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How to Wear Flannel Plaid


Girl wearing a plaid shirt

Flannel plaid is a totally hot (and cozy!) look for fall and winter 2009. There’s nothing comfier than an oversized baggy plaid shirt and boots on a cold day, but flannel plaid has a lot more to offer than just comfort!

Curious about how to integrate this statement pattern into your wardrobe? Read on! I’ll tell you how it’s done.

General Tips on Plaid

Consider the color. Since plaid shirts have been such a hit, they’re available at tons of stores in many different colors! If you want to go a super trendy route, try neons and black! If you want a more traditional look, go for more muted colors like navy, reds, and greys with white.

Try different materials. While plaid flannels are a great cool-weather staple, the print comes in many other fabrics! From light-weight, sheer cotton to thick flannel, there are many options at every price point.

Find tailored fits. Plaid shirts are notorious for looking boyish, grungy, and worst of all lumberjack-y! When choosing a plaid shirt, it’s important to pick a top that’s not too baggy so you’ll keep your girly silhouette intact! Don’t go too small though–longer and slightly oversized plaid tops are adorable, too.

Wear with neutrals. Since plaid is a pattern, it’s best to pair it with neutral solids. Plaid tops look great with jeans and leggings alike! Feel free to go crazy with your footwear, but avoid wearing cowboy boots unless you’re trying to look like a country princess!

Think about pattern and print size. Since plaid is so popular, there are lots of patterns and varied print sizes on the market. “Woven” styles that interlock a mix of colors tend to have a larger print while “western” styles generally feature smaller squares of a single color against a black background. Wovens are great if you’re feeling traditional, while westerns look hot in bright colors.

Outfit Inspiration

Outfit 1: Just a Taste

This outfit is great if you’re wary about wearing plaid. The tank top is super simple, comfortable, and laid-back-trendy way to wear the style without being over the top. Keeping the rest of your outfit uncomplicated lets this pattern really shine through without totally dominating your look. If you’re ever feeling daring, this top would be adorable with a boyfriend blazer!

How to wear flannel plaid

Product Information: Cotton Cardi by Boutique, Topshop. Plaid Tank Top, Charlotte Russe. J Brand  12″ Pencil – Torn Dark Vintage Jeans, Piperlime. Ugg Classic Short boots in Sand, Zappos.

Outfit 2: Going for It

Longer sleeves on this plaid tunic and understated leggings highlight the use of plaid in this outfit. This is a perfect outfit for a brisk fall day with the flat boots! For added warmth, throw on a tank top underneath your tunic and add a motorcycle or denim jacket and you’re good to go.

Outfit idea for how to wear plaid

Product Information: Full Tilt Plaid Flannel Top, Tillys. Silver-Wedge Boots in Camel, Piperlime. Billabong Nice Legs Leggings, Tillys. Pearl Bead and Leather Bracelet, American Eagle. Three Keys Necklace, Fossil.

Outfit 3: All About It

If you already know that you love plaid, consider investing in a sexy, easygoing shirt dress. If you saw last spring’s Confessions of a Shopaholic movie, you might remember Isla Fisher’s adorable plaid shirt dress made chic with thigh high socks and a wide belt. Such a cute outfit, no? For a more-wearable but equally alluring look, try this plaid shirt dress with a simple leather belt and flats. Chilly? Add opaque tights!

How to wear a plaid dress

Product Information: Becky Dress in Navy, Abercrombie and Fitch. Leather braided belt, J.Crew. Rhinestone peace sign ring, Juicy Couture. Cameo locket, Modcloth. Ciao Bella Pause flats, Piperlime.

How do you feel?

Do you like the look of flannel plaid? Do you wear it? If you do, share your tips about how to wear it with everyone in the comments!

Posted on on October 14, 2009 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , , ,

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45 Responses to “How to Wear Flannel Plaid”

  1. 1
    October 14th, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I’m so glad you posted this! I’m currently wearing almost the exact same outfit as outfit # 2 (except with black boots) and I love it.

  2. 2
    October 14th, 2009 at 11:40 am

    i’ve been in love with plaid way before it was even the “in” thing to wear. I’m a country girl so it’s kind of my staple :D.

