There are few fabrics we’ve fallen head over heels for, but denim is undoubtedly one of them. Easy and comfortable to wear, remarkably tough, and endlessly versatile, denim is one of those rare materials that doesn’t lose its appeal with repeated wear, but only gets better – developing its own custom tones and unique character over time.

And this season, both luxury and high street brands are paying homage, rediscovering the traditional workwear fabric’s potential and producing denim pieces in a myriad of washes and finishes – from raw indigo to washed-out tones, chambray to patchwork, rips to bleached.

If you’ve already mastered the timelessly stylish T-shirt and jeans combination, then here’s a guide to upping your denim game – from taking it upscale to wearing some on your feet.

1. The Denim Jacket

It’s difficult to think of a wardrobe staple that’s harder to style than a denim jacket. Wear one with jeans in a matching colour or wash and it’s all a bit Canadian tuxedo, but team with a pair of smart trousers and the jacket can seem unacceptably sloppy in comparison.

The solution? Keep things contemporary with a pair of slim or skinny jeans, chinos or casual twill trousers in black, grey or lighter neutrals like sand and white.

“We enjoy wearing our denim jackets with jeans but they also work perfectly with chinos,” says Johan Lindstedt, denim designer at Nudie Jeans. “And they’re a perfect piece for layering over lightweight jersey tees, or even under coats in the harsher seasons.”

Combine with a classic crew new tee, Henley top or long-sleeved shirt and throw your jacket over the top for a simple, go-to look that any man can pull off.

6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season

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Key Pieces

  • He By Mango Vintage Wash Denim Jacket6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Lee Denim Jacket Rider Slim Fit Epic Blue6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Paul Smith Jeans Denim Jacket6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Asos Denim Jacket In Slim Fit6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • He By Mango Medium Wash Denim Jacket6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Allsaints Ridgeway Denim Jacket6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • River Island Dark Wash Casual Denim Jacket6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Acne Studios Jam Denim Jacket6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • He By Mango Dark Denim Jacket6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season

2. Dressed-Up Jeans

Although classicists won’t ever approve of matching jeans with tailoring, we’re with Tom Ford on this one. The designer teamed jeans with dinner jackets in his spring/summer 2015 collection and the combination looked effortlessly elegant.

Not only can jeans provide a slimmer silhouette than you might get with tailored trousers, they’re also much more comfortable, meaning you can maintain the perfect balance between feeling relaxed and looking refined.

The key to dressing your jeans up is picking the right type – they should be cut slim, in a dark wash and feature minimal distressing. Combine with some leather loafers, a long-sleeved white shirt and a lightweight blazer for an on-point smart-casual outfit that would be ideal for a spring/summer night out or Casual Friday in the office.

6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season

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Key Pieces

  • Asos Stretch Slim Jeans In Indigo6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Gap 1969 Slim Fit Jeans Resin Rinse Wash6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • He By Mango Slim-fit Navy Tim Jeans6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • River Island Dark Wash Dylan Slim Jeans6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Uniqlo Men Slim Fit Straight Stretch Selvedge Jeans6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • River Island Black Dylan Slim Jeans6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Reiss Maurice Slim-fit Jeans Black6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Nudie Jeans Tight Long John Slim-fit Rinsed-denim Jeans6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Levis 501 Ct Jeans 501 Ct Slim-fit Jeans6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season

3. Denim Shirts & Tailoring

If you’re the kind of guy who finds most suiting stuffily formal, then adding some denim into the mix might make tailoring all the more appealing for days when dressing up is non-negotiable.

Fit is of paramount importance here, because while a slightly ill-fitting cotton shirt won’t look unforgivably out of place when paired with a suit, a denim shirt that looks sloppy is sure to undo all your hard work.

Opt for a style that fits trim but not tight and make sure the denim is lightweight (chambray options are ideal for summer) so it doesn’t add unwanted bulk to your torso. And remember to tuck it in too.

Colour-wise, pale hues work well with suiting in navy and dark grey, while darker washes are your best bet for teaming with tailoring in lighter neutrals like stone and beige. If you’re into the laid-back, bohemian aesthetic, you might even want to mix a sky blue denim shirt with a black jacket – a look championed by Saint Laurent and DSquared2 on the runways.

Don’t restrict your denim shirt to just suiting either – it looks great teamed with tailored separates, whether worn with or without a tie.

6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season

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Key Pieces

  • Asos Shirt In Skinny Fit With Long Sleeve In Bleach Wash Denim6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Asos Skinny Denim Shirt With Long Sleeves In Mid Wash6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Waven Mimir Shirt In 90s Blue6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Reiss Royce Washed Denim Shirt Indigo6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Next Tommy Hilfiger Denim Shirt6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Topman Blue Bleach Denim Long Sleeve Shirt6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Jigsaw Double Denim Slim Shirt Indigo6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Uniqlo Men Denim Long Sleeve Shirt6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Alex Mill Button-down Collar Denim Shirt6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season

4. Double Denim

This combination’s had a bad rap historically, but big-name designers and stylists have been re-imagining it in recent seasons. Although it might seem like a sartorial minefield, nailing double denim is much more manageable once you follow the cardinal rule of contrast.

