Fall has fallen upon us, and we here in SoCal could not be more excited for the change. It’ll be a small one, mind you (we’re not so much with the seasons), but transitioning into autumn means – drumroll, please – flannel weather. The only downside to the toasty tartan treasure though? It can be hard not to look like a lumberjack in it. Or a cowboy for that matter. And you probably don’t wanna be mistaken for a carpenter. Or a hunter. Or even a handyman, even if you do idolize Al Borland, as we all do. Especially if we’re talking buffalo plaid (a two-toned checkered pattern) or a too-familiar color palette (read: red). But today we’ve compiled a few tips on downplaying that, uh, occupational aspect of flannel and put together some pretty-in-plaid outfits for your consideration. So read on. Or should we say check it out…
1. Incorporate it into other fashion genres – The cowboy, handyman, and lumberjack will all have to take a sabbatical if you combine the flannel shirt with pieces specific to other genres. With a pleated tennis skirt, your whole look is more country club than open country. With big, bold, gold jewelry it’s street instead of dirt road. And with some faux leather leggings, moto instead of mountain.
2. Minimize the surface area – Take the plaid potency down a notch by
demoting bumping it to more of an accessory. Don’t worry, it won’t be offended. The flannel knows how great it looks tied around your waist. And it loves peeking out of sweaters as a Clueless-worthy collar and cuffs. So don’t think you can’t wear it inside or underneath other pieces. Sometimes it needs to be a supporting actor.
3. Mix it with a contrasting pattern – You can also dial flannel down a bit by matching it with a competitive but cooperative print. Floral, for one, would be great, as it’s a starkly different motif, providing the juxtaposition of its roundness against the lines of the plaid, its delicacy against the masculinity. Just play around with color and scale until you find the perfect balance.
4. Choose a feminine cut in a different material – Your Brawny Man button-up won’t evoke a woodsman vibe if it has the markings of women’s clothing. For instance, if it’s fitted. Or if it has an empire waist for a babydoll look, smocking in the back for a more defined waist. You might also want to try the print in a non-flannel fabric, like a lightweight chiffon or a textured crepe.
5. Change the silhouette – But if you’re set on borrowing your carpenter boyfriend’s plaid shirt, there are plenty of no-sew ways to alter it a little bit. Try rolling up those too-long sleeves and tying it up for a saucy Daisy Duke look. Wear it as a shirt-dress by cinching it with a belt. Or get super creative a la our convertible maxi dress with a tied strapless look. Who knew, right?
6. Pair it with girlier pieces – As an alternative you can just wear the shirt with a bottom that sports a flirty or womanly silhouette. You can’t go wrong with a skater skirt, for example, or its more demure older sister, the A-line. And pile on additional femme contrast with accessories. Ladylike faux pearls, schoolgirl knee-high socks, a glam lace headband, sleek and sexy stilettos…
7. Skip suggestive accessories – Be careful, though. The plaid shirt is so iconic of the professions we mentioned before that certain finishing touches can have you veering into costumey territory. Like you probably shouldn’t top your plaid outfit off with a big ol’ cowboy hat. We would stay away from cowgirl boots too. Also overalls and trapper hats. And definitely, definitely leave that axe at home.