Layering Over & Under: The Denim Shirt

One of my favorite things about getting dressed in the morning is figuring out what pieces I want to layer. I love playing with texture, color and pattern to try and make things I’ve worn a hundred times feel fresh. Recently, I bought a denim shirt from Levi’s (What? I didn’t have a denim shirt before this? I don’t want to talk about it.) that I can’t stop wearing. I’ve paired it with everything from dark rinse jeans to my Paige Blue skinnies to my littlest little black dress.

As the winter really starts to get a grip on New York City, I’ve been playing with more ways to layer my denim shirt:

Layering Over: Wearing a denim shirt under more layers is both easy and a little bit tricky. It’s easy in that it looks great with just about anything you might want to pair it with (just like jeans – imagine that!). My difficulty comes from the little details of my particular shirt, it has pearl snap buttons and flap pockets on the breast. These elements make it hard to wear under thin sweaters and shirts that might show through. Things that work well? Thick cable-knit sweaters, a cardigan worn open or a blazer.

Layering Under: There are so many ways you can work this look, and you’ll find that a denim shirt can quickly become one of your most versatile pieces. Wear it open instead of a sweater or blazer, or wear a crew neck tee underneath that just barely peeks out. If you’re feeling particularly bold (or cold) layer another collared shirt underneath it and pop your collars for a cozy and rather preppy look. (Don’t fold both the collars down, it will look strange, trust me.)

[Photos by Dustin Fenstermacher]



  1. January 10, 2012 / 12:53 pm

    Just snagged a chambray shirt from J. Crew, so thanks for the styling tips!! Can’t believe I never had this versatile piece in my wardrobe for so long…

  2. January 10, 2012 / 1:20 pm

    Love these ideas! I have finally found the perfect solution to deal with the lumpy buttons and pockets when you wear it under a thin sweater: wear a stretchy slimming cami as an “in-between” layer! I know, it sounds crazy, but you’ll never see the cami if you have the perfect one. I have this little “bra-shelf” basic cotton stretchy cami’s from Oldnavy that I use under lots of things, put the button-up on first, then the cami making sure it covers all the lumps and bumps and then pull it up a little so the “tails” of the button-up are still visible. Then put the sweater on, adjust and viola. Give it a try! Bonus points for being extra warm under there.

  3. January 10, 2012 / 2:16 pm

    I got a perfect chambray shirt from J Crew for Christmas and have been struggling for inspiration on how to wear it in more ways. This post was very helpful, I love the leopard cartigan over it, and with the plaid button up onder it. In Seattle, I need layers!

  4. January 10, 2012 / 2:35 pm

    Hi there!! Your shirt looks fabulous and thanks for sharing all the layered looks, it is such a versatile and stylish item. I just got a denim shirt too and will experiment with it for lots of different looks!

  5. January 10, 2012 / 4:06 pm

    I Love this post and the photos! Great ideas!!

  6. January 10, 2012 / 5:50 pm

    I have the same layering issue because my denim shirts (both) have pockets on the chest that add extra bulk under lighter garments. However, I love what you did up above with the thick sweater and the jacket on top. So chic!

    I love the layered look. I’m pinning some of your photos on Pinterest for inspiration for more ways to layer my denim shirt since I haven’t worn it in a little white 🙂

  7. January 11, 2012 / 3:38 pm

    Is that a leopard cardgian? love how it looks scarf-like! Plus that pea coat is awesome – along with those sunglasses. great looks taylor!!


  8. January 11, 2012 / 5:04 pm

    Love the wide leg/flared denim outfit! I really need a denim shirt in my life! <3

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