If you want to learn how to maximize every single piece you have in your closet, it’s very important that you start investing in the right pieces. A denim shirt is one of them for sure. I love them because they are kind of like a denim jacket, but they are also button down shirts, so there’s so much you can do with them! Today I’m sharing all my styling tips on how to wear a denim shirt and giving you some outfits ideas for you to try and recreate with basic pieces you already have in your closet.
Ready to learn how to wear a denim shirt? Let’s start!
In a hurry? Go straight to what you are looking for:
- What is a denim shirt?
- How many do you need in your closet?
- How many do I have?
- Care instructions for a denim shirt
- Best denim shirts for every budget
- What to wear with a denim shirt – Create your own looks!
- How to wear a denim shirt – 30+ outfit ideas
- Styling tips to maximize your denim shirt (and more outfit ideas)
- Final thoughts
- Related style posts you may like
Estimated reading time: 21 minutes
What is a denim shirt?
A denim shirt is also know as jean shirt or chambray shirt. They are basically button down pieces made out of denim. They are always blue, and it’s not rare to find them in different shades of blue.
How many do you need in your closet?
This is one of the very few pieces I will recommend having 2. A light washed and a medium or dark washed one. It is up to you if you want 2 though. If you don’t wear them often you will be fine with just one.
I recommend having one as a part of your Summer Capsule Wardrobe. I’m working on capsule wardrobes for each season, so I will probably include another one for the Fall Capsule Wardrobe. Just keep in mind that you will be able to wear both ALL YEAR ROUND! I promise I’ll show you how below.
How many denim shirts do I have?
Right now that I’m living in Airbnb’s and living out of a suitcase, I have 2. However, since these photos were taken over the past three years, you will see 4 different ones. Just giving you a heads up.
I always like to share old photos so I can really show you all the different ways you can style a basic piece like a chambray shirt, but also because my style is very classic and timeless. So even though years have passed and because I invest in very classic pieces, then it’s a lot easier to create looks that never go out of style.
At one point I think I had 4 chambray shirts, which I don’t advise you to do. It’s a waste of money. Don’t make my same mistakes. One or two is more than enough.
Care instructions for a denim shirt
I put mine in the washer with cold water and with similar colors. It’s always better to wash your clothes with cold water (better for the planet and for the fabrics too. Learn more sustainable living ideas here). After washing your denim shirt, just let it air dry. I rarely put denim pieces in the drier to minimize risk of shrinking. (Although if it’s a good denim piece it shouldn’t shrink).
What to wear with a denim shirt – Create your own looks!
You can wear your denim shirt with pretty much with any piece you have in your closet. I know that’s a bold statement, but it’s true. They really are that versatile!
I organized the looks below based on popularity. I wish I had photos of every single time I wear any of my denim shirts, but I’ll do my best to include more looks in this post in the future so you have even more outfit inspiration.
If you want to recreate any of these looks, you don’t have to go and buy the exact pieces I’m wearing. Instead, try seeing what you have in your closet first, and do your best to create your own version of the looks with pieces you already own. It doesn’t matter if they are not exactly the same, or the same color, sometimes you are able to create a different version of the looks and it ends up working out. So give it a try :)
How to wear a denim shirt – 30+ denim shirt outfit ideas
How to wear a denim shirt in Summer
I love wearing my denim shirt in the Summer with shorts or skirts and sneakers. Notice that you can layer your denim shirt with a white t-shirt (more on layering below), or tuck it in. I always like to roll my sleeves too. I find it more comfortable. Also notice that I’m wearing 3 different shades of denim, however all of these looks can be recreated with a light chambray shirt. That’s why they are my favorite!
Here are 3 looks you can try and recreate:
How to wear a denim shirt with leggings
It’s one of the easiest and most comfortable looks! You can wear it open and layer again with a T-shirt or cami or button it. Whichever way, it works. Again a light or medium wash will look better with your black leggings.
