The best denim shirts are ones that can be worn casually or with smarter attire. While most of us wouldn’t go to the office in a denim shirt, they’re fine worn with smarter trousers for a business casual look.
However, the key to denim shirts, as with any other shirt, is the fit. So, that’s what we’ll cover in this article: how to choose the best denim shirts based on fit and desired look.
How Should Denim Shirts Fit?
You could buy the most expensive denim shirt in the world and still look like a pile of washing if the fit isn’t right. To an extent, the correct fit depends on the occasion and desired look, but there are some key points to note regardless.
Unlike a tailored dress shirt, you generally don’t need as tight a fit on a denim shirt. You’ll mainly wear them untucked, so it helps to have the right kind of defined waist.
Even so, a few rules remain the same when choosing the right denim shirt for your body type:
The top seam should sit over your shoulders, slightly forward depending on how the shirt is built.
On a dress shirt, you should be able to fit two fingers inside the collar when the top button is done up. This isn’t as important on a denim shirt, although it’s worth checking if you plan to do all the buttons up. Either way, pay attention to the chest size because that’s one of the most important measurements.
The waist should be tapered and nicely fitted without being tight or restrictive. Wearing a shirt untucked makes the waist more obvious because, unlike with dress shirts, there won’t be any material bunched around your waistline. It means that any waistline issues on the shirt are far more obvious, so this is an important area to check.
Our Tapered Menswear denim shirts are perfect for athletic and muscular builds because they’re tailored but not restrictive, and accentuate your form in key areas. We build them like our formal shirts, meaning they follow the same V-shape pattern, so you can bring the flexible tailored look into your casual wear.
Which Colour Denim Shirt is Best?
Denim shirts can come in all colours, but are most popular in standard indigo-wash colours. Choosing the right colour depends on the rest of your outfit and, to an extent, the formality of the event you’re wearing it to.
Navy wash (indigo) is the classic denim colour. As it’s darker blue, it typically works best with light colours. It’s generally best to avoid mixing navy and black because they’re too similar in tone. A navy denim shirt can look great with light blue jeans, though, or beige chinos if you’re feeling a bit more formal.
Light blue is the next classic colour for denim shirts and is closer to the kind worn in Western films. The opposite reasoning is true here: wear with darker trousers (including black).
If you do decide to wear a light blue shirt with light blue jeans, make sure they’re not the same shade. It takes a very brave individual to wear this kind of look, and it’s surprisingly difficult to pull off without looking like an extra from an 80s movie.
Finally, there’s everyone’s favourite colour: black. Black is versatile and so can be mixed with pretty much any colour you choose. A black shirt with light jeans is fine, providing you throw on some black shoes to tie it all together.
Our black shirt is slightly acid washed to pull out some of the bolder colour. This arguably makes it even more versatile because you can treat it as both a grey and black shirt. Plus, black can fade more easily during washing, so with a washed shirt like this, it’s already at its long-term colour!
Denim is made from cotton but comes in two styles: Western and chambray. The difference is that chambray is made from a canvas weave, which means it looks softer than Western-weave denim.
However, for the best fit, you’ll want to choose a denim shirt with a bit of stretch. Our denim shirts are 97% cotton with a bit of elastane mixed in. It helps them stretch where you need it without being tight or restrictive, giving you great freedom of movement while still being fitted.
We use the same design process in our denim shirts as in our formal shirts, and we’re super proud to provide denim shirts for athletic and muscular fits.
A denim shirt is a statement piece in itself, so should generally be free from excessive detailing. Some brands include contrast stitching in patterns across the yoke and pockets, but this can be a bit too much.
The best denim shirts are clean and simple without too much to distract from the quality of the garment. White buttons are most common, as they provide enough contrast against the denim’s colour.
This is exactly what we aim for with our denim shirts. They’re clean and straightforward and let the quality speak for itself. Why distract from the shirt when it’s this good?
How to Wear a Denim Shirt
Although you’d generally reserve a denim shirt for casual occasions, they can be worn formally with the right styling. You’ll need to pay a bit more attention to your choices when matching them with a suit, though.
To give you some inspiration, here are different ways to wear a denim shirt.
A formal denim shirt is a bold choice. However, it can look like something from the pages of GQ if done right.
A grey suit is the best choice for a denim shirt because it carries the least risk of clashing. If pairing a denim shirt with a suit, treat it like any other blue shirt and avoid the same suits.
However, a good formal look would be chinos (navy, for example) with a grey blazer and black shoes. While this goes against standard dress rules, it’s bold enough to work. Add in some texture with a knitted tie in a contrasting colour, such as yellow or pink.
If your workplace is a bit more casual, or you have a work event to attend, double denim can be a good choice. As mentioned, avoid wearing more than one piece that’s the same shade of denim otherwise it’ll look rubbish.
Light Denim Shirt with Dark Jeans
An easy combination is a light blue denim shirt and dark jeans. Pair with your favourite boots and a jacket, and you have a smart-casual look that’ll turn heads.
Of course, you could also pair a denim shirt with chinos and withhold the jacket for a suitable smart-casual look.
A casual denim look is the easiest to throw together because fewer dress rules matter. You could wear your shirt open over a t-shirt or closed with the top button undone. Pair with your favourite trousers and some trainers and you’ve got an easy casual look.
