How to Dress Up a Pair of Jeans With a White Oxford Shirt

Written by aleksandra ozimek
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How to Dress Up a Pair of Jeans With a White Oxford Shirt
An untucked white shirt and jeans represent the American classic style. (LE TASCHE,DEI MIEI JEANS image by cancer 741 from

Jeans are a versatile piece in the wardrobe for both men and women. A crisp, white oxford can easily take those jeans from casual to elegant. According to Ralph Lauren's Style Guide, the oxford button-down shirt became a style icon and is often associated with classic Ivy League style. This sport shirt is ideal for a weekend getaway, a fancy dinner, a formal event, a night out or even for work. Dressing up jeans correctly with it is key to achieving this classic American style.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Iron
  • White oxford shirt
  • Dark denim jeans

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  1. 1

    Iron the white oxford shirt to remove any wrinkles or to freshen it up. Spray it with water before ironing to help smooth it out.

  2. 2

    Choose a dark pair of either straight leg or boot cut jeans, which are the two most popular cuts. According to the AskMen website, "You really can't go wrong with a pair of straight leg dark denim." Dark denim helps make the white oxford pop. Also, dark jeans are considered more elegant than lighter or faded jeans, therefore they make the look more dressy.

  3. 3

    Put on the jeans making sure that they sit comfortably on your hips. Avoid wearing a belt, which will make the look too bulky.

  4. 4

    Put on the white oxford shirt and button it up. Keep the top two or so buttons unbuttoned. Consider wearing a plain white undershirt if the shirt is too see-through. If the shirt fits perfectly, do not tuck it in -- this is the ideal classic American look. If the shirt is too long, tuck it in lightly into the jeans. Pull the shirt lightly out. It shouldn't be tucked tightly inside the jeans. Cuffing the sleeves or rolling them up is optional.

  5. 5

    Wear a navy blazer as suggested by AskMen for a more elegant look, if a jacket is necessary, or a leather jacket for a more casual look. Both work great with dark denim and a white oxford. Ralph Lauren's Style Guide suggests a look that will "smarten" you up by "pairing dark indigo jeans with a white oxford and narrow navy tie." If wearing a tie, button up all the buttons on the oxford, and unbutton the collar buttons to put the tie on. This look, according to Ralph Lauren, is "always smart and stylish with jeans."

  6. 6

    Choose shoes according to where you are wearing this outfit. For work, choose loafers or dress shoes, and for a casual look, choose loafers, sneakers or even boat shoes. This white oxford and jeans look is dressy with any type of shoes, given that you avoid athletic sneakers, flip-flops or sandals.

  1. 1

    Iron the shirt to smooth out any wrinkles and to freshen it up a bit.

  2. 2

    Choose a dark pair of jeans without rips such as boot cut, flare leg or skinny jeans. These can be low-rise jeans that sit comfortably on the hips and that aren't too loose in the leg area. The goal is to end up with a polished, neat look. Pull on the jeans.

  3. 3

    Put on the white oxford shirt, leaving about two buttons unbuttoned on top. Wear a plain white or grey tank top underneath if desired. This will allow you to unbutton more buttons, but do not leave the entire shirt unbuttoned. Roll up or scrunch up sleeves if desired. Either tuck the shirt in or leave it out. When tucked in, a regular belt is optional. For women, there are more options with the oxford and jeans since, as Ralph Lauren believes, "The classic oxford shirt is easy to dress up or down with accessories and styling."

  4. 4

    Pick out accessories. This can be a sparkly necklace, some bracelets or even a skinny belt to cinch the shirt at the waist with if left untucked. According to Ralph Lauren's Style Guide, "Even a combination as basic as a white oxford shirt and dark jeans can be styled for the evening by adding a statement-making shoe or bold jewellery. Remember: dressing up usually only requires a few key pieces and accessories."

  5. 5

    Choose shoes depending on where you are wearing this outfit. Flats are ideal for both work and play, as well as heels or heeled dress sandals. Shoes do not need to match the outfit colour-wise. For example, red pumps look great with a white oxford and dark jeans.

  6. 6

    Add a blazer if outerwear is required, such as a wool or classic navy blazer, a corduroy blazer or a trench coat. For more casual looks, a leather jacket or a casual blazer work as well.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep the white oxford shirt in a garment protection bag away from dust and sunlight to keep it from yellowing.
  • Dark denim may bleed onto the white shirt, that is, may make it blue. Test the jeans by rubbing any white cloth against them to see if the colour rubs off. If yes, wash the jeans in vinegar or detergent for dark colours, or choose a different pair.

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