How to Swap Out Your Dark Jeans For Light, Springy Denim

Though black and indigo are flattering, light denim is a great way to freshen up your look for the warmer months.
Alyssa Garrison
Publish date:
Social count:
Though black and indigo are flattering, light denim is a great way to freshen up your look for the warmer months.

Though I’m primarily a flouncy dress and skirts kind of girl, I have a strong, undying love for denim. When I was a kid, my big purchase each spring would be a new denim jacket or miniskirt, and as I grew up, the tradition sort of stuck. I’m always in the market for great new denim pieces, but over the past few years a shift has occurred; I’ve developed a weakness for bleached, washed out, super light denim!


I know what you’re thinking: light denim? Isn’t that really unflattering, hard to wear, and hard to keep clean? Or even, “I bought some light denim once and I never wore it!”. Well, in some ways yes, it is a bit more of a challenge. Black and blue denim is almost always flattering and easy to dress up or dress down, while light denim can easily translate as too cowboy without the right ensemble and accessories. Washed out denim also requires a certain level of care, as it does stain easily and can deteriorate extremely fast if exposed to more bleach (me and an old pair of Nudies learned that the hard way).

That being said, I think the juice is most definitely worth the squeeze. When dressed up, light denim looks elegant and interesting, dressed down it’s the perfect summer staple. And if used in a dress, shirt, skirt, or dress design, it can even work for work! Here, let me show you what I mean:



Casual is the easiest way to wear light denim, especially if it’s ripped or distressed. I like to pair my vintage cut-offs with something simple and chic like a dark patterned top or simple white t-shirt and sneakers. I think stripes look especially cute though! This look is perfect for a day at the beach, the park, or just biking around the city in the summertime. 

Shop the look:



For a more stylish, dressed up look, try pairing your light denim with dark pieces in interesting fabrics like sheer, silk, and leather. This adds weight and texture to your outfit, which helps to anchor the light denim and make it look a little more classy. In this case of jeans, I tend to lean toward a slightly looser fit when I’m buying a lighter wash, both for comfort and aesthetic reasons, and then wear them almost like a pair of trousers. I like this look for dinner with friends or drinks with a hot date. 

Shop the look:



Though jeans may not be allowed at your workplace, you can still wear light denim to the office. The best part about this washed out fabric is it translates really well to dresses, skirts, and button up shirts. I’ve been loving this Fidelity dress (a hybrid of dress and button up I suppose) for the transition from winter to spring. Dress up light denim with a blazer, tights, and a hint of sparkle. 

Shop the look: 

Are you a dark denim die-hard, or a light denim lover?