Denim Shirts: An Ever-popular Trend From The Rock Era To The Present Day

The iconic, flexible clothing item that can be worn in any season is the denim shirt. Thanks to the creative minds of the designers and with advancements in technology, these pieces come in various shades and designs these days. And, needless to say, they can be layered in multiple ways. A wardrobe staple, they are flattering and easy to wear. For years, they have been a favorite of fashion-conscious men and women.

So, what led to the rise of this cool style? How does it dominate the fashion scene every time? To know all about it, continue reading!

The Beginning

The origin of the denim shirts can be traced back to the late 1800s when the fabric was first introduced. The material was initially used for making work uniforms as it was considered to be tough and sturdy enough to withstand heavy labor.

With Hollywood stars slowly incorporating denim shirts into their life, the style became crazy popular in the 1930s. In movies, these shirts were often sported by cowboys through which they became a symbol of American individualism and ruggedness. When iconic musicians like Elvis Presley started wearing them on stage during the 1950s, they became synonymous with rock ‘n’ roll. Becoming a symbol of non-conformity and rebellion, these shirts were adopted by the counterculture movement in the 1960s and 70s.

Continuing to win hearts over the years, today, these shirts have solidified their position in fashion. From casual to dressy, they are featured in various ways. Though initially a part of menswear, women started including them in their wardrobes as well, and slowly it became a gender-neutral piece.

The Craze in the Rock Era

Legendary rock bands such as The Who, Led Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones were such a thing in the 1960s and 70s period. The musicians embraced denim and often displayed it in patched and ripped forms, which went smoothly with the bold sound of the music and their raw energy.

Remember the Paint It Black song from the Album Aftermath? Almost every rock music lover is into Mick Jagger and his signature denim-on-denim look— unbuttoned denim shirts and tight-fitting denim jeans. The combination of denim with provocative lyrics and bluesy undertones of The Rolling Stones complemented the ruggedness of the material.

Countless contemporary rock bands draw inspiration from the past, not only in terms of music but fashion choices as well. Women go gaga over rockstars sporting skinny jeans with vintage denim shirts!

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Classic Denim Shirt Moments in Movies

In some of the most notable movies, stars gave the best denim shirt looks. Here are the three most popular denim shirt moments:

  • The 1942 romance/war movie, Casablanca is a favorite of many, and who isn’t a fan of Ingrid Bergman? However, the look that is voted the best by one and all was from Yellow Rolls Royce. The beautiful and talented actress looked cool as she wore the denim shirt tucked in and rolled up.
  • The first star to look hot and sexy in a denim shirt was Jane Birkin. Her open denim shirt allowed people to run their imaginations wild in If Don Juan Were a Woman!
  • While Brokeback Mountain moved many and is one of the most powerful flicks of all time, Jake Gyllenhaal looked chic and classy in a light blue denim shirt and dark blue denim jeans as he has a conversation with Heath Ledger in one of the scenes.

Different Denim Shirt Fabrics

Yes, denim itself is a fabric but did you know that there are sub-divisions as well?

Raw Denim– Unwashed or raw denim is a material that is not washed after the dying procedure. It’s pretty stiff to the touch.

Bull Denim– With a twill construction, this denim fabric is durable and strong.

Acid-wash Denim– Using bleaching techniques, acid-wash denim is created to fade the dye more aggressively.

Stretch Denim– The fabric that has been blended with synthetic fabrics like Lycra and elastane to give a fitted look but slight stretch to the shirts is stretch denim.

Regular Denim– Regular denim material is crafted from 100% cotton. Robust and versatile, it’s the original denim material.

About the Colors and Prints

Gone are those days when the only color available in denim shirts was blue. Today, you can get these shirts in different colors— right from yellow to pink to purple to brown to black, and more. While those who are into classic denim style find blue to be the most attractive, those who like experimenting with fashion can opt for the variations.

If you ever become bored with denim shirts in solid colors, you can think about opting for outstanding denim shirt prints. Camo denim shirts, zig-zag printed denim shirts, floral denim shirts, polka-dot denim shirts— the list is endless!

Embroidered, ripped, and patchwork denim shirts are quite popular.

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Denim Shirts: Tucked in or Out?

