Blue shirt with blue jeans?
October 30, 2007 2:20 PM   Subscribe

When is it (if ever) fashionable to wear a blue shirt with blue pants - particularly blue jeans?

It seems always wrong to me or at least a labyrinthian puzzle far beyond my clothing wisdom, but I feel like I have seen it pulled off with dash and cunning.

Does skin tone matter? If extra non-blue layers can make it work, what colors create a requirement for the minimal number of those layers? I want to know everything there is to know about blue-on-blue.

I realize the collective pool on Metafilter is a bit on the deep-side of nerdy, but I'd like to hear from any geeked-out, closet fashionistas...

If it is possible, give me RGB values or a kuler swatch.
posted by pokermonk to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (38 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The funny thing about blue jeans (traditional blue denim jeans) is that in terms of color matching, they are not blue- they are a neutral, and can be worn with any color, including blue.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:22 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Why do you think you couldn't wear a blue shirt with blue jeans? As TPS says, denim is neutral. My personal preference is for men to wear dark navy blue. I suppose if you have especially dark skin, a lighter color might look better.
posted by desjardins at 2:25 PM on October 30, 2007

Well I do it all of the time and think it looks good on me. But I don't have much fashion sense and women run from me in fear so there you go.
posted by Justin Case at 2:26 PM on October 30, 2007 [3 favorites]

A blue oxford shirt always works with a pair of jeans. It's classic. It's timeless. And most importantly: it's not fashion- it's STYLE.

And worn with a navy blazer, you will never go wrong.

posted by wfc123 at 2:26 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

yeah, what wfc123 says is a hot look.
posted by desjardins at 2:27 PM on October 30, 2007

I agree that jeans are neutral, but you still might want to avoid matching the blue of your shirt precisely with the blue of your jeans. I have some very dark jeans that would look stupid with a similarly navy-colored shirt.

And, I think the consensus is against denim shirts in all situations, but especially when paired with denim jeans. Jean jackets seem to be their own separate entity, though, and their allowable-ness seems to depend on wash, cut, wearer's gender, and decade.
posted by vytae at 2:29 PM on October 30, 2007

You know what is dashing and chic? A good quality white linen shirt and blue jeans. You can't go wrong with that combo. Is there a particular reason you want to go blue on blue? Stores like Macy's have personal consultants on staff to help shoppers, it's free, you might want to check it out with a bona fide fashionista and see what their advice is for you.
posted by 45moore45 at 2:33 PM on October 30, 2007

blue shirts and denim jeans are always fine. (you'll look like someone wearing a blue shirt and jeans.)

denim shirts and denim jeans are never fine. (you'll look like a ranch hand)

blue shirts and blue non-jeans are never fine. (you'll look like a janitor)
posted by thinkingwoman at 2:38 PM on October 30, 2007 [9 favorites]

Agreeing with vytae on all counts. I would, in general, recommend darker blue shirts with paler blue jeans and vice versa. Also, if you're going to do the blue on blue thing, throw in a colored belt and some bright shoes to mix it up a little. You know, if you're feeling sassy. Or, since winter is coming, why not layer? If you've got on medium-toned blue jeans and a dark blue sweater, howsabout a pink or green collared shirt underneath to spice it up?
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 2:41 PM on October 30, 2007

vytae is right. You can wear any shade of blue shirt with blue jeans - it's the shade of the jeans that matters. The more neutral/less saturated the shade of blue, the more shades of blue you can pull off in a matching shirt.

A lot of jeans sold these days are darker, neutral-ish, "dirty" washes, and jeans with that wash and a good, flattering fit will get you a long way. You can wear nearly any shade with them, except for a matching color.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:53 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I wear blue shirts all the time with blue jeans. In fact, I only ever wear blue jeans. Although, I also have a pair of blue Converse and if I wear it altogether my girlfriend nicknames me Blue Power Ranger.

