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Article: Washed Denim Shirts: The Perfect Shirt for Any Occasion


Washed Denim Shirts: The Perfect Shirt for Any Occasion

Denim shirts have always been people's favorite since they have all the attributes that make them an absolute must-have in your closet. For example, it has durability, it has comfort, and it has massive resilience against fading and shearing. And the best part is that, unlike other types of men's shirts, this one gets even and even better with time.

As time passes by, these shirts become softer and more comfortable. However, you can also get that lived-in feeling with newly purchased pre-washed denim shirts. If you have not heard much about washed denim, you are on the right page!

Today, we are going to explain everything about these incredibly popular men's shirts; what they are? How are they different from unwashed denim? How to buy and wear them perfectly? So read the article to the bottom so you can stock up your closet with nothing but the best-washed denim shirts.

Washed Denim Shirts

Washed Denim shirts are made by using a special industrial process known as pre-washing or pre-distressing. In this type of garment finishing process, the denim fabric is processed with chemicals, water, and other abrasive techniques to exaggerate or imitate its natural fading which otherwise happens over time when you wash and wear a raw denim shirt several times.

As a result of this pre-washing, the washed denim shirts come out to be softer and brighter in color with fewer risks of croaking. In other words, washed denim shirts offer the look and feel of living in denim right off the rack and you don't have to wait for months to unlock that level of comfort. 

Many different types of washing processes are employed to make such washed denims such as rinsing, stone washing, hand scraping, ozone washing, enzyme washing, laser washing, and many others. Each process is employed to bring a unique sort of result. For example, rinsing is used mainly to minimize the risk of shrinking whereas stone washing is employed to achieve a washed-down look with a softer touch. 

That's also the basic difference between washed and unwashed or raw denim; washed denim is rinsed or chemically processed after dying whereas unwashed ones don't undergo any such pre-distressing process which in turn leaves them dark and stiff.

However, one thing that is important to mention here is that the composition of both raw and washed denim is the same as both are made up of tighter cotton weaves. The only difference is that one is left in its natural state whereas the other one is pre-treated before launching in the market. 

Factors To Consider When Buying Washed Denim Shirts


The very first thing you need to consider when buying a washed denim shirt is quality. Wondering how to evaluate the quality? Well, that's easy since you just need to find one with a higher thread count. Denim shirts are mostly available in two major types; chambray and western. 

The western denim shirts are made up of 100% cotton and some elastane fibers whereas chambray is made up of canvas weave which is not as stretchable but features a softer touch and feel. Considering this, chambray denim shirts are ideal to wear under blazers for a smart casual look whereas western shirts are good for casual settings. 

Wash Type:

All the washed denim shirts are going to look lived-in and somewhat old on the very first wear so make sure you get a shirt that won't look too faded or worn out in a few years coming ahead. For this purpose, it's important to stay away from washed shirts that have undergone severe acidic washes and pick one that is washed gently or has undergone only a single wash.


These are the details that matter the most. Even though most people don't pay much attention to this aspect, the choice of button, pocket, placket, cuffs, and collar styles play a huge role in determining the authenticity of best-washed denim shirts for men.

However, keep in mind that a denim shirt is no less than a statement piece in itself so avoid buying from brands that incorporate too much excessive detailing such as contrast stitching, big logos or monograms, etc. A high-quality washed denim shirt is one that is simple and clean. The only design element such a quality shirt would have is contrasted buttons (mostly white) so the quality of fabric and Craftsmanship could be the star of the show. 

Ways To Style A Washed Denim Shirt

When styled appropriately with the right type of bottoms and accessories, a washed denim shirt could serve as a perfect shirt for every occasion, be it formal, smart casual, or casual. To give you more ideas and inspiration about styling washed denim shirts, here are some tips you might find helpful; 


Wearing a washed denim shirt for formal gatherings might be a bolder move but again, there's nothing impossible if you know some basic styling hacks. To make such a casual shirt appear formal and traditional, you need to pair it with well-fitting pants and accessories that can tie up the whole look. 

For example, if you have a gray or blue-washed denim shirt, you may consider pairing it with a white, khaki, or beige linen suit and dress shoes for a summer or spring wedding. Being breathable, lightweight, and available in a myriad of colors, linen suits may complement your denim shirts perfectly to create a modern, sophisticated look. 

One thing that you should keep in mind is that some washed denim shirts are crafted to look more formal than typical denim shirts. Such shirts usually feature a well-structured collar and comprise a thin and smooth fabric. So for formal occasions, you better get such formal denim shirts and avoid those with floppy, buttoned collars. 


To style your washed denim shirt for a semi-formal occasion, consider wearing it with a pair of trousers and a sports jacket. Make sure your trousers and sports jacket are of the same color so they can go perfectly with each other. Complete the outfit with a pair of leather boots, a textured tie, and a contrasting pocket square. 

Besides, you can also wear your washed denim shirt as an overshirt to create a smart casual look. For this purpose, you need to wear a gray or navy denim over a white t-shirt. Pair your denim shirt with the matching pair of dress pants or trousers and complete the look with dress shoes and a leather belt. 

You may also add carefully thought-out accessories to your look such as a scarf around your neck, a classic pair of aviator, and a beaded bracelet. 


Whether you are planning your next vacation at a beach house or an evening summer party, the combo of denim shirt and shorts is surely going to win. You may pair your washed denim shirt with camo shorts, Chino shorts, or dress shorts. Go with either no tucked or half-tucked option and complete a chic, easy-breezy look with a wristwatch, hat, and a pair of white sneakers.

Tips for wearing washed denim shirts

  1. Pay utmost attention to the fit of your washed denim shirt. Go either with contemporary, slim fit, or regular fit but never pick oversized, baggy denim shirts as they may look extremely sloppy and unflattering on almost all body types. 
  2. Always pair your denim shirts with bottom wear in contrasting colors and textures. Even though there was a time when Canadian tuxedos were quite trendy in fashion, such a monotonous look is highly discouraged these days. 
  3. Even though denim shirts can be styled for formal occasions, you should not wear one if the occasion is super serious or it's a black tie event. 
  4. Know when you should tuck your denim shirt in. Generally, when worn with a blazer, suit jacket, or sports jacket, the shirt should be tucked inside the pants. Whereas when paired with chinos or shorts, your short-sleeved denim shirts may go untucked.


Q1: Which one is better: a washed denim shirt or an unwashed one?
It all boils down to personal preferences. For example, if you prioritize strength, durability, and extended service life, unwashed denim shirts are a greater option whereas when it comes to a smoother and more comfortable feel, washed denim shirts are a clear winner. 

Q2: Does pre-washed denim shrink?
There is only a 1% chance of pre-washed denim shirts shrinking as compared to unwashed or raw denim. 

Q3: Does washed denim still fade?
Yes, washed denim shirts tend to fade as well but it will fade at a slower speed and lower contrast as compared to unwashed denims.

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