What to Wear with Dark Blue Jeans: 5 Killer Outfits

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William Barton Avatar by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Sep 19, 2020
Mott and Bow model on train tracks dark blue jeans

If you could only wear one pair of pants for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

Mine would be a pair of dark blue jeans.

What else is as versatile? What else is so iconic?

From Saturday date nights to Wednesday afternoon workdays, dark blue jeans are the go-to for hitting the balance between relaxed and sleek.

To honor my favorite wardrobe staple, I’ve put together five different outfits that showcase the beauty of owning dark blue denim.

Dark Blue Jeans Outfits: 5 Ways to Wear Them

1. All Dark with a Pop of Color

photo grid navy overshirt blue button down jeans black accessories

Sometimes you want to put together the very best items in your closet. That’s what I’m doing here to create an all navy and black ensemble. But you have to keep the people guessing. That’s why I have the pop of yellow in the shirt.

Dark denim is so versatile, many of the rules of matching and complementary colors don’t apply.

model on train tracks wearing navy and black outfit with dark blue jeans

Here, I’m wearing the Mott & Bow Oliver. I like the raw denim option because it’s heavier and stiffer. They’re still casual, but the unwashed character means the fabric breaks rather than drapes.

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Mott & Bow are our go-to for slim fit jeans in the sub $150 category. The sturdy 13oz denim of the Oliver, paired with its slim profile, makes for a clean and comfortable design that feels like it should be much more expensive than it really is.

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I paired the heavy denim with a structured overshirt. I don’t wash this shirt often in an attempt to keep the fibers intact—too much washing just blows out the color and structure.

model on train tracks what to wear with dark blue jeans

And while we’re on the subject of washing—I’ve had these jeans for a month and a half and haven’t washed them once.

If you ask me, the deep indigo found in raw denim is so pure that it’d be a waste to machine wash it away. When I do finally wash these jeans (because after all, fellas, you do have to wash your jeans every once in a while), I’ll take special care and do it by hand.

I went with all black accessories—Beckett Simonon boots and an UNDONE watch. Brown accessories would’ve looked great in this outfit, too, but I like the black and deep blue look.

torso and legs of model wearing dark blue jeans with dark blue outfit

This is my go-to outfit for when I want to keep it casual on a Saturday night. Subtle elements like a great watch and boots elevates the style factor of the outfit without making it overly dressy.

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The key is getting really high-quality pieces that fit well. If the fit is off or the fabric is low quality, no amount of accessories can save your outfit.

2. Smart-Casual (The Holiday Party Crowd Pleaser)

model at stream with shawl collar sweater and jeans

With the holidays coming up, it’s time to bust out one of my favorite combos—the sweater and button-up.

Dark jeans are the perfect base for smart-casual style. Just make sure they’re crisp and don’t look too worn in. It’s a good idea to have at least two pairs of dark blue jeans (I always end up having more than that, though).

Wearing your favorite jeans wears out the color, so when you’re looking to step it up for holiday parties or relaxed date-nights, choose a pair of jeans with less mileage.

photo grid what to wear shawl collar sweater brogue shoes dark blue jeans

I love the fit of Mott & Bow’s Crosby. They’re lighter than the Oliver, and they’ve gone through a washing process so they’re not as stiff as raw denim.

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A Mott & Bow bestseller, the Crosby is a fantastic medium weight classic jean. Featuring 26% elasticity, they're not as stiff as the thicker Oliver, giving them a little more casual comfort.

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I paired the Crosby’s with a shawl collar sweater and a light purple checked button-up. When layering, a good rule to follow is putting darker items on top of lighter items.

For accessories, I’ve gone with a pair of Johnston & Murphy brogues and the classy Altitude pilot watch from Vincero.

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3. The Winter Warmer

model wearing sweater quilted jacket and dark blue jeans

This outfit is best centered around a heavy coat. Otherwise, you’ll freeze in winter.

If you don’t have a parka or a wool coat, just layer up as we did here.

Since I’m in North Carolina, it doesn’t get too far below freezing even in the dead of winter. This quilted jacket from Western Rise layered over a sweater does just fine. If you live anywhere that isn’t California or the south, swap this light jacket for something heavier.

Western Rise AirLoft Quilted Jacket

With its hollow-core, 4-way stretch insulation, this super versatile jacket from Western Rise has gotten plenty of mileage in William's closet.

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The great thing about dark jeans is that almost any outerwear you pick will match. Want to wear a light-tan wool coat? Go for it. Prefer a heavy olive parka? No problem.

model warming hands wearing quilted jacket

Dark blue jeans, especially heavy gauge, are winter staples. Would you rather have thick jeans or wool trousers on a slushy, snowy day? That’s what we thought.

4. The Knit Cardigan

model looking away with white tshirt and dark blue jeans

Pairing dark blue jeans with a lighter, earth-toned cardigan is always a good bet. Especially if you can get your hands on a thicker knit sweater.

model wearing mizzen and main shirt with mott and bow dark blue jeans

You can wear this two ways: with a button-up underneath for a classy but casual look, or with a nice light t-shirt underneath for a dressed-down relaxed look.

model pairing dark blue jeans and thursday boots

We kept a lighter shirt under the cardigan to contrast the darker pants. If you only have a dark sweater, that’ll look great, too. Just remember to keep the shirt light.

