I’m certain most of you own or have owned a denim shirt in your life time. A fantastic, versatile item to have in the wardrobe, it goes with anything from chinos to denim jeans. Yes indeed the old “double denim” is something I’am an advocate of as long as they are not matching in the same colour. When it comes to popping on the shirt itself however, I would guess a good percentage of you have never worn one with a suit. With this in mind, last month I paid a visit to renowned tailor Andrew Brookes in Edinburgh to check out some shirt options and where I also found a denim shirt perfectly suited for any occasion.
From a personal perspective I have enjoyed wearing various denim shirts throughout the years. It is a wardrobe cornerstone much like the white t-shirt and in the past, graciously worn by silver screen icons such as Steve McQueen and Paul Newman. One of my style boxes that is admittedly not ticked however is that I have never worn a denim shirt in a smarter, more formal dress sense. 100% I have always wanted to try it, but really never found the right one. Comparatively I would say I’am as equally picky with shirts as I’am with jeans.
Almost always when I’ve worn a suit I rotate between three shirt colours. Classic crisp white, light blue and sometimes pink. Three colours which work very well no matter what colour or style of suit you are wearing. Likewise I’am sure many of you are the same. We have go to options or choose these colours as they feel safe and comforting. Sitting down with Andrew during my visit we looked at the vast array of collar and cuff options before trying on some different styles. Andrew quite simply is a master at helping you see things differently, encouraging you to experiment with your style. Expertly drawing personal preferences from you and building your look. Not to mention the process of creating a bespoke shirt is quite magical.
As we walked around his studio, Andrew plucked a beautiful chambray denim shirt from the rail to try. One which I was instantly sold on. With a 4.8cm full cutaway collar it sat proud and high around my neck with a fantastic European feel to it. The fit was also wonderful. A slim cut finish with mother of pearl buttons. The epitome of sharp and furthermore the denim shirt I had been looking for. I tried it with various items layered on top. A lovely camel coat and a dashing blue suit worked fantastically well. It was definitely the one for me.
With my immaculate denim shirt selected, I was keen to get out and about with the full ensemble on. It’s worth noting there are a few options that match nicely with denim. In the better weather, a light coloured suit or blazer will give a majestic continental look to your outfit. The contrast between light and dark will really push the shirt forward. Match it with perhaps a brown or dark blue tie and some dark brown loafers. When the weather is not so good, a dark brown or dark navy suit will go superbly well. That is also of course a point to remember. Always ensure the navy suit is darker than the blue of the denim shirt. Again pair it up with a brown or perhaps even a little paisley pattern tie for a some zest. What you have is one seriously stylish outfit to wear.
Wearing a denim shirt in a smart sense is something we should not be afraid of. Indeed we should experiment with our style and outfits regularly by trying different patterns and colours. It is an item which is a firm favourite of many a stylish man who appear at Pitti Uomo or on the streets of Milan. Put simply if it works for them, it can work for you. My advice would be to pay Andrew Brookes a visit. His incredible knowledge and craftsmanship is amazing in which you will leave with your style game raised a little higher regardless if it is with a denim shirt or not.