The answer to this question isn’t as simple as you would think. It depends on several factors such as the length and cut of your shirt, the trousers you are partnering with, and the nature of the event (formal or casual).

While a tucked-in denim shirt creates a well-structured, polished look that is great for semi-formal or formal events, an untucked denim shirt gives off a carefree, relaxed vibe, making it perfect for informal or casual outings.

If you wish to go for the tucked-in look, then just tuck the front and not the whole shirt. This will not only offer you a chic look but also help you avoid the dreaded muffin top feel around the top of your chinos or jeans.

Difference Between Denim and Chambray Shirts

Many don’t know the difference between denim and chambray shirts.

Both denim and chambray are cotton fabrics that are crafted from two different yarns, typically one white and the other one indigo, therefore resulting in blue-colored shirts.

Wondering where do these materials differ? It’s in their construction.

Chambray is crafted with the help of a plain weave and denim is constructed using a twill weave. The former involves single strands of yarn woven together and the latter involves multiple strands of yarn woven together.

In the case of chambray, the result is a thinner and softer fabric that is super lightweight and breathable, and in the case of denim, the result is a thicker, more structured material, often associated with a rugged, casual style.

How Denim Shirt Icons Flaunted It

No matter to which year or time you belong, you can never forget these denim shirt icons:

Bruce Springsteen, the famed American rock singer, posing backstage right before a concert in Philadelphia, looked smashing in a white tank top, a denim button-up shirt, and straight-legged jeans.

With her latest release Barbie, being a superhit all around the world, Margot Robbie has always looked great in denim. The way she paired a collared denim shirt with matching denim jeans is something that will make you fall for this pretty woman all over again.

At New York Fashion Week last year, Julianne Hough stunned in an unusual denim outfit. Her collared denim shirt with wide-legged jeans was a daring look, which she accessorized with nude pumps, a leather bag, and tan sunglasses.

South Korean Denim Shirt Fashion

As the world slowly goes crazy over South Korean clothing trends, these celebs from the heart of the country, Seoul, show how to rock denim shirts:

Jung Dae-Hyun, the K-pop singer from the music group B.A.P, always rocks in airport fashion. His white tee plus pale blue denim shirt plus black pants combo is a major hit! And, the cute bucket hat is a fantastic addition to the mix!

Lee Joon-Gi, ‘oppa’ of every girl having a major crush on him right from the Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo days, has always killed in his denim shirt ensembles. His mid-blue denim shirt with beige trousers look is a particular favorite of many.

IU’s boyfriend surely knows how to style a denim shirt and slay with his chocolate-boy looks. Lee Jong-Suk, the actor-cum-model when posed for a photo shoot in a dark blue denim shirt and dark grey denim jeans with a scarf tied around his neck, many women, not just in Korea but worldwide forgot how to breathe. The printed shirt from W- Two Worlds was so cute on the 34-year-old.

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Extraordinary Denim Shirt Outfit Ideas for This Year

For Men
Ever heard of the French-style denim shirt? It’s a classic. You can combine it with lighter-shade bottom wear like cream or off-white chinos or trousers.

For the workplace, consider going for a tonal blue palette. It’s the simplest way to style a denim shirt. A smart mid-blue denim shirt can look very sophisticated with a textured, dark-navy wool suit. A trendy pair of brown suede Chelsea boots are all you are going to need to finish the look.

A lightweight, simple denim shirt can be the perfect layering piece for fall. To grab some eyeballs with your cold-weather dressing, find one with a roomy fit and team it up with a padded gilet and cargo pants.

For Women

The distressed denim jeans have been the talk of the town for quite some time now. Think of pairing a distressed skinny version with a basic white tee and denim shirt.

For the cool girl look, tie your denim shirt at the front in a knot and pair it with matching denim jeans and black knee-high cowboy boots. Use a baseball cap to finish the outfit with perfection.

Black and blue is an ever-popular combination. If a blue denim shirt with blue denim jeans always scares you off, then you can replace the blue jeans with black.

Closing Words

So, now you know that this timeless classic never goes out of fashion. Style them this year following the above suggestions or taking inspiration from them and create a buzz whenever out on the street!



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