How to wear a denim shirt: 7 ways to style a denim shirt to maximize cost per wear

Unsure how to wear a denim shirt? We’ve got all the outfit inspiration you need to style this wardrobe staple

how to wear a denim shirt street style images
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If you’ve been wondering how to wear a denim shirt then look no further, as we've got all the outfit inspiration you need to pull off this wardrobe staple in style. From an evening out, to workwear attire, a denim shirt is the item to invest in this fall.

First making their way onto our radar in the 1800s, like jeans, denim shirts originally were considered hardwearing clothes for labourers rather than fashionistas. When the early Western films hit the big screen however, denim shirts started to shift from workwear into a covetable fashion item, carrying with it a cool and rebellious edge.

Fast forward to 2022 and nailing how to wear a denim shirt is key to many capsule wardrobes. Easy to style up or down, denim shirts of all shades and fits played a pivotal role in the denim trends 2022 promising an effortless, bohemian finish to almost anything in your wardrobe. 

How to wear a denim shirt in 2022 - 7 stylish outfit ideas

A guaranteed spot in a capsule wardrobe, a denim shirt can be worn all year through. While you'll want lighter weight versions for spring/summer, as we head into fall, the best denim shirts will solve those 'nothing to wear' moments with ease. While double denim might be the obvious styling choice, there are numerous ways to wear a denim shirt for work or play. 

1. How to style a denim shirt with jeans

Streetstyle wearing denim shirt and jeans

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For the ultimate in coordination pair your denim shirt with matching denim jeans for a top-to-toe tonal look. Requiring minimal effort when it comes to outfit planning, simply wear your denim shirt with your best jeans and a pair of box fresh white trainers for a laidback finish or classic court heels for a more brunch-ready feel.

When it comes to selecting a style, fitted shirts look great with straight leg cuts or your best skinny jeans while oversized denim shirts are perfect paired with more slouchy fits for a directional, '90s-inspired look, reflecting the fashion trends 2022

A style tip...

If you’re wondering what to wear with black jeans why not try mixing and matching your denim for a twist on the theme.

Stylist and fashion editor, Antonia Kraskowski (opens in new tab) is a big fan of the double denim look but it doesn't have to be tonal:

"Although it has cowboy-esque connotations, the double-denim look has made a comeback on the runway this season. If the double blue is too much, try pairing your blue denim shirt with black denim to soften the look"

Fashion editor's picks...

2. How to style a denim shirt with a midi skirt

Streetstyle wearing denim shirt with midi skirt

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Whether you’re heading to the office or for drinks with the girls, a denim shirt and a midi skirt is the ideal AM-PM outfit. For a dressed down feel, opt for a tonal denim midi skirt and pair it with trainers or comfortable flats, for a great denim skirt outfit idea. Giving the same feel as styling your denim shirt with jeans but with a feminine twist, look for pencil silhouettes, or full A-line styles.

Need a more formal look? Switch your denim midi skirt for a pleated number to give your outfit a more professional feel. To create an hourglass body shape, always tuck your shirt into your skirt, as this will highlight your waist and ensure the denim fabric won't overwhelm your frame.

A style tip...

Don’t be afraid to play with textures. A denim shirt looks great worn with leather for a tactile finish.

Antonia says: "Try teaming a denim shirt with your favorite leather skirt for a stylish look of contrasting textures. Tuck your shirt into your skirt to help lengthen your frame and create a well-balanced look, allowing both fabrics to shine".

Fashion editor's picks...

3. How to wear a denim shirt with a dress

Streetsyle denim shirt with a dress

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Want to take your dress game up a level? Re-working your best midi dresses with a denim shirt is the answer, and depending on the style of your dress the possibilities are endless. 

For strappy or sleeveless dresses wear a fitted denim shirt underneath, to give an almost pinafore like finish. If you're wondering what to wear over a dress, try layering a denim shirt on top of your dress, you can even tie the shirt at the front to help highlight your waist for a fun and stylish smart casual outfit idea

A style tip...

