The 7 Best Colors to Wear With Denim, Stylists Say
You can't go wrong with these classic, universally flattering combinations.
Whether you're dressing for a casual afternoon of running errands or a night out with friends, jeans are often a no-brainer for building an effortlessly stylish outfit. The only question is: What colors should you pair with them? According to Ryan Thompson, style expert and editor of Men's Flair, denim is a neutral canvas—making it super versatile and a fantastic backdrop for a wide range of colors. To make sure you nail the look, keep reading to hear from Thompson and other stylists about the best colors to wear with denim.
"This season's 'it' color has been a classic red," says Ashley Full, co-founder of the plus-size luxury retailer AMOUR781. "Red will look best with a light wash, dark denim, or even black-coated denim. You'll be able to dress it up with a black chunky loafer, a white button-down, and a red sweater over it. This really plays into the classic preppy look for the fall."
The key? Finding the right shade of red to complement your skin. People with cooler complexions should opt for reds with bluish undertones, while those with warmer complexions should consider reds with more orange or rust undertones.
Amrita Harbajan, a certified image consultant and style blogger, also notes that red adds a fun pop of color and excitement to a basic denim ensemble. "I would wear denim jeans with a red blazer or even a red pair of pumps," she says. "A red purse is great for an evening denim look."
Tracy Cheng, a personal stylist and founder of the fashion blog Girl Shares Tips, says deep shades of red like burgundy and maroon are especially striking with denim and add a touch of sophistication. She suggests a burgundy top in a rich, textured fabric like velvet or silk with medium-wash jeans to elevate your look. You can also try a cozy burgundy sweater or plaid shirt with dark-wash jeans for a casual-chic combo.
When in doubt, experts advise pairing denim with white. Elizabeth Kosich, a certified image consultant and founder of Elizabeth Kosich Styling, notes that this combo creates the perfect canvas for a statement accessory like a belt, purse, or jewelry.
"Try a simple white tank top and ornate kimono robe in velvet or silk, or a simple white tunic with a wide, bejeweled collar necklace covering a third of your chest," she suggests. "This look even works with a crisp, clean white shirt, leopard handbag, and red flats."
Cheng notes that white offers a clean, fresh contrast against any denim wash. With distressed light-wash jeans, she suggests a white button-down shirt and pointed-toe flats to elevate your look. Alternatively, with medium-wash jeans, try a white tee with trendy sneakers or ankle boots. Dress up darker jeans with a silky white blouse and wedge heels.
Thompson recommends pairing jeans with olive green—an earthy tone that he says works exceptionally well with mid- to dark-wash jeans.
"Try an olive utility jacket with dark jeans and ankle boots for a chic, outdoorsy look," adds Joe Manktelow-Pimm, a style expert and editor of 7Gents.
Alternatively, Carol Himelhoch, a fashion expert and president of Himelhoch's Department Store, suggests wearing an olive green sweater with dark jeans, a leather belt, and boho jewelry featuring natural stone accents for a relaxed fall vibe. Dressing for a more elegant occasion? Try a satin olive green blouse with black jeans and suede block heel pumps.
"Blush pink is a soft and feminine color that pairs beautifully with light-wash denim," says Manktelow-Pimm. "The delicate pastel shade creates a lovely contrast with the pale denim, giving you a fresh and romantic outfit. A blush pink blouse with faded jeans is perfect for a chic, casual look."
Thompson recommends finishing off this look with simple ballet flats for a laid-back but elegant look that's perfect for brunch dates.
Himelhoch says light gray provides a subtle contrast with dark denim. She recommends wearing jeans with a light gray blazer and black belt for a polished, contemporary look. Finish off the outfit with loafers or sneakers to keep things casual, or dress up this look with knee-high equestrian black boots.
And if you're feeling bold, Lucy Aylen, founder of Never Fully Dressed, recommends pairing denim with silver—say, a semi-sheer button-down blouse layered over a tank or a glamorous sequined blazer. "The mix of a harder fabric with a softer, more muted tone creates a perfect pairing," she says.
Black pairs well with every denim wash. Harbajan's favorite combo for a night out is a black blazer or black lace blouse with mid-wash jeans and a black patent leather clutch.
"For light-wash denim, opt for a fitted or cropped black top to balance out the relaxed aesthetic," suggests Cheng. "For a daytime look, opt for white sneakers or ankle boots. To dress up this combo for an evening affair, choose strappy heels or pointed-toe pumps in either nude or metallic shades."
"For medium-wash denim, opt for a sleek, fitted black blouse and consider incorporating accessories in complementary hues, like silver or gold jewelry," Cheng continues. "For dark wash denim, consider choosing a black top with unique detailing such as sheer sleeves or embellishments and add dainty jewelry—which offers just enough sparkle without overpowering your outfit."
The beauty of taupe is that it's a universally flattering neutral and can be worn in every season. Full suggests pairing a taupe vest with light or white wash denim. On cooler days, try a luxe taupe cashmere sweater with straight-leg jeans and suede booties or even sleek leather sneakers. Or, you can layer on a taupe leather jacket, which adds some unexpected edge to a classic pair of jeans.
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