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Flannel with Shorts: Inside The Trendy Look

A man a red plaid flannel long sleeve button down shirt and a pair of blue denim frayed shorts.

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A flannel shirt is one of the most versatile essentials in anyone’s closet. Best known for its casual look, a flannel has the potential to be layered with most items you already own. It can be combined to give added warmth or a pop of color. Wear a flannel all year round, even during the summer, but how does one style a flannel with shorts?

Styling a flannel with shorts comes down to understanding the material and pattern of your bottoms. Ideal fabric types are denim if you are interested in a more casual outfit, or chino for a slightly elevated look. It is best to refrain from wild or colorful patterns on your shorts, as this may clash with the classic plaid patterns featured on most flannels. 

What is a flannel shirt?

If you have not encountered a flannel shirt before, it is made from cotton, wool, or synthetic fibers. Flannel refers to the material of the shirt and comes in various styles, featuring much more than plaid patterns. 

Flannel tops originally stem from agrarian roots but grew to popularity in the 1990s with the help of the rock and grunge scene. The flannel quickly became a classic, being adopted by music fans and entered mainstream fashion to be enjoyed by the masses.  Depending on how old your flannel is, you could be wearing a true piece of vintage clothing, and it’s never been easier to shop vintage with all the online marketplaces.

Why is flannel so popular?

The flannel shirt is the ultimate piece of clothing for a casual look and can offer a very stylish option if paired correctly. It can be worn all year round and offers years of comfort and warmth, due to the durability of most flannel shirts. The fabric has been around since the 16th century but has really come into the mainstream during the 90s due to grunge and rock bands like Nirvana.

Why are flannel shirts so expensive?

The main expense for a flannel shirt stems from the fabric. The fibers used to make flannel are typically natural and cost more to produce. The two industry favorite fibers are wool and cotton. Wool is best for winter flannel tops, as they offer the most warmth and comfort for the cold season. Similarly cotton is ideal for warmer months, as it is lighter and more breathable. High-grade wool or organic cotton can quickly increase the price of any garment. 

How to Style a Flannel Shirt with Shorts

The flannel with shorts look is taking over social media and has become a popular streetwear look. You can find guys wearing their Air Jordan sneakers and fitted baseball hat alongside gym shorts and flannel shirt.

Can you wear a flannel shirt with shorts?

Yes, you can absolutely wear a flannel shirt and shorts. It is important to understand the setting you are wearing in this combination. Only wear this combination in the summer months, or in warmer climates as this pairing will look out of place. Further, the material, patterns, and colors you select can elevate your mood or dress down your outfit. 

What are the best materials for shorts when pairing with flannel?

For a more elevated look, opt for a pair of chinos or khaki shorts, but not cargo shorts as these are baggy and considered to be very casual. Then combine a finer pair of shorts with a more premium flannel, pick a summer flannel made of cotton, or even organic cotton. Premium flannels may have more attention to detail, like additional hidden pockets, finer buttons, and better overall construction.

For a casual look, go with more relaxed material, like denim shorts or cargo shorts. Keep in mind not to wear ill-fitting garments. As an overly baggy flannel can look to be the wrong size rather than just casual styling. You can even wear a pair of athletic shorts that you would normally use for working out at the gym. Really anything goes when it comes to pairing this style of button down shirt with shorts.

Final Thoughts

In the end, the flannel shirt and shorts combination is a great option for a casual outfit. Be aware of where you are going as certain materials and fits may be too relaxed and feel inappropriate. When in doubt go for better-constructed flannel shirts and shorts in neutral tones as these elements offer a more refined final look. 

FAQs About the Flannel with Shorts Look

A flannel shirt is a layering tool, so for cooler days in the spring and summer add a sweatshirt into the mix. Pick your favorite solid-colored sweatshirt, it can feature a graphic, just ensure the colors match your flannel and shorts. Layer the flannel over the sweatshirt and you will have a fashionable look. 
The best color combinations for a flannel shirt and shorts pairing are neutral tones. Colors for shorts like khaki, creams, black, denim, and evergreen are strong options. They all compliment each other nicely and will match most flannel shirt patterns. The trick to a strong color pairing is to select a detailing color within the pattern, not the most prominent color, and match this to your bottoms. 
Stick to the classics, you are wearing a flannel after all – plaid is a great option for patterns. If plaid is too casual for the occasion, there are solid and simple patterned flannel shirts available. When wearing a pattern on top, refrain from wearing patterned shorts, as the two look awkward together.

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