How to Wear a Denim Shirt for Men: Outfit Ideas

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE

The Fashionisto

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Updated April 13, 2023

Banana Republic Indigo ShirtPin
Banana Republic Indigo Denim Shirt $37.50 with a Henley. Photo: Banana Republic

Men’s denim shirts are timeless and versatile pieces that can be worn in various ways for any occasion. Whether going out for a night on the town or keeping it casual on the weekend, the denim shirt is the perfect addition to your outfit.

How to Wear a Denim Shirt

This complete guide provides different ways to wear denim shirts and helpful styling tips to sport this classic garment confidently. It covers everything from the various types of denim shirts available to how to dress them up or down for multiple occasions.

If you’re looking to add some variety to your wardrobe or maximize the potential of your denim button-down, keep reading to learn how to style this versatile piece of clothing for countless denim shirt combinations:

Types of Denim Shirts for Men

Old Navy Regular-Fit Non-Stretch Everyday Jean Shirt for MenPin
Old Navy Regular-Fit Non-Stretch Everyday Jean Shirt for Men $35. Photo: Old Navy

Denim shirts are available in different colors and materials, and each type offers a fresh style and appearance. The most prevalent types of denim shirts include blue, chambray, black, and light denim. Every type of denim shirt has its distinct style, and the key to selecting the right one is to consider the occasion, dress code, and personal style.

Blue Denim Shirt: A blue denim shirt is a classic piece that can be styled in many ways. It’s perfect for a casual look; you can wear it open with a white t-shirt or pair it with jeans or chinos for a smart casual outfit. For a formal look, pair it with a suit or dress pants.

Massimo Dutti Regular Fit Chambray Denim Shirt with PocketsPin
Massimo Dutti Regular Fit Chambray Denim Shirt with Pockets $99.90. Photo: Massimo Dutti

Chambray Shirt: A chambray shirt is a lightweight and breathable alternative to a denim shirt. It’s perfect for summer, and you can pair it with shorts or chinos for a casual look. Pair it with dress pants and a blazer for a more formal look.

H&M Regular Fit Denim OvershirtPin
H&M Regular Fit Black Denim Overshirt $29.99. Photo: H&M

Black Denim Shirt: A black denim shirt is a stylish alternative to a blue denim shirt. It’s perfect for a night out and can be paired with black jeans or slacks. For a casual look, pair it with dark-colored jeans or chinos.

Light Denim Shirt: A light denim shirt is perfect for summer, and you can pair it with white jeans or chinos for a fresh and crisp look. For a casual look, pair it with blue jeans or shorts.

Banana Republic The Western Denim ShirtPin
Banana Republic The Western Denim Shirt $90. Photo: Banana Republic

Western Denim Shirt: The western denim shirt is a timeless classic that embodies the rugged spirit of the American West. It features distinct design elements such as snap buttons, pointed yoke details, and chest pockets with flaps. Often found in both light and dark washes, this versatile shirt can easily transition from casual to more formal settings.

For a traditional cowboy-inspired look, pair a western denim shirt with your favorite blue jeans, a statement belt buckle, and cowboy boots. For a modern spin, combine it with slim-fit chinos or tailored trousers and a pair of leather loafers. Layer it under a blazer or denim jacket to add an extra touch of sophistication.

How to Dress Up a Denim Shirt for Formal Occasions

MOTHER Denim Holiday Collection Men 2022 011Pin
MOTHER The Neat jeans $248 with a denim shirt. Photo: MOTHER

Denim shirts are not only limited to casual occasions, but you can also dress them up for formal events. However, choosing the right denim shirt, fitting pants, and accessories is essential to complement the overall look. Here are some ideas on how to dress up a denim shirt for formal occasions:

Pairing it with a linen suit and dress shoes for a summer wedding: Linen suits are lightweight and breathable, making them perfect for summer events. You can pair a blue or grey denim shirt with a beige, khaki, or white linen suit and dress shoes for a sophisticated and modern look.

Massimo Dutti Cotton Regular Fit Faded Denim ShirtPin
Massimo Dutti Cotton Regular Fit Faded Denim Shirt $99.90. Photo: Massimo Dutti

Wearing it with trousers and a sports jacket for a semi-formal occasion: You can also pair a denim shirt with a pair of trousers and a sports jacket for a smart-casual look. You can pair a light denim shirt with navy or grey trousers and a navy sports jacket and add a pair of leather shoes to complete the outfit.

Accessorize appropriately: The right accessories can elevate your denim shirt outfit to the next level. Add a patterned or textured tie, a pocket square, or a lapel pin to your outfit. A belt and a watch can also complete the look.

