Light Blue Jeans Outfit Inspiration: What To Wear With Pale Denim
The relaxed, laid-back alternative to indigo, light blue jeans are more playful and less serious, helping bring a touch of vintage charm to your looks.
There’s no denying it: dark, raw denim jeans are a menswear staple. The classic indigo shade has been a favourite among denim heads, workwear aficionados and American gold miners for well over a century, and continues to form the backbone of any successful capsule wardrobe. However, unwashed denim in its natural state can be uncomfortable to wear, hard to break in and extremely heavy, making it far from ideal for the warmer months, or those times when comfort is a priority. Enter, light wash jeans.
A relaxed, laid-back alternative to your trust indigo denim, light blue jeans are more playful and less serious, helping bring a touch of vintage charm to your looks. So, whether you’re looking to introduce some variety to your legwear or you just need something more summer-appropriate, here’s everything you need to know about light wash jeans, and what you should be wearing with them in 2023.
Light wash blue jeans: things to consider
Not all light wash jeans are the same. By their very nature they have to be washed, either by hand or via a more industrial process, so each pair will vary slightly when it comes to softness, patina and overall shade. The type you go for is purely down to personal preference.
Light wash is a blanket term for pale denim, so there will be huge variations in colour – you’ll find everything from faded indigo jeans through to heavily washed, almost white jeans on the market today. As a rule of thumb, the lighter the shade or heavier the wash = the more casual the jean.
Given light blue jeans are more suited to spring and summer outfits, you’ll want to opt for a lighter weight denim so they don’t feel stifling when temperatures rise. Look for denim 12oz. or under for ultimate breathability.
Another thing to consider is the makeup of the fabric itself. Pure denim is notoriously rigid and heavy, so for something that’s more comfortable and less restrictive, go for denim blended with a touch of elastane or Lycra (usually 1-2% overall).
How they should fit
The way jeans fit is hugely subjective and often comes down to individual preference and body type. Yet while slim fits are the default choice for many pieces here at Men’s Flair, we’d argue that light blue jeans often look better in straight or loose cuts. For the perfect, relaxed-fit light wash jeans, seek out a mid-rise pair with plenty of room in the thigh, which then tapers slightly to a narrower opening at the hem.
This is a universally flattering cut that suits a wide range of body shapes, looking just as good dressed up with tailoring as it is does down with tees and sneakers.
Men’s light blue jeans outfit inspiration
Dark blue jeans substitute
Light blue jeans can be substituted into almost every outfit that dark blue jeans work in. For an easy fall look that any man can pull off, try teaming your pale wash denim with a foolproof white shirt and navy sweater combo, layering over a lightweight mac for rain protection and anchoring it with simple canvas sneakers.
The lighter wash of the jeans really brings this classic look to life, lifting the colour palette and injecting an on-trend 90s flavour to it.
Grunge-y light blue jeans
Light wash jeans are made for creating street- and skate-inspired fits, as proven above. Here, a pair of relaxed-cut, heavily-washed jeans perfectly complements the boxy streetwear hoodie, baseball cap and sneaker combination.
While this is a pretty safe colour palette, when trying it for yourself, don’t be afraid of injecting more vibrant hues (particularly via the hoodie).
Outdoors-ready light blue jeans
Few items of clothing finish off a weekend look quite as well as pale wash jeans. The lighter shade of denim naturally complements other equally relaxed garments, from tees and polo shirts to chunky knitwear and gilets.
Combine the latter two with some straight-legged jeans and suede boots and you’ll be set for fall walks aplenty.
Simple light blue jeans outfit
The best outfits are often the most simple, and this is particularly true when it comes to styling your jeans. Classic, straight-cut, mid-blue denim looks superb combined with wardrobe basics such as T-shirts and crew necks – you only need to look at old pictures of Steve McQueen for proof.
To get the look for yourself, opt for a sweatshirt in light grey for a timeless casual outfit that oozes old-school Americana.
Modern preppy light blue jeans
This extremely simple light blue jeans and sweatshirt getup has been given an individual twist thanks to the letterman-style branding and leather horsebit loafers. Referencing traditional Ivy League style, it’s a modern take on the preppy 2.0 aesthetic that is so prevalent right now.
