Some clothes are out of fashion almost as quickly as they arrive. Then there are the menswear perennials, classics that never let you down, and only get better as they get older. The denim shirt sits in that bracket, and it’s one of those wardrobe essentials I could not do without.
Depending on how it is detailed, the way it is cut and the treatment the fabric has undergone, I’d argue there’s almost nowhere you can’t wear it, other than formal black-tie events.
It’s also pretty much seasonless; worn as a shacket (shirt/jacket hybrid), as a cover-up for summer, or as an extra layer for when the days grow shorter. The first thing to decide when buying one is what its primary function will be.
There are denim shirts suited to smarter occasions, with preppy button-down collars (so you can wear them with a tie), and there are those with heritage-inspired Western detailing that tap into the rugged machismo of the Marlboro Man.
Levi’s, AllSaints and Belstaff, however, are all firmly on the authentically styled dustbowl denim side of the fence. AllSaints’ Western denim shirt comes in taupe, so is a good way to avoid blue-on-blue, double-denim overload if you wear it with jeans.
Belstaff’s version is in an untreated, heavyweight dark denim; a suitable replacement for a jacket if worn over a T-shirt. Levi’s Barstow shirt is an iconic design that has been updated year-on-year in countless permutations.
Eight of the best
Tailored-fit indigo shirt, £125, PS Paul Smith
Salur shirt in taupe, £99, AllSaints