Black is often the hardest neutral to pull off, simply because of how stark and bold it can be. Here are some jeans colors you can actually wear with a black shirt:
- Dark Blue
- Dark Grey
- Light Grey
- Light Blue
As you can see, you aren’t short of options, but you’ll generally want to stick with traditional jeans colors.
That’s the short answer, but you’ll need more to select the perfect jeans color for you and your specific circumstances.
After going through a few factors to consider whenever you coordinate black shirts with jeans, we’ll run through those color combinations in more detail to help you choose.
Let’s get to it.
How To Color Coordinate Black Shirts With Jeans
Take all three of these factors into account before making your decision and putting your outfit together.
1. Consider The Dress Code
When wearing a black shirt to a dressy setting, go for black, dark grey, or dark blue jeans. When wearing one to a more casual setting, you could also consider lighter jeans colors such as white, light blue, and light grey.
Dark jeans generally look dressier than light ones.
In fact, a pair of non-distressed black jeans can look just as dressy as a pair of dark chinos in a smart-casual setting.
While a black shirt and jeans combination would only ever be considered casual, there are “levels” to casual.
You’ve got “smart-casual” settings where a black button-up shirt would be worn and a pair of light blue jeans would usually be considered underdressing.
A pair of dark-colored jeans would be more appropriate here.
Then, you’ve got truly casual settings where a pair of cargo pants would usually be OK. Here, a pair of dark or light jeans would be fine to wear.
So, consider the casual setting you’re dressing for and determine just how casual it really is.
2. Consider The Contrast
If you’d prefer an eye-catching high-contrast combination, consider a pair of light-colored jeans with a black shirt.
A black shirt + white jeans combination is about as high-contrast as you can get.
It’s striking, bold, and very casual. But it may be exactly what you’re going for.
If, on the other hand, you’d prefer a more subtle aesthetic, go for a low-contrast black shirt and dark jeans combination instead.
Ultimately, a black shirt + black jeans combination is about as low-contrast as you could get. It’s a subtle and sleek monochromatic combination.
Yes, the dress code does matter. Ultimately, a subtle, low-contrast combo would be better in a smart-casual setting.
But in settings more casual than this, you’ve got the option of going for either a high-contrast or a low-contrast combination.
This is where personal preference comes into play.
Ask yourself how much contrast you’d want in your outfit and go from there.
3. Consider Your Other Items
We’ve already talked about the dress code – if it’s explicitly a “smart-casual” event, it’s pretty simple. Just wear your black shirt with black, dark grey, or dark blue jeans.
But if the dress code is more uncertain, ask yourself what other items you’re planning on wearing.
If you’re wearing a black button-up shirt with a shawl collar cardigan and tan brown Derby shoes, you’re clearly going for a dressier aesthetic.
In these cases, a dressy pair of dark jeans would usually be the best option.
If, on the other hand, you were wearing a black polo shirt, a trucker jacket, and white low-top sneakers, you’re probably going for a more dressed down and laid-back aesthetic.
In these cases, you could go for a pair of dark-colored jeans if you didn’t want to dress down too much.
Alternatively, you could go for a pair of light-colored jeans if you really wanted to double down and lean into the casual look.
5 Black Shirt And Jeans Combinations To Try
Here are those black shirt and jeans color combinations listed and described in more detail. The images should hopefully help you make your decision.
Notice how the darker options at the top just look dressier and sharper than the more casual options listed further below.
Black Shirt With Black Jeans
A black shirt can be worn with black jeans to produce a sharp and sleek monochromatic aesthetic. It’s arguably the dressiest jeans color option you could go for.
It’s hard to go wrong here.
Ultimately, a monochromatic, all-black aesthetic will always work. However, it’s often a good idea to break up the outfit by adding touches of contrast here and there.
There are several ways of doing this.
One would be adding an outer layer. For example, pop a grey sport coat or cardigan and you’ve got some contrast while keeping things neutral.
You could wear a pair of dark brown suede dress shoes to add some warmth and contrast to the outfit in a more subtle way.
If you’d prefer to go even more subtle, add contrast with your accessories.
Consider a belt with a large silver or brass buckle and coordinate it with a watch. Adding glints and gleams of contrast to a monochromatic black shirt and black jeans outfit can go a long way.
Black Shirt With Dark Blue Jeans
A black shirt can easily be worn with dark blue jeans in a variety of casual and smart-casual settings. Non-distressed dark blue jeans work especially well with dressy black button-up shirts.
If you’re looking to keep things dark but want to stay away from going all-black, dark blue jeans may be the right choice for you.
They aren’t quite as dressy as black jeans, but they’re still sleek if you go for a slim, tapered pair of jeans with minimal distressing.
It’s honestly hard to go wrong.
Another benefit they have is that they actually look like jeans. The traditional jeans color everyone knows and loves is blue.
Wearing a pair of black jeans is great, but it’s often unclear that you’re actually wearing jeans until you lean in and inspect the texture.
Dark blue jeans are very obviously jeans and are a better option if you’re going for a “smart workwear” aesthetic.
Black Shirt With Grey Jeans
A black shirt can be worn with grey jeans in a variety of different shades. Dark grey jeans will look dressier when wearing a black shirt, while light grey jeans will look more casual.
The shade of grey is important here. A pair of dark grey jeans can be very dark and close to black. So much so that you could essentially call it monochromatic.
Light grey jeans, on the other hand, can be very light and close to white. It’s high-contrast, eye-catching, and a whole lot more casual-looking.
So, consider the dress code, the setting, and the other items you’re wearing.
If you feel as though the setting is casual but there’s still a risk of underdressing, consider a pair of dark grey jeans instead of light grey jeans when wearing a black shirt.
It’s worth noting that if a pair of dark grey jeans is baggy and heavily distressed, it won’t necessarily look dressier than a pair of light grey jeans.
But if you compare two pairs of jeans with similar cuts and similar levels of distressing, the dark pair will always look dressier than the light pair.
Black Shirt With Light Blue Jeans
Light blue jeans can be worn with a black shirt in casual settings, but the combination is often too dressed down for a smart-casual setting.
Light blue jeans are extremely popular and in many ways, epitomize the workwear aesthetic. They’re very casual-looking.
They work well for events and occasions where you could practically wear anything you want. I’d consider them to be at a similar formality level to cargo pants.
While that may be a slight exaggeration, it helps when it comes to assessing formality.
If you feel as though you could wear a pair of cargo pants to an event, a pair of light blue jeans would usually be completely fine.
Given how casual they look, they often work best with casual black shirt styles such as T-shirts, polos, and Henleys.
If you’re keen on wearing a black button-up shirt (eg. an OCBD, linen, or chambray shirt), there’s a good chance that a darker pair of jeans would look better.
Black Shirt With White Jeans
White jeans can be worn with a black shirt in casual settings. It’s a very high-contrast and eye-catching aesthetic that works especially well during the warmer months of the year.
White jeans look great but can be tough to maintain (due to staining) and aren’t quite as versatile as you might think at first.
They’re bold and striking, even more so when paired with black items.
However, if you were looking for a combination that really turns some heads, a black shirt and white jeans combination would do it.
Given how striking the combo is, it’s generally best to keep your other items simple and subtle.
Avoid bulky, colorful canvas sneakers, for example, and go for a pair of minimalist all-white leather low-tops.
Instead of a burnt orange puffer jacket, consider a simple dark brown cafe racer leather jacket.
And so on.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.