Jeans: You either love them or hate them. Jeans are super common and extremely versatile articles of clothing. Depending on the style and condition of your jeans, you can wear them on outings with friends, a night at the bar, working in the yard, or even to church.
Deciding to wear jeans depends entirely on the type of jeans you own, where you’re going, and the company with whom you’ll be spending your time.
Because they are so functional and versatile, it can sometimes be a little challenging to determine what shoes to wear with jeans.
There are actually numerous options you can go with, so we’ll jump right in and get to some solid examples.
What Shoes to Wear with Jeans
Jeans work with so many different outfits and therefore go with a wide variety of types of shoes.
Sneakers and Trainers
Once upon a time, wearing a pair of sneakers with jeans was very much considered a “dad look.” Needless to say, not many people wanted to rock that style unless they were actually a dad who was too busy to care what people thought of his comfort look.
However, with the rise of the “athleisure” style, sneakers and jeans have made a significant comeback. It’s no longer weird to wear your trainers with your jeans. In fact, it’s encouraged.
While you can wear whatever kind of sneaks you want with your jeans, simple black or white trainers are the best go-to.
Manufacturers are making sneakers that are worn for style rather than performance these days, so you can mix and match your favorite high-end trainers with a casual t-shirt or a stylish blazer and a classic pair of blue jeans. You can also rock them with black jeans along with various shades of denim.
Boots and jeans portray such a classic look, but the best part about this trend is the ever-evolving style of boots on the market. Boots paired with jeans can display an urban, casual appearance, a formal and smart appearance, or a southern vibe due to the many styles available.
If you’re looking to be a little more modern but less formal, you can go with a chunkier boot like hiking boots. Those aiming for a more professional or classy look can pair their jeans with a Chelsea boot.
Still, more styles like cowboy boots range from working in the fields to a night out of dancing with a pretty girl.
The feminine styles of boots range even further, from thigh-high to ankle booties. Women can rock heeled or flat boots in suede, leather, or canvas with their best pair of jeans for a chic look during casual and formal occasions.
And of course, women look awesome sporting a stylish pair of cowboy boots with a snug-fitting pair of skinny jeans or flares.
Derby shoes give an individual a look that’s semi-formal yet smart casual. Though technically considered a dress shoe, derby shoes look fantastic with a pair of jeans for a more relaxed atmosphere where you still want to look your best.
When you pair the casual feel of denim with these dress shoes, you come across and cool and collected. This style has a way of saying that you’re feeling casual, but you still care about how you come across to people.
Derby shoes are most often found in blacks and browns, but more recent trends have seen them in various shades like navy or grey – which are great for switching up your style and going for something a little more different.
In addition, you can wear your derby shoes with jeans and a button-down or a casual blazer. Even a polo shirt would look superb with these shoes and a pair of jeans.
It’s always fun for a girl to mix and match her shoes with different outfits. One of the great things about women’s style is that many of her pieces of clothing are versatile. A blazer can be perfect for the office, but she can also pair it with a flirty sundress for an adorable look.
Two staples come into play when you enter a woman’s closet: jeans and heels.
Every female has a favorite pair of jeans that hug their curves just right, making them feel comfortable and confident. At the same time, high heels can have that same effect. When you pair the perfect heel with the perfect jeans, you get a picture of sophistication, sexiness, and fashion without the appearance of trying too hard.
High heels are a great way to dress up a pair of jeans. Whether you prefer the skinny leg style or a bit of flair at the ends, heels can take your casual jeans to the next level.
Rock a pair of stilettos with a pair of blue jeans during a girls’ lunch, a shopping trip, or a concert. You can’t go wrong with this combination.
Along the same lines as high heels comes wedges. Wedges are also high heeled shoes, but they boast a solid heel rather than a thin stiletto or a cone.
Wedges give a very summery, flirty vibe. While you can wear them with a cute sundress or a pair of shorts, you can also match them up with a pair of jeans to showcase your charming style.