This is the kind of outfit I’ll put on if I’m heading out to meet a friend for a drink or going to get some work done at the cafe. This outfit goes to show that having a few core staples makes looking great an easy task.

5. Canadian Tuxedo

model in canadian tuxedo navy jeans with green sweater and denim jacket

I don’t care what anyone says. The Canadian tuxedo is still a cool look.

The key here is to either work with denim washes that match or just go with a completely different color.

photo grid what to wear dark blue jeans denim jacket sweater brown accessories

So I wouldn’t pair my faded denim jacket with my crispy new raw Olivers. Instead, I chose a year-old pair of Woosters from Mott & Bow.

If you’re thinking about pairing up your dark jeans with a denim jacket, either get the same color wash or choose a contrasting color. This works with khaki, black, and even light-wash denim.

Jeans are just like a happy marriage. When you find the right pair, the two of you can grow old together. Just take a look at the Wooster after a year. The color is starting to fade a bit, but we’ve reached a better understanding of one another.

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If you spend some time taking care of your favorite jeans, they’ll look better on you than anything you could ever find off the rack.

model under tracks denim jacket green sweater everlane and blue wooster jeans mott and bow

I paired my Canadian tux with a few other items that I seem to wear day in and day out—brown leather Chelsea boots and a Nordgreen Native watch. Everything here is simple, well-worn, and well-loved.

What Color Shirt Goes With Dark Blue Jeans?

Unlike light wash jeans, you can’t really go wrong pairing with dark blue jeans. Depending on the style of shirt, you can dial in the mood you’re with certain color-combos.

A white t-shirt with dark blue jeans is a great look. It’s casual, but less so than a white tee and light-wash jeans.

model wearing knit cardigan white tshirt and dark blue jeans

Since dark jeans stand out in fall and winter, pairing with deep burgundy or forest green tones is a winner every time.

Really, the only thing that doesn’t work would be neon shirts, but those don’t work anywhere (unless you’re doing an ‘80s workout dance studio thing a la Richard Simmons).

A good rule of thumb to follow is this: lighter shirts have more relaxed vibes, while darker shirts are sleeker. You choose which mood feels right for the day and pair accordingly.

Is There a Difference Between Dark Wash Jeans and Dark Blue Jeans?

Are all dark wash jeans blue?

The short answer is “no.”

Black and deep grey jeans are also technically “dark wash.” Even though black and grey are neutral colors, they’re still not as versatile as classic dark blue denim.

3 Things to Consider When Buying Dark Blue Jeans

1. Fit

Best Jeans for Men Model Outside Leaning Against Guard Rail Wearing Slim Fit Dark Wash Jeans and Black Boots

Dark blue jeans have a visually slimming effect, which is generally a good thing. We recommend staying away from skinny-fit jeans—they’re just too tight and aren’t flattering for guys over the age of 19.

Our favorite fit for jeans is slim-fit. If you’ve never tried slim-fit, hit a dressing room with a few different pairs—even if you’re a huskier gent. You might be surprised at how a well-fitting pair of pants really slims your entire profile.

Of course, traditional fit works for athletic guys, but the slimmer the better.

2. Weight

model walking up steps in mott and bow jeans and boots

Denim comes in several “weights,” which is a measurement of how thick the fabric is. Generally, anything 8oz and below is considered light, while 12oz and above are considered heavy.

Heavy gauge denim is great for winter months. It not only provides a buffer between you and the cold, cold world, but it’ll repel the rain and snow.

For summer, pick up something lighter so you’re not slogging around through the heat. You can still wear dark blue denim through the summer, but you’ll want to save them for dates and nights out on the town. Light-wash denim works better during those hot days.

3. Raw or Washed?

model walking down train tracks dark blue jeans and black boots

When looking at dark blue jeans, there’s a crucial moment where you must decide: raw, or washed?

I like to go with raw denim, personally.

But you’re signing on for more work when going raw.

Raw denim can fade and lose a lot of character if it’s just treated like any old pair of jeans. Because of that, you need to keep it out of a washing machine and do the job by hand.

With dark-washed jeans, you don’t need to be as careful. Much of the dye has been fixed before shipping, so you’ll get less fading every wash. That being said, you still shouldn’t be washing your jeans often.

If you’re a “wear once and wash” kind of guy, get out of the habit. The dye fades and the fabric breaks down much quicker.

I pick up a new pair of raw denim jeans every fall when the weather starts to cool down. The deep indigo looks beautiful and stays crisp and fresh looking through winter. By the time spring rolls around, they’re starting to fade and break in a bit.

When summer hits, I just put on a pair that’s seen a few years of duty. And when I want that super-relaxed distressed look, I throw on that six-year-old pair that’s ripping in the pockets and knees.

Get a Great Pair of Dark Blue Jeans In Your Life

If you don’t already have a pair of dark blue jeans, what are you waiting for?

I’ve tried a lot of different brands over the years. Last year was my first shot with Mott & Bow, and I was able to pick up a few more pairs this year, too.

Mott & Bow has a great home try-on policy where you select two and keep the one that fits best. With the variety of styles available, you’re sure to find a great fit.

With pants as versatile as these, you can’t afford not to have a killer pair of dark jeans in your wardrobe.

From date night to winter pavement-pounding, these staples are sure to get their fair share of use.

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