Don’t keep sequin dresses for party season, a denim shirt is great for re-working some of the best cocktail dresses to make them daytime ready. Finish with comfy footwear like trainers or your best Chelsea boots to keep the look casual.

Fashion editor's picks...

4. How to wear a denim shirt as a jacket

Streetstyle denim shirt as a jacket

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Now the weather is turning you’re most likely on the lookout for the perfect cover-up. A weightier denim shirt is an ideal casual jacket option in early fall weather,  providing a light extra layer that feels cool and casual. If you're wondering how to style an oversized shirt, simply layer over your best sweater or your best white t-shirt and finish with either jeans or a midi skirt.

A style tip...

When it comes to how to wear a denim shirt, longline, oversized denim shirts work brilliantly as jackets, giving even the best denim jackets a run for their money, as they’ll leave plenty of room for layering underneath. Want the option for additional layers, such as a sweater? Don’t be afraid to go a size up from your regular fit for added room.

Fashion editor's picks...

5. How to style a denim shirt with shorts

Streetstyle denim shirt with shorts

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Need the best brunch outfit ideas? A denim shirt and shorts is a strong choice for early fall. If comfort is key, opt for a less rigid denim shirt - designs with added stretch will allow you to wear a shirt that's more fitted but still has give. Team with tailored shorts for a more glam take on a traditionally casual look and add directional pointed, flat, slingbacks, to give a nod to the fall winter shoe trends 2022

A style tip...

To ensure your legs look as long as possible make sure your shorts fall just above or below the knee, this will naturally elongate your silhouette.

Fashion editor's picks...

6. How to wear a denim shirt with leggings

Streetstyle denim shirt with leggings

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Effortlessly combining comfort and style, learning how to wear a denim shirt and leggings makes for an easy leggings outfits that’s sure to score high on the style points. With this look it’s important to think about the proportions of your outfit. If your denim shirt is loose or oversized, a slim fitting legging will help create balance so that the shirt doesn’t overwhelm your silhouette. In contrast a fitted denim shirt and thicker, leather leggings will give a more dressed up feel perfect for dinner and drinks.

A style tip...

Classic black leggings will work with all tones and styles of denim shirt. Want to add interest to your outfit? Opt for a stirrup or split hem legging style.

Fashion editor's picks...

7. How to style an oversized denim shirt

Streetstyle denim shirt oversized

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An oversized denim shirt may seem intimidating but with a few styling tips and tricks it can be a great addition to your transitional wardrobe. An oversized shirt can double as a great denim dress and is ideal for learning how to style knee high boots for instant chic, or for a more directional and casual look pair your oversized shirt with a pair of baggy, contrasting denim jeans for a runway inspired look and add a chunky gold chain necklace. Half-tuck your shirt to lightly highlight your shape.

A style tip...

For the perfect oversized fit don’t be afraid to buy a size up from your usual size, or check out the men’s section for a baggier design.

Fashion editor's picks...

 Can you wear a denim shirt with jeans?

Yes, you can definitely wear a denim shirt with jeans. Double denim was huge fashion trend this year and it shows no signs of going out of style anytime soon. To pull off the trend stick to denim pieces in similar tones for a matchy-matchy look, in the vein of a directional coord. For dressier moments, wear your double denim look with a pair of heels, or dress it down with a pair of sneakers. 

What color jeans go with a denim shirt?

You can pair all colors of jeans with a denim shirt, just be sure to consider the look you want to achieve. Tonal dressing was big news when it came to the fashion color trends 2022 and to achieve this look you’ll want to stick to jeans in a matching tone to your shirt. 

For a more fashion-forward take however, try clashing a blue denim shirt with white jeans or, pair a classic mid-blue wash shirt with acid wash jeans. If you want to add a pop of brightness, look for new season colorful denim that leans into bright color clothing trends.