Wedges are also fun to wear with jeans because you can find them in so many different colors and styles. Some wedges are a combination of a wedge and an ankle bootie covered in suede for a chic fall look. Others sport cork heels with floral canvas designs perfect for showing off a brand new pedicure.
The options are endless when it comes to wedges and jeans.
In the past, you may have heard the word loafers and immediately thought of your grandfather in his bathrobe sitting in his favorite reading chair during the evening. However, loafers have taken huge leaps towards fashion-forwardness.
While the general design of a loafer tends to be more laid-back, luxurious brands have taken over the market to create sophisticated styles and additions to this leisurewear. Loafers now say: smart casual and semi-formal, and you can definitely rock them with a pair of jeans.
More traditional styles are made from leather, while others are made of suede and feature adornments like tassels, gold bars, and flashy patterns.
Basically, there’s a loafer out there to suit everyone’s style – and your jeans will complete the look.
Boat shoes become very popular in the summer and are traditionally styled with chino shorts and a button-down shirt, but they also look fabulous with a pair of jeans.
Men who want to look relaxed but also display their sense of fashion and perhaps their abundance of money may consider the boat shoes look. The shorts and shoes indeed project this demeanor, but trading the shorts for jeans can put on an even more sophisticated, put-together look.
Boat shoes are perfect for summer brunches, rooftop bars, and days at the racetrack. Add a button-down with rolled sleeves, a pair of stylish sunglasses, and maybe even a straw fedora to complete a smart casual summer look.
Every woman understands the importance of a good pair of flats. Flats are perhaps the most versatile shoes on the market for women today. You can wear them with just about anything and pull off the look, be it a dress, a gown, leggings, shorts, business attire, and – yes – jeans.
The reason for this is that flats come in so many shapes, styles, patterns, and materials. Shiny silver flats can class up a pair of jeans while also remaining appropriate for your senior prom.
Canvas flats work great with a pair of shorts as well as your favorite jeans. Floral flats look adorable with dresses but can easily work with your best skinnies.
Point being you can’t go wrong with a pair of flats, and almost any style of flats will go great with your jeans.
Canvas sneakers, like those put out by brands like Converse, have been a popular shoe to pair with jeans for decades. Whether you prefer high tops or low ankles, you can definitely put these two shoes together for the perfect casual look.
Canvas sneakers and jeans are great for picnics, ball games, casual lunches, and trips to the store. They’re super comfortable and allow you to feel good and look good while wearing your favorite pair of jeans.
When is it Okay to Wear Jeans?
We know that there are tons of shoes that you can pair with jeans, but just because you’ve matched a classy pair of shoes with a pair of Levi’s doesn’t mean you’re ready for the ball.
There are certain situations when wearing jeans is acceptable, just as there are times when you definitely should not go casual. Let’s take a closer look at instances where jeans are acceptable.
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Jeans are perfect for any recreational activity. Whether it’s a friendly game of softball or your town’s springtime fair, you can wear jeans to these casual events.
Recreational activities typically do not require any dress code or fashion requirements, so jeans are a safe bet. Although, if your event involves a sport, we don’t recommend you wear your best pair of jeans. Go for a junkier pair that has some holes or stains.
There are tons of various casual outings that you can wear jeans too. Most of these outings probably have to do with getting together with friends or family members.
Perhaps you’re meeting the guys at the bar for some drinks, or the girls are all getting together for lunch. Even a family dinner celebrating someone’s birthday can merit jeans, depending on the restaurant.
We would even consider some work outings casual enough for jeans. While you may not wear jeans in the office, you might tone it down a bit if you’re taking a client out to an early dinner at a casual pub.
Wearing a full suit can make you seem pretentious and overly formal, but wearing jeans can make you more relatable to your client.
Consider jeans for a casual date with a significant other to the movies, a mini-golf course, or a stroll in the park. Sport your favorite jeans for dinner at a friend’s house or a visit to see your aunt and uncle.
Picnics and BBQs
Picnics and barbeques are perfect opportunities to showcase your smart-casual style to friends, families, and maybe even co-workers. Because they are considered informal events, you don’t have to dress up for a picnic or a barbeque.
