How to wear a dress shirt with jeans

A dress shirt is smarter than a pair of jeans, which might be considered casual wear, so can the two go together? The answer is yes, with a caveat that there are times when it will work, and times when you will look out of place. Read on for our tips to get it right every time.

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Business dress

‘Business dress’ is a term that expects a level of smartness, often a suit and tie. ‘Smart casual’ might allow jeans and a shirt and jumper. For more creative industries – designers, actors, writers – there is a hybrid that combines jeans with a dress shirt, tie and blazer. It’s more casual, and the contrast of the smart shirt and tie with the casual jeans is what makes this work. It’s a deliberate style choice, and if you want to set off the look, pop on your favourite trainers. You’ll see the look a lot and if you fancy trying it yourself, we recommend starting with a quality dress shirt such as Lyle & Scott shirts.

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Pairing a dress shirt with jeans should be a conscious style choice. If it’s not, the outfit will wear you, and then you risk looking out of place. You choose this style because you want to blend the rules.

Keep your jeans blue. It’s not worth trying to bend that rule. You’ll look like you’re trying too hard. Darker shades of blue denim will look better. Choose jeans that are not ripped or distressed – choose plain. Avoid ‘fashionable’ cuts too. No skinny or overly baggy jeans. Straight legs look better with dress shirts.

Not all dress shirts are the same

Choose a classic pattern like a stripe or plaid, or a plain colour that isn’t white to make the outfit look less formal. The weave will also pay an important part; a very tightly woven fabric is more likely to appear shiny than a broader weave so opt for a more open Oxford fabric to soften the overall look more. Check out our range of Lyle & Scott shirts to bridge the gap between smart and casual. For tips on how to keep your Lyle & Scott shirts looking great, see the suggestions from T3.

The last thing to consider is your tie. That can give your look some real personality, whether you opt for preppy or carefree, or somewhere in between.

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Roger Walker

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