Wondering how to wear dark wash jeans? These outfit ideas will give you all the inspiration you need.
Dark wash jeans are one of those wardrobe staples that most men can’t really live without. Chances are you have one or two (or three) pairs of dark blue denim in regular rotation.
You probably already have a few go-to outfits that feature your favorite jeans on bottom, but I’m hoping the outfit ideas below will help you get even more out of your dark wash denim.
Why are dark wash jeans so popular?
Why are dark blue jeans such an important part of a man’s wardrobe? Well, simply put, they go with almost everything.
From t-shirts and
Of course, not all dark blue jeans are the same. Depending on fit and details (like distressing), some denim is better suited for casual outfits.
Here’s the dark wash denim formality spectrum:
If you only want one pair of blue jeans, go with the less casual dark wash variety. If you have two pairs, feel free to go a bit more casual with the second one.
How to Wear Dark Wash Jeans
Now that we know why dark wash jeans are so important, and what makes a pair of jeans more casual or formal, let’s look at some outfit ideas.
We’ll start with casual outfits then move on to smart casual getups.
Casual Jeans Outfit Ideas
By nature, jeans are casual garments, so they’re perfect foundation for casual outfits. Here are 10 casual outfit ideas that feature dark wash jeans.
#1: Jeans & Henley
Here’s a classic casual look that’s never going out of style: dark blue jeans and a grey henley.
You could definitely wear boots with this outfit, along with any kind of outerwear you like, but the high top
#2: With a Field Jacket
Jeans are inherently rugged, so they go well with other utilitarian pieces like work boots and field jackets.
As you’ll see throughout this article, the blue-green-brown combo works pretty much every time.
#3: Baseball Cap & Quilted Vest
Speaking of blue, green and brown, here’s another casual outfit featuring dark wash denim.
This is one of the comfiest outfits you can wear during fall. The lightweight quilted vest is a highly underrated garment!
#4: Burgundy Top
Another great color combination is dark blue and burgundy. These complimentary colors will always look good next to each other.
Above, the shearling color and loafers (with socks) give this outfit a comfy, casual look and feel.
#5: Leather Jacket & Boots
Dark wash jeans and a brown leather jacket go together like Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer: I don’t know why, but they just work.
In this case, the lighter blue chambray shirt looks great with the darker blue jeans.
The only other color in this outfit is brown, which goes to show you really don’t need more than two colors to create a solid look.
#6: Cuffed With Boots
Unlike wool or cotton trousers, jeans are highly cuffable. The stiff fabric is perfect for keeping a roll in place all day.
Plus, since most jeans are lighter on the inside, cuffing creates a nice bit of contrast in your outfit, and it looks especially stylish over boots.
#7: With a Hoodie
This outfit is classic and casual: jeans,
Throw in a couple of casual accessories, like a baseball cap and backpack, and you’re ready for your first day back on campus.
#8: Denim on Denim
The Canadian Tuxedo may get a bad rap, but denim on denim can get a great look if you do it right.
It works here because the denim overshirt is noticeably lighter than the jeans, and there’s plenty of green in the outfit (to break up all the blue).
The lesson? Don’t be afraid to rock double denim.
#9: Denim Jacket & Sweater
To further illustrate this point, here’s a double denim outfit that features the same shade of denim (almost) but still looks great.
I think it works because the denim jacket is worn over a lighter colored sweater. If you swapped the oatmeal sweater for a denim shirt, for example, it would be too much.
#10: Rugged Layers
One of my favorite fall/winter layering combos is: vest > flannel > henley.
It’s rugged and practical (i.e., warm), and since it’s casual in nature, it goes nicely with jeans.
In this case, I’m wearing chunky
Smart Casual Jeans Outfit Ideas
Dark wash denim is perfect for the smart casual aesthetic, as it straddles that line between casual and dressy.
Smart casual outfits typically feature a mix of casual and “smart” pieces. Since jeans are inherently more casual, you’ll want to include your “smart” pieces on top or on your feet.
Let’s look at some smart casual outfit ideas that feature dark wash jeans:
#1: Topcoat & Chelseas
This is my go-to smart casual outfit during winter. It’s perfect for casual workplaces (or casual Fridays), date nights, going out with friends, and pretty much any other non-formal cold weather occasion.
