8 Ways to Wear a Denim Shirt

Guest post from male-extravaganza.com.

Denim is a material that acts as the foundation for menswear. Whether it be the iconic, all-American Levi jean or the verdant woodlander in his denim jacket, denim is a perennial material that has surfaced as by far, one of the most impacting materials in men's fashion. Its practical advantages ad a rugged material capable of surviving the toughest of conditions, but also it's aesthetic that can make for an edgy accent.

With the increasing array of fashionable attire readily available for men, it comes as no surprise that the brainchild of Jacob Davis, a Lativan tailor who serviced workers on the dawning American roads, that denim would ruse the sartorial ranks. Primarily though the revival of the denim shirt.

The denim shirt is a highly versatile garment, it can be translated into a myriad of styles and comforts. Fabrics' designs and intentions have loosened, with denim now being a common part of both casual and formal wear. With the many types of denim shirts too - the heavy-weight, western or the tailored variety - it has evolved into a menswear essential.

Picking a denim shirt

A denim shirt can be a tricky garment to buy. Fast-fashion stores such as Topman, ASOS or Primark provide a wealth of options for denim shirts, but not all may be right for you. Tantamount is the fit of the shirt, a fitted denim shirts looks much better than one that envelops you. Loose and baggy denim shirts should be avoided, especially for muscular or skinny men. The wash of the denim and its heaviness should also be considered too. Darker washes flatter different materials and tones than lighter washes do, and the heaviness of the fabric affects when it can be worn.

But how can the denim shirt be worn? An article of clothing as versatile as the denim shirt can be surprisingly difficult to dress at a first glance due to the broaadness of what can be paired with it. However, by identifying a few basic outfits plans, a capsule wardrobe, the denim shirt can be a staple in your wardrobe.

Here are 8 ways to wear a denim shirt

Worn open

This is the most basic way to wear a denim shirt, relying on the sleek simplicity of denim as a substitute for a flannel shirt. The off-duty look can easily be worn throughout the year, as an extra layer during the cooler summer months, or an added fabric layer during winter. It's an all-year masculine look Worn with a basic t-shirt, or even one with Breton striped to play on the coming nautical trend, making sure the denim shirt is a lighter shade than the jeans is paramount. Darker denim on the bottom and lighter denim on top is an effortless way to wear double denim, but chinos can be worn instead.

Holiday Chic

Denim is an extremely casual fabric option, meaning that a shirt made of denim can be worn in a friendlier fashion. The uninhibited semblance of the denim shirt makes it designed for holiday wear, when that slender breeze blows across the parched beaches, a denim shirt and chino short combo, worn with Converse, sandals or Havaianas, will always work. A denim shirt is a go-to piece for every-day Spring/Summer wear. 

The 'Beckham Half Tuck'

What nestles within the ever maturing style of David Beckham is his ability to take basic pieces - such as a denim shirt - and wear them in a naturally uncaring, yet unique way. Beckham achieves this relaxed look with his famous way of tucking; half the shirt tucked into the waist leaving the other ruggedly askew. What's key to this style is that it is a niche that can easily be applied to all types of shirts, and looks especially good with a denim shirt. Lighter denim should be picked.

'Air tie'

Taking denim, a rather old-age material, and wearing it in modern ways produces a distinctively individual vibe. One method is the 'air tie'. Recently witnessed on the youthful, androgynous branding of All Saints and Topman, the button-up look echos the youth rebellion of the Mods of the 80s. With dress shirts, the air tie is worn with skinny suits, denim shirts buttoned up and tucked in works best with metallic accessories. But also earthly, natural tones like khakis or brown leather watches and belts.


Denim is built for work. Its designed to persevere through all that is thrown at it but this does not mean that it is to be constrained to casual attire. The denim shirt can be worn in formal wear to create an unconventional aesthetic, balancing edgy demure with preppy frivolity. Denim shirts work with lighter cottons and also heavy tweeds; making the the garment seemingly designed for texture contrast. Styling with a tweed or silk tie furthers the range of texture contrast. It induces a far more unstructured silhouette than the rigid tailoring of a suit and dress shirt.

All wrapped up

For a semi-formal ensemble, a cardigan can be matched with a denim shirt through all seasons. The denim shirt can acts as a statement piece, anchoring it with a neutral cardigan in organic colours. Though, a statement cardigan in an Aztec or fairisle can imbue a contrast; the robust masculinity of the denim with the preppy prints.

Leather contrast

The leather jacket is another statement piece that is essential for gentleman and bloke's wardrobes alike. Leather can act as a foundation texture, but also an accent, in which it compliments denim harmoniously. A denim shirt can be worn openly or closed formally with a leather jacket, the two textures can act as an effective contrast, able to be worn during the transition periods between seasons.

On the runway

The denim shirt finds its origins within working class workwear, but the material itself has long been associated with the Wild West. For their Spring/Summer 2010 collection, D&G took the weathered material and bejeweled, studded and distressed it. More avant-garde stylistic choices were opted for, with velvet blazers and bow ties in toffee, caramel and treacle shades being paired with the masculinity of denim.

To say the denim shirt is essential is but an understatement. Its sheer versatility and broadness enables the denim shirt to transcend the ages and remain a timeless item. An indispensable part of a capsule wardrobe, it can incorporated into a plethora of trends and styles with its brawny texture and rowing-class roots. It is no longer defined by the heritage of its material, a denim shirt can be worn with just about anything.

But let us steer way from Justin Timberlake's Canadian tuxedo, shall we?

About the Author

Joshua Milton is an aspiring journalist and fashion enthusiast. He enjoys immersing himself in different creative outlets such as photography and writing. He is a part of the team at Male Extravaganza and also blogs independently at http://joshuamilton.weebly.com/

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