Flannel is to winter as linen is to summer. Just a little more formal. And perhaps just a little more famous. Connery wore it as Bond on numerous occasions and then there was that movie about The Man In The Grey Flannel Suit… But those were both long before my time (and likely some of yours). Since then, flannel has sadly seemed to have lost some of its allure. It’s not quite as common as it was back in the latter half of the 20th century; at least from what I’ve been told and observed. But that should not be the case, especially in the cooler climates of the northeast and mid-west. Flannel does not have to be the stodgy conformist fabric that it is oft thought of as. An easy way to break with this line of thought is to trade out the grey for blue.
This is not to say that grey flannel isn’t attractive, it is one of the best looking and most visually interesting fabrics out there. Far more interesting than grey worsteds, in my opinion. And relevant to colder weather, it is far warmer than linen and worsteds. Its heavier weight also makes you feel like you are wearing your favorite blanket; except in an infinitely more stylish manner. Its matte appearance compliments the muted colors and tones of the season. Now that its hegemony has been established the question of how to wear a flannel suit remains. Or in this case, how to wear a blue flannel suit?
Fortnunately, the good people over at Oliver Wicks have both a navy blue and sky blue flannel in their fall/winter collection, I was able to get my hands on a suit in both fabrics (the whole collection is great, actually). Let’s start with the navy flannel suit ($649 as 3 piece, $549 as 2 piece). The fabric is a great 11oz flannel from Vitale Barberis Canonico, I believe from their winter classics II book.
The details of the jacket are: 2 button, hacking pockets, dual vents, wide peak lapels, functioning sleeve buttons. The details of the vest are: 5 button, notch lapel, self fabric back. The details of the pants are: side tabs, suspender buttons, no pleats, no cuffs.
I first wore it as a very formal look, with the vest, solid white shirt and red striped tie. To settle any discussion, you can wear black shoes with a navy suit, as I did here. The black adds a little more formality than brown shoes would. To accessorize the look, I carried the black Anchorage duffel and black quilted laptop sleeve, both from Jay Butler. The idea being to keep the leathers on the accessories and shoes the same color.
For a more casual look I took off the vest and switched out the shirt and tie for a navy turtle neck sweater. And switched the shoes from black semi brogues to brown suede Belgian Shoes. It gives of a totally different vibe, I felt like I could walk the line between a suited stealth ninja whilst climbing on the rooftop and suave Hugh Hefneresque character (not pictured). The look would be ideal for a date, night on the town with the gents or sitting fireside with a book and cigar.
Suit: Oliver Wicks. Sweater: Uniqlo. Shoes: Belgian Shoes. Pocket Square: Fort Belvedere. The versatility of the navy flannel suit is exceptional. Its style and appeal are timeless. Making how to wear the navy blue flannel suit a rather easy thing to figure out.
For a more playful set of ensembles we move to the sky blue flannel suit ($549 2 piece). This flannel is 9oz from VBC, making it a little lighter than the navy and it is also a worsted flannel, as opposed to the woolen flannel of the navy.
Solely because of its color, the sky blue flannel suit will never be as formal as the navy flannel suit. It would not be appropriate for more formal workplaces or a court of law. But for a date, that ambiguous dress code known as ‘cocktail attire’ or a jaunt around town the sky blue flannel performs masterfully. Let’s check out three different looks with the suit to see how things can be changed up.
The details of the jacket are: 1 button, wide peak lapel, hacking pockets, dual vents, functioning sleeve buttons. The details for the pants are: side tabs, suspender buttons, no cuffs, no pleats.
Again, for the first look I went with a more formal look. A white shirt with cocktail cuffs (which Connery’s Bond was also known for) and a navy knit tie with white polka dots. A fun tie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. With the dress boots, its about a formal of a look as you can pull off with the suit. Although not casual, it does not exactly scream that I’m here for business.
For a more casual look I parted ways with the tie and changed out the shirt to a light blue one. The burgundy of the pocket square compliments whilst setting itself off of the blues of the rest of the ensemble. The ostrich bit loafers provide a nice, and perhaps unexpected, change of pace.
Suit: Oliver Wicks. Shirt: Sebastian Ward. Shoes: Jay Butler. The final look with the sky blue flannel is the least formal of the three, yet still elegant and dressed up. There is nothing that bars the jacket from being worn as a separate, so I mated the jacket with some great grey tweed trousers (which will be featured in a forthcoming post) to dress down the jacket. The idea with this look was to envelop myself in unadulterated masculine elegance and luxury. Nearly all of my favorite things are present here: cashmere (sweater), flannel (jacket), tweed (pants), alligator (shoes) and fine chronology (watch). The only thing missing is fur, the real stuff, not the fake stuff. It is my favorite look of the bunch, it had me feeling some kind of way.Jacket and pants: Oliver Wicks. Sweater: Uniqlo. Shoes: Jay Butler. Watch: Tudor. Pocket Square: Monsieur Fox. In short, the way you wear a blue flannel suit does not differ much from a blue suit of worsted. You can wear all the same things with flannel. However, the difference in texture and appearance makes it more at home in the fall and winter months. Said texture also allows the wearer to play around with accessories like ties and pocket squares in a different way than with non-flannel worsteds. The luster of a silk pocket square contrasts nicely against the matte of the flannel. The matte look of the cashmere turtlenecks looks at home beneath the flannel jackets, whereas underneath many blazers and worsted jackets sweaters look like they are in borrowed space. Every man should have at least one flannel in his wardrobe. Start with a simple solid one, like the navy featured here. Hopefully I have provided some good insight on how to wear a blue flannel suit, whether it be navy or the lighter sky blue. Obviously, there are numerous other pairings that can work. If you want to suggest some of your favorite looks, ask questions or just comment; hit the comments section below.
Note: FYGblog would like to thank Oliver Wicks for providing the suits for this post. FYGblog would also like to thank Parc Brasserie and Starr Restaurants for hosting part of this shoot. In case you were wondering, the burger was excellent. Lastly, big thanks to Lexy Pierce for taking all the photos.