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How To Wear A Polo Shirt With A Denim Jacket

A polo shirt with a denim jacket seems like an unlikely combination, and rightly so – there’s definitely a slight difference in formality level. So, can you wear a polo shirt with a denim jacket?

Wearing a polo shirt with a denim jacket is possible. You should always consider the formality of the occasion when wearing this combo. Light blue denim jackets work best. 

Having said this, other denim jacket colors can be acceptable when you pair them with the right polo shirt. 

But that’s just the start – there’s much more to it.

So, let’s dig deeper.

1. Consider The Formality

The formality of the occasion is a crucial aspect to consider when wearing a polo shirt with a denim jacket.

Knowing when this combination is appropriate and when it isn’t can be difficult. 

This is due to the association of polo shirts with formality and, conversely, that denim jackets are pretty much always worn casually or informally.

A light blue denim jacket over a red polo
Image From DepositPhotos

While these statements are typically true, it doesn’t mean you should avoid the combination.

Because polo shirts are very versatile and can be worn in most situations of a semi-formal formality or less, combining one with a denim jacket can create a sophisticated contrast in your outfit.

Despite polo shirts being appropriate for semi-formal occasions, when combined with a denim jacket, you should avoid anything with as little as a dash of formality. 

Denim jackets are simply not appropriate for formal occasions. 

There is too much formality contrast between the polo shirt and denim jacket for a formal event: it would look out of place and awkward. 

Therefore, they should be kept solely for casual or informal occasions.

If you’re unsure whether or not a denim jacket with a polo shirt is appropriate for the situation, it’s best to avoid it altogether. 

2. Stick To Blue Or Black Denim

While it may be tempting to go for more unusual and attention-grabbing denim jacket colors, you should pretty much always stick to blue or black when wearing one alongside a polo shirt.

Other colors would just come across as too casual to be worn over the typically “smart-casual” polo shirt.

Image From DepositPhotos

The formality difference between the garments would be too noticeable, and either the denim jacket or polo shirt would look out of place.

Therefore, when wearing a polo shirt and wishing to add some personality with a denim jacket, it’s best to stick to the more traditional and commonly seen colors.

3. Color-Match With Care

It’s important to remember that “blue” is a very broad term: there are so many shades of blue, and it’s important to know which one to choose.

A classic combination is a white underlayer (the polo shirt) with a light blue denim jacket over the top. 

Like the mentioned outfit, matching denim jackets of a lighter shade of blue with lighter, neutral-colored polo shirts is a guaranteed way to look good.

Similarly, matching darker shades of blue with darker polo shirt colors looks just as good. For example, a navy denim jacket with a dark blue polo shirt.

Ultimately, any shade of blue for your denim jacket is acceptable, and matching the polo shirt to the denim jacket is quite straightforward.

Aim for a shirt of a neutral color to go underneath your blue denim jacket. Or, for a monochrome look, go for a blue polo shirt that is a slightly darker shade than that of the jacket.

Image From DepositPhotos

If you’d prefer a more eye-catching combination, consider a bolder and brighter polo shirt. For example, a blue denim jacket with a red polo shirt (such as in the earlier image).

It’s worth noting that, typically, darker denim jackets are more suited for any weather, whereas lighter washes are better kept for warmer weather.

4. Ensure The Jacket Fits Well

You should always ensure your outfit fits well. A denim jacket that is too tight would be far too uncomfortable, especially with a polo shirt underneath.

On the other hand, a denim jacket that is too large would appear clumsy.

Therefore, making sure you have a well-fitted denim jacket to wear with your polo shirt is essential.

Several guidelines will help you know if your jacket fits well or if you should size up or down:

  • Like regular jackets, the end of your sleeves should be resting at the top of your wrist. 
  • The upper seams of your denim jacket should sit comfortably on or around your shoulders.
  • Your denim jacket’s hem should sit around the top of your waistline – think slightly more cropped than a bomber, for example.
  • You need to size up if you can’t button or zip up your denim jacket. In addition, if there is lots of loose fabric, you likely need to size it down.

A well-fitted jacket will look fantastic and be the most comfortable, so ensuring that you have one is highly recommended.

The best, most effective way of ensuring your jacket fits well is to take it to a tailor. Tailors can make adjustments to garments that may otherwise not be possible.

Now that you know the ins and outs of wearing a denim jacket with a polo shirt, you’ll be able to pull it off successfully every time. 

If you’re ever unsure if it’s appropriate for the circumstances, you should avoid it altogether.

5. Choose The Right Shoes

Because of the contrasting formality between polo shirts and denim jackets, it can be challenging to know what shoes to wear when wearing them together.

Generally, the best shoes to wear alongside this combination are casual shoes, such as sneakers.

This is because the denim jacket dresses down the outfit too much for more formal footwear to look good.

Therefore, shoes like Oxfords, Derbys, and monk shoes should be avoided. 

When wearing a polo shirt with a denim jacket, it’s essential to pick the right shoe color.

While the shoe color you pick is primarily down to the rest of your outfit’s colors, there is a general rule of thumb that almost always applies. 

This is that black or white sneakers look good with pretty much any casual outfit. 

Image From Unsplash

Due to the versatility of black and white and the casual nature of sneakers, when paired with a denim jacket and polo shirt, this combo looks fantastic.

6. Don’t Be Afraid To Accessorize

It’s no secret that accessorizing can take your outfit up a notch. However, knowing when to do it and what accessories to use can be very difficult.

On top of this, it’s easy to go overboard with accessories, so be very careful when choosing them.

Stick to one or two understated accessories to get the best look for your outfit. Accessories that you could choose include a watch, ring, bracelet, and belt.

If you decide to wear a watch, try to avoid any other accessories around your hands/wrists, as this will likely appear excessive.

Additionally, it’s important to be able to differentiate between dress watches and casual watches.

Typically, dress watches (watches appropriate for more formal occasions) have a black or brown leather strap and a minimalistic design.

On the other hand, diver and field watches with metal or fabric straps, respectively, work best for casual occasions.

If deciding to accessorize using bracelets, ensure you stick to a maximum of one bracelet. Any more than that would be excessive and could appear flamboyant.