How To Do Double Denim

How to be more Robert Redford and less Justin Timberlake

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It takes a certain quality of man to tackle a Canadian tuxedo – let alone pull one off.

Notoriously fraught with pitfalls (just look at Justin Timberlake's triple denim turn at the 2001 American Music Awards) the act of teaming denim with denim, and in some cases more denim, is a wardrobe disaster waiting to happen.

The key, as with most things in menswear, is moderation. Granted, there's something intrinsically immoderate about teaming a pair of denim jeans with a matching denim jacket – but consider cut, colour and the garments you pair with your tux with carefully, and you should just be able to make it work.

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Here's the rules.

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1 | Don't match your drapes with your carpet
It's best to avoid matching your jacket with your jeans, and vice versa. Doing so will only make you look like a seventies rent boy, or a lumberjack. Likewise, the contrast in colour shouldn't be too great – black with stonewash is fine, but stonewash teamed with acid, for instance, is a no go. A stonewash jacket teamed with slightly darker (or lighter) stonewash jeans will work very nicely indeed.

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2 | Keep everything else simple
Don't overcomplicate the rest of your look – it's complicated enough. A white T-shirt layered beneath a dark jumper will bring out the best in your denim jacket, while a pair of white sneakers will look laid back and understated. Avoid the temptation to wear any type of boot with your jeans – it's a bit Colin Farrell circa 2005.

3 | If in doubt, add an extra layer
If you're feeling a bit self-conscious, a good way to tone down the double denim look without throwing it out all together is to layer a second jacket over the top. A light navy car coat with a popped collar will look slick and considered, while in warmer months a wool or cotton shirt jacket in a complimentary shade of blue (a tone or two lighter or darker) will help soften the look. French brand A.P.C currently have a good line in overshirts, if you're in the market.

4 | Cut is key
The rules, when it comes to cut, are beautifully simple. Firstly, your trousers should be tapered to the ankle with a bit of body in the thigh to prevent Pete Docherty legs. Secondly, your jacket should be fitted enough that you can do it up and it should sit on your hips – this gap between the top of your jeans and the base of your jacket will allow your under layer to break up the look a bit. Third, no matter what anyone tells you, never buy bootcut. Ever.

5 | Don't get distressed
A little bit of fading here and there is good, it'll make your jeans and jacket look worn in, cared for and understated. Rips, tears and pointless holes, on the other hand, will make you look slovenly and daft. Likewise, the denim should not be too new, raw or stiff. Selvedge jeans are great on their own, but team them with a matching jacket and you'll look (and sound) like the tin man.

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