How to: Denim-on-Denim

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by Emma Leuman


Denim is the one material nearly everyone has in their closet.  No matter the style, color or brand, it’s something anyone knows how to wear. It can be dressed up or down and worn with pretty much anything – even itself. Trust me, you can rock a chambray-on-denim outfit without looking like you’re Britney & JT at the 2001 American Music Awards. By following a few simple rules, you’ll end up with a look that is both fresh and fashionable.

denim on denim set

Colored Jeans

The easiest way to rock a chambray shirt is to pair it with colored jeans – you avoid the potential for the awful matching “Canadian tuxedo” look, and you can express your style by choosing from a veritable rainbow of options. Because denim is a basic, it will match with any color that you pick. When choosing a top for this look, stick with a light or medium wash, which allows you to go a little crazier with the pants. Some spring favorites are bold, saturated hues like the sherbet orange above. However, to dress up the look for a night out, consider wearing jeans in a darker shade such as burgundy or deep purple. Another aspect to consider: skinnier jeans tend to work better with this look, as their tighter fit helps to balance out the looseness of your top.


For a more classic denim-on-denim look, simply ensure that your top and your pants aren’t the same color. Your top should preferably be a few shades lighter than your jeans, with super-light wash denim working best. As long as you can tell where the lines of your top end and those of your jeans begin, your outfit will look chic instead of cheesy. Another way to rock this look is to choose an especially feminine style, such as one with lace accents or a bit of sparkle, to contrast with the simplicity of your jeans.  Accessorize with neutrals for a sophisticated look, or with bold colors for a flirtier outfit.


To achieve a chambray on denim look that still works at night, you should lean towards darker washes, both on top and bottom. However, the same rule still applies: your top should be lighter than your jeans. The jeans for this outfit should be so dark that they are or look almost black, giving off the illusion that they aren’t, in fact, denim. The best way to dress up this outfit is with accessories. Whether it’s shoes, jewelry or a bag, a part of your outfit needs to stand out in order to spice up the entire ensemble for nighttime.

With these rules you can create cute, casual, even flirty outfits – all through the versatility of jeans. What’s better than that?

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