However, you still want to look respectable, and a good pair of jeans is the perfect way to do that. Pair your jeans with nice sneakers, heels, flats, or stylish boots and a decent top, and you’ll be set to impress while showcasing a casual feel.
Plus, wearing jeans means you don’t have to worry as much about spilling drinks or food on your clothing. Picnics and barbeques can also entail things like sports and lawn games, so you should feel comfortable enough in jeans to look good and participate.
Speaking of sports, lots of people wear jeans to any sporting event you can think of. When it comes to professional baseball, basketball, football, and other sports, dressing well isn’t necessary or appropriate. You wouldn’t wear a business suit to a hockey game.
Nothing pairs better with your favorite sports jersey than a pair of jeans. This classic look never goes out of style when you’re going to the game with the guys.
Achieve that fresh look that says you’re a fan by wearing jeans to any sporting event.
School and Classes
Whether you’re in grade school, high school, or college, jeans never go out of style. Unless you attend a school with a strict dress code or uniforms, there is a good chance that jeans are more than acceptable.
Jeans are very popular among all people, young and old. Fashionistas, jocks, theater enthusiasts, science majors, and history lovers all wear jeans regularly, so you can’t go wrong.
Wear jeans with a variety of shoes and tops to achieve different styles that suit your mood for the day. You’ll always be able to express yourself to your peers and friends when you go with jeans.
When Dress Codes Permit
In this day and age in fashion, pretty much anything goes. That’s why it’s always a good call to see if a particular place or company has a dress code.
For example, many offices have gone business-casual, and jeans are permitted, as long as they are in good shape and lack tears, holes, stains, and tacky adornments. At the same time, other offices offer casual Fridays, where you’re allowed to wear jeans, but only on the last day of the workweek.
This goes for restaurants too. If you’re not sure what the appropriate atmosphere of a new restaurant is, you can look it up. If they don’t explicitly state it on their website, then you’re usually good to go with your best judgment. Even so, many people who post reviews will describe the setting along with what you should probably wear.
Casual or business casual atmospheres means it’s okay to wear jeans to a restaurant.
Even weddings can call for certain dress codes. As a general rule of thumb, you should probably go for dress pants or a sundress for a wedding. However, if the bride and groom state on their invitation that the wedding is a casual dress, then you can get away with jeans and a dress shirt.
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When Not to Wear Jeans
Just as there are times when jeans are not only appropriate but expected, there are also definitely times when you should not wear jeans.
Some people stick to the notion that you only have to dress well for a job interview if the position is corporate, but that’s not necessarily the case.
In fact, as a rule of thumb and to play it safe, you should never wear jeans to a job interview. Even if the position is standing behind the cash register at a McDonald’s, you shouldn’t go with denim for the interview.
Every interview is a chance to showcase your professionalism and respect for the establishment. While you may not always have to wear a suit and tie, jeans are unacceptable. Try other options like khakis or dress pants and a button-down shirt.
Cocktail Parties or Similar Events
Any cocktail party, dinner party, or holiday party is not the place to show off your favorite pair of Levi’s, no matter how dark the color or new they are. There is a certain dress code that’s expected of you at fancier events like this, so you should dress accordingly.
Instead of jeans, definitely go for dress pants or at least pressed slacks. Ties and jackets may be optional, but it’s always best to go dressier if you’re unsure.
The Theater, Opera, or Symphony
Professional events of the arts demand the respect of the audience. Professional actors, dancers, singers, and musicians deserve your best, as they are giving you yours.
It’s very disrespectful to not dress appropriately for events like these. The venues alone are very well known for holding classy, tasteful events, and the cost of your ticket should be a pretty good indication that you’re not seeing the local high school’s rendition of Fiddler on the Roof.
Never wear jeans to Broadway shows, operas, professional ballets, or symphony performances.
There are still some grey areas in terms of places you should or shouldn’t wear jeans, like casual attire weddings, church, or special ceremonies. Try to use your best judgment in these areas, and worst case, ask the host what you should wear.
In times when jeans are appropriate, know that you have several excellent options for shoes to pair and complete your outfit.