Curious about how to wear light wash jeans? These outfit ideas will give you all of the style inspiration you need.
Though not quite as popular as dark wash jeans, light wash jeans are becoming more of a wardrobe staple, particularly in the warmer months. That means it might be time to invest in your first pair or bring some variety to your light wash selection.
You might be comfortable with styling your dark wash jeans, but I am hoping this article gives you some new ideas for your light colored jeans.
What is a Light Wash Jean?
The answer might seem obvious at first: the color. There’s actually more to it than just dye.
The name also indicates that the jeans have been washed and possibly bleached. That means that lighter wash jeans are also typically softer when compared to raw denim and some other darker options.
Because they’re typically lighter and softer, they’re a good option for summer and spring styling.
There are varying shades of this type of jean, usually from lighter wash to medium. Check out the spectrum below:
If you’re looking for a true light wash, stay on the left end of the spectrum. The lighter you go, the less blue they’ll look before you eventually just hit white jeans.
If this is your first pair, stay somewhere in the middle to give yourself more versatility.
Why are Light Wash Jeans not as Popular as Dark Wash Jeans?
Typically, dark wash jeans are more popular because of their overall versatility. Dark jeans have the versatility to cover the range from casual to business casual styles. You can also check out how to wear dark wash jeans.
Light colored jeans do have some versatility, though not quite as much as dark denim. They typically won’t work well for business casual attire, but they will pair well with most items you already own.
How to Wear Light Colored Jeans
Now we can go through some outfit ideas so you know what to wear with light blue jeans. We’ll start with casual outfits and move into more smart casual styles to give you maximum range.
Casual Men’s Light Wash Jeans Outfits Ideas
Most often, you’ll be wearing light blue jeans more casually. It’s good to build up a solid foundation of casual outfit ideas.
We’ll focus a majority of the outfit options here with 12 casual outfit ideas that feature light wash jeans.
#1: Jeans & Henley
This is a classic style that can be carried over from your dark jeans go-to outfits. This type of look will never go out of style with any color of jeans.
Your footwear options are pretty open as well. If you’re styling for warmer weather, try a white or low top sneaker or a chelsea boot. High top
#2: Crew Neck & Jeans
This is an easy option if you’re looking for a more comfortable outfit: grey crew neck and jeans.
There isn’t much contrast in color here, but the overall lighter tone works. Add a white low top or high top sneaker, you’ll get a more 90’s throwback style.
#3: Chelsea Boots
Light blue jeans and Chelsea boots are another go-to combination. The boots elevate the light blue denim here.
I love the look of a lighter, neutral tone or tan Chelsea boot with light was jeans for a spring style outfit.
#4: Button Down with White
When in doubt, keep it simple. Any kind of casual button down and white
Go for contrast in the color between your shirt and light jeans. A darker or more saturated color on your shirt will pop against the denim.
#5: Quilted Vest
For brisk mornings, you can throw on a quilted vest with any of the outfits above. Here, I chose a vest with some color contrast.
Changing up the shoe can also make this a more smart casual outfit; I’ll cover that a little later.
#6: Patterned Shirt
Patterned shirts, polos and tee shirts work well with lighter denim. Since they’re inherently more casual, you can play more with colors and bold patterns on top.
You can also do some light layering like I did here while bringing out some darker colors for contrast.
#7: Field Jacket
A field jacket is a spring/summer layering staple. It will always work with lighter denim, especially in a navy or military green color.
I like keeping the jacket open to create a slimming effect. The color contrast to the other garments also helps with this.
#8: With Doc Martens or Boots
Doc’s have come back into style and they actually pair well with lighter wash denim thanks again to that color contrast.
You can still cuff your light denim and show off the boots like you do with dark denim.
#9: Hoodie and White High Top Chucks
Just like the crewneck, a hoodie and jeans is an easy combination. You can choose any color of hoodie. This is a classic and slightly retro inspired look.
Give your jeans a nice thick cuff here to modernize the fit.
#10: Distressed Light Jeans
If you’ve been wanting to experiment with distressed or ripped jeans, lighter denim is a good way to do it because it’s already casual.
I personally prefer reinforced distressing as opposed to ripped holes, but it’s a good chance to try something a little different.
Keep the fit of your light wash jeans in mind. If you want actual holes in your jeans, keep the fit a little looser to avoid further ripping.
#11: With a Polo
Here’s another classic look, just like the henley. Polos are a good substitute for plain tees and look great with lighter denim and
If you’re looking to switch it up and add visual interest, choose a polo with some pattern to it.
#12: Double Denim
You can still do double denim with lighter wash jeans. You can play up the contrast with a darker shade on top.
If the weather is warmer, you can do this with a denim shirt instead of a jacket.
Smart Casual Outfit Ideas
While light wash jeans on their own won’t read formal or even smart, you can style them with some pieces that will elevate them. You can also check out our full guide to smart casual style.
Smart casual outfits incorporate pieces that are casual and “smart,” or slightly dressier items. You’ll want to include the smart pieces on the top half of your outfit or on your feet.
Let’s review a few smart casual outfit ideas with light wash jeans:
#1: Leather Jacket
A leather jacket is one of those smart pieces that will help dress up light wash or medium wash denim.
Brown leather is a good choice for lighter blue; it’s easier to pair than black.
#2: Half Zip and a Button Up
A button up will also lean smarter, but the half zip helps with that too. This outfit works for dark, light or medium denim.
Chelsea or leather boots are a good way to add another smart touch to this look.
#3: Quilted Vests and Button Down
Just like above, a quilted vest over a button up will work well with your light jeans. Again, think about creating contrast with your outermost layer.
If you’re going for a smarter look, try a slimmer vest. One that has too much volume or puff will look more casual.
Like I said before, the Chelsea boot here also helps make this outfit smarter and more formal than the first vest look I shared.
#4: Blazer and Tee
A blazer with your favorite tee and light denim will automatically push the outfit to the smart casual end of the spectrum. The blazer just has that kind of power.
If you want the look to appear slightly more formal, or smarter, try a darker blazer.
#5: Polo and Blazer
The idea here is the same, but a polo adds the collar detail to help with the smart look and make your light wash jeans appear a little less casual.
An easy swap here is a button down. Worn tucked in, it’s even more formal than the polo. Try to go with a casual button up (like an Oxford), not a crisp dress shirt.
A general note: distressed denim won’t work for your smart casual outfits. If you’re trying to dress your light wash denim up, keep it clean and free of rips.
How Do You Wear Light Wash Jeans?
As you can tell, light wash jeans can be pretty darn versatile. Though you might not be able to wear them to the office, they can still serve your casual and smart casual needs.
I hope this guide inspired you to try a pair of light wash jeans or try some new styles with the ones you already own.
If you have any questions or comments, leave them down below!