Being the owner of a good pair of jeans makes you feel like you’re pretty much unstoppable. Whenever you put them on, you know you’ll feel good and be able to take on whatever the day throws your way in style. And while everyone has their favorite pair of jeans, it’s also important to have a few different pairs in your rotation, ideally in different washes, so you can add a little variety to your everyday looks. A denim’s particular wash means the way it was treated before being sold — the more it’s been washed, the lighter it is. There’s so much variation when it comes to denim washes, and every brand has its own unique wash colors and styles, some of which are more complex than others. When it comes to styling different jean washes, there are some basic steps you can take to optimize each wash and pair them with clothing that they go best with. Here’s our guide to styling different jean washes.
Dark denim is closest to the way raw denim looks and feels, with an ultra-saturated dark blue hue that’s flattering on just about anyone. Dark denim is our top choice for denim that you can easily wear to work since its subdued color palette strikes an air of sophistication and even has a sense of occasion to it. It’s also often a little stiffer than lighter washes of denim since it hasn’t been washed as much, giving it a bit more structure than other washes, which can hang a little looser and be more flexible on the body. For this reason, dark denim looks best in a straight leg or boot-cut style, which conforms to its naturally stiffer feel. Style your dark denim jeans with a button-down shirt at work for a look that’s perfect for an average day at the office, but can also fit in perfectly at happy hour. It’s a nice choice to pair this jean wash with a brighter color, too, which adds a lively touch to your outfit.
If you find yourself reaching for your medium wash jeans more than any other pair, you’re not alone. Their classic look is what most people think of when they think of jeans, and their soft blue hue goes with anything. They also tend to change color over time more easily than other washes of jeans, giving them a personalized, lived-in look and feel that becomes almost like a second skin. A medium wash jean tends to be our choice for hanging out outside of work, as well as doing errands, working around the house, and going on outdoor adventures, since we find it to be the most durable of all our jeans and the most able to take what the environment throws at it. In terms of cuts, medium wash jeans look great in just about all of them, from a skinny jean, to a bootcut, to a straight leg. Pair your medium wash jeans with a flannel and a t-shirt for a perfect weekend look that’s full of character.
For a more casual, summery look, light wash denim is your go-to. You won’t spot light wash jeans as much as medium or dark wash jeans since they haven’t always been in style. But that’s changing, and light wash jeans are becoming a trend to try. The easygoing look of light-washed jeans is a great choice for weekend style and is ideal for a fun outdoor brunch in the spring or summer. Style them with a short-sleeved button-down in a fun pattern, or try a darker top in black or navy to contrast with the lighter color of your jeans.
A timeless classic that’s universally flattering, black denim is a men’s fashion staple that we pair with just about everything. Bringing together the comfort and ease of denim with the complementary black color that’s always flattering, black jeans can easily be dressed up or down, making them our most-worn jean washes. While we go for lighter washes in the summer, our black jeans are our favorite pick for fall and winter, keeping us warm and looking great with all our sweater styles. They have an edginess that makes them perfect for a night out to a dinner or a concert and are super easy to clean. We like pairing our black denim with a white or lighter-colored shirt to make both wardrobe items pop and make our look one that people will remember. This basic guide to men’s jean washes is sure to help you decide which wash is best for you — though we’re not against investing in one of each, to keep things fresh check out the links below for more tips and tricks from Lands’ End!