Men’s Denim Shirts: How to Wear Them


Only some men consider denim shirts when it comes to casual collared shirts. Why? Most men need help with how to dress and style a denim shirt.

Yet, following a few simple principles, you may wear a denim shirt with confidence and style. This article will show you how to dress in men’s denim shirts.

This article contains the following information:

  1. What exactly are denim shirts?
  2. When should you wear a denim shirt?
  3. How do you determine the formality of denim shirts?
  4. How to Wear Denim Shirts for Men
  5. How do you pick the right-fitting color denim shirt?
  6. Denim shirt fashion rules
  7. Five different ways to wear a denim shirt

What Exactly Are Denim Shirts?

man wearing chambray shirt

What exactly do we mean by “denim shirt?”

A denim shirt is made of – you guessed it – a solid twilled cotton fabric.

Denim is usually connected with outdoor work for a reason. Denim is a highly durable fabric. While labourers and cowboys have worn denim for decades, its popularity increased after World War II when urban Americans took denim home from road trips to the West.

Denim is now one of the most widely worn materials on the planet.

While jeans are ubiquitous, denim shirts are rare. That’s a shame because the denim shirt is one of the most diverse casual shirts a man can own, as we’ll see.

Chambray vs Denim

Men frequently mix up denim and chambray shirts. That’s understandable, given how similar they can appear at first glance. Both are made of cotton, have origins in workwear, and are often blue.

Here’s how to tell the difference between denim and chambray:

Chambray is light and supple, whereas denim is heavy and rough.

Chambray is woven in a plain weave, whereas denim is woven in a twill.

Chambray fabric, unlike denim, has a gloss to it.

“Should I wear a denim or chambray shirt?” you may wonder. While the answer mainly depends on your preferences, chambray is more lightweight and wicks sweat better than denim. In hot weather, a chambray shirt is an excellent choice.

When Should Men Wear Denim Shirts?

Denim shirts are ideal for everyday wear. You may wear a denim shirt wherever you feel comfortable wearing a button-down one.

A denim shirt can be used for outside chores and activities that need work boots, such as chopping firewood or digging a hole.

Just wear the fit denim shirt (see #3).

When not to wear a denim shirt

You should not wear a denim shirt to work if you work in an office with a strict dress code. Similarly, if the event requires anything more formal than business casual, you should not wear a denim shirt. Instead, wear a well-fitting dress shirt and consider a sports jacket.

How to Determine the Formality of Men’s Denim Shirts

Denim shirts are always casual due to their rough texture and outdoor workwear origins. On the other hand, specific denim shirts are more formal than others.

Examining the collar is one of the simplest methods to determine a denim shirt’s formality. Shirts with floppy collars (typically with buttons) are more informal than structured collars.

The weight of the cloth is another indicator of how casual a denim shirt is. Is the fabric thick and hefty, or is it thin and light? The heavier and thicker the cloth, the simpler the sweater.

The last item to consider while evaluating formality is the garment wash. Light, distress, and washes other than blue will be more casual.

Men’s Denim Shirts: How to Wear Them

Shirts made of western denim

man wearing western style chambray shirt

Western denim shirts frequently include two button-closed breast pockets. Other embellishments, such as decorative stitching on the shoulder or contrasting buttons, are standard on these shirts. This look was created primarily for ranchers and other outdoor workers.

Shirt jackets made of denim (overshirts)

denim overshirt

Specific denim shirts are designed expressly to be worn as overshirts. They are usually composed of thick cloth and contain breast pockets. A denim overshirt falls somewhere between denim shirts and denim jackets.

Stylish denim shirt

smart denim shirt

This broad category of denim shirts is designed with the urban casual man in mind. It has several styles that must fit more neatly into the other categories. Contemporary denim shirts have one, two, or no breast pockets. They are available in a variety of washes and colors.

Denim shirt with short sleeves

Men’s summer shirts with short sleeves can be a terrific option. All of the denim shirts we’ve explored thus far are available in short sleeves.

Stylish casual denim shirt

As previously stated, some denim shirts lend themselves better to ” dressing up” than others. A “smart casual” denim shirt will be constructed of a thinner fabric, have a well-defined collar, and fit close to the body.

Men’s Denim Shirts: How to Wear Them (Choosing The Right Color)

Denim shirts are available in a variety of hues.

As you may expect, blue is the most popular denim colour. There are, however, plenty of additional possibilities to explore.

Dark Blue

A dark blue denim shirt is an excellent option for your first denim shirt. This hue denim shirt may be dressed up or down like dark blue jeans. Dark blue denim hides stains nicely and develops a distinct worn pattern.

Blue in the middle

Denim in medium blue is a staple choice for farmers and ranchers. Light blue is an excellent colour if you’re looking for a denim shirt for outdoor work.

The colour is light blue.

Light blue denim shirts are an excellent choice for smart-casual denim shirts since it is simple to tell that you are being intentional about your intention to dress up denim and are not wearing a dirty work shirt with a light-coloured shirt.


