10 ways to wear a chambray shirt

Conventional wisdom—and a gazillion fashion editors—will tell you a classic white button-front shirt is a wardrobe essential. I agree to an extent; like many essentials, however, it can feel a little...boring. White shirts also tend to be problematic because they're hard to keep clean and can sometimes be see-through. Which is why I prefer a chambray shirt. It has a little more personality than plain white, but it's just as versatile. It leans a little more casual, but we're in a more relaxed day and age, so I think that's quite appropriate. I've featured my chambray shirt many times here over the years, so I thought it was time to put all my best outfit ideas together. Here are my favorite ways to style a chambray button-up shirt. 


What is a chambray shirt?

First things first: while it may look a lot like denim, chambray is not denim! It's woven using two different-colored threads (usually a blue and a white), which gives it a denim-like look, but it's much softer, thinner, and lighter. Because of the different threads, chambray tends to fade nicely as it ages, giving it a very broken-in look and feel that, if you ask me, only gets better over time. My chambray shirt is from Madewell, and while they don't seem to have many options at the moment, Quince has a great dupe that's very well priced. Now that we've settled that, on to the styling. 




Under a sweatshirt

Because chambray is so soft and light, it's great for layering, especially in springtime. I love to pop mine under a sweater or sweatshirt, and it adds a subtle wash of color that still feels somewhat neutral. This is obviously the most subtle way to wear chambray, but an elevated one too. 




OUTFIT DETAILS: H&M sweatshirt | Madewell chambray shirt (here's a dupe) | Zara culotte jeans (similar here) | Balenciaga first bag (current version) | Universal Thread India platform shoes


With denim

While not quite a Canadian tuxedo because chambray isn't technically denim, pairing it with either a darker wash or a similar shade achieves a similar effect without looking totally dorky. This is one of my favorite ways to wear chambray, with jeans, colored denim (like white or black), or a denim skirt. As you'll notice, some of these photos are on the older side (remember that summer we all had that Cult Gaia basket bag?!), so I'm not going to link everything I'm wearing, but will do so whenever possible. 



OUTFIT DETAILS: Theory blazer (current version) | Madewell chambray shirt (here's a dupe) | Gucci marmont belt | Current Elliott jeans (I like the Spanx flares) | Fount Coventry bag | Golden Goose Superstar sneakers



OUTFIT DETAILS: Madewell chambray shirt (here's a dupe) | Gucci marmont belt | Topshop denim skirt (current season) | Cult Gaia bag | Sam Edelman sandals 



OUTFIT DETAILS: J.Crew quilted jacket (current version) | Madewell chambray shirt (here's a dupe) | Fount Coventry bag | Paige Nellie culotte jeans | Veja Condor sneakers (current version)


Under a blazer

This is a very work-friendly way to wear a chambray shirt, under a more tailored jacket (although the camel blazer is actually knit), and you can go with either pants or a skirt. A chambray shirt might not work if your office is super-dressy or conservative, but I think it would for most, especially in our post-pandemic dressed-down environment.



OUTFIT DETAILS: J.Crew blazer (current version) | Madewell chambray shirt (here's a dupe) | Fount Coventry bag | Spanx Perfect pants (current version) | Vionic oxfords 



OUTFIT DETAILS: Frame blazer | Madewell chambray shirt (here's a dupe) | Allsaints tote | Gap skirt | Born boots 

With a cute skirt 

You know I love a flirty miniskirt, and while chambray shirts are soft and relaxed, there's something a little more unisex that provides a nice bit of contrast to such a feminine skirt. This is a great look for traveling (I'm in Croatia in the first pic) or for the weekend, especially in summer. 



OUTFIT DETAILS: Madewell chambray shirt (here's a dupe) | Offline by Aerie pleated skort (current version) | Golden Goose Superstar sneakers



OUTFIT DETAILS: Madewell chambray shirt (here's a dupe) | Free People eyelet skirt | Rattan bag | Birkenstock Arizona big buckle sandals 



OUTFIT DETAILS: Madewell chambray shirt (here's a dupe) | IRO skirt | Birkenstock Arizona EVA sandals



As a jacket

This is admittedly a styling trick I don't remember to do enough, but it's great for the summer, which is when this photo was taken. Woven shirts can act as a third piece—or as a jacket, in layman's terms—worn open and layered over another top. The overall effect feels very casual yet fresh, and shirts are so lightweight, they provide just enough coverage without making you overheat, which is key. 



OUTFIT DETAILS: Madewell chambray shirt (here's a dupe) | Aerie boyfriend tee (I think) | Madewell belt bag | Free People skirt (similar here) | Adidas Superstar sneakers

4 comments

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Laura B said...

I love my chambray shirt! It really is so versatile as you show here! And most of the time they don't need ironing!

alexandria dui lawyer said...

Use our list of 10 ways to style a chambray shirt to unleash your creative side. With this classic wardrobe piece, experiment with different looks and make a statement. I have no doubt that more research would advance the conversation.Thank you for dedicating your time to compose this content.I appreciate you drawing attention to this important matter.

stylesplash@live.co.uk said...

I prefer a chambray shirt to a white one. They're so versatile too. I haven't worn mine for a while - I need to dig it out of the wardrobe! Thanks for linking!

Emma xxx
www.style-splash.com