Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On the Nature of Flannel

Before I get started on the topic of today's post, I thought I'd show you guys three of the things I've been pondering today:

Kettle Black Long Denim Floral Skirt, $150 at shopbop.com, American Apparel Multi-Layered Reversible Petticoat, $65 at americanapparelstore.com, Living Proof Full Thickening Cream, $24 for 3.7 oz at sephora.com: I don't even know where to start with this skirt. It's one of the ugliest things I have ever seen. It's like the spawn of an Abercrombie denim mini and a '70s hippie skirt from Goodwill (aka BIPOLAR) and it's being sold for the price of a good pair of jeans. Blasphemy! I really don't understand what's going on there. I can't see how it could ever be styled to look anything but deranged and confused. At best it looks like you wanted to add some length to your denim mini and decided to put another skirt underneath it. Which still makes no sense. Speaking of skirts, I'm trying to decide how I feel about this American Apparel petticoat. The thought that American Apparel is making petticoats honestly frightens me, but it's sort of fetching, especially in the black. Maybe that with a simple drapey tank and some leather sandals? Or is it just too costumey? I can't decide! The one thing I don't have mixed feelings about is this Living Proof Thickening Cream. Let me explain my hair. I have really, really, really (and I mean really) thick hair. Like I could loose half the hair on my head--in an evenly distributed manner, of course---and have as much hair left as the average person does to begin with. It sounds like I would have a ton of volume then, but no. My hair strands themselves are really thick and straight, and extremely heavy. So what ends up happening is that my trillions of hairs sort of compress themselves on top of each other into a clunky hair blob. I use volumizing mousse and salt spray to try to add some movement and body, but I will never have shampoo commercial hair. That's why I'm intrigued by this Living Proof cream. I trust Living Proof because it was developed in Cambridge (aka right by my college, aka amazingness), and this seems like it would actually pump up the hair strands instead of making them all starchy and crunchy like my mousse occasionally tends to do.

So the real question of the day has been bothering me for some time now. How do you wear a flannel shirt without looking like a hipster? I've never owned a flannel shirt before, so I never really put much thought into it. I just got one over break, however, and I'm dying to wear it.

Scoop NYC Flannel Shirt: here's my little flannel. Isn't it cute?

The trick is to find a flannel that hangs correctly (I like men's flannels for this because women's flannels can get very fitted/girly, and that kind of goes against the point of wearing a flannel anyways, which is to look like you stole it from your boyfriend), and then to style it so that you don't look like every other Urban Outfitters shopping hipster in a flannel and skinny jeans.

J. Crew Men's Secret Wash Lightweight Button-down Shirt in Coastal Plaid, $59.50 at jcrew.com, J. Crew 3" Chino Shorts, $39.50 at jcrew.com, J. Brand Mid Rise Straight Legs Jeans, $159 at shopbop.com: Gotta love J. Crew. They have a fab selection of men's flannels at the moment, in a ton of different colors. A guy's flannel will be slightly oversized on you, and if you roll the sleeves up you get the perfect contrast of the baggy fit and exposed skin. I like the color palette of this flannel--it's still 'manly,' but it's subtle and flattering, not lumberjackish. The way I see it, you can go pretty much two ways with flannels: shorts or pants. I'd stay away from leggings underneath because that can look a little too 'walk of shame,' and it's hard to find the right skirt to go with this sort of piece. Tailored shorts add structure to the cozy flannel, but show enough skin to balance out the volume of the flannel. I like this navy/black because it picks up on the darkest part of the flannel print, which ties the outfit together nicely. Or you could go for a bottom that's more form-fitting, like these J. Brand jeans. The dark wash dresses up the casual nature of the flannel shirt, and the tightness of the fit again contrasts with the baggier lines of the flannel.

J. Crew Reese Gladiator Sandals, $88 at jcrew.com, Frye Dorado Riding Boots, $458 at shopbop.com: If you like the shorts option, I'd choose a delicate but slightly rustic sandal like this pair from J. Crew. A ballet flat is just too girly, which takes away from the 'boyfriend' effect of wearing a flannel, whereas a clean pair of sandals still says feminine, but in a more basic, practical way that goes well with the nature of the shirt. When wearing a flannel and jeans, I'd finish the look off with a pair of equestrian boots. You want something that's going to add a little extra polish to the look, and equestrian boots are refined and chic, but still really practical. The neutral hue of these boots keeps all the focus on the flannel top, but the subtle buckle details ensure that they won't fade into the background at all.

FENTON/FALLON for J. Crew Carrington Chain Bracelet, $95 at jcrew.com, Madewell Long Rhinestone Necklace, $27.50 down from $55 at shopbop.com, Felix Rey Leopard Bow Mini Messenger Bag, $175 at shopbop.com: The accessories for this look are where you can really start to have some fun. I'd choose jewelry that's feminine with a bit of an edge. Girly materials, like the rhinestones in this bracelet and necklace, remind everyone that you're still a girl, even though you're wearing a flannel, and exposed metal and mixed materials give the outfit edge and visual weight. Both of these pieces would drape so perfectly. The soft lines of the bracelet add a little sexiness, and the dark rhinestones of the necklace would peek out from the placket of the flannel in a really chic way. To top it all off, I'd do a fun bag like the leopard messenger bag. Mixing prints is a huge thing for Spring and Fall, and it works here because the colorful flannel is clearly the dominant print, whereas the leopard is a smaller, more neutral print. When mixing prints make sure that one is always dominant and the others play supporting roles. I like a little shoulder bag for this look because a giant, slouchy tote would be too casual against the flannel, and this shoulder bag adds femininity and structure while still being whimsical and fun.

Image Sources:
Kettle Black skirt: shopbop.com, American Apparel skirt: americanapparelstore.com, Living Proof cream: sephora.com, J. Crew shirt: jcrew.com, J. Crew shorts: jcrew.com, J. Brand jeans: shopbop.com, J. Crew sandals: jcrew.com, Frye boots: shopbop.com, J. Crew bracelet: jcrew.com, Madewell necklace: shopbop.com, Felix Rey bag: shopbop.com.


  1. Love that flannel shirt you're in - you're right, it's harder than you think to get the look *just right*. That denim/floral skirt brings back memories of a similar mini I remembering loving and wearing to a school disco back in the 80s - ha - and that is not a good thing!

  2. thanks! really? are there pictures? i love so much of '80s fashion, but that skirt...not so much.



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