Jeans and denim are not the same thing. Jeans are a style of pant that can be made from just about any fabric. Denim is a specific type of fabric, specifically; a sturdy cotton warped-faced twill.
Denim comes in many different weights and textures, including some that can be tailored into sport coats, suits, dress shirts and even ties. Combining the casual nature of denim cloth with the formality of tailored clothing usually produces a very wearable and versatile garment.
To illustrate this point, here are some tailored denim pieces from my personal wardrobe.
The Denim Suit
What I love about this denim suit is that I don’t have to be careful with it. If it gets scuffed, or wrinkled, or a little dirty – it’s all good. Just like a go-to pair of jeans, each piece of this suit is going to look great with some wear and tear. I’m looking forward to breaking it in some more overt the years.
Hopsack jacket by Michael Andrews Bespoke / Denim spread collar shirt by Alara /Navy leather belt by Hugo Boss Selection/ White denim jeans by Helmut Lang / Navy perforated tassel loafers by Scarpe di Bianco
The Denim Shirt
A cutaway collar shirt is usually reserved for more formal occasions, but this denim cloth makes it perfect for a smart weekend outfit as well. I’ve worn this shirt with ties, with sweat pants, with just about anything.
Hopsack jacket by Michael Andrews Bespoke/ Denim spread collar shirt by Alara/ Navy leather belt by Hugo Boss Selection/ White denim jeans by Helmut Lang/ Navy perforated tassel loafers by Scarpe di Bianco
The Denim Tie
A denim fabric, in the right weight, is the perfect cloth to get a sturdy drape and hold a perfect dimple.
Denim on Denim
The old rule of “never wearing denim with denim” has long been shot down. Forget the Canadian Tuxedo, a denim shirt & tie in different shades/weights offers a great texture play that is sharp without being overly formal or delicate.
Unstructured flannel jacket by Black Lapel/ Denim spread collar shirt by Alara/ Denim tie by General Knot & Co./ Brown trousers by Black Lapel/ “Warwick” Single monkstrap loafers by Allen Edmonds
The Real “Canadian Tuxedo”
Finally, speaking of the Canadian Tuxedo, I styled my main man Jelani Johnson in all three of the denim pieces featured in this article. Denim on denim on denim – to show that it’s not always about the concept, it’s about the execution.
Photography by Alex Crawford.