  3. 3
    October 14th, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    I’m trying, girls, I am. I’m trying to embrace it. Plus, flannel kills people in Florida. True story.

  4. 4
    October 14th, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    I really like wearing belted shirtdresses/oversized shirts, so yes! I dont have one in plaid at the moment, but I’ll see how it goes if I come across one :)

  5. 5
    October 14th, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    I love this trend, but sadly when I tried on some Flannel Plaid shirts it didn’t look right on me. I don”t know whether the shirt was too big or the shirt it self was made of a weird material.
    Sad I know, but I do like the outfits you made( I just don’t agree with the Uggs lol)

  6. 6
    October 14th, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    I’m really trying to wear this trend. I love plaid skirts and bags, but I’m having trouble wearing plaid as a top. I just feel very lumberjacky and masculine. It looks cute on a lot of girls but I’m not sure I’m one of them. I bought a blue and black plaid top that I’m trying to wear but I’m just not feeling the trend. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the country-I feel almost as if wearing plaid makes me into a bad stereotype. However, I love the outfits in this post. All are very cute but I just don’t think they are for me.

  7. 7
    October 14th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Love the trend, but…

    UGG BOOTS??????????????

    No no no no no no NO.

    So disappointed. This blog consistently hates on Ugg boots. I thought I’d found a kindred spirit…

    Breaks my heart.

  8. 8
    October 14th, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    I really like your selections in this post! You do such a great job of making trends completely accessible to college girls, while still being just as cute. Props to you for putting Uggs in the first look, because this is a blog about College Fashion and we all know that many college girls own a pair. I know most bloggers turn their noses up at Uggs, and other things people wear all over the country, but it’s way better to use them to your advantage, like in this post.

    Loved it!


  9. 9
    October 14th, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Plaid clothes are all over thrift stores. I match mine as a cardigan. It’s comfy with some skinny jeans or boyfriend jeans. To make sure u don’t look like a picnic blanket, make sure it’s fitted.

  10. 10
    October 14th, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    I always get my plaid for $1 at the thrift store.

  11. 11
    October 14th, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    I love all 3 of these outfits! I just wear my plaid top with detroyed denim and motorcycle boots, but these are some different takes on it. And I luvvs my uggs, hehehe.

    I was wondering if you could do a post on winter footwear for cold climates? I’m from Canada, in the snowbelt of Ontario, and we can get 3 feet of snow of more, so I need boots that are WATERPROOF (my Uggs are sadly not, nor are they salt-proof :( ) and warm, but I can’t find any that are also stylish! Would love if you guys did a post on this.


  12. 12
    October 14th, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    I love oversized and cozzy shirts very much so the flannel plaids! I want to buy one but unfortnetly I couldnt find a good one yet:(
    I loved the outfits especially the first one and I liked uggs theyre pretty cute under it :) nice post

  13. 13
    October 14th, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    I loved the 3 outfits u chose :) ! nice taste..

    I Still don’t have plaid shirts.. trying to find the right one >.>

    Thanx for the inspiration =D !

  14. 14
    October 14th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Very useul article, Liza! I love plaid.

    I think the top in the first outfit is a great option for the ladies who feel that plaid shirts are too masculine and “country” looking–though I totally love outfits that pay homage to grunge. I think that some kind of black boots – flat equestrian style or patent high heeled ankle boots would be a fierce match for the top for a sexy alternative to the comfy vibe.

    I have a couple of plaid shirts that aren’t quite long enough to pair with leggings, but they look totally cute with miniskirts layered over thick tights/leggings with knee high boots so that they’re more appropriate for winter.

  15. 15
    October 14th, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    I’m obsessed with plaid flannel tops. They’re very comfortable and to mix it up, I just wear them with different shirts underneath or with leggings or with skinny jeans. They work well with any kind of shoe… boots, flats, or sneakers. I wear my plaids with a boyfriend blazer or jacket if its really cold out.

    Props for the UGG boots in the first outfit. Though too many fashionistas knock UGGs, they’re perfect for the fall and winter. If its snowing or really cold out, my feet need to be warm!

