I’m talking about the best men’s denim shirt brands here.
I’ll explain what they are, why they’re so versatile, and how to dress them. I’ll also discuss the best sites to find the greatest denim shirts, as well as the small variations between chambray and denim.
Denim vs OCBD
I frequently proclaim that a man’s wardrobe is incomplete without an OCBD (Oxford Cloth Button Down).
I don’t think the same can be said for denim shirts, but they are a more trendy and usually informal alternative that you can incorporate into your outfit to truly improve it.
When it comes to building out your collection, OCBDs are a must-have, but when it comes to building out a casual collection, denim shirts are a must-have.
That’s when knowing the difference between denim and chambray comes in handy.
In contrast to OCBDs, denim and chambray shirts have a wide range of styles to choose from.
A denim shirt can be dressed up by wearing it with a tie, getting a pretty strong collar, and having a really powerful look.
On the contrary, my chambray shirt from Jomers, which is just an extremely casual relaxed fitting blue shirt that I pull up the sleeves for, is one of my favorite casual shirts. With a pair of khakis or chinos, that appearance is fantastic.
It all comes down to whether you want a point collar or a button-down collar. Variations on the pocket design are available, as well as a wide range of color shades, particularly in chambray.
The button-down collar and Oxford clock are features of OCBDs, but chambray and denim come in a variety of weights. You can have a light weight, a medium weight, or a high weight, and so on.
Denim vs Chambray
Just a quick introduction on the differences between denim and chambray before we go into brand recommendations and anything else.
Denim is a twill pattern with an indigo warp and a white weft, resulting in a lighter contrast in the fabric on the inside compared the outside.
We’re not talking about the thick, heavy, tough denim that you’d wear as a jean with denim shirts. It’s significantly lighter in weight. If you look closely at the way the shirt is weaved, you can see the result as simple diagonal lines in the twill pattern.
Chambray is a more casual denim option in my opinion.
With a good knit tie, you can spruce up a chambray shirt. Denim can be dressed up quite a bit, though not quite as much as an Oxford cloth. Denim shirts and chambray shirts with ties have created some great outfits.
The only difference between chambray and denim is that denim has a twill weave. Chambray has a much more even weave, but it also employs a more slubby fabric, which gives you some of these defects, which gives the shirt a fantastic texture, but it’s usually what makes it a much more casual style.
You can also notice that chambray shirts feature two breast pockets, which is a much more casual style, but still a polished way to wear a button-up shirt and distinguish yourself as a more stylish guy.
Let’s take a brief rundown of brand recommendations, and as I go through them, I’ll talk about some of the styles that are available.
You’ll have your starters, your customs, and then your more trendy and design type brands, according to how I separated things down.
We can’t talk about denim without mentioning Levi’s, the mother of all starts.
You can choose from a variety of Levi’s styles, based on the fit and weight you like.
Depending on the channel as well. If you go to their outlet stores or any of the retailers with whom they operate, you’ll find a variety of costs. It’ll set you back roughly $70.
But when it comes to casual denim shirting, they’ve got you covered.
You’ll find your typical suspects like Gap, Banana Republic, and J. Crew, depending on the season.
Mott and Bow is one of the brands that I’ve been wearing for years at that price point. This shirt has been fantastic for the price of $89 so far. I appreciate that this shirt may be worn simply, but it can also be dressed up with a silk knit tie and a pair of wool slacks for a sophisticated casual look.
Then there’s Jomers, which has always amazed me with the quality of their items for the amount they charge.
Their design is pretty straightforward, which I like. What I enjoy about a company like J. Crew is that they have a straightforward design philosophy.
Their chambray shirt is fantastic. It’s hard to believe it’s only $32. That only emphasizes how valuable they are. Within the chambray, there are numerous color possibilities. This shirt is definitely one of my go-tos when I’m searching for something to wear casually yet still look amazing.
To round out the basic brands, I’d like to recommend Ledbury, which starts at $32 and goes up to Gap, Banana Republic, and Levi.
Ledbury makes off-the-rack shirts, but since the day I first saw one of their shirts in college, Ledbury has been one of my favorite shirt producers. I couldn’t believe how good that was.
I have their super-soft denim shirt; they come in slim and standard fits, but they’ve always utilized the finest fabrics, whether it’s their Oxford shirt or the denim.
It’s very incredible. On the denim side, they’ve got you covered, and on the chambray side, they’ve got you covered. I’m wearing one of the thicker chambrays. This is a great fall shirt because the chambray is a little thicker.
Ledbury shirts are roughly $130, so they’re on the expensive end of the off-the-rack spectrum, but every shirt I’ve bought from them has been wonderful in terms of fabric, fit, and durability.
Before we get into made-to-measure, let’s have a look at Huckberry. They have a fantastic denim shirt with a Western theme. This has the history and style of a Levi’s classic without the Levi’s label on it. It is, however, made in the United States of America from American denim.
This is what I propose for most guys in terms of custom settings. Not everyone fits off-the-rack shirts, but you still want to obtain what you want, and the easiest way to do so is with made-to-measure clothing.
It’s also not as pricey as it was a few years ago. Many of these shirts, such as Woodies, begin at $89.
For males who are just getting started with made-to-measure, I recommend Woodies. They have a fit guarantee and can size you without you having to provide measurements. They have a fitting algorithm in place.
You can go to their website and search for denim. This is the only method to assure that not only the torso, but also the sleeves, are perfectly fitted. The fabric is really fantastic.
Proper Cloth is another wonderful made-to-measure choice. It has a great range of chambray and denim shirts.
If you go with our made-to-measure approach, you have a lot of wonderful possibilities. Deo Veritas will set you up for $110 to begin with.
Proper Cloth will set you back $155, but they also have a denim chambray option.
There’s also Black Lapel and Indochino, both of which cost roughly $100.
You get what you pay for with all of these.
In the more designer space, there are only a number of mentions.
I’ve never bought a $500 denim shirt because of a designer, but Todd Snyder makes a fantastic shirt for $198. It’s a gorgeous medium blue washed denim. It’s made from an Italian fabric called Albiate 1830 that was made in Portugal.
That’s why the price is $198. It was created with the intention of becoming a very cool shirt.
Last but not least, there’s Billy Reid’s denim shirt. It’s the brand that has piqued my interest for years.
A touch more designery, but still made in the United States. Italian denim fabric is a one-of-a-kind, cool, and distinctive fabric.