denim on denim mens jacket

Denim on Denim: Here’s How to Wear the Canadian Tuxedo

As we move into fall, our wardrobes need to change with the coming chill. I’d like to posit one of my favourite looks for you to try: the Canadian tuxedo. Denim on denim is one of those pairings that shouldn’t make sense, but isn’t it magic when the combo is done so right that you can feel the confidence radiating from someone wearing it? I’m here to show you all about how to wear denim on denim to achieve that confidence yourself, without looking like Justin Timberlake at the 2001 American Music Awards (Britney looked amaze, though).

Remember that you don’t need to go out and shop to get this look; find that old denim jacket in your closet that you forgot all about, or those light wash jeans that you haven’t got around to donating yet. The narrative for fashion trends in 2020 and beyond (in my eyes, at least) is all about developing your own individual style without needing to constantly shop.

Combinations That Work

Okay, so you’ve decided you want to live life on the edge and try a denim on denim look. What’s next? The best place to start is to figure out which style of garments you want to wear. A tried and true garment combo for this kind of fabric is a denim jacket with jeans; it’s an instantly recognizable look, and it also gives you the room to add a fabric different than denim with your top. I paired my double light wash denim look with a striped shirt and sneakers for a carefree and stylish vibe.

denim on denim look, men's denim jacket
Photo taken by Tyler Talbot

The Wash Can Make It or Break It

You’ll need to figure out what colour of denim you want to wear next, and there’s a couple of things you should know about how the different washes will look on your body. Light coloured fabrics will almost always pull the viewer’s focus and accentuate the body, while darker colours will slim and hide the body. Because I wanted a bold and in-your-face denim look, I chose to use two light wash denim garments. If you, hypothetically, wanted to slim down your upper body and wanted to bulk up your legs, wear a dark denim button down with medium wash jeans. There are so many combinations and tricks you can use with light and colour!

Most other articles online that talk about wearing denim on denim will tell you not to wear the same colour wash on the top and bottom of your outfit. I don’t really vibe with that. As long as you style the garments without looking like you’re trying too hard to match, and you feel great wearing the wash, you can get really adventurous with your double denim look and radiate confidence (without feeling like a try-hard).

Try a Pop of Colour or Print

A good way to avoid looking like you’re trying too hard with this look is to add an interesting colour or print into the mix. If you’re wearing a light wash denim jacket and matching jeans, for example, wear a button down shirt with a pop of lavender for an airy vibe. With a jet black denim jacket and matching jeans, a colourful floral print would elevate the look. If you’re wearing two different washes of jean, I would aim to add colour with an accessory to tie the look together. If you truly love colour, don’t be afraid to use it anywhere you can! You can even find jeans dyed a rainbow of different colours (or dye them yourself for a fun quarantine project).

denim on denim, denim jacket
Denim jacket collage by Michael Pilon


If you take away anything from this article, I hope it’s this message: you should allow yourself to have fun with any look you want to pull off! Denim on denim looks can be challenging to feel fully yourself in, but if you’re in the uncomfortable boat and you really want to wear this look, I encourage you to add your unique flair and personality through your accessories. Play dress up at home in your mirror until you’re feeling yourself. If you think an outfit looks good and you feel great while wearing it, do it up — even if fashion designers and publishers say it’s wrong. The rest of the world will catch up to your confidence soon.


Freelance writer, illustrator and editor.

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