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Reader Question: Can Denim on Denim be Done?

How to rock the "Canadian Tuxedo" right

By Megan Collins | Last Updated: Oct 14 2016

I bought a denim jacket about a year ago. It started off as a darker denim and has faded slightly through the rigors of work and other daily activities. The problem is it is still very close to the same color denim jeans that I wear on a normal day. I do not want to wear a Canadian tuxedo everyday so I was wondering if you had any advice on distressing and fading denim.

Hmm. Well, I’m glad you know a Canadian tuxedo is a bad way to go. That’s certainly a good start.

I’ve talked here before about the high degree of difficulty involved in rocking denim head to toe, but that said, it is doable. The key to avoiding the “denim-on-denim-as-a-major-don’t” look is to keep the two shades distinctly separate. Light on top/dark on bottom, or vice versa.

Personally, I’d suggest going with the former, as dark jeans are infinitely more useful to have in your wardrobe than light-colored ones. I like Levi’s 511s (the brand calls them “Skinny,” but don’t let that scare you off – they’re pretty true straight-legs).

If you need to ratchet up the contrast between the color of your jeans and your jean jacket, see my recent post on thinning out a t-shirt. You can apply the same technique to a jean jacket to lighten it up.

That said, might I also suggest a new way to wear your denim jacket?

Sean Hotchkiss, the dapper dude behind GQ’s style blog, wears his under a blazer or sports coat, with khakis, dress pants, or, yes, sometimes even a pair of dark blue denim. It’s put-together and definitely “stylish,” while also looking and (I’m guessing here) feeling totally comfortable.

Of course, if you can wear a jean jacket and jeans in your every day life, why not step it up a notch? I’d argue that you could just as easily throw on a pair of camel-colored cords, or some olive green slim-cut khakis as you could your favorite pair of beat-up jeans.

Along with a sturdy boot and thoughtful accessories (a wool hat here, a red sock there), you’ve got a real outfit with a capital “O” on your hands.

All photos: Justin Chung