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Is it Okay to Wear a Flannel Shirt with a Suit?

If you're thinking of pairing a flannel shirt with a formal suit, then think again. Here are the various reasons why a flannel shirt and suit combination won't definitely work.

Man in an alley wearing a flannel shirt and black suit.

Is it okay to wear a flannel shirt with a suit?

The simple answer is no. I cannot argue enough against the idea of pairing a flannel shirt with a formal suit and I’ll explain why shortly. 

Not only does this combination not work, but I have yet to come across anyone that can pull it off successfully. So if you have a flannel shirt, do yourself a favor and keep it far away from your formal suit pants.

Keep reading as I explain why the flannel shirt and suit pairing is not the best and why you should avoid making this fashion faux pas. 

The flannel shirt 

Man in a flannel shirt sitting outdoors.

 “Nothing says cool and casual quite like a flannel shirt.” 

The flannel shirt is a soft fabric shirt that’s made for casual and informal occasions. That’s why you can not justify pairing it with something as formal as a suit. And unlike a plain t-shirt, a flannel shirt just doesn’t have that level of versatility. 

It doesn’t matter if the flannel shirt in your cupboard is striped or plain, you need to make sure that you pair it with something casual, such as a pair of jeans or even chinos. Whatever you do, never cross the line between the informal flannel shirt and the formal suit. 

If you are still tempted to adorn such an unusual pairing, here are a few reasons why you ought to think again:

Flannel shirts are better for colder weather

A couple wearing flannel shirt and sweater posing against a mountain backdrop during winter.

Flannel material feels very warm on the skin, so you’re better off wearing it on a cold or chilly day than in a hot and humid climate. 

While a flannel shirt is not exactly going to be a part of your year-round wardrobe, it’s still a good investment because it’ll come in handy during the fall and winter seasons. The best part is that a flannel shirt can be worn on its own on cooler days with no jacket or with a light cardigan or sweater. 

It’s the type of shirt that definitely makes an impression and doesn’t need statement pants to take the attention off of it. You also want to make sure that when you are shopping for a flannel shirt, you choose a more lightweight material that you can layer with other items if that is your style. 

You can always wear a flannel suit

Man in a flannel suit with thinking hand while sitting on an armchair.

While I am not at all advocating that you throw away all the flannel items in your cupboard, I am asking you to wear it better. After all, the clothes you wear are a reflection of your character, mood, and personality.

For instance, a flannel shirt can work well with denim blue jeans or even with regular fit black jeans. You can also purchase an entire flannel suit, and tone it down by wearing a sweater underneath instead of a shirt. However, what you can’t do is tone down a formal suit by wearing it with a flannel striped shirt.

Other than that, “flannels are something every man should own to look his best in a smart way, while keeping casual. 

Flannel shirts look good when they are not tucked in

Man wearing an untucked flannel shirt looking on his phone.

You have to admit that an untucked and unbuttoned flannel shirt looks good. Probably even better than a flannel shirt that’s tucked in. Now, a suit, on the other hand, requires you to button up all the way.

That’s one clue that shows these two closet items should always be worn separately. Either way, you should always wear items that perfectly complement each other, whether you’re going for a casual, smart-casual or a formal look. 

Flannel spells antique while your suit spells modern classic

Man wearing eyeglasses and a flannel suit leaning against the brick pillar.

As I said, there is nothing wrong with wearing a classy flannel suit, but there is something wrong with trying to pair a flannel shirt with a modern suit. 

To put it lightly, this combination is simply absurd. A suit is a classic on its own and the last thing you want to do is attract attention away from the suit by wearing it with an informal flannel shirt. 

Google ‘flannel shirt and suit combinations’ and see what you’ll find

Man in a parking lot wearing a beige suit over a checkered shirt.

The options are limited, at best. And in my opinion, images of these pairings can attest to why you shouldn’t match the two. 

Personally, I am totally against this combination. I think you are better off not coloring out of the lines when it comes to the traditional suit pairings that have been around and looked great for years.

If you are uncertain and still wish to give this style combo a try, perhaps seeing yourself in the mirror with this outfit on will show you all you need to know. The mirror never lies, and a flannel shirt and formal pants just don’t go together.