This getup is the epitome of smart casual. The jeans and boots are casual, while the topcoat and layered shirt/sweater are smart.
This is a comfy, warm, practical outfit, and I highly recommend giving it a try.
#2: Tucked In Shirt & Loafers
While many of the looks in this article feature rugged jackets and boots, I want you to remember that you can wear jeans during spring and summer too.
The key is to stay cool by ditching any extra layers, wearing summer-friendly shoes (in this case, loafers without socks), and rolling up your sleeves.
If you’re clothes fit properly, this is a very easy look to pull off, and it’s great for many different occasions.
#3: Brown Layers
One easy way to combine colors is to pick just two colors, but use different shades of one of them (in this case, light and dark brown).
Dark brown and camel – which is really just light brown – go perfectly with inky dark blue denim.
A solid wool crewneck sweater over a black watch plaid button down is a tried and true layering combo.
#4: With a Tan Raincoat
Dark jeans also look great with lighter colored outerwear, like a classic tan raincoat.
Like a topcoat, the raincoat can be dressed up or down. Here, it looks right at home over a flannel work shirt and henley with dark brown leather service boots.
#5: With a Cardigan
The wool cardigan is one of the best middle layers you can wear during fall and winter.
Above, the dark green cardigan goes perfectly with the dark wash jeans, as green and blue are analogous colors (close to each other on the color wheel).
Throw in some earth tones and a lighter green scarf, and you’ve got yourself a refined-yet-rugged getup.
#6: With a Waistcoat
The waistcoat, even if it’s part of a three piece suit, can be worn separately (apart from the jacket and trousers).
Paired with a white t-shirt, dark jeans, brown suede boots and a couple of classic accessories, the vest produces a classic, rugged look.
#7: Olive Jacket
Almost any shades of blue and green will look good together, but you really can’t go wrong with dark blue and olive.
This combo works especially well with lighter shades of blue and neutrals like white and grey.
In this case, the olive jacket is sort of a mix between a work shirt and casual sport coat, and it looks perfect with a light blue Oxford, dark wash jeans and white canvas
#8: Turtleneck & Jacket
This look could definitely work in a business casual environment, or on casual Friday in a more traditional workplace.
Above, Barron (founder of Effortless Gent) is pairing a merlot rollneck sweater with dark jeans and brown loafers.
To dress the look up a bit more, he’s wearing a brown Glen plaid sportcoat. This is textbook smart casual style.
#9: Turtleneck Layers
Here’s another turtleneck-and-jeans look that utilizes shades of red and brown.
This stylish Redditor is wearing a reddish brown rollneck made from finder material, tucked into his non-distressed dark wash jeans.
The flannel overshirt and boots give the outfit a more casual vibe, while the camel overcoat keeps things feeling smart.
#10: Black & Blue
This is a great example of black and blue working really well together, despite conventional wisdom warning against this color combo.
Just like other colors, black comes in many different varieties – different shades and saturation levels.
The man above is combining several different types of black with inky dark blue denim.
This is hard to pull off, but he’s making it look easy. The impeccable fit of each piece definitely helps!
#11: Blue & Brown
Blue and brown always work well together, especially when you combine light and dark shades in the same outfit.
Sabir, founder of Men’s Style Pro, is wearing a wool gingham waistcoat over a light blue denim button down shirt.
He has a shearling leather jacket on top and dark brown service boots on bottom.
This is a great example of getting more mileage out of your tailored pieces by wearing them more casually.
Business Casual Jeans Outfit Ideas
You may be wondering: are jeans business casual? Traditionally, no, jeans are not appropriate for business casual environments.
That said, the business casual dress code has been getting more casual over the years, which means jeans are acceptable in many modern day offices.
At the very least, you’re going to see people wearing jeans on casual Fridays, if not throughout the week.
Just remember, jeans that are appropriate for business casual settings should lean formal (fitted, hemmed, no fades or distressing).
Let’s look at some business casual outfit ideas featuring dark wash jeans:
#1: Cardigan & Sport Coat
Modern business casual has a lot in common with smart casual style. It’s all about walking that line between casual and dressy, and Eric (below) is doing it masterfully.
Adding a dash of burgundy to an otherwise all blue outfit, he’s wearing a cardigan as a middle layer under a classic navy blazer from Indochino.
The cardigan is stylish and practical, as it looks great and provides some warmth on its own when the jacket comes off.
