Double denim has had to put up with a lot of stick. Yes, the number of public fashion crimes committed in its name is vast: girl band B*witched, Britney and Justin’s infamous ‘Canadian Tuxedos’ and, more recently, Danny from The Script seem to have totally destroyed its credibility – with the look continuing to be ridiculed by the majority.
However, we here at FashionBeans feel it’s about time we forgot about double denim’s past misfortunes and the poor interpretations often on show, and gave the style another chance.
After all, we’ve pardoned Mr Beckham of his (many) early faux pas and the denim ridden 1990s are currently trending within the industry, yet double denim is still to receive the same exoneration.
Today we take the plunge and show you how to navigate the minefield that is this polarising look. We’ll explore and advocate ways to pull off double denim that help bring the aesthetic bang up to date and will ensure you don’t fall needlessly foul of a major fashion faux pas.
How To Wear: Double Denim
Modern Lookbook Inspiration
Look One: Contrast Shades
The most successful way to wear double denim is to opt for contrasting shades. The polarised tones make it easier to pull off the look, with the differing washes drawing attention away from the similarity of the fabric.
With this in mind, select a darker hue (bordering on black) for your jacket and couple with lighter wash jeans. Pairing a denim jacket with jeans often works better than using a shirt, largely due to the fact that the proximity of a trouser and jacket combination can be broken up by another piece.
The timeless white crew neck tee plays this role perfectly in the ensemble below, and we complete the look with some retro style running trainers.
An effortless introduction into the world of double denim for novices:
- Reiss Bless Short Sleeve Basic Crew Neck T-shirt White
- Saint Laurent Dry Denim Jacket
- Asos Slim Jean.
- New Balance 574 Suede
Look Two: Shirt & Jeans
Take more of a risk with your foray into double denim by replacing the jacket with a shirt. Less traditional and slightly more difficult to pull off, make sure you keep one of the washes unconventional.
We would suggest something along the lines of grey/white jeans teamed with a standard blue/indigo shirt. Again, contrasting shades make the concept an easier proposition than if you were mixing standard or similar coloured denim washes.
Layer a bomber or leather jacket over the top to play on the rugged, masculine nature of the aesthetic before finishing with some Chelsea boots to create an ideal look for a night out:
- Topman Light Wash Button Down Long Sleeve Denim Shirt
- Blood Brother Alpha Leather Jacket
- Allsaints Senso Cigarette Jeans
- Belstaff Salem Zip-trimmed Leather Chelsea Boots
Look Three: An Injection of Colour
Colour has established itself as a key part of the modern man’s wardrobe. The monopoly of monochrome is coming to an end and nowhere is it more welcome than in the realm of double denim.
With differing shades an essential part of a well-curated double denim outfit, the explosion of coloured denim over the past few years offers a plethora of new ways to construct your take on the look.
Burgundy doesn’t stray too far away from the menswear comfort zone, and the hue is shaping up to be a major player again this autumn/winter. With this in mind, incorporating it into your denim-heavy attire shouldn’t present too much of a challenge, colour wise.
Get creative with your layering by wearing your standard indigo denim jacket underneath a single-breasted overcoat, with a casual shirt providing the base. During the colder months, your denim jacket is versatile enough to be utilised as either a top or, as in this case, middle layer.
Accessorise the outfit with some stylish leather gloves – match the leather to your footwear to show you pay attention to the finer details.
Finish with a smart pair of leather Derbies for a look that not only makes good use of colour and texture, but also incorporates some interesting layering techniques, too:
- Browns Checked Cotton Flannel Shirt
- Allsaints Fremont Denim Jacket
- Allsaints District Coat
- John Varvatos Star Usa Bowery Fit Straight-leg Jeans 161528
- Mulberry Cashmere-lined Leather Gloves
- Paul Smith Mens Kirby Leather Derby Shoe
Look Four: Double Denim Spin
Put a spin on double denim by moving away from the traditional jeans and jacket/shirt combination and towards something a little more unorthodox. For this look we’ve taken on a soft, unstructured denim-chambray suit. Not your everyday denim piece, that’s for sure.
A completely casual interpretation on a menswear classic, this suit is great for those who work in a creative field or are not confined to the rigidity of dress codes.
Bring the look up a notch with a cotton Oxford shirt before finishing with a smart-casual footwear choice; a pair of leather desert boots is ideal:
- A.p.c. Check Cotton Shirt 163400
- Oliver Spencer Blue Washed-denim Chambray Suit Jacket
- Oliver Spencer Blue Washed-denim Chambray Cotton Suit Trousers
- Asos Desert Boots In Leather
Look Five: Keep It In The Family
So far we’ve warned against mixing similar washes of denim for fear of conjuring up ghosts of faux pas past. However, recent lookbooks have lessened the taboo of keeping your shades of denim close together.
This approach still comes with risks attached – and shouldn’t be attempted by those with low confidence or ANY double denim doubts – but an outfit that incorporates similar, tonal hues can actually work extremely well.
First things first, avoid the typical mistakes made throughout the 1990s by steering clear of standard mid-blue denim washes. Instead, darker indigo or raw denim will ensure a much sleeker, and more contemporary, outfit.
A jeans and jacket combination is the best way to go here; keep it conventional. Break it up with some coloured knitwear and finish with a pair of brogues, all the while ignoring any naysayers.
Double-denim is no longer the danger zone it once was and this presents a strong look for the casual occasion:
- Suit Kalle Knitted Sweater In Burgundy
- Levis Denim Jacket Foley Trucker With Sherpa Lining
- Allsaints Dry Rinse Cigarette Jeans
- Real Leather Brogues
- Topman Green Baroque Print Short Sleeve Blue Denim Shirt
- Topman Indigo Denim Short Sleeve Shirt
- Allsaints Tochigi Shirt
- Topman Blue Denim Stand Collar Long Sleeve Shirt
- Billy Reid Washed-denim Shirt
- Levis Denim Shirt 2 Pocket Dress Blues
- Blk Dnm Denim Jacket 166788
- Lacoste Live Trucker Denim Jacket In Black
- He By Mango Khaki Wash Denim Jacket
- J.crew Washed-denim Jacket
- Reiss 1971 Rosedale Denim Biker Blue
- Asos Skinny Jean In Mid Wash Blue
- Reiss Lancaster Denim Chinos Red
- Nudie Jeans Grim Tim Slim-fit Organic Dry Denim Jeans
- Topman Washed Black Stretch Vintage Slim Jeans
They say “everything in moderation” but sometimes it’s just nice to double up – take whiskey, or whatever your poison may be, as an example.
However, don’t get greedy and take a stab at triple denim – it’s very much true that, yes, you can have too much of a good thing.
But now we want to hear your view:
- Are you an advocate of double denim?
- How do you wear it?
- Would you ever dress down in a denim/chambray suit?
- Or are you totally against double denim as a stylish proposition?
Let us know in the comments section below…