When and How to Wear Light(er) Wash Jeans

Fitted, dark wash jeans should be a staple in every man's wardrobe. If you only own one pair of jeans, they should be slim-straight, dark wash jeans.

But that doesn't mean you should overlook lighter wash or medium wash jeans. If you're not sure how to wear lighter wash jeans, this guide will help.

How and when to wear lighter wash jeans

Wearing Lighter Colored Denim

Medium and light wash jeans are inherently more casual than their darker counterparts. For this reason, it's crucial that they fit impeccably well.

This is especially true for us shorter men, lest we end up looking shorter (and heavier) than we really are.

Most men make the mistake of wearing jeans that are too big and baggy, which looks terrible, especially with light wash jeans:

Tom Cruise wearing baggy light wash jeans

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Ignoring the fact that the couple is wearing the same exact jeans, the big problem here is that Tom's jeans are too big and baggy.

If you want to learn more about how jeans should fit, read this post:

Wearing Jeans As a Shorter Man

Once you nail the fit (which is easy if you're wearing PMNYC jeans), you have to figure out what to wear lighter wash jeans with.

Here are three simple, timeless outfit ideas that pretty much any man can pull off (in order from most casual to most dressy):

Outfit #1: Jeans and T-Shirt

Since medium and light wash jeans are more casual, it makes sense that they work so well for casual getups.

And it doesn't get much more casual than jeans and a t-shirt.

Kit Harrington (a.k.a., Jon Snow), who happens to be a not-so-tall man, shows us how to pull off this look:

Kit Harrington wearing light wash jeans

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Almost any color t-shirt will do. I prefer tees that don't contrast too much with my jeans (to avoid the cut-in-half look).

But this 'rule' can be broken if everything fits well.

Other than that, anything goes with this look. Whatever kind of shoes you like, from work boots to canvas sneakers.

Any sort of second layer, like a casual windbreaker or bomber jacket, will also work. It's hard to get this look wrong if your jeans fit well.

Outfit #2: Jeans and Button Up

This is just one notch up on the formality scale, but it's still a very casual look, especially if you're wearing your button up shirt untucked.

Scout Sixteen casual getup

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Justin (a.k.a., Scout Sixteen) shows us just how cool and effortless this look can be. You just can't achieve this laid back, casual feel with dark wash jeans.

Note: While the "cuffed pants" thing is trendy and can be a very cool look, it's not for everyone. For shorter men, it's a safer bet to wear jeans that are the correct length, rather than wearing too-long jeans and rolling them up.

Outfit #3: Jeans and Blazer

Here's a classic look that isn't going out of style anytime soon - blue jeans worn with a button up shirt and a jacket (or blazer):

Blue jeans with blazer

The key here is - you guessed it - to make sure your jacket fits really well. It should sit close to your body without being tight or restricting your movements.

Here's what's great about this outfit: you can totally change the vibe by changing up your shoes.

Going for a casual look? Throw on some classic white sneakers.

Want a dressier feel? Opt for some brown leather ankle boots or almost anything suede.

Either way, you're going to look better than all the other guys at the party who just wore their favorite "going out shirt".

Examples and Inspiration

Here are some more examples of not-so-tall guys looking effortlessly cool in lighter wash jeans:

Ryan Seacrest wearing medium blue jeans

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Scout Sixteen light wash jeans

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Robert Downey Jr wearing jeans and denim shirt

 

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Alex Crawford medium blue jeans 

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 Alex Crawford frayed blue jeans

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Mark Ruffalo wearing jeans

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Inspired yet? Good! Time to get yourself in a pair of lighter wash jeans...