Men’s Wardrobe Essentials: Everything You Need to Know About Denim Shirts
Denim shirts were originally worn by Cowboys, but now they’re a wardrobe essential for a very good reason. They’re versatile, durable and can be worn with almost anything in your wardrobe. Denim shirts aren’t just for casual wear either. They can be dressed up or down with chinos, a tie or even wool pants. In my Best Men’s Denim Shirts guide I’m going to show you everything you need to know about men’s denim shirts. From how to wear them, what colors to get, how to take care of them, and where to buy them.
But first let’s take a look at my top 10 picks.
10 of the Best Men’s Denim Shirts
All of the denim shirts in the buying guide below are shirts that you will be able to keep in your wardrobe for years. No matter your budget or style I’ve provided an option for you below. First up is the J. Crew Lightweight Denim Work Shirt. Great material, great coloring, and nicely weighted fabric
J. Crew Lightweight Denim Workshirt ($75) – This denim shirt by J. Crew is perfect for everyday wear. It has a more traditional cut that’s roomier in the body and sleeves. Although slim cut shirts are all the rage, if you’re going to doing manual labor or just relaxing around your home, you’re going to want something that allows for a lot of movement. Because these shirts are lightweight, they’re just not relegated to the winter months. They can be worn in the warmer months and layered in the fall and winter. The shirt is made from 100% cotton, and a point collar and patch pockets
Asket The Denim Shirt ($125) – If you’re into fully traceable clothing, then you’ll want to take a look at the offerings from Asket. They not only offering traditional wardrobe essentials that are made to perfection. They offer complete honesty and clarity on how their clothing is made. Their denim shirt is a great offering from a great company. They’ve stripped the traditional shirt of all unnecessary detailing and made it from a densely woven dyed material that will only improve with time. The Denim Shirt from Asket can be layered or worn as an overshirt. Additional features include 8.5 ounce denim. two wash color options, mother of pearl buttons, a box pleat, single-buttoned cuffs, and a front-left pocket.
H&M Denim Shirt ($40) – The H&M Denim Shirt is our budget shirt on the list. Coming in at just under $40 it is definitely a bargain buy. This shirt features a washed denim, classic turn-down collar, front and cuff snap fasteners, a yoked back, chest pockets, and a rounded hem. An additional bonus is Elastane added to the denim to give you a bit of stretch.
Taylor Stitch The Cash Shirt in Selvage Denim ($) – Taylor stitch is a company that utilizes crowdfunding to bring its clothing to market. One of their shirts that’s just completed the crowdfund is their Selvage Denim Cash Shirt. Simply put this shirt is made to wear every single day. It’s made from a mid-weight 2×1 selvage denim that’s been heavily washed for a softness that would normally take many wears. If you’re into conservation you’ll be happy to know that 95% of the water used in the process will be recycled to limit the impact to the environment. Additional features include a California collar, a chest pocket with button flap, dyed to match cat’s eye buttons, selvage detailing on front inside plackets, side gussets, and inside of cuffs.
Shockoe Atelier Western Shirt ($175) – If you like western denim shirts, but without all of the detailing, then you should take a hard look at this one by Shockoe Atelier. This version of the western denim shirt, tones down the detailing while still keeping the feel. The shirt is made out of 10oz slub denim from Kuroki Mills in Japan and features a hidden selvage placket, patch chest pockets, pearl snap closures, two-tone stitching, and a triple stitched back yoke. Because this shirt is indigo-dyed do not, I repeat do not put it in the dryer. You can machine wash in cold water on the gentle cycle, but make sure you hang or dry flat. Don’t ruin a great shirt.
Levis Barstow Western Shirt ($70) – This is another beautifully appointed minimalist western denim shirt, and of course it comes from one of the most iconic denim American companies. The Levis Barstow Western Shirt features a lot of the same details you’d expect in a traditional western denim shirt. These include a Western-style yoke, a collar with a front snap placket, chest pockets, and a snap front closure and cuffs. If you’re looking for a tailored look order true to size otherwise size up for a little more room.
Gitman Vintage Dark Denim ($170) – If you’re looking for a simple, well made denim shirt, this might be your best pick. It’s cut like a classic button down with slim tailored fit through the body, sleeves, and cuffs. The shirt is made from 8oz dark indigo denim that’s gone through a pre-washing process to create a softer look and minimize shrinkage. And the fact it’s made in good ole US of A is another bonus.
Drapeau Noir Denim Shirt (120€) – One of my favorite French clothing companies is Drapeau Noir. They sale classic pieces with a little flare at great prices. Their Denim shirt fits that description perfectly. It’s a beautifully styled shirt made from 100% cotton, and features a button down collar, chest pocket, and mother of pearl buttons. To increase softness and decrease shrinkage the shirt is pre-washed in the brand’s factory.
Bonobos The Denim Shirt($120) – I really like Bonobos clothing. I wear a short in a suit and it’s so nice to be able to get that same cut in shirts. The brand’s denim shirt offering is made from 100% cotton and features two front pockets and a button-down collar with hidden buttons.