Denim Shirt Business Casual
To achieve a business casual aesthetic while wearing a denim shirt pair it with fitted chinos or trousers. Tucking in the shirt adds a touch of elegance. Rolling up the sleeves creates a polished look. For a level of sophistication layering on a blazer is recommended. Leather loafers or brogues make for footwear choices.
What Pants to Wear with a Denim Shirt
I like to play it cool but classy with the pants. Chinos are my go-to; they're the perfect sidekick. Khaki or beige brings out that nice contrast, while navy chinos just blend seamlessly for a more understated look.
If I'm feeling a bit more adventurous, I'll go for coloured chinos—maybe a muted burgundy or a forest green to add a splash of sophistication.
On days I want to keep it strictly professional, I’ll opt for tailored chinos. I usually stick to darker shades here; it's like they mean business without shouting it. And for those casual Fridays? I might just break out some tapered fit black jeans. They dial down the formality but keep things slick.
Types of Denim Shirts
There are a number of different types of denim shirts but I'll highlight the top 4 most popular types.
Classic Button-Down Denim Shirt
Most people recognise this quintessential denim shirt. Made of medium to heavy weight denim, it features a collared design with a front button placket. Its versatility suits both casual and semi-formal settings.
Western or Cowboy Denim Shirt
Drawing inspiration from the American West, this shirt is distinguished by its pointed yoke on the front and back. Snap closures are typically used, and dual chest pockets with flaps might be included. Cowboy attire heavily influences its rugged design.
Often mistaken for denim due to its appearance, chambray is actually a lightweight fabric woven in a plain weave. This gives it a smoother texture. It is preferred for its breathability, especially in warmer climates and for layering.
Acid Wash or Distressed Denim Shirt
Unique patterns and a faded appearance define this style. The denim is subjected to a washing process with bleach or pumice stones, resulting in a vintage, worn-in look. It's a go-to for those chasing a retro or edgy feel.
Are Denim Shirts Good?
When it comes to casual fashion, denim is a must for your wardrobe! Not only do they provide comfort but their durable fabric offer a stylish, laid-back appearance.
Denim shirts are versatile and go with most combinations so you don’t need to think too hard about what to wear with them. Due to their popularity you aren’t limited to just one colour denim, a lot of retailers offer pretty much every colour you can think of.
Is Denim Shirt Good for Summer?
Although denim is considered a wardrobe essential, the heavy fabric may seem like it's hard to wear during the summer. At Tapered Menswear our Denim shirts are constructed with breathable denim to keep you cool and dry.
Our moisture wicking muscle fit denim keeps you cool on hot summer days meaning this staple can be worn all year round.
What To Wear With Denim Shirts
Pairing a denim shirt with light coloured chinos creates a stylish and semi formal outfit that catches attention. Always opt for a light colour if you are choosing a light wash denim shirt like this:
and vice versa for dark colours. To enhance the combination consider wearing white pumps.
When you match a shirt with jeans it creates a sleek monochromatic appeal. Again remember to add a dark colour with this like a navy or black denim shirt - double denim isn't an issue!
For a more relaxed vibe layer a basic white tee under a denim shirt.
Is Denim a Cotton?
Yes denim is made from cotton fibres tray use a twill woven fabric. This type of fabrication makes the cotton sturdy, firm and creates the recognisable diagonal ribbing that we are familiar with today. Having said this the traditional, iconic denim material does have some variations:
This is stiff to touch because it hasn’t reached the washing process.
Similar to raw denim but its pre-washed after being dyed, this method avoids being shrunk or losing colour after washing regularly. Most denim fabrics are already washed.
!00% Cotton Denim
The most common type that is robust and versatile. Made from 100% cotton
The denim fabric we use here at Tapered Menswear. It’s blended with elastane or lycra to provide extra stretch for comfort.
Is Denim Long Lasting?
Yes all denim is durable and built to last. It's tough cotton fibres tend to fade over time but do not tear. This is due to the twill weave which is woven with a 3 to 1 pattern, this type of weave is typically favoured for tougher upholstery like furniture and workwear.
What are the Best Denim Shirts?
If it wasn’t already obvious, we think our Tapered Menswear Denim Shirts are the best, particularly for athletic or muscular builds. We’ve put a lot of work into their design and fit to provide the best possible garment for guys wanting tailored comfort.
As with our formal shirts, they’re made from 4-way stretch cotton that looks fitted but still allows you to move. They’re tapered at the waist to accentuate your chest and have enhanced darts in the back for even better tailoring. As mentioned, the waistline of an untucked shirt is vital, so we’ve done everything possible to ensure it looks perfect.
They’re made with clean lines and simple detailing that results in a quality piece that’ll speak for itself. Our denim shirts are perfect for formal and casual events, and everything in between.
So, if you’re a bigger guy who’s tired of wearing shirts that are both too tight and too baggy, we’re here to help. Check out our range of denim shirts to see why so many muscular guys are raving about them. We offer a range of fits, so it won’t be difficult to find the one that’s right for you.
Our revolutionary cut provides a 10" drop from chest to waist.
Expertly tailored darts at the back, for the perfect fit.
Super soft, breathable and allows complete freedom of movement.
Perfect for the office.
With our non obtrusive logo stitched subtly on the wrist makes our TAPERED Fit Shirt ideal for formal occasions.