Denim-on-denim looks are very “spring fashion.” Unfortunately, it’s a look that’s very easy to do badly. Rarely is it a good idea to try and achieve a fashion look that has a moniker like “Canadian tuxedo,” but here we are. The good news is: a denim on denim style can be easy to pull off, as long as you follow a few guidelines. 

Keep It Simple

outfit is laid out, featuring a light denim jacket, white tee, darker wash jeans, and brown bootiesStyle blogs love to say that fashion rules are meant to be broken. “Wear all denim! All the same shade! And oversized!” But let’s get real: We’re not size 0, walking the runway. We’re living our lives, and we just want to be comfortable while looking nice. The great thing about denim is that it comes in a variety of washes, colors, and cuts, and can be embellished in so many ways. This spectrum of denim — if you will — makes it easy for us to mix and match without making a fashion faux pas. So, if you’re hesitant, keep it easy. Pair a neutral shade of skinny jeans with a colored jean jacket. Or dark jeans with a lighter chambray button-down shirt. Adding contrast between the two pieces will avoid the Britney Spears circa 2001 comparisons, and won’t scream “I’m making daring fashion choices!”

Can I Pair the Same Shade?

model wearing a dark grey jean jacket with matching jeans and a black tee shirtWearing all one shade of denim can create a cohesive, unbroken look that has an elongating effect on your silhouette. This can be achieved by pairing similar shades, but don’t try too hard to get it exactly right. The trick to this look is choosing a simple hue without too much fussiness to it. All black is an easy choice, and can make you look cool and edgy. You can choose a light wash if you’re more daring, but try to pick an even denim wash (none of that faux fading, for example.)

One way to mix it up a bit is to play with embellishments. You can rock an all-over similar shade more confidently if one of your denim choices is heavily distressed, or ripped, or has embroidery or beading. Alternatively, add unexpected pops of color by sporting a dazzling red lipstick or a bright t-shirt. Denim is essentially neutral, and by adding little bits of eye-catching color you’re only emphasizing its neutrality.

Woman standing in front of a building is modeling a light jean jacket over a white blouse, dark skinny jeans, and grey booties


Flatter Your Figure

Lighter colors draw attention, and dark colors hide flaws. Let’s use this fashion law to our advantage. Pairing dark jeans with a light-wash chambray top will balance out a pear-shaped figure. A dark jacket with white jeans is super flattering for someone who is a bit more top-heavy. You get the idea.

Don’t Go Full Cowboy

One mistake people make when they’re eager to try this trend is pairing a full denim look with cowboy accessories. Denim naturally pairs well with Western wear, but the look can tip quickly over into costume category if you’re not careful. When in doubt, ditch the bolo tie and massive belt buckle.

two models - a woman and a man - are wearing the same jean jacket, each with one arm through a sleeve
Don’t do whatever this is

Be Careful with Accessories

The idea of a full-denim look is to embrace the term casual chic. Too many accessories can make the outfit feel busy, which isn’t great when you’re going for the “effortless” look. Play with jewelry, but less is more when it comes to accessories like hats or scarves. You can even dress up denim-on-denim by pairing it with the right statement heels, but please, don’t go for the triple-denim challenge. No denim handbags.

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