Here are some outfit ideas:
How to wear a jean shirt for the office
You can create casual and dressy office looks with a jean shirt. It all depends on the shoes and accessories you pair it with. The one piece you need to style a denim shirt for the office is a blazer. Here you have 2 examples:
I love how light chambray shirts look with white. Top or bottom, it just works out! If you have a white blazer and need some outfit inspo check out my post 10 White Blazer Outfits. If you have white denim and need inspiration on how to style your white jeans, then check out this post called How to Style White Jeans.
How to wear a denim shirt with stripes
Another way to easily layer your denim shirts is with black and white stripes. Pair it with black skinnies and flats or sneakers and you are good to go!
How to style a denim shirt for Winter
Did you know you can also wear your denim shirt for Winter? Just treat it as another layering piece. You can layer it with a long cozy cardigan or with your puffer vest and even with a long cardigan. Of course, you will throw your Winter coat over it.
Also read: how to wear a long cardigan
Here are a couple of examples:
PS: Best long cardigans and sweaters are from this brand! Also 100% sustainable! It’s a celebrity favorite for a reason!
How to wear a denim shirt for date night
Another shocker right!? Did you ever consider wearing a button down shirt for date night? You just have to layer it with a bralette underneath and leave slightly unbuttoned and if you can add a piece like a leather skirt, then even better!
There are many ways you can wear a button down shirt. My favorite ones are white and I wrote a blog post where I show you 8 different things you can do with a button down shirt, plus a ton of outfit ideas. Check it out here: How to style a white shirt.
Also check: 10 leather skirt outfit ideas for Fall & Winter
Styling tips to create EVEN MORE outfits with a denim shirt
As promised, here are more tips on how to wear a denim shirt. I share all these styling tips to help you think outside the box and to really inspire you maximize every single piece you have in your closet. I want to show you that it is possible to have a small, functional closet that allows you create many outfits all year round! You just have to invest in the right pieces and learn how to mix and match them together. Hopefully that’s exactly what you are learning with each one of my blog posts.
Here are a few more things you can try doing with your denim shirt:
Tie it around your waist over dresses
Sounds silly, but it works. If you have a baggy dress and want to accentuate your waist, you can use your denim shirt as a belt (sort of). You can also do this with a denim jacket! This is what I’m talking about:
Feel free to pair with any shoes and accessories you want, depending on the occasion.
Style your chambray shirt with white jeans
This is a match made in heaven!! It’s hard to mess up this look. Pair your denim shirt with white jeans and wear any shoes and accessories you want. All shades of chambray look great with white jeans:
Wear it as a coverup!
Another way to style your denim shirt is as a coverup! You can wear it for the pool or beach with high waisted shorts or skirts and with your bathing suit underneath:
Unbutton it! (and add an extra layer underneath)
I already shared this tip with some of the outfits above, but I wanted to include it here as well because I feel it’s easy to forget that you can wear your denim shirt as a layering piece. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a dressier occasion or casual. A denim shirt is an easy piece to throw over any cami or T-shirt:
PS: Yes, those are PJ shorts! I love wearing my pajamas as daywear :)
How do you layer a denim shirt?
Here you have 6 different ways to layer your denim shirt besides the ones I’ve already shared in this post. I’m telling you, this is such a versatile piece you can throw under a sweater or over a dress. Pay attention to the next 5 looks and see what I did with each:
Also read: How to style an oversized sweater
Dress up your denim shirt
Another thing you can do with your chambray shirt is to pair it with a statement piece for a more formal occasion. Use accessories like shoes, bags, earrings or necklaces to dress it up or down. For example, I was just going to an event this day, so I paired it with a statement skirt, but toned it down with espadrille wedges:
How to wear a denim shirt with denim?
I love creating denim on denim looks. Here are 2 very different examples. Keep in mind that you can also wear your chambray shirt with regular jeans. Add a belt or a necklace/earrings to really put the look together. Get as creative as you want in here! Use denim shorts, skirts, jeans or even a denim jacket.