Seriously though, blue jeans will go with navy blue shirts, powder blue shirts, baby blue shirts, sky blue shirts...
posted by stackhaus23 at 2:54 PM on October 30, 2007

Agree with TPS. Jeans go with everything, except more denim. I agree with Thinkingwoman: A denim shirt paired with denim pants conjures up images of farmers. It's a fashion faux pas.

Navy, cobalt, powdered, or periwinkle blue button up layered over white T-shirt with dark blue jeans = Delicious.

One thing to keep in mind is the hue of your blue. A greenish blue can sometimes clash with a purply blue. Try it on, you'll be able to tell if it goes.

Skin tone does matter. I am a medium toned, white, with yellow undertones with light brown/dark blond hair. Ice blue or powdery pastel blue looks awful on me. It drowns me out. Navy is on the verge of washing me out; it's not my best color. The kind of people that look great in powdered blues, and the dark navy blues, are the fair- haired, blue-eyed or dark hair, fair-skinned people (Gwenyth Paltrow, Courtney Cox).

pokermonk, I think you are male, but read this on color. It's very informative.
posted by LoriFLA at 2:55 PM on October 30, 2007

I seem to remember "Queer Eye" saying denim shirt with jeans are *fine* as long as the denim doesn't match as far as shade goes.
posted by 6:1 at 3:01 PM on October 30, 2007

Ha. This is exactly the opposite answer of what I was expecting, and I guess that's why it's best to ask.

I guess I generally understand the "blue jeans = neutral" principle - I'm wearing a pink shirt atm w/ a pair, ferchrissakes - but a blue shirt has always seemed very volatile to me... at some point, you're just a dude wearing a lot of blue.

Is there a particular reason you want to go blue on blue?

Not really. I have some wicked blue shirts and have been incredibly self-conscious about wearing them with equally wicked blue jeans despite their theoretically conjuncted wickedness. But I ask more in trying to solve the visual puzzle in my mind.
posted by pokermonk at 3:02 PM on October 30, 2007

It may be because I live in DC, and it may very well be confirmation bias, but I've noticed that ex-military types are usually the ones wearing closely color-matched tops and bottoms. I guess it's what they got used to in the service. When I see that look, at least, it's the first thing that comes to mind.
posted by MrMoonPie at 3:12 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm wearing a blue shirt with blue jeans right now, and not just at home, but at work!

(Although I'm not dashing, cunning, cool or fashionable, so my opinion probably doesn't count for much here)
posted by kisch mokusch at 3:17 PM on October 30, 2007

I like to wear lots of stuff all of different shades of one color, and I think that can work. So denim blue jeans, pale blue shirt sticking out of dark blue sweater, maybe blue suede shoes, an aquamarine bracelet or ring and a sky-blue scarf.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 3:18 PM on October 30, 2007

Not necessarily the bracelet and scarf if you want to look masculine, though.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 3:20 PM on October 30, 2007

Seriously though, blue jeans will go with navy blue shirts, powder blue shirts, baby blue shirts, sky blue shirts...

What bizarro universe are you people in?

Jeans should be worn sparingly at best. If you must leave the house in jeans, they should be dark and fitted properly. Chicks, this means boot cut or the long and lean cut from Gap. No mom jeans. No skinny jeans. None at all if you're above a size 10.

Light colored jeans are never to be worn. They are especially not to be worn with a light or pastel shirt. Triple plus ungood if you're wearing light jeans, a pastel shirt, and athletic shoes without actually doing anything athletic.

So the answer is, if you are wearing jeans prpperly, then you are wearing a dark rinse fitted pair which absolutely do not go with a blue shirt.
posted by pieoverdone at 3:21 PM on October 30, 2007

I am one of those people who doesn't like blue shirts with jeans. I prefer higher contrast combinations (like orange or brown with blue). Blue on blue is blah to me. I think a shirt with several shades of blue can work with jeans. A blue shirt could be worn with jeans if layered with a contrasting color. A shirt that is an intense shade of blue looks funny with the generally relaxed colors of jeans.

