The polo and jeans pairing is hard to go wrong with, but it’s hard to deny that color coordination is still important and often tough to get right. The question is, can you wear a black polo with jeans?
A black polo can be worn with jeans in casual and even some smart-casual settings. Darker jeans colors such as black, dark blue, and dark grey would be more appropriate to wear with a black polo in dressier smart-casual settings.
While that’s the gist, there’s more to it.
After going through a few great outfits you can try out for yourself, we’ll go through some essential tips for getting the combination right.
Let’s get to it.
3 Black Polo Shirt And Jeans Outfits
Here, you’ll see a few different ways of wearing this classic combination, going from the “dressiest” option to the most casual one.
While it’s important to note that a black polo and jeans should only be worn in casual settings, there are certain casual environments that are dressier than others (eg. smart-casual events).
Items: Black Polo, Light Grey Blazer, Dark Grey Jeans, Dark Brown Derby Shoes
A black polo has a lot going for it, but its main benefit is that it’s the dressiest and most “formal” polo color.
This does make it a good option when you’re looking to dress up a notch and go for a more sophisticated aesthetic (while still keeping it relatively casual).
However, it’s not all down to the polo. You do need to choose smart-casual items to go with it.
When it comes to the jeans, go for a dark and neutral color. Dark grey would work better than black here, as it would lead to a touch of contrast between the polo and the jeans.
Popping on a simple, non-structured blazer in a light shade of grey is a great way to up the sophistication level.
It’s easy, yet incredibly effective.
While the lapels of a blazer can sometimes conflict with the typical collar and placket of the polo, in general, it isn’t a problem.
Light grey would be a good option here because it’s more laid-back and less “professional” than dark grey or black would be.
In addition, it coordinates well with the monochrome dark grey jeans and black polo.
Finally, go for a pair of dark brown shoes to add a bit of contrast to the greyscale outfit.
Items: Black Polo, Medium Blue Jeans, Dark Blue Denim Jacket, Suede Navy Derby Shoes
We’re dressing down a level here by going for a pair of jeans in a lighter shade of blue. Remember, the lighter the color of the jeans, the more casual they’ll generally look.
The same goes for distressing. Features such as rips, frays, and fading are more casual. Dark wash and non-distressed jeans will always look less casual.
Here, the black polo and jeans combination is rounded off with a dark blue denim jacket.
It’s a great option when it comes to outerwear and looks a whole lot more casual than the light grey blazer in the previous example.
While not everyone is a fan of wearing “denim on denim” like this, it works well when the colors of the jeans and the jacket are contrasting and easily distinguished from each other.
The suede navy shoes make for a more casual alternative to the traditional dress shoe style and color in the previous example.
Items: Black Polo, Light Blue Or White Jeans, All-White Sneakers
Going for very light-colored jeans (eg. light blue, light grey, or white) is a great option when dressing down.
One reason for this is that it’ll lead to a very high level of contrast with the black polo. High-contrast combinations are striking and casual.
Distressed and light-colored jeans are about as casual as you can get.
While we’ve gone for sneakers here, notice how we’ve still kept it relatively dressy by going for all-white leather low-top sneakers.
Minimalist sneaker styles such as these are great because they’re versatile and easy to wear in a variety of different settings.
If you did want to go for a more casual pair of chunky canvas sneakers with heavy branding and loud colors, it would work if you were looking to make the sneakers the focus of your outfit.
5 Tips For Wearing A Black Polo With Jeans
Here are some tips for wearing a black polo with jeans. They’ll serve you well no matter what you may be dressing for.
Smart-Casual Settings Only
As mentioned earlier, a black polo and jeans pairing should never be worn in formal, business-professional, or business-casual settings.
It should only be worn in casual or smart-casual settings.
The reason for this is that jeans are a casual item no matter what color they may be. The rugged and rough texture of denim started off as workwear before seeping into the world of mainstream casual attire.
Trying to wear a black polo and jeans combination in more formal settings will usually lead to awkward stares and at its worst – a disastrous fashion faux pas.
This restriction does give you a good indication of what other items to combine with them.
Avoid items that are overly dressy or formal such as black dress shoes and dark-colored blazers.
Instead, focus on items that also sit firmly within the casual or smart-casual end of the spectrum.
Consider The Contrast
Jeans come in a variety of different colors, with black, blue, and grey being the most traditional ones.
The one you choose should partly depend on what you’re dressing for. After all, black, dark grey, and dark blue have a dressier appearance to them than jeans in lighter colors such as light blue and light grey.
But it should also depend on how much contrast you want between the black polo and the jeans.
If you want a subtle and low-contrast combo, go for a pair of black, dark grey, or dark blue jeans.
If you’d prefer a more eye-catching and striking high-contrast combo, consider a pair of light blue, light grey, or even white jeans instead.
At the end of the day, the black polo is neutral enough to pair with any of these colors pretty effortlessly.
It all comes down to the aesthetic you’re going for.
Cotton Pique Polos Look Great
Cotton pique (a.k.a pique cotton) is a weave with raised parallel cords that gives the appearance of fine ribbing.
It has a tiny, textured pattern that’s easy to spot and very commonly seen in polo shirts.
It has a relatively rough appearance to it that works well with the rugged texture of denim.
This is in contrast to “shinier” and more wrinkle-resistant fabrics often used in polo shirts such as silk and polyester.
While it’s not a problem to wear polos made from these fabrics, the more textured appearance of cotton pique polos tends to be more aesthetically pleasing when wearing jeans.
Tucked Vs Untucked
Polo shirts tend to look great tucked in when wearing jeans. It isn’t essential but can be a nice touch.
This is especially true when you’re looking to dress up a notch.
Tucking the polo into the jeans will lead to a more tapered appearance at the waist and produce a “smarter” looking silhouette.
Having said that, when dressing down with a pair of rough-and-ready distressed jeans, tucking the black polo in may be seen as a little too much.
In these cases, letting loose and leaving the polo untucked would usually make more sense.
Go For A Smart-Casual Shoe Style
As mentioned earlier, trying to wear a black polo and jeans combination with a pair of black Oxford shoes would usually look awkward and out of place.
There would simply be too much of a formality mismatch between the formal-looking black Oxfords and the jeans.
You could argue that the same would be true of most black leather dress shoes.
Having said that, brown dress shoes often look great when wearing jeans.
They have a more casual appearance to them than black shoes and tend to make more sense when wearing a casual pair of jeans.
Brown Derby shoes, monk straps, and loafers can look great when wearing a black polo and jeans, especially those in light shades of brown such as tan or caramel.
Suede and nubuck dress shoes have a more napped and casual texture to them, one that works very well with the rugged texture of the jeans.
If you were looking for a typical smart-casual shoe style that’ll work well with a black polo and a pair of jeans in any color, it’s hard to go wrong with a pair of suede dress shoes.
Finally, if you were looking to really dress down, sneakers often go hand-in-hand with jeans.
To keep things simple and relatively understated, consider going for a pair of almighty all-white leather low-tops.
They’ll usually be appropriate no matter what casual setting you may be dressing for – even smart casual environments.
It’s a combination that’s versatile but shouldn’t ever be worn in formal or professional settings.
Consider what you’re dressing for when choosing a jeans color to wear with your black polo. The darker the color of the jeans, the dressier they’ll look.
In addition, combine the pairing with similarly “smart-casual” items such as suede dress shoes, light-colored blazers, and denim jackets.
Coordinating the colors, as well as the formality of the different items in the outfit, is the key to a well-balanced and harmonious look.