Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How to Wear Denim on Denim?

How to Wear Denim on Denim?

I had a reader question recently about wearing denim on denim, and I'm excited to talk about my answer today! I tend to think about a few things when putting a client in jean on jean or when wearing two shades of denim myself: shade, shape, and statement.



I think that jean on jean can work as long as the shades of denim are different. Here is what I don't like:

The outfit above is from JCrew, which is a good reminder that even stylish stores can go awry. I just think that the shades of denim here are too close for comfort, too reminiscent of the old cowboy tuxedo. Not only that, the brown and brown accessories violate my last point about statement, but you'll have to continue reading for that!

Instead of choosing two shades of denim that very closely match each other, look for some contrast. Look for a washed out shade with a darker one or a brighter blue with a deeper one.


So, take a look in your closet and see if you have a darker jean bottom (skirt, jeans, leggings, dress that you can layer over) and see if you have a denim shirt that you can wear on top-if they're different shades. Or, if you're on the lookout for one of the many denim/chambray shirts that are currently on sale, wear your favorite jeans to be sure that they're not the same shade.


I've noticed that denim on denim can sometimes result in a sloppy fit. For whatever reason, women often wear ill-fitting jeans together with a baggier denim shirt. I don't think that has to be the case! There are ways to wear denim and denim that still emphasize your shape and that can even read as semi-professional.

I think it's important to pay attention to the fit of your denim, especially when you're wearing more than one piece. One way is to layer it with other pieces that flatter the skinniest part of your body, typically below your last rib. For example, what about adding a blazer on top? Many women I work with have sleeveless tops that are chambray, and this could look great with those tops!

There's nothing at all sloppy about this, and I love how she used a third shade of blue in her purse. Very cute for a date night or a casual work environment!


When wearing denim on denim, keep in mind that your outfit is making a statement. Two shades of jean can look sloppy if they're just thrown on without any accessories or way to tie them together. If you go this route, be aware of making a statement and wear it with pride.

The look can read a bit cowgirl or a bit 70s, so it's fun to play around with pieces that echo that without looking like you are literally going to a rodeo (unless you are! in which case-yeehaw!) or to Studio 54. Think about bright pinks and great boots or big round hats, depending which way you go with it. Here's an adorable interpretation. 

She's wearing two distinct shades of denim, she's emphasizing the shape with a high waist and a tucked shirt, and she's making a statement with her belt, hat, and glasses. I would love for her to wear a different color shoe (maybe red?), but overall this is lovely. Yes, you could button up a bit more in the real world or even layer on a tank underneath. Also, for those where the weather is already warm, you could absolutely do this with cropped jeans or a chambray sleeveless top. 

So remember, shade (two distinct shades!), shape (emphasize yours!), and statement (you're making one. Own it!). I'd love to see how you rock denim on denim if you ever want to send me a picture!

UPDATE! Thanks, Hannah, for posting this gorgeous picture of you wearing denim on denim! I love the skinny belt, too!


  1. Oohh so fun! I'm totally going to try a denim on denim look this weekend! LOVE! XOXO

    1. YAY! Send me pix! Esp if they're taken in a bathroom. That sounded worse in writing...

  2. OH thank you! uh, my denim blazer is almost like the first pic...oops. lol, now I know to change it up.