But as you can tell from the rest of the thread, this is totally subjective. If you like the combination, wear it. If you don't, don't. Life isn't What Not to Wear and there aren't really fashion police waiting to attack.
posted by wallaby at 3:28 PM on October 30, 2007

Are you serious, pieoverdone? No jeans at all if you wear larger than a size 10? Did I read that properly?

Sizing isn't an ironclad indicator of one's body type or weight. Several of my taller, athletic friends wear size 14-16 jeans and look awesome in them by anyone's standards. When I first met them, I thought they wore much smaller sizes.

I have enough hangups about my borderline-plus-size body as it is. The last thing I need to hear is someone telling me I'm too fat to wear jeans. Too fat for a string bikini, I'll give you. But jeans?
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:40 PM on October 30, 2007 [13 favorites]

Note from a color geek:
if possible, give RGB values

RGB is not an absolute colorspace - an 'RGB' value is meaningless, as there is no definition given for the three components.

What you want is an absolute color space like CIE or sRGB.
posted by dmd at 4:17 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Metroid: I think pie meant skinny jeans, which are an abomination anyway and should be either destroyed or turned into self-made denim skirts (which I think is one of the hottest things ever; there's the element of subversion of expecations... and crafting!)
posted by heeeraldo at 4:23 PM on October 30, 2007

Worrying about contrasting colors means you are taking your look too seriously. I'll wear a white T, a washed-out denim shirt with a pair of jeans and a navy blazer because I know I will look good but still come off as not caring.

Working for Ralph Lauren for a couple of years, I learned there is a difference between style and fashion.

You have to walk the thin line between looking good and looking like you care too much about your appearance.

And you don't need "fashion" when you can straddle that fence.
posted by wfc123 at 4:30 PM on October 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

pieoverdone: Declaring what people are "allowed" to wear based on their size is beyond obnoxious. It's offensive.

Back to the question: I'll second the statement that there should be sufficient contrast between your shirt and your jeans. I'd wear my lighter, faded jeans with navy, or a light blue shirt with dark jeans. But I'd never wear a bright blue shirt with jeans, especially a royal-ish blue. It would be And that from someone who adores blue.
posted by bassjump at 4:34 PM on October 30, 2007

I've always been told never to wear "shade on shade." In other words, don't wear a dark blue shirt with dark blue jeans. Maybe a light blue shirt with dark jeans is okay? Truth be told I don't set much store by the "rules" even though some are useful (I try not to mix, say, purple and yellow). My rule of thumb is to just try it on and look in the mirror. If I look like a monochromatic blob, I change an article.

Most importantly, however, please ignore pieoverdone. It's one of the wrongest and stupidest answers I've seen recently in an AskMe thread. All the more obnoxious because of the authority with which she speaks.
posted by sneakin at 4:35 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

As a general lazy rule: Colour, shape (fittedness), texture. Match no more than one, partials count. So since most flattering jeans are half a match for just about anything in the fittedness department, you can wear a blue that's not an exact match, and get some texture in there--either in the colour or the weave of the fabric, and you'll be fine.

P.S. Don't worry about what size you are, as long as your jeans are of a flattering cut. This may be harder to find for those who are extremely large or small, but if you find 'em, by god, wear 'em!
posted by anaelith at 4:37 PM on October 30, 2007

Yes, you can do this, as everyone else has pointed out.

