By Nii B. Andrews.

It is unmistakable that over the last five decades, the trajectory of men’s style has been towards fusion dressing.

There has been an interplay of formal or business dress with the smart casual aesthetic. Long sleeved polos with proper shirt collars have been paired with sports jackets; chinos have sat with dress shirts.

The denim shirt has now also come into its own as an indispensable item in the modern wardrobe.

An important feature of denim is the manner in which the indigo fades from the surface of the yarn over time, exposing the white core.

That is what makes a denim shirt look relaxed and casual.

It is a seasoned, comfortable, simple, understated and versatile shirt; dressing it up or down is very easily done.

The caveat though is the shirt must be of the highest quality; best if it is made from a 2-ply Egyptian cotton.

The shirt collar should have an interlining and cut high enough to stand above a sports jacket collar when worn; single cuffs and mother-of-pearl buttons provide panache.

A cutaway collar holds sway at this time, but other collar shapes are still cool.

Pale blue or white are the best colors for summer; deep indigo works for fall and winter when layering is important.

What is great is that repeated washes of high quality shirts lead to a fine softening of the material and further lightening of the color; indigo ones become pale blue eventually.

The grainy texture of denim allows it to combine effectively with linen, wools, corduroy and leather.

For choice of color with respect to paired items; lighter shades of brown – as pants, vest, blazer or jacket, are a slam dunk. 

But ehrm….an orange rust corduroy DB blazer raises things  about ten notches — a head turner.

The versatility of the denim shirt makes it the “new white shirt”, and the ladies are certainly also welcome to try on and enjoy the denim shirt.

It certainly provides a lot of latitude for self expression from work place to play pen.

But it is best to avoid denim on denim, aka the “double denim” look….and keep your accessories to a minimum.

All hail the denim shirt!

It is a staple for tasteful fusion dressing by the savvy and debonair.

I SEE YOU FROM A DISTANCE SERIES #007: Tyna Adebowale, acrylic on canvas, 2018.

3 thoughts on “ALL HAIL THE DENIM SHIRT.”

  1. For once, something I can disagree with! 😃

    Personally, I think the denim shirt looks best when subtly evoking its origins, even if in an updated form. A little rugged, a little casual, a little cowboy. Even with (just as an example) dress trousers, dress boots and an ascot, maybe a blazer/sportcoat – a little John Wayne, i-don’t-care (supposedly) must come through 🙂 I think the two extremes of the denim shirt (identifiably casual, originally), and the double-breasted (highly traditional, originally) lead to a bit of a clash and a disjointed conversation.

    Of course, at the end of the day, it’s really all about personal preference (within guidelines), and how you ‘rock it’. “Beauty lies….” like they say

    1. TN, thank you for your interesting and useful commentary.

      But must we not be careful not to appear to be in costume? 😜

      And ehrm….John Wayne! Could raise a few hackles….but nothing major.

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