Teaming denims in different washes helps define the individual elements of your ensemble so that you don’t look like an amorphous blue blob. Try, for example, a bleached denim jacket with raw indigo jeans, a dark denim blazer with a lighter-tone chambray shirt underneath, or a blue denim shirt with white denim cut-offs. Whether it’s dark with light or thick with thin, contrast is key.

Another tip is to add a couple of denim-effect T-shirts, vests, shirts or sweatshirts to your wardrobe, as these mid-layers will help you instantly expand the range of double – or even triple – denim looks that you can build, without sacrificing comfort in the heat.

6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season

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Denim-Effect Pieces

  • Asos Sweatshirt With Denim Front6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Hilfiger Denim T-shirt In Crew Neck6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Hilfiger Denim Hoodie With Flag Logo6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Ag Jeans Button-down Shirt6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Denim Mix T-shirt6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Reiss Mexico Denim Effect T-shirt Indigo6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • J.crew Wallace & Barnes Denim-effect Cotton-terry Hoodie6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • F&f Marl Vest6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Paul & Shark Linen Denim Shirt6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season

5. White Jeans

Most guys will probably think one of two things when asked to consider white jeans. The first is something along the lines of: “Why the hell would I wear something that makes me look like someone auditioning for a mid-nineties boy band?” And the second is probably: “Cool, but there’s no way they’d work on me.”

Not so, gentlemen. White jeans are not only just as easy to wear as their indigo brothers, they’re also trending. Plus, they will bring a simple block-colour T-shirt to life in a way that darker denim never could.

“For the brave, I suggest white jeans with a simple white cotton T-shirt – it’s a fantastic summer look,” says Lindstedt. “Alternatively, team with a light blue or chambray shirt and toughen up with a leather biker jacket for an equally strong outfit.”

What’s essential is that you get the fit right (slim, with the hem sitting just above your shoe) and keep them spotless. Also worth remembering if you’re pinrolling these is that white only looks good against exposed skin that’s got a little colour, whether it’s out of a bottle or natural.

If your skin tone is anywhere from olive to black, you can try teaming your white jeans with tonal pieces – e.g. an off-white short-sleeved shirt/T-shirt and suede loafers in stone – for an on-point white-on-white look.

If, on the other hand, you’re on the paler end of the spectrum, it’s best to make white jeans the focal point of your outfit and add some colour in the form of rich, warm shades like tan, emerald green and navy.

And as fashionable as they are at the moment, avoid bright white sneakers with these jeans – you should be looking to create a contrast with your footwear.

6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season

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Key Pieces

  • Allsaints Illini Pistol Jeans6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Dr Denim Jeans Snap Super Skinny Fit Clean White6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Asos Stretch Slim Jeans In White6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • He By Mango Slim-fit White Alex Jeans6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Edwin Ed-80 Jeans In Red Listed White6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Reiss 1971 Wallace Slim-fit Jeans White6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • River Island White Dylan Slim Jeans6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Slim-fit Denim Jeans6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Levis 501 Ct Jeans 501 Ct Slim-fit Jeans6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season

6. Denim Accessories

Aced all of the above? Then perfect your game by adding some denim accessories into the mix. Ray-Ban’s new denim wayfarers, the result of two solid years of research and development, make for a good first port of call. Featuring denim layered onto the iconic lightweight frame, they’re sure to lend any look a unique touch of texture.

Given that it’s such a hard-wearing fabric, denim is a top pick for bags too – try American Apparel’s gym bags or A.P.C’s sleek backpacks for an inexpensive and investment option, respectively.

Several brands have also been experimenting with denim across shoes and trainers, giving them a more textured appearance that will, again, age beautifully over time. Toms classic espadrilles have appeared in denim this season, while the industry’s trainer silhouette of the moment, the Adidas Stan Smith, has also been reproduced in the rugged material.

Meanwhile, brands from Vans to Gucci have reinvented signature styles with indigo denim panels, which create an unexpectedly striking effect when worn with non-denim outfits (think chinos with a blazer and Oxford shirt). Just be sure to always use sparingly, as large denim patches can look more country and western, than unconventionally stylish.

  • Herschel Supply Co Glenwood Strapback Cap6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Ray-ban Wayfarer Denim Sunglasses 0rb21406 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • A.p.c. Mens Denim Backpack6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Adidas Adidas Originals Stan Smith Denim6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Herschel Kenny Blue Denim Wallet6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Gucci Denim Sneakers6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • River Island Blue Denim Braces6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Lock & Co Hatters Denim Flat Cap6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season
  • Next Vans Denim Bishop6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season

6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season

6 Easy Ways To Wear Denim This Season

Smart ideas for pulling off your wardrobe’s most rugged fabric

Image: Scotch & Soda Amsterdams Blauw

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