Flannels are brilliant layering garments and T-shirts are fantastic base layers. While they’re good independently, the question is, can you wear a flannel over a T-shirt?
A flannel shirt can easily be layered over a T-shirt for a great casual aesthetic. Ensure you go for a plain T-shirt and leave your flannel unbuttoned. Remember that oversized flannels work best here.
While that’s the short answer, there’s much more to it.
So, let’s dig deeper.
1. Go For A Plain T-Shirt
When layering your garments, it’s important not to get carried away with excessive patterns or detailing.
While that’s a great general rule, it’s particularly true when wearing a flannel over a T-shirt.
Flannels usually have a bold, checkered pattern. This, in itself, stands out enough.
Combine it with the layering of a T-shirt base layer, and you have a pretty eye-catching look.
A layered outfit, alongside two different patterns (your T-shirt and flannel), is simply too much and can be an eyesore.
Therefore, sticking to a plain T-shirt is highly recommended with a flannel.
Generally, the best plain T-shirt colors to go for are neutral ones.
Neutral colors don’t appear on the color wheel yet complement both primary and secondary colors.
This means they are versatile and easy to pair with other garments.
Of the neutral colors, white is a particularly good T-shirt color when wearing it under a flannel.
This is because white is an incredibly versatile color and goes with pretty much anything. White is also the lightest color.
These two factors mean that it’s an exceptional T-shirt color choice to wear with a flannel.
That being said, other neutral colors can work too. Consider different shades of grey or – in some cases – black.
2. Oversized Flannels Work Best
While they aren’t a necessity, oversized flannels generally look best with this outfit.
They add a touch of personality to the outfit and make the layered look appear intentional rather than awkward.
Also, oversized flannels really contribute to that casual, almost grungy aesthetic that was popular in the ‘90s.
Not only do they look great, but they’re more comfortable, too.
Because you’ll be wearing your flannel as an overlayer, slim-fitted or regular-fitted flannels can be tight and movement restrictive.
Therefore, it’s usually best to go for an oversized one.
Flannels are so popular as overlayers that it’s pretty easy to find a flannel designed to be worn as such; they’re usually listed as “oversized.”
That being said, if you can’t find a flannel designed to be worn this way, there’s an easy solution: sizing up.
For example, if you’re usually a medium (typically labeled “M”) flannel, go for a large (typically labeled “L”) instead.
Doing so will ensure your flannel is oversized but not so much that it looks unintentional and clumsy.
3. Leave Your Flannel Unbuttoned
Flannels can be worn unbuttoned or buttoned, making them fantastically versatile garments.
However, when going for a more layered look – as you are with a T-shirt – there’s only one way to wear your flannel: fully unbuttoned.
Making sure your flannel is fully unbuttoned is crucial to pulling off this outfit, as it really completes the layered aesthetic.
Also, if you go for an oversized flannel, as is recommended, and you button it, the oversized aspect will appear unintentional.
This will make it look awkward, as well-fitted clothes are the key to success with most outfits outside of layering.
Some people may suggest doing up half of your flannel’s buttons, and while it’s down to personal preference whether or not you do it, it looks best fully unbuttoned.
The point is your T-shirt should always be visible when wearing one under a flannel.
4. Checkered Flannels Vs. Plain Flannels
Because of the popularity of checkered flannels, it can be easy to forget about plain flannels.
The fact that checkered flannels are so vastly popular could lead you to believe that plain flannels should be disregarded. In reality, this is not the case by any means.
In fact, plain flannels can look just as good as checkered flannels when worn with a T-shirt.
However, you should first understand how to wear a checkered flannel with a T-shirt, because they are so much more common than plain ones.
There are two main things to consider when wearing a checkered flannel over a T-shirt: T-shirt color and pattern boldness.
As mentioned in the first tip, plain T-shirts work best with this outfit. This stands true with a checkered flannel.
White looks particularly good due to its light nature and neutrality.
Avoid patterned T-shirts, as they will cause flamboyance when worn alongside a checkered shirt.
As for the boldness of your checkered pattern, remember that subtle checkered patterns don’t look great.
This is because the checkered layered flannel is generally the centerpiece of the outfit. So, wearing a subtle pattern detracts from this.
Instead, go for a bold pattern of two or – in some cases – three colors. Red and black checkers are incredibly common because the two colors look so good together.
There’s less to consider when wearing a plain flannel with a T-shirt – particularly if you go for a white T-shirt, as is recommended.
Basically, with this combo, the primary thing to think about is whether or not the flannel and the T-shirt colors work well together.
Complementary colors look especially good, but analogous and neutral colors can work well too.
5. Consider Rolling Up Your Sleeves
Something worth considering when wearing a flannel over a T-shirt is rolling up the sleeves of your flannel.
Layered flannels are inherently casual garments. Similarly, having rolled-up sleeves is a very casual look.
Therefore, the two go hand-in-hand, and you should always consider rolling up your flannel sleeves if the weather allows it.
It may seem a minimal thing, but rolling up your sleeves can really add to the casual aesthetic.
If doing so, it’s important to do it the right way.
Roll up your sleeves enough so that they’re visibly rolled up and don’t look as if your flannel sleeves are just too short.
However, also make sure your sleeves aren’t rolled up too far, or else this will look awkward.
Just below the elbow is the sweet spot for rolled-up flannel sleeves.
6. Leave Your T-Shirt Untucked
When wearing a formal layered look, such as a dress shirt and blazer, tucking in your shirt is an absolute necessity.
This can lead you to believe that you should tuck in your T-shirt when wearing a flannel over the top.
While it’s possible to do so, generally, it’s best to avoid tucking in your T-shirt under a flannel.
This is because tucking-in is primarily associated with smart-casual or formal attire, and this outfit is neither.
Therefore, the best thing to do with your T-shirt when wearing it under a flannel is to leave it untucked.
This will contribute to the casual, almost-grungy look of the layered T-shirt and unbuttoned flannel.
Some may argue that a French tuck is more acceptable due to its casual nature.
And, while they’d be correct about the “casual” part, wearing a French tuck with a flannel will make it appear as a full tuck due to the untucked part not being visible.
Therefore, overall, it’s best just to leave your T-shirt untucked.
7. It Looks Great With Jeans
It’s no secret that denim is a staple of casual wear. Similarly, layered, checkered flannels are iconic of ‘90s streetwear.
This means that, together, the two work fantastically well.
Light blue jeans work best, as they’re the typical denim color and enhance the casual, somewhat-rugged aesthetic.
Black and dark blue jeans can work too, but generally, they’re a little bit too formal to wear with a T-shirt and a flannel.
Distressing is welcome with this look, as it further contributes to the rugged streetwear look of the outfit.