It’s a high-contrast combination that can definitely work, but it needs to be done in the right way and in the right settings. So, how exactly should you wear light blue jeans with a black shirt?
In less casual settings, consider a pair of slim-fit, tapered light blue jeans with minimal distressing and pair them with a black button-up shirt (eg. linen, OCBD, or chambray). In more casual settings, consider light blue jeans in a baggier fit, together with casual black shirt styles (eg. tees and polos).
That’s the short answer, but you’ll definitely need more than just a taste.
After going through a few outfits you can try out for yourself, we’ll run through some essential tips for getting the best possible outcome with this combination.
There are many different ways of making it work.
So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
3 Light Blue Jeans And Black Shirt Outfits To Try
Firstly, it’s important to note that a light blue jeans and black shirt combo will only ever be casual.
It shouldn’t really be worn in smart-casual settings where a pair of dark blue jeans would be better.
However, that doesn’t mean that some ways of wearing it aren’t more casual than others.
Here, you’ll see a few examples. We’re going from the least casual way to the most casual.
Items: Light Blue Jeans, Black OCBD Shirt, Brown Suede Derby Shoes, Grey Overcoat
As you can see, it’s casual, but not very casual.
We’ve gone for a black OCBD button-up as opposed to a more casual alternative such as a T-shirt or polo.
In addition, the blue jeans we’ve gone for aren’t distressed or stone-washed. They’re simple, tapered, and non-distressed.
Derby shoes aren’t always easy to pull off with casual jeans but go for suede and your options start to open up.
Suede is a nightmare in terms of maintenance. However, it’s so incredibly versatile that every man should consider owning a pair of suede dress shoes.
Want a similarly smart-casual alternative? Try a pair of penny loafers, especially during the warmer months of the year.
Shoes like these are a great way to dress up a light blue jeans and black shirt outfit without risking a formality mismatch.
Finally, add a dressy woolen grey overcoat and you’re good to go. During the warmer months, you could ditch the outer layer altogether or go for a light chore coat instead.
Items: Black Polo, Light Blue Jeans, Brown Leather Jacket, Suede Chukka Boots
A black polo will immediately come across as more casual than a button-up. But it still looks a tad more sophisticated than a simple black tee.
If you’d prefer to steer away from the Ivy/prep classic, consider a black Henley instead. I like to think of the Henley and polo as a single notch above truly casual.
Consider calling them “casual plus”. Not quite smart-casual, but not “T-shirt casual” either.
The light blue jeans are still simple and non-distressed.
A dark brown leather jacket is a great way to add some edge to the outfit, as well as an additional texture.
Some avoid combining black and brown; they’re missing out. It works great and should be done so much more.
Items: Black T-Shirt, Light Blue Jeans, Dark Blue Denim Jacket, White Sneakers
Going for a black T-shirt is about as casual as you can take a “light blue jeans and black shirt” combo.
As you can see, it looks way more casual than the button-up and a notch more casual than the polo.
But it’ll work. In many ways, you could argue that a black T-shirt makes the most sense when wearing pants as casual as light blue jeans.
Layering is the key to making it a little more exciting and interesting.
Here, we’ve layered a dark blue denim jacket over the black T-shirt. The denim-on-denim look is often labeled the “Canadian tuxedo”.
It isn’t everyone’s favorite combo but can work very well when there’s enough contrast between the two denim items.
Dark blue and light blue contrast each other nicely. You’re left with an effective monochromatic combination. It’ll work.
5 Tips For Wearing Light Blue Jeans With A Black Shirt
Here are some crucial tips for taking this combination to the next level.
Ask Yourself Whether It’s Right For The Setting
As mentioned earlier, a light blue jeans and black shirt combination should really only be worn in casual settings.
It wouldn’t ever be considered smart-casual, simply because the jeans aren’t dark enough for this to make sense.
It definitely wouldn’t be appropriate to wear this combination in a business-casual setting. Black shirts aren’t ideal here and light blue jeans definitely aren’t appropriate.
While it probably goes without saying, it wouldn’t ever be formal or business-professional either.
So, stick to truly casual settings.
As you saw from the outfit examples above, there are more casual ways and less casual ways of wearing it.
It really depends on the setting. When hanging out with friends or heading to the movies, the most casual option (i.e a black tee with distressed light blue jeans) would be fine.
If you were going on a date or maybe eating out at a restaurant, one of the less casual options (eg. black button-ups, tapered non-distressed light blue jeans) would be a better option.
Consider The Style Of The Black Shirt
A “black shirt” can be so many different things.
It could refer to anything from a black dress shirt to a black T-shirt and everything in between.
The less casual the setting, the more likely it is that a black button-up of some variety would be the best option when wearing light blue jeans.
Here are some “dressy” black shirt options you could consider:
- Linen shirt
- Chambray shirt
Notice how I left out the black dress shirt here. In general, try to avoid wearing black dress shirts with light blue jeans.
It would usually lead to a formality mismatch. In other words, the dress shirt looks too formal to wear with the casual light blue jeans.
It can look OK, but it won’t ever look impressive.
When you’re dressing your light blue jeans down in a truly casual setting, consider these black shirt options instead:
Of course, there are others, but these are great options to start out and experiment with.
Consider The Features Of The Light Blue Jeans
Much like with the black shirt, the style of the light blue jeans you choose should suit the setting.
While they’ll always look casual, some will look more casual than others.
In general, slim, tapered pairs of light blue jeans will look less casual than those with skinnier or baggier (eg. bootcut, wide-leg) fits.
In addition, distressed light blue jeans will look more casual than those with no rips, frays, or fading.
Consider the setting you’re dressing for and whether you’d be better off with a pair of light blue jeans that’s more or less casual.
Caption – A black button-up shirt would look better with non-distressed light blue jeans
It’ll help your outfit work as a whole as you’d be syncing casual black shirt styles with casual light blue jeans and dressier black shirt styles with dressier light blue jeans.
It’ll make it look more put-together overall.
Outer Layers Work Well
A shirt and jeans outfit alone would work well. During the summer months, you probably wouldn’t want to add layers in any case.
But during the layering-friendly months of the year, outer layers are a great way to make a simple outfit more visually interesting.
You’ve got plenty of options, but in general, it’s best to avoid smart jackets when wearing light blue jeans.
Blazers and sport coats often work great with dark wash jeans but can look a little too formal to wear with a pair of light blue jeans.
You’ve got plenty of other layering options, however.
Chore coats, trucker jackets, denim jackets, leather jackets, overshirts, shackets, flannels, and so on.
Stick To Casual Shoe Options
White sneakers are a great option when wearing light blue jeans with a black shirt. Simple, subtle, and minimalist. In less casual settings, consider a pair of brown suede dress shoes.
Once again, the setting is crucial.
A pair of all-white leather low-top “dress sneakers” would serve you well in almost every casual setting you’ll come across.
But if you didn’t want to go this casual, consider a pair of suede dress shoes instead. For example, a pair of brown suede Derby shoes or loafers.
The napped texture of suede works exceptionally well with the rugged texture of denim.
During the colder months of the year, suede Chelsea and chukka boots can be great options as well.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.