How Can You Style a Denim Shirt for a Polished Look?

February 4, 2024

In the realm of men’s fashion, the denim shirt has emerged as a versatile, timeless, and chic staple. The beauty of a denim shirt lies in its ability to adapt to a multitude of looks, whether you’re aiming for a casual weekend outfit or a polished, semi-formal ensemble. With a little know-how, you can effortlessly navigate the sartorial maze and make your denim shirt a standout piece in your wardrobe. This article will guide you through various ways to style your denim shirt for a polished, put-together look.

Mastering the Art of Pairing Denim with Denim

You’ve heard it before: the infamous "denim on denim" look. This style, also known as the Canadian Tuxedo, can be a tricky trend to pull off, but when done right, it can make a bold and stylish statement.

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When styling a denim shirt with a pair of jeans, there’s a simple rule to follow: contrast. Opt for contrasting shades between your shirt and jeans. If you’re wearing a dark denim shirt, pair it with light or mid-blue jeans. Alternatively, a light denim shirt will work perfectly with dark or black jeans.

Avoid the monochromatic look of the same shade top and bottom as it tends to be too overwhelming. You can add a layer over your shirt, such as a blazer or a lightweight jacket, to break up the denim and add dimension to your outfit.

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Dressing Up a Denim Shirt for a Formal Occasion

While denim is typically associated with casual wear, it doesn’t mean it can’t be dressed up for more formal occasions. A well-fitted denim shirt can serve as a fashionable alternative to the traditional formal shirt.

Pair your denim shirt with a pair of smart black pants or dark chinos for a sleek, polished look. Add a sharp blazer in a contrasting color to create a visual distinction between the casual denim and the formal suit jacket. Wear formal shoes like brogues or oxfords to cement the formal tone of the outfit.

Accessories also play a crucial role in enhancing the formality of your outfit. A stylish leather belt, a slim tie, or even a pocket square can add a sophisticated touch to your dressed-up denim look.

Styling a Denim Shirt with Shorts for a Casual Look

For a more relaxed vibe, pairing your denim shirt with shorts can be an excellent choice. Ideal for summer outings, this look combines the casualness of shorts with the structured appeal of a denim shirt.

Opt for chino shorts in neutral colors like khaki, grey, or navy. They offer a classic, understated base that allows your denim shirt to shine. Alternatively, white shorts provide an excellent contrast against a dark denim shirt, creating an outfit that’s bright, fresh, and summery.

Finish off your casual look with comfortable footwear. Loafers, boat shoes, or clean white sneakers can add the perfect finishing touch to your laid-back outfit.

Perfecting the Denim Shirt with White Pants Look

There’s something endlessly chic about the combination of a denim shirt and white pants. It’s a look that’s fresh, clean, and effortlessly stylish.

The key to perfecting this look is to ensure your white pants are well-fitted and pristine. Any dirt or stains on your pants will immediately draw attention for all the wrong reasons. Pair your denim shirt and white pants with smart shoes in a neutral color for a polished, sophisticated look.

Transforming a Denim Shirt into a Layered Piece

A denim shirt doesn’t always have to be the main event of your outfit. It can also serve as a stylish layering piece. This is particularly useful in transitional weather, where dressing in layers can help to keep you comfortable as temperatures fluctuate.

Try wearing your denim shirt open over a crisp white tee for a laid-back, fashionable look. Pair this with black or dark-colored jeans to balance out the lightness of the shirt and tee. Add a stylish pair of sneakers, and you’ve got a casual outfit that’s high on style and comfort.

Remember, the secret to styling a denim shirt effectively is balance. Whether you’re dressing up for a formal event or dressing down for a casual day out, the right combinations and accessories can help you create a polished and fashionable look.

How Can You Style an Oversized Denim Shirt?

The oversized denim shirt is a trend that has gained significant traction in recent times. Its laid-back and effortlessly chic appeal can make a powerful fashion statement when styled appropriately.

The trick to wearing an oversized denim shirt lies in the balance. Pair it with something more fitted on the bottom to offset the volume of the shirt. This could be a pair of slim-fit jeans, chinos, or shorts. You could also throw it over a fitted tee or tank top for a layered look.

If you’re aiming for a smart casual look, try tucking your oversized denim shirt into a pair of black jeans or chinos. Roll up the sleeves and add a pair of brogues or loafers for a polished finish. You could also leave it unbuttoned over a crisp white tee or a thin turtleneck sweater, coupled with dark denim jeans or black pants.

When pairing your oversized denim shirt with bottoms, remember the rule of contrast. If the shirt is dark, opt for lighter bottoms and vice versa. Also, the use of accessories can elevate your outfit. A stylish leather belt, a watch, or a minimalistic necklace can add a touch of sophistication to your look.

Incorporating a Denim Shirt Jacket in Your Outfit

The denim shirt jacket, or the "shacket" as it’s popularly known, is another versatile piece that blends the casualness of a shirt with the warmth of a jacket. It’s perfect for those chilly evenings or transitional weather.

You can wear your denim shacket open over a tee for a laid-back look. Pair it with a contrasting pair of jeans or chinos to create a balanced outfit. Complete the look with a pair of sleek sneakers or boots.

For a more elevated look, wear your denim shacket over a turtleneck or a collared shirt. Pair it with smart black jeans or chinos and formal shoes like brogues or oxfords. Don’t forget to accessorize with a chic leather belt and a wristwatch for that polished finish.

Remember, a denim shacket should fit slightly looser than a shirt but it shouldn’t be too oversized. It’s all about creating a look that’s comfortable yet stylish.


The versatility of denim shirts is undeniable. Whether it’s a classic blue denim shirt, an oversized style, or a shirt jacket, the options to create a polished look are plentiful. Mastering the art of wearing denim involves understanding the importance of balance and contrast in your outfit. Pairing denim with the right pieces, using accessories strategically, and choosing the right fit are all critical aspects of creating an outfit that’s comfortable, stylish, and well put-together.

Incorporate these tips and tricks in your styling routine and let your denim shirt be a standout piece in your wardrobe. From a semi-formal ensemble to a casual day out, there are countless ways to style your denim shirt for an impeccable look. It’s the ultimate fashion staple that can adapt to any occasion, season, or mood. So go ahead and experiment to discover your signature denim look. After all, at the end of the day, fashion is all about self-expression.