Flannel Look: Inspiration, Outfit Ideas and Style Tips

Caucasian woman wearing a black and red flannel shirt sitting in a car not smiling

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Last Updated on July 5, 2021

The 90s flannel look derives from the grunge aesthetic—a fashion style that rose to popularity in the early 90s and became a mainstream trend. The trend was adopted around the world.

A few locations stood out however, especially the United States, Australia, and Latin America—places were the grunge music genre grew consistently. Grunge fashion stood apart from the other ongoing trends of the 90s.


Key elements such as flannel are now considered iconic, and have made a huge comeback from luxury high end fashion brands down to fast fashion.

In this article I reveal what inspired flannel fashion in the 90s, outfits you can wear today and even break these down by season.

Let’s get started…

Flannel Inspiration

Flannel is praised for being highly comfortable due to its softness. During the 90s, laidback, casual, and comfortable attire were all the rage. It is no wonder flannel was one of the most popular fabrics during the decade.

The greatest women style icons of grunge fashion in the 90s were involved directly with the grunge music genre.

Donita Sparks, singer and guitarist for LA grunge group L7, was an icon of grunge wear who was often seen wearing flannel garments in different shades. Her style was described as messy, grotesque, and heavily emo punk. If you want to know more about emo styles read this guide on emo styles of the 90s and 00s.

American singer Gwen Stefani of the band No Doubt, sported her share of grunge fashion looks during the 90s. While she formed part of various different style aesthetics, many remember her for her cropped tees, chunky combat boots, and flannel trousers.

Scottish singer Shirley Manson of the grunge band Garbage became an important style icon of the 90s. Red flannel was her favorite garment and print—worn mostly in dresses and skirts.

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Flannel Outfit Ideas and Style Tips

Here are a few ideas and suggestions on how to recreate the 90s flannel look today, seeing as this has once again turned into an important trend.

The easiest way to incorporate flannel into any outfit, is by simply throwing on an oversized, button up flannel shirt. This was one of the most common ways to wear flannel back in the 90s, by both men and women.

This style is comfortable, effortless, but can be very feminine when styled correctly. For a more relaxed effect, wear with baggy jeans and your favorite tee.

For a chicer finish, pair with a form fitting crop top, and black trousers. Another way to add flannel to an outfit is to tie a flannel shirt around your waist easy and comfortable, and very nostalgic of the 90s. These were the most common ways to wear a flannel 90s button up shirt.


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Seasonal Outfits

Ever since flannel has made a comeback from the 90s, there are endless new ways to incorporate the fashion style.

Summer 90s Flannel Fashion

A flannel shirt tied into a fashionable knot at the front, is an easy way to incorporate this material for warmer weather. While flannel was traditionally used as a protection against the cold, it can definitely be adapted and used on its own.

Cropped and sleeveless versions of flannel shirts are highly common, and are the ideal alternatives for summer temperatures. For the summer, choose cotton flannel fabrics over woolen.

This casual soft button plaid shirt from Amazon is the ideal top to tie a knot with, and roll the sleeves up for a fresher outfit idea. The 100% cotton fabric is perfect for the summer heat.

Spring 90s Flannel Fashion

Flannel dresses are the perfect way to dress grunge in spring. They are fresh, open, and ideal for a warm yet slightly cooler weather. They can be paired by your favorite sandals, low top sneakers, or with slip on loafers.

Another alternative to the spring take on flannel is a shorts jumpsuit, which is a similar style to the dress but converted into shorts. Some people may prefer this.

This Missguided blush flannel drawstring romper is a beautiful girly and feminine version of the grunge take to wear on the everyday. This garment is also long sleeve, but the sleeves can be rolled back if the weather is too warm. Combine with chunky white sneakers for the optimal finish.

Fall 90s Flannel Fashion

For the fall and winter, heavier flannels made from wool are much more appropriate. While there are endless color variations within flannel pieces, brown and earthy tones look best for fall.

A thick woollen flannel shirt, buttoned all the way up, paired with mom jeans and black boots, is the perfect way to recreate the 90s look. This helps you stay warm in the colder months too.

Another option is a flannel shirt dress worn with over the knee boots. This style will make you look very put together and is ideal for fall time. This Off-White checked flannel shirt dress features a loose silhouette, adjustable drawstring dress, and a curved hem.

Winter 90s Flannel Fashion

A flannel coat is the perfect way to incorporate this 90s style into your winter wardrobe. You can layer, throw on over anything, or wear by itself with a pair of black leather pants for a cool and refined finish.

This Verdusa button down long sleeve pocketed plaid coat is made from 100% polyester but is the perfect option for a grunge fashion winter look. The dark green and grey hues match the cold weather perfectly. The fabric will keep you cozy in the lowest of temperatures.

Better known as pajama pants, another winter flannel trend is baggy joggers. Very similar to the kind Gwen Stefani wore throughout her music career in the 90s. These pants are highly comfortable and fun, but very casual and informal.

Wear with a tee shirt and leather jacket to dress them up a bit, and finish with chunky black combat boots. These Ekouaer lounge pants double as pajama pants and joggers for a casual outing, or for relaxing at home.

Read: Styles of Pants from the Nineties You Can Wear for Any Event

Make sure to join us on Instagram for more flannel inspiration. And leave a comment below!

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Ever since her childhood Ana Luisa has been passionate about fashion. Ana currently studies Business of Fashion at Polimoda in Florence, Italy and is always amazed at how fashion brings people together and creates a sense of belonging for people who may feel like outcasts. Ana loves seeing reflections and evolutions of 90s trends as modern comebacks in the fashion industry today. Ana is also a fan of 90s supermodels and would wishes she could live a day in 90s Manhattan.