How Wearing Faded Denim Can Instantly Improve Your Style

by Welcome to Outsons

If you’re feeling tired of your old faithful indigo wash, then it’s time for a denim overhaul because this Spring faded denim is getting a new lease of life. With the warmer spring climate, jackets, shirts and jeans in light washes – that’s light wash, not acid or bleach – are making a comeback. It may feel a little daunting, but faded denim is easy to style as long as you don’t overdo it.

A faded denim is less harsh than an indigo wash – subtle wear patterns blemish the material where abrasion occurs and lighter toned areas contrast against the darker patches. Denim looks best when discoloured and worn in but there is a difference between faded and knackered.

To ensure you don’t style your faded denim to look like you’ve worn the same pair of jeans for a year, we’ve compiled a few looks to show you the best and easiest ways to wear the trend.

Double Denim

In our opinion, double denim gets a lot of bad press but it can be really effective if you team classic cuts with minimal wardrobe staples. Make sure the denim you wear on top is a different shade to that on the bottom and always break up the look with a plain t-shirt, a jumper or a plaid shirt to avoid denim overload. You could even go for mixing contrasting denim in blue, black and white shades to separate your denim from your… er, denim.

double denim mens style

If you’re going to commit to the double denim look we suggest the rest of your look be kept understated and casual. This will not work if you try and over do it so keep everything else minimal and understated. The denim on denim trend has plenty of celebrity style endorsement under its belt so it is achievable, trust us.

Colour tone between each item doesn’t have to differ massively between denim’s, but some colour variation will help to set garments apart. With an indigo wash jean, the jacket can take on an almost grey tone and details like blanket collars and plaid help to break up the double denim to stop it from looking too samey or monotonous.

double denim grid


It is a common misconception that you can’t dress smart when you’re wearing denim. Denim is the ultimate casual go-to; a pair of jeans are quick and easy to put on and require minimum effort. However there is a way to dress it up and turn the way you think about wearing denim from carefree to careful.

denim jacket layered

It doesn’t have to be all jeans and t-shirt/t-shirt and jeans. Sure, jeans will most likely form the basis of your look, but why not try to envision your jeans are a pair of suit trousers and style accordingly. A shirt and a blazer with a smart pair of brogues take your old faithfuls from casual to classy and fit for any cultivated occasion you may have planned.

Jeans are probably the easiest way to wear denim and can be easily dressed up. To achieve the smart-casual style, keep the rest of your look minimal and tailored with a classic blazer and white shirt. They will contrast against the relaxed, casual jeans whilst keeping the look sharp and formal.

Work Wear

It might sound completely mad but bear with us. Introducing denim into your work wear can be really effective when you know what you’re doing.

Obviously denim work wear isn’t appropriate if you work in the world’s most corporate office, but if your job allows it, wearing denim to work can encourage relaxation and stimulate creativity. Keep the look clean and tailored – pick cuts of denim that fit well to avoid looking scruffy and unkempt. You’re still at work remember.

denim style

Perhaps introduce just one denim piece into your work wear look; a jacket is ideal as it creates texture contrast but can be kept smart by teaming with trousers. Your denim doesn’t have to be completely distressed to be classed as faded – sometimes light discolouration has the same effect. With wear, a black denim jacket will dirty and reveal lighter patches around stress points that are exposed to abrasion. Lots of washes and lots of wear will gradually fade your denim and give it that desired worn look.

work wear grid

Best Faded Jean Styles

Jeans are the easiest way to wear the faded denim look so to help you out we’ve picked 2 pairs to demonstrate the faded look in different washes perfectly. Jeans in a darker wash can still classify as ‘faded’ as long as they display lighter patches of scars and fading.

Light Wash

Ideally, to nail the faded denim look you should pick jeans in a light wash. This Nudie pair show light toned creases and signs of wear up and down the legs that create a faded contrast to the blue rinse. The more you wear these the better the fade.

Nudie Jean Fade detail

Dark Wash

When you think of faded jeans, the mind automatically wanders to lighter styles, but you can still achieve the faded look with darker cuts. This Edwin pair show some light patches around the thighs and knee that contrast really well against the dark indigo wash. Distressed areas on the thigh and lower leg also add to the faded, worn feel of the jeans. Again, the more they are worn the better and more faded they will look.


Edwin Jean Fade detail

On that note…

Denim is a timeless style staple. With each season it is constantly renewed and reinvented and this Spring/Summer is no exception. Faded denim rejuvenates the trend and can throw up some fresh and interesting style ideas.

Feature image from Pinterest

You may also like