Military-inspired light wash jeans
As the old saying goes, “blue and green should never be seen”. But we couldn’t disagree more. Classic, military-inspired outerwear is the perfect match for light blue denim, so don’t be afraid of heading to your local vintage store and digging out old field jackets, bombers and parkas for the cooler months.
Light blue jeans & white T-shirt
Arguably the most important item in your wardrobe, the white T-shirt is the ideal foundation to build an outfit on. But it arguably looks its best when worn on its own with jeans (see Messrs Dean and Brando for confirmation).
Light blue jeans give the white tee an even more summery feel, perfect for days when shorts aren’t quite right. The classic combo can be sharpened up with a pair of loafers or desert boots, or left laid back with clean white trainers. The choice is yours.
Sometimes, all you need is a good T-shirt and simple, lightweight jacket. These two pieces, especially when combined with jeans, form the basis of many a casual outfit and are more than at home when dressed down with sneakers, or smartened up with loafers or boots.
If you want a versatile, easy-to-wear weekend look, this is it.
Light blue tonal outfit
A striped shirt is one of those underrated pieces that every smart casual wardrobe needs. Opt for a light blue version and wear it open over a white T-shirt and tonal pale wash jeans for a look that’s cool, relaxed and perfect for transitional weather.
Safari-inspired light blue jeans
It’s true that dark indigo jeans are easier to dress up than light wash versions. But the latter can be smart if you want them to be. The trick is to opt for a slim cut that’s been hemmed like a trouser so it finishes just above the shoes.
Combine them with tailored jacket – in the form of an unstructured blazer, safari jacket or field jacket – and you’ve got a sharp look that works for casual Fridays in the office.
Smart casual light blue jeans
Stepping things up a notch further, light wash jeans are more than a match for tailoring, particularly when styled in a slightly retro way. To get the look right, skip the shirt and tie and go for a knitted polo underneath an unstructured blazer. Finish with smooth suede loafers and classic shades.
You’ll look sophisticated yet relaxed, having perfectly married smart with casual.
90s grunge light wash jeans
A plaid flannel shirt is light wash denim’s best friend – they were a staple within grunge looks throughout the 90s, becoming the unofficial uniform for unlikely style icon, Kurt Cobain.
Today, the two continue to look great together, especially if you opt for a muted colour shirt. Leave it open over a white tee and finish with retro runners for an effortlessly cool casual fit.
Modern streetwear light wash jeans
This modern streetwear-inspired fit is all about the details. The straight, light wash worker jeans bring something different to the table, combining effortlessly with the vibrant teal sweatshirt. However, such a simple look can quickly fall flat.
No such issue here, with the stone baseball cap, pendant necklace, commando-sole boat shoes and simple dress watch adding character and visual points of interest from top to bottom. Cool and stylish in equal measure.
Light blue and white
White and blue is a timeless colour combination that works particularly well when denim is involved. You can’t go wrong with a white Oxford shirt matched with a pair of light blue jeans, but go a step further and layer a white chore jacket over the top for added style points.
Finish with some white canvas sneakers and a tonal blue bag for an ideal weekend getaway look.
Ivy League light wash denim
Preppy fashion wouldn’t be what it is without pale wash denim. The staple has long been an icon of American wardrobes and continues to be the go-to for those wanting to channel classic Ivy league, collegiate style today.
Try it for yourself with a pair of vintage, straight-leg jeans, combining them with all-American staples like plaid shirts, varsity jackets and camel overcoats. While sneakers can do the job, loafers are a classy touch that stays true to the traditional aesthetic.
Light wash jeans & vibrant colour
Due to its light shade, pale denim works incredibly well with colour. From tonal blues through to reds, greens and warmer shades of yellow and orange, it acts as a blank canvas for brighter tones to shine.
Try wearing yours with the aforementioned warmer hues, combining a yellow and orange striped jumper with a sunshine yellow work shirt. Finish with minimal white sneakers and you’ve got a playful spring layered look.