#2: Sport Coat & Button Down
Here’s an example of keeping things simple and focusing on what matters most: fit and color.
This outfit isn’t complicated: it’s an Oxford shirt with jeans, chukka boots and a patterned sportcoat.
It works so well because each piece fits impeccably well, and the colors look fantastic together.
This is a great example of mature, understated (but not boring) style. The whole outfit is a 10 out of 10 in my book.
#3: With a Tweed Jacket
As far as sportcoats go, anything made from tweed is going to feel a bit more casual, especially when combines with soft tailoring (i.e., unstructured shoulders).
Above, Svante makes a shirt-and-tie look right home with slightly distressed dark blue jeans and light brown boots.
I love how the outfit shows some wrinkles – a sign of actual wear and non-fussiness – and how the top shirt button is left unfastened.
Altogether, it’s a perfect business casual look for any man, regardless of age.
#4: With a Blazer
The term “blazer” has been overused to the point where it’s almost interchangeable with “sportcoat”, but a true blazer is dark navy and has gold or brass buttons.
Above, Ethan shows us how a classic double-breasted navy blazer can be paired with dark wash jeans for a look that should feel dressier than it does.
It might be the somewhat relaxed drape of each piece, or maybe the sprezzatura tie (or maybe the setting), but I appreciate how casually Ethan wears these somewhat formal pieces.
#5: Jacket, Tie & Loafers
Most of the outfits shown in this blog post feature dark wash jeans. Below, we have a pair of almost medium wash jeans (a.k.a., dad jeans).
I wanted to include this outfit because, well, it’s an amazing getup. But also because you shouldn’t be afraid to wear medium blue jeans with business casual ensembles.
Note: if these jeans didn’t fit properly – like if they were too long – or if they had a lot of distressing, they wouldn’t work with this polished business casual outfit.
#6: Business Casual Blues
Here’s another look with slightly lighter jeans. These jeans have a more noticeable rinse and very subtle distressing, but they work because the rest of the outfit is also more laid back.
From the casually tailored jacket and cotton bag, to the beltless waistline and gently tapered cuffed hem, this getup has a relaxed vibe that would work in many different situations.
#7: Classic Business Casual
When in doubt, tuck your favorite light blue OCBD into your favorite dark blue jeans, and throw on a grey sportcoat.
Above, Tony is putting on a masterclass on how to wear jeans in a business casual environment.
Every detail is right: the not-too-casual leather belt, the slight break of his jeans, the leather plain toe boots, and the ever-so-subtle dash of color from the pocket square.
It’s the kind of getup that still look great in 25 years.
#8: Rugged & Preppy
You’ve seen a lot of blue and olive in this list, but I really can’t overemphasize how well this combo works.
I love John’s outfit above because it’s so well-suited for a younger guy who wants to dress things up a bit without looking like he’s trying too hard.
The choice to wear an overshirt instead of an actual sportcoat makes a lot of sense here and just goes to show: you should feel free to mix and match casual and dressy pieces.
#9: V-Neck & Tie
Like the front button cardigan, the v-neck sweater is a perfect middle layer for business casual looks.
I love Adam’s blue-and-grey color palette here. The shirt, tie, sweater and sport jacket work perfectly together, and they’re all right at home on top of inky blue dark wash jeans.
#10: Warm Layers
Here’s another business casual look that utilizes a cardigan as a middle layer.
This outfit is composed mostly of menswear neutrals – blue, grey, brown and tan – with a splash of warm green from the cardigan.
I love the choice of tall cap toe work boots instead of Oxfords or loafers. They’re totally appropriate with this cold weather ready getup.
#11: Business Casual Boots
Speaking of boots, let’s finish off this list with a classic business casual look that won’t go out of style anytime soon.
Andy, founder of Primer Magazine, is wearing a white button up shirt with a casual charcoal sportcoat, fitted dark blue jeans and brown leather boots.
He could easily swap the boots for Oxfords, monk straps, loafers or even minimal leather
This look exemplifies the power of keeping things simple.
How do you wear dark wash jeans?
As you can see, dark wash jeans are extremely versatile and can be worn in a variety of situations, from casual to business casual.
I hope this guide inspired you to take your denim even further by trying out some new outfit ideas.
If you have any questions or comments, leave them down below!