Fanatic Over Flannels – From Farm to Fashion

November 10, 2021

Flannel shirts are synonymous with fall. More than an everyday staple, flannel has endured centuries of wear from farmers to street fashion and beyond. Flannel’s staying power in our closets is primarily due to this fabric’s versatility, durability, and warmth.

No matter your style, a flannel shirt can seamlessly pair with and elevate your fall wardrobe (and every other season’s wardrobe, too!). Are you interested in pumpkin spicing up your daily wear with colorful, soft, and fall-friendly flannel? We can show you how.

What Is Flannel?

Woman wearing flannel

Flannel is a soft woven fabric popular in many styles. Its use dates back to the 17th century, primarily among laborers, and was usually made of coarse woolen material. Today, this soft and durable fabric can be made from wool, cotton, or synthetic fiber.

What makes flannel so unique? Flannel can be brushed through a mechanical process where fine metal brushes raise fine material fibers for ultra-softness. Unbrushed flannel gets its soft texture from its loosely spun yarn.

Flannel was popularized centuries ago by farmers and other workers who valued its low-cost and cozy appeal. Today, flannel is a wardrobe staple for many people and is commonly linked with its signature check print available in various patterns and colors.

A flannel shirt will usually come in a variety of plaid patterns, characterized by a check print made up of horizontal and vertical lines of color. Flannel is also available in patternless options and solid colors. Here is an easy way to remember the difference between plaid and flannel: flannel is a type of fabric, while plaid is a type of pattern.

Plaid patterns are available in a variety of colors and shades and are very common, especially in blankets, apparel, accessories, and so much more. However, they are not all flannel.

While plaid patterns are found nearly everywhere, these fabric patterns originated in Scotland and were used to withstand their frigid winters. Known as “tartan,” the fabric was worn as a kilt or cloak. Over time, the native vegetable dyes used to color the fabric came to represent the regional clans throughout the country.

Plaid became an alternative to tartan when American and British textile producers recreated these Scottish fabrics for everyday wear. Now, the rich tradition and heritage of Scottish clans may be lost but plaid continues to represent a bold and versatile fashion statement.

When to Wear Flannel Shirts

Cowboy wearing flannel

Flannel shirts offer unparalleled versatility in function and style. Wear the perfect flannel out on a crisp autumn day for a coffee date or while tending to your livestock during a chilly day in winter. Flannel shirts fit in a variety of outdoor, casual, and smart-casual occasions.

Flannel is a necessity in every person’s wardrobe. Here is why you need a flannel shirt in your closet:

  • They are cold-weather-approved due to their soft and warm form and make the perfect light layer. Oversized flannel, in particular, is trending as a “shacket”, which has elements of a shirt and jacket. It’s made of heavier material, can be styled in a variety of ways, and can be layered with heavier outerwear.
  • Flannel shirts are super easy to wear when you are on the go. Flannels can be buttoned or left unbuttoned with a shirt underneath and look stylish.
  • Flannel is a versatile piece of clothing that can go with everything from jeans to shorts to dresses and more.
  • Flannels come in a variety of colors to complement your wardrobe’s color scheme.
  • Flannel is super affordable and also comes in premium versions made with the highest quality material and features.


Flannels are synonymous with the classic working man. Whether you are hiking or working on the farm, a flannel shirt is an indispensable attire. Flannel can be layered in the cold and be easily unbuttoned or taken off if it gets too warm.

In addition, this fabric can be loose-fitting, allowing for a full range of movement when working outdoors. Finally, it can stand up to the wear and tear of a harsh environment and can be easily cleaned.


Flannel shirts are the ultimate casual aesthetic. Pair it with your favorite pair of jeans and some trendy boots or sneakers for a fashionable look. You can also layer your flannel with a classic t-shirt to slightly elevate your casual look and tie it around your waist or roll up your sleeves during warmer weather.


Smart-casual attire refers to clothes that fit well and can work in a professional business atmosphere. This attire incorporates elements of casual wear such as jeans, polo shirts, blouses, and flannel shirts.

Flannel in subtle and neutral colors can work well when tucked in a pair of jeans or chinos with a belt and layered with a stylish coat or jacket. Top off the look with a pair of smart casual shoes. Think sneakers, chukkas, and loafers.

How to Wear Flannel: Flannel Fashion 101

Man walking wearing flannel

Whether you are layering up for the winter, hitting up the pumpkin patch with a light layer, or going out for drinks with friends, men and women can easily style flannel. Embrace the backcountry spirit with these flannel shirt styling options.

With Denim

Flannel and denim are a classic combination. Pair your favorite jeans with a snug button-down flannel, or layer them with a stylish denim jacket. Denim and flannel provide you with a super relaxed feel and look.

With a Vest

When you need to do work out on the farm in chilly temperatures, a warm and cozy vest can seamlessly layer over a rugged, stylish, and colorful flannel shirt, giving you a full range of movement and warmth for your body’s core.

With Shorts

When it is not too hot or cold, a stylish flannel outfit idea is pairing your shirt with shorts. The super soft and warm material can keep you relatively warm while adding an unexpected twist to your ensemble.

With Overalls

Slim fit cuts with low backs are the perfect pairing for your flannel underneath the straps. Wear it over the top with a t-shirt underneath or tied around the waist. It has never been easier to look stylish while finishing your outdoor checklist.


Make a subtle and effortless fashion statement with a solid-colored t-shirt and an unbuttoned flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled up. For an even more understated look, unbutton the top two buttons of your flannel shirt layer.

With a Dress

Give your flannel the smart-casual treatment with a form-fitting dress that works in a casual and professional business environment. Keep it open as a light layer, or wrap it around your waist to give your dress a bit more dimension.

Tucked In

When the farm work is done for the day, and it is time to relax, a flannel shirt can be tucked into your jeans, instantly giving it a dressier appeal for your weekly dinner date. Stick with denim jeans or switch them out for wool trousers and chinos.

As an Accessory

The classic flannel shirt is a wardrobe staple as a layering piece or when worn alone as a top, but it can also be an accessory that can elevate your look. When the clouds clear and the temperatures get warmer, the flannel top can double as an accessory when tied around the waist.

Tied In The Front

If this fabric is a workwear staple for you, you can tie the front of the shirt in a knot to add a chic and fun element to your country style. Pair the shirt with a pair of distressed jeans and a t-shirt to complete your outback look.

Summer Flannel

In the summer, a lightweight flannel can be the perfect layer for your outfit. Wear it unbuttoned over a plain t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up or accessorized by wearing it tied around your waist. Short-sleeve flannel can also work well in summer.


Did you know that flannel shirts can also work as sleepwear? Opt for an extra-large shirt to double as a nightgown or buy a complete set of flannel pajamas. It is the perfect cozy material to keep you warm and comfortable at home.

Shop Flannel Shirts at Wilco Farm Stores

Man in hardhat wearing flannel

Elevate your wardrobe with a splash of flannel. Shop a variety of shirts for men, women, and kids at Wilco Farm Stores.

Show us your flannel style, use #mywilcolife on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and tag Wilco stores.