Gray, like blue, is a popular denim shirt colour. Choose grey if you like to wear gloomy, monochromatic ensembles. If you’re doing manual labour, a grey denim shirt is an excellent choice because grey hides stains effectively.


Style a black denim shirt with confidence because wearing a black shirt might be difficult.

This is because black can be overbearing. A black shirt will draw attention to your head if you have a light complexion. Men with black hair and faded to dark skin should wear a black shirt.

More Colors

Denim shirts come in practically any colour you can think of.

What should you wear with a different-coloured denim shirt? Check out our colour palette guide.

Men’s Denim Shirts: How to Wear Them (Six Rules)

man wearing double denim (how to wear men’s denim shirts)

Rule 1: dress appropriately for the occasion.

As previously said, not all denim shirts are the same. Some are more formal than others.

While putting together a casual ensemble, consider denim a casual men’s shirt option and more formal denim shirts with much more formal outfits.

Rule 2: Avoid wearing a “Canadian tuxedo.”

The dreaded Canadian tuxedo. You’ve probably seen males wearing pants and a denim shirt. It doesn’t look good.

The problem is that they are wearing the same colour of denim on both the top and bottom parts of their body.

If you wear “double denim,” make sure to wear different denim colours or at least a notably different shade of the same colour.

Rule 3: Never wear a denim shirt to a formal event.

If it has a good collar and is composed of smooth, thin fabric, you can wear a denim shirt with a suit and tie. You should not, however, wear a denim shirt when a formal shirt would be more appropriate. This implies dressing up for semi-formal or formal occasions with a dress shirt.

Rule 4: Keep your accessories simple.

Use a men’s dive watch with a denim shirt for a more relaxed vibe.

Choose a casual knit wool or cotton tie over a more formal grenadine silk tie when wearing a connection with a denim shirt.

The same holds for accessories such as shoes, belts, and hats.

Rule 5: Understand when to tuck your shirt in.

Whether or not to tuck. Although it is often a matter of personal preference, there are a few common standards.

Untucked shirts should hit about mid-fly. Much longer, and you’ll appear to be wearing a dress; any shorter, and your stomach will be visible if you raise your hands. If the hem of your denim shirt extends past the mid-fly and is steeply curled, always tuck it in. If it is shorter than mid-fly, you should obtain a longer shirt.

Always tuck in your shirt when wearing a sports jacket, blazer, or suit jacket. You’ll seem sloppy if you don’t.

If you’re wearing a short-sleeved denim shirt, leave it untucked because short-sleeved shirts are more casual than long-sleeved shirts.

Rule 6: Wear the appropriate coloured pants.

What colour pants should you wear with a denim shirt?

Because they are neutral hues, tan, olive green, and grey pants are all suitable options. Because they go with practically everything, neutral colours are ideal for folks new to colour matching.

Avoid wearing pants that closely but do not quite match the colour of your shirt to avoid seeming like you’ve made a mistake getting dressed in the morning.

5 Alternative Ways to Wear Denim Shirts for Guys

Method #1: As outdoor workwear

If you want to dress in a denim shirt for outdoor labour (or to look like you might undertake outdoor work), consider a thick and durable denim shirt over one made of a thinner fabric that will wear out quickly.

Consider wearing a nylon-strapped field watch. To finish the appearance, add classic work boots and a matching belt.

Method #2: Wear black jeans

A nice outfit is black jeans with a dark indigo denim shirt.

In this scenario, you can toss aside the traditional adage that you should never wear blue with black. This is because the contrast between the indigo blue jeans shirt and the black jeans appears to be deliberate.

Check that the jeans are well-fitting and lint-free.

Put on a pair of grey leather sneakers or suede chukkas, and you’re ready for a night out.

Method #3: Double denim did correctly

In the previous example, we used denim, a different color than the shirt. Again, they don’t match perfectly if you want to avoid the “Canadian tuxedo” effect. Instead, wear different washes of denim together.

Wear a light blue denim shirt with dark blue pants, or vice versa.

Another excellent way to “tone down” the look is to wear a (non-denim) jacket on top. This leads us to our next alternative…

Method #4: Layered beneath a casual jacket

A denim shirt will look great worn underneath practically any casual blazer.

Try an olive-coloured field jacket for a rustic, outdoorsy look.

Put on a leather moto jacket for a more urban look. You may choose a classic black coat, a rich brown jacket, or a bolder hue like oxblood based on your preferences.

A denim shirt could also be worn underneath a Harrington jacket. A natural (khaki) coloured Harrington looks great with jeans. You could also go for the navy for a more monochrome effect.

Method #5: Wear a sports jacket

A sports jacket can be paired with a denim shirt. This is the highest level of formality you can get with a denim shirt.

A denim shirt would go well with sports coats made of textured textiles. Consider tweed or flannel.

A blue OCBD with a denim shirt is a terrific (and subtle) way to change things.


You can dress a denim shirt with style if you have some expertise and follow a few easy rules.

Few other clothing items are as versatile as a denim shirt, making it an excellent addition to any man’s wardrobe.

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