Dos & Don’ts of Wearing a Denim Shirt

Express Dark Wash Hyper Stretch Denim ShirtPin
Express Dark Wash Hyper Stretch Denim Shirt $42. Photo: Express

If you want to wear a denim shirt stylishly, there are certain dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind. Achieving a sharp and fashionable look depends on the fit, color, and style of the denim shirt. Here are some essential tips to remember:

Dos:

Choose the right fit: The fit of a denim shirt is crucial to looking your best. Make sure you choose a shirt that fits well, whether it’s a slim fit or a regular fit. You don’t want the shirt too tight or loose, as both can be unflattering.

Gap Chambray Shirt with Jean JacketPin
Gap Chambray Shirt $55. Pair a denim jacket and a chambray shirt for a casual outfit idea. Photo: Gap

Create contrast: When pairing a denim shirt with other pieces of clothing, it’s important to create contrast. Avoid wearing pieces with the same shade of denim, as this can create a monotone look. Instead, pair your denim shirt with contrasting colors and textures to make your outfit pop.

Use it as a layering piece: The versatile denim shirt can be worn as an outer or base layer. It’s perfect for adding a touch of casual style to a more formal outfit or for layering up during the colder months.

Don’ts:

H&M Regular Fit Denim ShirtPin
H&M Regular Fit Denim Shirt $44.99. Photo: H&M

Avoid the Canadian tuxedo: The Canadian tuxedo, also known as the double denim look, involves wearing a denim shirt with denim jeans. While this may have been popular in the 90s, it’s generally considered a fashion faux pas. Instead, opt for contrasting pairs of pants, such as a different wash, black or khaki. Alternatively, pairing a contrasting denim jacket with a matching shirt and jeans is a stylish look.

Please avoid oversized denim shirts: While baggy clothing may have a place in some fashion circles, an oversized denim shirt is not the way to go unless you wear it as a statement piece. Otherwise, it can look sloppy and unkempt and is unflattering on most body types.

Following these simple dos and don’ts, you can rock a denim shirt with confidence and style. Remember to choose the right fit, create contrast, and use it as a layering piece. And most importantly, avoid the Canadian tuxedo at all costs.

Denim Shirt Outfits for Men

Massimo Dutti Slim Fit Bleach Wash Denim ShirtPin
Massimo Dutti Slim Fit Bleach Wash Denim Shirt $69.90 with Trench $229 and Chino Trousers $79.90. Photo: Massimo Dutti

A denim shirt is a timeless wardrobe essential, and one of its most significant advantages is its versatility. It’s possible to create a range of looks, from casual to semi-formal, with a denim shirt. Here are some outfit ideas that can assist you in maximizing the potential of your denim shirt.

One of the easiest ways to wear a denim shirt is by pairing it with navy or dark blue jeans. This classic look is perfect for a weekend brunch with friends or a casual date. If it’s cool, you can put on a leather jacket. Add a pair of white sneakers for a nice pop of contrast. White sneakers provide a clean, fresh look and add a touch of sophistication to your outfit.

Lucky Brand Lived-In Denim Long Sleeve Workwear ShirtPin
Lucky Brand Lived-In Denim Long Sleeve Workwear Shirt $69.30. Photo: Lucky Brand

If you want to take your denim shirt game to the next level, try mixing and matching different shades of denim. For example, you can wear a light blue denim shirt with dark blue jeans or a black denim shirt with light blue jeans. This creates a modern and stylish look that is perfect for a night out or a casual event. 

When mixing and matching different shades of denim, it’s important to create a good balance. Avoid wearing pieces with the same shade of denim as your shirt, as this can create a monochromatic look that could be more flattering. Instead, opt for different shades and textures to create a nice contrast. For example, you can pair a light denim shirt with a pair of dark denim jeans or a chambray shirt with a pair of black denim jeans.

Final Words

Massimo Dutti Regular Fit 100 Cotton Denim ShirtPin
Massimo Dutti Regular Fit 100% Cotton Denim Shirt $69.90. Photo: Massimo Dutti

A denim shirt is an indispensable and versatile addition to every man’s wardrobe, offering endless styling possibilities for various occasions. With a range of denim shirt types and countless ways to dress them up or down, it’s the ultimate go-to piece that can effortlessly elevate any outfit.

How to Wear a Denim ShirtPin
How to Wear a Denim Shirt

By adhering to the essential dos and don’ts and experimenting with different pairings and accessories, you can confidently showcase your style with this timeless classic. So, don’t hesitate to incorporate a denim shirt into your wardrobe and experience the undeniable appeal of this fashion staple in all its forms.


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