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The DSTLD Guide to Styling Different Blue Jean Washes

Jan 22, 2019

They say dressing well is a form of good manners, and we know you’re not one to be rude. Here are timeless tips on how to style light, medium blue, and dark worn washes, from DSTLD’s Design Director, Paul Roughley.

Balance and harmony. According to Paul Roughley, DSTLD’s Design Director, that is what makes the perfect outfit. It’s simple, right? But who hasn’t purchased a new blue jean wash only to have “nothing to wear” with it or felt stuck trying to choose the best footwear for the ‘fit? If you’ve been there, this guide is for you. No trendy advice, no platitudes - just helpful tips on how to style blue jeans, with our light, medium and dark worn washes, available in skinny slim and slim fits.

Quick guide to washes, for denim rookies

You’ve probably heard the term before, perhaps in reference to acid or bleach-washed jeans, but wash refers to the final hue of denim that has been, well, washed to achieve a certain style, and can range from the palest of blues to the deepest of indigos. Along with fit, the wash of a jean establishes the overall vibe of your outfit. Lighter washes tend to give off a more casual feel whereas dark washes, like our dark worn jeans, are an easy way to dress up an old favorite. True blue washes, on the other hand, are versatile and can be dressed up or down for any occasion.

Styling basics

Knowing how to style different washes involves learning some styling basics. When creating the perfect outfit, it’s all about achieving balance and harmony, says Paul. “You don’t want one piece grabbing all of the attention.” To achieve Oneness in your outfit (who knows, maybe life will follow suit), avoid stark contrasts in color. Group light washes with light tones, dark washes with medium to dark tones and blue washes with just about anything (we told you these were versatile). After putting your ‘fit together, check yourself out: Does any one piece catch your eye? If so, he warns, there is unbalance in your outfit. Swap it out for a color on the opposite end of the spectrum and try again. The closer the colors in your color palette are, the more easily you can create an effortless look.

With that advice, we’ve pretty much set you up for a lifetime of success (you can thank us later), but we haven’t gotten to the good part yet. Now that you know how to create a great outfit, here are examples of how we style our denim to help you put that knowledge to practice.

How to style light wash jeans

People either love or hate the light wash jean, but for those who hate it we say you’re just not wearing it right. The light wash can be an everyday piece - with a complementary color palette - or a statement that allows for some experimentation. With harmony in mind, we like to pair our light wash with a white or light gray t-shirt, like our crew neck. On weekends when we’re running errands or grabbing a bite with friends, we’ll wear a white sneaker and a grey hoodie to pull the look together. To dress this wash up, we pair it with a tan or brown boot.

How to style medium blue jeans

It’s hard to make a medium blue wash jean look bad and that’s why it remains an enduring look with universal appeal more than a hundred years since its creation. Unlike most other washes, a true blue jean works well with any color palette, from the most monochromatic to spontaneous, and, with the right footwear, easily transitions from casual to urbane. How we wear our medium blue wash jeans depends on where we’re going and when: if dressing up for a night out, we pair our skinny slim fit with a bomber jacket and black boot; for a day around the city, we always reach for the slim fit, our favorite button down layered over a tee and white sneakers for street-style appeal. 

The dark worn wash: your outfit’s secret weapon

Nothing turns heads quite like a dark wash jean. We’ve all been there, casually minding our business when someone walks by with the most perfect indigo wash: deep, rich, with just enough character to give it vibrancy. Our dark worn wash is an intense blue with a rugged brown tint that breathes life into its color. Whiskered along the hips and thighs, our dark wash feels lived in from the get-go, which is what we want with darker denim. When wearing a jean with this much character, it’s best to let the wash do the work for you and stick to basics. To dress up our dark worn jeans, we pair our skinny slim fit with a moto jacket, long sleeve modern crew neck in black and grey suede boots. For a more formal look, try the wash with a black shoe, like a Chelsea boot.

When you stick to high-quality essentials, creating an outfit that works gets much easier. Regardless of your personal style, the objective is to achieve balance and, therefore, harmony in your look. Easy ways to do this are to know your washes, pair like colors together, and ask yourself a simple question: Is any one piece attracting my attention? If the answer is yes, you now know what to do. So go forth, embrace your favorite wash, try a new one, and spread good style.