide. Whether it's a full-zip or a quarter-zip, a fleece jacket in a solid color will frame a more brightly and boldly patterned flannel shirt.
When you're confronted with a chilly day at home, a natural recourse will be to layer a shawl collar cardigan over a flannel shirt. Not only will this provide the warmth you need, but shawl collar cardigans have a cozy, fall-specific aesthetic that meshes wonderfully with flannel (bonus points if your shawl collar cardigan happens to have leather elbow patches).
Looking to wear your flannel shirt to a professional setting, or simply feeling like getting some preppy mileage out of the piece? You can satisfy either ambition by wearing it under a blue blazer and pairing with a pair of khaki chinos down below.
Jeans and chinos aren't the only options when it comes to what you're matching your flannel shirt to. Like jeans or chinos, the simple, monochromatic appearance of a non-patterned pair of yoga pants frames the bolder flannel shirt well.
And who says that you even have to wear a flannel shirt as a shirt? After all, Kurt Cobain—who can be rightly credited with elevating the flannel shirt to fashion status in the '90s—was often seen sporting his flannel shirt wrapped around his waist. Do the same while wearing a white tee and distressed jeans to adopt a grunge look that's never going out of style.
Not every path to styling flannel has to be tailored to how people will see you outside of the home. Sometimes it's important to simply wear it in the most comfortable way possible—say, with fuzzy slippers and your favorite t-shirt—and enjoy.