  16. 16
    October 14th, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I really like your outfits but I;m not into the UGGs.
    Why?? When there are so many amazing bootis available that are cute, warm and are actually wearable on a rainy winter day?
    Loving the plaid though

  17. 17
    October 14th, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Personally, I’m tired of seeing flannel plaid everywhere. The bright blues/pinks/yellow plaids are what I call a “Hipster Staple” and I’ve seen them on every kid with two-toned hair and a lip ring under the age of 16.
    I think the more muted, classic plaids are more fashionable now that the neons are so overdone.
    But definite props on including UGGS. I have faux ones from DSW that I wear all the time at school because it’s freezing cold in Ohio & it snows every day in the winter: leather boots just don’t cut it. I think boots like UGGS can look really cute when you wear something more fancy on top; they make the outfit seem more casual, like you just threw it on.

  18. 18
    October 14th, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    uggh… ugg boots? nope. Flannels also look weird on me because I have some broad shoulders/thick arms. I have a friend who loves them and pulls them off really well. I like to be a little more feminine, though.

    and uggs? nope. not for me.

  19. 19
    October 14th, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Love the plaid trend!

    But did Zepher say yes to those hideous UGG boots? I think not!
    I’m sure many other college fashion girls will agree with me when I say UGG boots will NEVER look cute!

  20. 20
    October 14th, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    I appreciate that you put UGGs, I used to hate them myself, but they truly aren’t half as bad as people incessantly rant on about. They’re cute, and VERY comfy. Great for when you need to dress quickly for that morning class…

  21. 21
    October 14th, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    I’m really glad you put Uggs in an outfit. They’re perfectly suitable for women our age, especially on campuses like mine where it’s currently 39 degrees. I think they really do look good with the plaid/flannel trend. Kudos.

    I do wish that you had included some outfits incorporating actual menswear, though. I thrift most of my plaid pieces from the men’s section. I find that wearing “real” pieces instead of “get the look” pieces can really contribute to style. Just a thought.

  22. 22
    October 14th, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Kayleigh–Yes, definitely! I just finished writing a post on winter weather essentials for when it’s REALLY cold, so expect that in the next few weeks! It’s SO hard finding a pair of warm, waterproof boots…Stay tuned for some suggestions :)

    A word on Ugg boots…Uggs are a definite cold weather statement where I live, and while some girls love them, I totally get (and respect!) that some of you are not fans. I DO want to say that fashion should be a fun, personal thing, so when you guys (or anyone really!) hate on certain pieces or brands just because you dislike them, I think it’s pretty rude. What’s cute or cool about being so snobby? If you don’t like something, just don’t wear it! Make and follow your own fashion rules, but don’t turn your noses up in disgust at people who choose to dress differently, por favor!

  23. 23
    October 14th, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Yessss Liza!
    Uggs are very popular in my area, so even though it may not be everyone’s favorite trend, it’s not always about wearing the hottest, trendiest shoes.

  24. 24
    October 14th, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    I’m sure Uggs are very comfortable and warm, but they’re not really my thing. So do you have any suggestions on shoes to wear in rainy weather, other than the obvious rain boot? Thanks!

  25. 25
    October 14th, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    I love the plaid shirts need to pick up some great trends one thing I wont wear them with are uggs and that stands for ugly

  26. 26
    October 14th, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    I think one of the main reasons everyone is commenting on the Uggs is because Zephr has said on several occasions how they are a fashion NO. It would be like adding running shoes with jeans; though that’s a personal fashion choice, it shouldn’t be recommended and neither should Uggs.

  27. 27
    October 15th, 2009 at 12:23 am

    I’m loving this trend! I love flannel because it’s so warm and cozy and I’ve always been a huge fan of plaid

  28. 28
    October 15th, 2009 at 2:36 am

    Hey- recently for my birthday i got an UGG bag (accross the body messenger bag).

