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Double denim: the Canadian tuxedo

Jean on jean, baby. That’s right, everybody, it’s back in town.

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By Brittney Hensman (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: March 19, 2014

Wearing a denim shirt with jeans can be tricky to pull off, but the key is to mix contrasting shades and colours of denim. (Image: Jcjeansandclothes/Wikimedia Commons)

Wearing a denim shirt with jeans can be tricky to pull off, but the key is to mix contrasting shades and colours of denim. (Image: Jcjeansandclothes/Wikimedia Commons)

Jean on jean, baby. That’s right, everybody, it’s back in town.

When denim shirts came back, I was skeptical because of the baggy, oversized ones from the ‘80s. But now, designers have moulded denim tops to fit the body in the areas that count, like the shoulders and hips. Otherwise, they’re still a loose-fitting top to be worn like a regular button-down shirt or blouse.

The beauty of the denim top is the many ways you can wear it. One of the common ways I wear mine is like an open cardigan. This gives long sleeves to some of my favorite summer tops, dresses, or T-shirts that are just too cold to wear by themselves in the winter.

Secondly, I wear it buttoned all the way to the top — and yes, I mean to the very top, to the “man button,” which achieves your common “hipster” look.

Thirdly, providing it doesn’t have bulky breast pockets with a button or a pocket flap, I wear it as a layering undershirt beneath my cardigan or sweater with the collar and cuffs peeking out.

And finally, I even wear it with jeans on the bottom!

[pullquote]The denim top has your back, and jeans will save your butt the next time you’re in a manic fashion crisis. [/pullquote]

I thought this was a big fashion no-no. When the denim shirt was “in” in the late ‘80s, the denim was thicker, lighter, and splashed with acid. But usually it was worn with the same shade of denim on both the top and the bottom. Ew!

Everyone who sported this look appeared monochromatic and mundane. It’s extremely hard to wear the same shade on top and on the bottom unless you’re wearing black – and even then, if either your black top or bottoms are slightly faded, you’re in trouble.

But you can wear two different shades of denim that actually correspond quite nicely with each other.

I find that darker denim on the bottom with a medium denim on the top works the best. Usually the top should be one shade lighter on the colour spectrum than the bottoms; Google “blue colour wheel” for a colour palette to select from.

So if you’re wearing navy blue or midnight blue denim jeans, choose a medium shade for the top, like an azure blue, dodger blue, or even a steel blue denim. The lighter shades of denim like powder blue or light sky blue work best in the summer, and can sometimes clash with dark jean bottoms. Instead, layer those shades over a bold colour top in red, pink, or coral, pair them with white or black bottoms, and glam the whole thing up with some white and gold accessories.

The beauty of the denim top is that it falls under the same rule as jeans — it matches with everything! As long as your jeans are the proper shade, I bet you can wear your denim top with any pair of pants (and even some of your skirts) that are folded away nicely in your closet.

You should never be in a panic for what to throw on before class when your denim shirt waits to greet you with open arms. The denim top has your back, and jeans will save your butt the next time you’re in a manic fashion crisis. In this denim duo you’ll be deemed a patriotic citizen as you walk down the road looking sleek in your Canadian tuxedo.

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