There's no doubt that double denim is one of the most divisive menswear moves. However, when done properly, the pairing of two denim items – aka the Canadian tuxedo – can have some serious sartorial impact. There's a certain suaveness to it that recalls the glamour of old-school Americana – Steve McQueen, James Dean and Elvis Presley were big fans of the look and pulled it off with aplomb – combined with a touch of rugged Western style and even a hint of the '70s punk aesthetic.
Before you dive head first into the trend and wind up looking like Justin Timberlake circa 2001, there are a few tips and tricks you'll need to follow in order to nail the look. Whether you're a double denim sceptic who needs some convincing or simply after a bit of inspiration, our ultimate guide to pulling off double denim has everything you need to know in order to make the style work for you.
An easy rule of thumb when doubling up on denim is to keep the washes a couple of shades apart. Denim comes in a huge variety of washes, so choose your shades wisely. We recommend a darker shade on the bottom and a lighter one up top – dark charcoal jeans and an indigo blue denim jacket, for example. If you're going to wear a light shade of denim on the bottom and a darker one up top, ensure the wash you choose for your top half isn't too much darker. Try teaming ecru denim jeans with a light wash denim jacket for a summer-ready casual look.
As classic as an all-blue double denim look is, you're certainly not restricted to blue hues. In fact, broadening your colour palette can help to break up your look and reduce the impact of full-on double denim. Grey, charcoal, white and cream are all timeless hues that you could experiment with, or try a different colour altogether. A red denim jacket would pair nicely with indigo jeans and a plain white tee, or dark green jeans would balance out an ecru denim chore jacket, while offering a contemporary take on workwear style.
It's not just washes that you need to consider. Think about the textures of denim you want to wear and how they'll work together. Try teaming a pair of heavy selvedge denim jeans with a lightweight jacket or light wash denim shirt. The combination of raw denim with classic denim is a fail-safe look that will add some interest to your ensemble.
The fit of your clothes is always important, but even more so when you're taking a sartorial risk like combining denim items. Avoid super-skinny or baggy jeans and opt for something that falls in the middle. Slim fit jeans are a safe and flattering choice that will pair well with a boxy denim jacket, while jeans with a relaxed fit will balance out a more fitted jacket. Play with proportions to find a silhouette that works with your body shape.
You're already making something of a statement with a double denim ensemble, so keep the rest of your outfit relatively pared back. Plain white trainers and a shirt or tee will do the trick. Or take things up a notch with the addition of a pair of Derby shoes. If you're going to accessorise, do so with minimalist jewellery, a premium leather tote bag, a plain baseball cap or some retro-inspired sunnies. Simple as that.
It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking double denim means a pair of denim jeans and a denim jacket – it's the most popular double denim combination and the true meaning of 'Canadian tuxedo'. However, feel free to experiment with different denim items. You could try integrating small amounts of denim in the form of a baseball cap, tote bag or trainers, or . In the summer months, ditch the jeans for a pair of denim shorts. Wear them with high-top canvas trainers, a plain white tee and a lightweight denim jacket for effortless weekend style.
Looking for the perfect shoes to wear with your Canadian tuxedo? A pair of minimalist trainers will do the trick.
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