Wearing Jeans W/ Sport Coats


There are a few great articles written about wearing jeans with sport coats, the Styleforum Journal article directly comes to mind. I think they provide great value and I have no intention of repeating information. However a consensus from the article, namely dark jeans looking silly with a shirt/sport coat, left me slightly uneasy.

There are many examples of dark denim worn poorly. But I believe a dark pair of denim can work well with a tailored jacket. It just needs to be the right one. How do you define the “right” one? Well, simply steer towards the pairing rule of thumb, contrast.

If you are wearing a darker pair team it with a lighter coloured jacket and a lighter pair with a darker jacket. For example, due to the lack of contrast, a darker denim has a tendency to look very awfully silly with a navy blazer. But, with a light brown sport coat, the ensemble looks composed and coherent.

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By being a substantially lighter blue, the shirt reinforces the contrast theme. Additionally, the inherently casual oxford shirt cloth teams well with the texture of denim, which is evidently more casual. Deviating slightly, I enjoy how easy it is to wear a light blue oxford shirt, especially one that feels softer after each wear. It goes well with denim, corduroys or flannel, and looks handsome with or without a jacket.


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The identical contrast rule applies to a lighter pair of denim too, which is great for those who centres their wardrobe around navy sport coats. As, unlike its darker counterpart, a light was denim pairs incredibly well with a navy hopsack blazer.


So, yes, you can wear a pair of dark denim with a tucked shirt and sport coat. Be mindful of using a sport coat that creates a colour contrast. If, like me, you wear a lot of sport coats in different shades of brown, then a dark denim will serve as your fail safe. If you centre your wardrobe around navy sport coats, a lighter wash denim will work better. If you have a wardrobe full of navy and brown sport coats, just get both shades already.

Thanks for reading, cheers.