You may have noticed I wear my white sneakers A LOT!!! These are literally the only ones I have right now. They are sustainable and they cost me $139 (they also have a canvas version in several cute colors that costs $79)
How to wear a denim shirt with black skinnies?
One of my favorite color combos is a light denim shirt with black skinnies. You can do a front knot, layer it or simply tuck it it and add a belt. This is a perfect example of a classic pairing that will never go out of style. You can always try something like this when you have no idea what to wear and you are in a rush:
Try doing a front knot over a plain dress
Last but not least, another forgotten way to style a denim shirt is to throw it over a dress and tie a front knot. This is where it becomes handy to have different shades of chambray shirts! You will be able to mix and match with more dresses. Keep in mind this will only work with sleeveless dresses or if they have plain sleeves. Why? Because if the dress has puff sleeves or any type of detail in that area, you will be able to see it when throwing a light piece like a denim shirt on top and that’s a big no-no. Feel free to wear any shoes you want and accessorize according to the occasion.
Here are a few ways you can try this idea:
General Tips When Buying a Denim Shirt
If you need to buy a new denim shirt, whether it’s for the first time ever or if you need to replace the one you have because it’s in bad shape, please go through your closet first and see what you have before spending money on anything new. I teach more about cleaning your closet and building a minimalist wardrobe here as well as a list of ethical clothing brands to support when you need to shop for anything.
The shade of blue you end up getting will depend on what you already have in your closet and your personal style. However, based on my personal experience, if you are getting just one, a light chambray option will be your best bet.
This is my favorite light chambray shirt (on sale right now)
** If interested in checking out my updated travel outfits and how I style my chambray shirt when we travel – check out this link!** (can’t believe we are traveling the world full time now!)
Final thoughts on denim shirts
What do you think about denim shirts now? Are you convinced they are a closet staple?
I hope the answer is yes! And most importantly, I hope that you learned some styling tips and a little bit about maximizing the pieces you already have in your closet. I am a huge fan of having a minimalist wardrobe, and I want to encourage you to think about having one too.
If you invest in the right pieces you will end up spending less money and hopefully saving it for things that actually matter. Believe it or not, the things you own take a lot of space off your mind, so by having less things you will be freeing up so much space to think, be creative and who knows? Maybe even pursue something you really want but never have the energy to go after! I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. As a society, we are obsessed with having things, so we constantly spend so much of our time shopping for meaningless things and spending way too much time on social media without a purpose.
Think about this. Pay attention to how you spend your time and money and see if there’s anything you would like to change and go for it. My goal here is to teach you how to dress fast and easily because you have a synergic closet, where most of the pieces work well together. This also translates into spending less time figuring out what to wear every morning.
Anyways… that was a long goodbye! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and for reading all the way down here. I know my articles are long, but I hope they are useful.
Have a great day ahead!
Did you learn how to style a denim shirt today? Please share it on Pinterest! (it really helps my blog when you share my content!)
Other style posts you may also like:
- More denim looks? Check out these 70+ outfits with a jean jacket for every season
- Check out this post with ethical clothing brands for every budget – Save it for next time you need to go shopping and learn why is so important to step away from fast fashion brands
- What to pack for a beach vacation + outfit ideas
- What to wear on a first date or for any type of date night (70+ outfit ideas)
- Another closet staple: a maxi skirt. Learn how to wear a maxi skirt for every season
- Learn about my favorite ethical activewear brands for every type of budget
- New to jumpsuits? Learn how to wear a jumpsuit and styling tips for first timers
- You will have a denim shirt as a part of your Summer Capsule Wardrobe – Check out the post to learn about which other pieces you’ll need
- How to build your own capsule wardrobe for Fall + outfit ideas
- On the hunt for Spanx Leggings? Read my very detailed Spanx Leggings Review first and learn from my mistakes. Also, learn what to wear with leather leggings.
- More outfit inspiration? Check out all these midi skirt outfits for every season!
- Feel inspired by these 10 stylish white blazer outfits and see why a white blazer is the closet staple you didn’t know you needed!!