How To Style This Timeless And Versatile Fall/Winter Essential
A navy blue flannel suit is an absolute essential for your fall and winter wardrobe. It’s an incredibly classic and versatile piece that will work hard for you in a wide variety of situations or occasions. Aside from its obvious utility as a workhorse cold weather suit, an added benefit is the fact that by having one in your wardrobe, you’ve also got one of the best fall/winter sport coats and pairs of pants as well.
Here are five ways I’m wearing it.
1. Monochromatic Classic
One of the things I love most about navy suits, in general, is that you really don’t have to think that hard at all to style them. In fact, sometimes one color is all you need. Dressing monochromatically always looks classic and clean and is especially easy with perennially versatile navy blue. Additionally, it’s a very simple way to make a statement subtly — no flash necessary.
Flannel is soft, but it also has a slight texture. I often like to carry that theme through to other areas of the outfit and a navy grenadine tie is a go-to in those kinds of scenarios. It provides a great complementary texture and has a way of giving the suit a more casual feel, making it infinitely wearable in less formal situations.
When considering footwear and accessories for a monochromatic suited look, it’s always a good idea to keep it simple. A white pocket square provides just the right pop of contrast. And far from being too formal, a pair of black Oxfords helps anchor the entire outfit.
2. All Business
Don’t let its softness fool you — a navy flannel suit can also project power when styled appropriately. And for a business-focused outfit, one of my favorite ways to do that is with stripes.
A striped shirt isn’t necessarily the first shirt that comes to mind for power business looks, but when you add in a contrast collar and French cuffs, now we’re talking. Combined with the thin complex stripe, it’s got some of those Gordon Gekko vibes without reeking of cigar smoke from the 1980s. Classic style, modern sensibility. Just how I like it.
Another power play is adding stripes on stripes. Mixing similar patterns is usually something I feel like we reserve for more of those hashtag-menswear sartorial looks, but when we’re talking about stripes, there’s something about them in this context that just works. Always remember that when combining similar patterns to always vary the size and scale.
3. Jacket Separate: The Uniform
One of the biggest benefits of owning a flannel suit is that you’ve also got a built-in fall and winter sport coat. Although I’ve been preaching this aspect of a suit’s versatility for well over a decade now, it’s important to note that not all fabrics pass the stress test for this application. However, due to its overall appearance — soft with a little bit of texture — and weight, flannel is one of the best fabrics for breaking a suit into separates.
Not only do you have a a built-in sport coat, but you’ve also got one of the most classic and versatile fall/winter sport coats: a navy blue flannel sport coat. For classic menswear “uniform” dressing it is, of course, de rigueur and here is a combination that you can never go wrong with.
Far from being boring, I consider the “menswear uniform” a bit of a blank canvas upon which you can make small tweaks to spice it up a bit. I’m definitely a fan of a classic OCBD in this setting but in this case I’ve decided to add a little interest from the standard with a gray block stripe shirt.
Flannel separates always have a bit of a casual feel for me, which I like to lean into in various ways. Here, I’ve done with one extra button undone, forgoing the pocket square, and choosing a classic suede penny loafer.
4. Evening Out
As you well know, when it comes to matters of style, I’m big on making a statement without saying much. In other words, not being overtly flashy. This is particularly true when it comes to my evening and date night looks.
First and foremost, simplicity is always a great way to make a statement subtly. If that sounds oxymoronic, stay with me. Dressing simply but paying attention to the quality and richness of the fabrics is a hallmark of dressing in this manner. Very “quiet luxury”, if you will. A cashmere cable knit crew neck sweater is the perfect match.
And for evening looks such as this, I always like to pull out a bold pair of statement-making eyewear. It’s funny because although I’d say my taste in eyewear — as in most things — is very classic and conservative, I have no qualms with bold frames. I find them somewhat transformative in all the best ways.
5. Pants Separate
Just as a navy blue flannel suit nets you a versatile sport coat, when you own one, you’ve also got a brand new pair of do-anything fall and winter pants. There’s not much you can’t do with them and here’s just one example.
Once again, I’ve played into (and drawn out) the fabric’s casual side. A brushed cotton shirt is such a great pairing, in my opinion. Its softness matches the look and feel of the flannel pants while the strong button-down collar is appropriate for the outfit’s business casual formality level.
Given the simplicity of the shirt and pants, I added in a classic Glen plaid flannel sport coat to create some visual interest and break things up. As has been my preference of late for looks featuring a sport coat and pants, I’ve left out a pocket square.
I generally have a few reasons for doing so, but here it’s mostly a desire to not create any additional visual dissonance as the Glen plaid pattern has enough of that on its own. And with the shirt being the lightest colored garment of the outfit, I like how it draws your eye to the center and up to frame my face. A pocket square would be an unnecessary distraction.
The Bottom Line
A classic fall/winter menswear garment with nearly unlimited styling possibilities, a navy blue flannel suit deserves a place in every well-dressed man’s wardrobe. I’ve styled mine quite classically — a two-button, notch lapel jacket with flap pockets and tone-on-tone lining along with pants with side adjusters, a single reverse pleat, and two-inch cuff — but we are always able to customize it to meet your preferences and achieve your personalized custom fit.
Thanks, as always, for reading. It’s great to be back.