Buck Mason Denim Vintage One Pocket Shirt ($105) – I love this denim shirt by Buck Mason. It’s a denim shirt that’s been stripped down to just the minimal detailing and its indigo-dyed coloring is absolutely perfect. It’s made from 100% cotton that’s been washed down to a few months of wear and features a single front pocket, simple fold-down point collar, and mother of pearl buttons on the front closure and cuffs. A great shirt at a great price.
Why is a Denim Shirt a Men’s Wardrobe Essential?
A denim shirt is a fall and winter staple. They’re casual enough to give you that effortless look during the day. But can also be dressed up with a tie and a blazer to be worn at night. They’re
What Wash Should You Get?
Just like denim jackets there are multiple types of washes available for denim shirts. The most popular are the blue light wash and the dark wash. I personally tend to avoid light wash denim shirts, because light washes limit the number of combinations for your outfit. If you pair a light wash denim shirt with light wash jeans, you’re going to end up with the Canadian tuxedo. Trust me this is a look you want to avoid.
So for our purposes, my best advice is to stay with a dark wash denim shirt. A dark washed well-fitting shirt will look great with most items in any guys wardrobe.
Types of Denim Shirts
Western –These are the cowboy-style denim shirts. They have strengthened panels around the shoulders. This is to make them resistant to any snaps, tears, and rips. They also feature pointed pockets, and snap buttons.
Workshirt –These are no different from Western denim shirts. They share most features in their design, only that workshirt denim shirts have two large pockets at the front, normally have buttons, and don’t have those reinforced shoulders.
Is Chambray a Denim Shirt?
hambray is not a lightweight denim shirt. While denim shirts are woven diagonally, chambrays are woven in an even, crisscross pattern – basically a plain weave. To notice the difference between the two easily, simply flip them over; Denim’s threads will be diagonal while chambray’s threads will be up to down and across.
How should a denim shirt fit?
A denim shirt should fit similar to an oxford shirt. You want it snug but neither too tight or too lose. The shoulder seams should hit right at the tip of your shoulder bone. If the seam starts to fall down to the side, get a smaller size.
For the collar, just use the simple test. We don’t want a constrictive collar or one with too much fabric when you button the top button. You can check this by sliding a finger into the shirt when it’s fully buttoned. If you can’t get a finger in, size up, if you can get two fingers in then come down a collar size or you could get bunching if you decide to wear a tie.
A denim shirt shouldn’t be too loose around your arms but should be loose enough to support easy movement. When be appropriate to have four inches of the denim shirt pulled off the body.
Lastly you need to check the arm length and width. . Lastly, it is important to check the cuff. It should end where the wrist and palm meet.
What Should You Wear with A Denim Shirt?
Jeans– These can be tricky to pair with denim shirts, especially if you’re looking to avoid double denim. However, color contrasting the shirt and the jeans is a good way of wearing the two together. Another good point is to start with dark washes in both the jean and the denim shirt. This bypasses the accidental Canadian tuxedo altogether.
Chino Shorts and Pants– These are possibly the easiest pants and shorts to style up with a denim shirt. If you go with a dark wash denim shirt as I’ve suggested above, then classic chino colors like navy, khaki, and olive with work perfectly with your denim shirt.
Wool Dress Pants – Slim wool pants are perfect if you’re in the mood to get a blend of the smart and casual look. Whether meeting your colleagues at a conference or out on a date, a denim shirt and a wool dress pant combination will not fail you.
How to Care for a Denim Shirt
You’ve invested in that denim shirt and added to your wardrobe’s style. Now, it’s time to take good care of it.
Denim shirts don’t need a wash after every wear, provided you don’t sweat excessively or drop on dust. Denim refresh sprays can extend your shirt washing time. However, if your denim shirt is
Here are some tips to keep your denim shirt for longer:
- Turn your denim shirt inside out so that that the dye runs back to the cloth instead of out.
- Always do a dedicated denim wash and avoid mixing denim with dissimilar colors while washing.
- Restrain from using bleach or harsh chemicals to avoid ruining the denim’s color.
- Avoid tumble drying a denim shirt. Doing this will shrink it. Instead, air-drying is the best approach.
How to wear denim shirt – 3 Best Men’s Outfits
Denim Shirt Outfit with Chinos
A pair of white kicks, navy chinos, and a denim shirt. This outfit says you’re super chill, don’t try all that hard, but somehow you still look great.
- Denim Shirt: J. Crew Men’s Denim Shirt ($75)
- Chinos: J. Crew Men’s 484 Slim-Fit Chinos ($68)
- Sneakers: Oliver Cabell Low 1 Sneakers ($178)
Denim Shirt Outfit with Jeans
If there is any outfit you have in your wardrobe it’s your favorite pair of jeans, a sturdy pair of boots, and a great denim shirt. Through this outfit on to head out to a quick bite to eat or get down in dirty in the yard.
- Denim Shirt: J. Crew Men’s Denim Shirt ($75)
- Jeans: Levis 511 Jeans Slim Fit Jeans ($70)
- Boots: J. Crew Kenton Leather Pacer Boots ($248)
Denim Shirt Outfit with Wool Trousers
This outfit is perfect. It is super transitional in that it can be worn for a casual outing and for more formal evening affairs.