I would go for a dark rinse jean with something like a french blue dress shirt. I will go out on a limb and even suggest a specific combo. Be warned that I am not renowned for my fashion sense. Like these jeans (in dark indigo) and this shirt in french blue. I actually wish the shirt was a tad darker. Lands End is hardly stylish, so it's just the closest I could get. But I think it would work OK.
posted by GuyZero at 5:27 PM on October 30, 2007

I call BS on pieoverdone! Properly fitting jeans look great on size 12 and up. I wear 10 - 12 depending on make and weight fluctuations, and I get compliments on my jeans. I think slightly low-rise jeans, fitted around the butt but a little flared at the ankle, look best on my size. And ultimately, I don't care all that much if someone thinks I'm too big for jeans; I mainly wear 'em because they're comfy and easy-care.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 6:10 PM on October 30, 2007

You got your answer in the first response.
posted by caddis at 8:09 PM on October 30, 2007

I saw Aaron Eckhart a few months ago wearing a jean shirt and jeans. He looked fine. By fine I mean fiiiiiiine. I think when the look was shunned, it may have been during the acid wash era. Remember the early Saved by the Bells? Jeans have different washes and cuts nowadays, a jean shirt will not make you look like Zach Morris.
posted by spec80 at 8:49 PM on October 30, 2007

Properly fitted jeans, as with any other item of clothing, will look better on fat people than loose 'I'm hiding my giant ass' jeans. Also, pieoverdone: maybe your rules work for your life? I wear jeans every day during winter, as does a good majority of other uni students. Oh, you weren't talking about students? Maybe you should have specified which group you were addressing?

On blue shirts: I have worn blue tops with blue jeans, and I simply make sure that the shades are not too close - basically I mostly wear light blue tops and dark blue jeans.
posted by jacalata at 9:03 PM on October 30, 2007

I read the first part of the question, and thought "HA! Never. Duh," and am sitting here not quite knowing what to say, finding all these "Sure, blue shirt and blue jeans, I rock that all the time" answers.

Looks lousy to me. Hick or ex-con or janitor or geek -- it's a style, but not one to aspire to.
posted by kmennie at 9:38 PM on October 30, 2007

Jeans should be worn sparingly at best. If you must leave the house in jeans, they should be dark and fitted properly. Chicks, this means boot cut or the long and lean cut from Gap. No mom jeans. No skinny jeans. None at all if you're above a size 10.

Absolutely offensive. WTH, pieoverdone?

And there are a lot of people—perhaps those of us over a size 10, with a little bit of butt—who look terrible in the jeans you describe. I'd never be caught wearing boot cut or "long and lean" cut jeans, 'cause they make my legs look like a carrot—fat on top, pointy on the bottom. That doesn't mean I should be consigned to never wearing jeans—it just means I have to search harder to find decent ones. As a result, I personally almost never wear jeans, but that's not part of some offensive, ill-applied rule.
posted by limeonaire at 5:26 AM on October 31, 2007

(In other words, pieoverdone, if you're saying boot cut is a good alternative to skinny jeans, mom jeans, pegged jeans or other abominations, it's really not if you have any ass whatsoever. You must mean flared jeans or slightly wide-leg, higher-rise jeans. Right?)
posted by limeonaire at 5:30 AM on October 31, 2007

Oh shit, that is what I wore to work today. Color matters. Blue comes in many shades with some working together and some not. I am wearing a pastel-shade blue with darker blue jeans. I am wearing black, dressy shoes and a black, wide belt. There is contrast and I think it looks fine with my keen fashion sense.

OTOH, if I wore similar tones or even shades of blue, it would look like I was wearing a jump suit. I think you would have to have the perfect accessories to pull that one off. Maybe even then you would be committing fashion suicide.
posted by JJ86 at 6:09 AM on October 31, 2007

"When is it (if ever) fashionable to wear a blue shirt with blue pants - particularly blue jeans?"

When you're a Canadian.

That look's not called a Canadian Tuxedo for nothing.

(That said, I was out last night in a blue t-shirt, jeans and a jean jacket. I just had no illusions of fashion.)
posted by klangklangston at 1:45 PM on October 31, 2007

Still waiting for numerical evidence, but seriously, thanks to everyone, even the controversial overdone pie. PLZDONOTBESADURNOTBEST.
posted by pokermonk at 6:24 PM on October 31, 2007

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