    I am so clueless as to what to wear it with as i usually wear bags over the shoulder. I am going on a shopping spree soon so would love some help! I think it would look good with neutrals, browns etc. I live in the UK so its hard to get lots of things that you advertise on here also :( Please could you put together an article using ‘uggs’ and ‘ugg bags’ as basics- still making them look fashionable? It would be sooo great as so many girls wear them and still want to look chic.

    x H

  29. 29
    October 15th, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    LOVE Isla Fisher’s look…I’ve seen that movie about a dozen times, and always wondered about the practicality of that look in real life. Now I really want a red plaid shirt-dress, but in a tailored and lady-like style, if I can find one, to offset the plaid-and-flannel-too-casual vibe, and wear it with black, or possibly grey, thigh-highs. I think it’s kind of an interesting reversal of the lagging, leaving the bottom of the leg bare, to leave the peek at the top with the stockings. Got to try it, though I’ll probably get weird looks again. Apparently I’m a bit more daring in fashion than is the rest of my campus.

  30. 30
    October 17th, 2009 at 3:12 am

    I honestly just can’t get into plaid :( I just don’t like it..although I do have a plaid scarf that I wear on occasion. Some girls sure can rock it though, and I love those boots in the second outfit :)

  31. 31
    October 21st, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Ah, the UGGs debate returns!

    You guys know me well, I’m definitely not a fan of UGGs and have definitely made that clear in some previous blog posts!

    That said, writers here are totally free to feature whatever they want in their posts – I trust Liza’s taste and would never force my opinions on her or ask her to change an outfit because it’s not my personal style. Also, I didn’t think the UGGs were a big deal in this post because they’re featured as an accessory, and aren’t the point of the outfit.

    As always, the outfits featured here are just for inspiration purposes – they’re not recommendations for what you SHOULD wear yourself. It’s all about taking inspiration from looks and changing them to fit your own personal style. So if you guys hate UGGs, you could take that outfit and substitute your favorite leather boots.

    At the end of the day, I want CF to feature diverse styles from across the country. Some people love UGGs, some don’t. It’s not a right or wrong thing, and nothing to get too upset over!

  32. 32
    December 26th, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    i have a kind of baggy plaid shirt dress and i didn’t know if i should wear it or not. i think i’ll try it now :))

  33. 33
    July 14th, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I’m looking for red flannel with the words sexy on it. I want to make p.j.’s for my boss for Christmas. I would settle for existing red p.j.’s with sexy written on them if it is possible to find otherwise I’ll make the letters and add them. Since this is a blog I thought perhaps someone may have seen something somewhere.

    Over the years I’ve found flannel to have different weights. The thicker will of course add bulk. Plaid can be used to make hand warmers (which I think should make a comeback they are just so romantic with storage too), bandannas, clutches, with a little creativity the options are endless. Well I must be about my quest for plaid.
    Thank you

  34. 34
    August 20th, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    You say well, I am agree with you very much. It is your best choice.

  35. 35
    August 24th, 2010 at 7:09 am

    I hav a slightly oversize flannel shirt that I looooove!!! I live in Seoul and it gets really cold here so I like to wear it unbuttoned over a cute dress or skirt (we rarely wear pants here) it makes more night dresses casual and daytime appropriate… I know this is unrelated but I need advice on different knee high winter riding boots!!! They are a staple and I can’t find a pair that I like within my budget :( please write a post on finding the right boot!!!!

  36. 36
    September 2nd, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Plaid shirt does not always equal flannel. Flannel is a type of thick fabric, not a pattern.

  37. 37
    September 4th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    I love wearing plaid shirts, and at my school it’s either plaids or polos, so alot of girls including myself. This has given me more ways I can wear plaids, Thanks! I live in Pennsylvania and it’s really cold in the winter so Ugg boots are so nice to wear in the winter especially with plaids. I do not agree that you cannot wear plaids with cowboy boots. I wear cowboy boots all the time and I wore them with a plaid skirt and alot of people thought it was cute. If your cowboy boots are colored other than brown or black then yes maybe it does look “to country” but the boots I have are brown and it works for me anyway. Thanks for the ideas. Could you please do something on how to wear polos, thats all my school will let us wear with your dress code, THanks!

  38. 38
    January 22nd, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Would a black shirt under the flannel from number 2 would look good

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