Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to Wear Chambray

Hey everyone! Hope your week is going well! Only 2.5 days til the weekend! :D I am currently halfway through my first week at a new college, and so far it's going well!

Last week I posted my outfit that included a chambray shirt. I wanted to follow up with a post about wearing chambray, because it is one of the most common trends you will see right now, and also one of the hardest to wear well. Chambray shirts, being denim, are automatically on the masculine side. It takes a little effort and knowledge to make sure they stay sweet and feminine. So here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Drape. This is a sewing term that describes the way cloth falls and flows. For example, a thicker cloth like, say denim, will be stiffer and have a less drape. Chiffon, though, which is sheer and flowy, has a lot of drape. If you wrapped a piece of denim around your body, it would pretty much hold its shape. If you wrapped chiffon around you, however, the fabric would mold to your body.

Keep drape and thickness in mind when you choose your chambray shirt. A thicker chambray will have less drape and hold its own shape. A thinner one will fit more to your body. In my opinion, a thinner chambray is more flattering. It keeps your look from being too boxy and shapeless, and complements your shape while still being modest.

2. Shoulders. Make sure that the denim shirt fits your shoulders well. My first chambray shirt  was a tad too big around the shoulders, and if I wore it as a jacket, the extra fabric around my waist coupled with the roomy shoulders added to all-out unflattery :o). This shoulder rule is also a basic fashion rule: if a shirt or jacket (especially one that zips or buttons) does not fit your shoulders well, the rest of the garment, however beautiful, will just end up looking frumpy. 

3. Color (or wash). When you buy a pair of jeans, the wash or color is important. The same goes for chambray shirts. I personally prefer a darker wash. It is more slimming and flattering, and looks a tad more polished. But it is up to you to decide what would work best with your wardrobe.

All right, now that we have some basic rules in mind, let's look at three different ways to work chambray shirts into your wardrobe! I put together three collages using the same chambray shirt to show how versatile one shirt can be. The shirt, you may recognize, is the same one I wore in my post, which I got at Maurices and absolutely love!

Option #1: With a Dress

chambray and dress

This is my favorite way to wear chambray shirts. I love wearing dresses, but when I want to tone down the dressiness (or cover up some spaghetti straps!), I simply throw on my chambray shirt, and ta-dah! An instantly sweet but casual outfit. 

Option #2: Tucked into a Skirt

chambray and skirt

This is great for a feminine, elegant, and yet relaxed look. A belt adds a special pop and eases the transition. Another, much more casual way to to this is to simply knot the bottom of the shirt in lieu of a belt.

Option #3: With Jeans

chambray and jeans

This seems odd at first, because technically this is a Canadian Tuxedo (that term, by the way, makes me laugh). This combination of jeans and a denim shirt was very popular in the 90s. Let's not relive that, okay? To bring this gracefully into the 2010s, just make sure that the washes of your two denim pieces are different. You can see that the chambray shirt is darker than the skinny jeans. (You could also do it vice versa). In my opinion, you should make sure that the drape (refer to Chambray Tip #1) of each piece is different. The shirt here has more drape than the jeans, so there is some variation that keeps you from being a wall of walking denim (who wants that?). The shirt can be either tucked in or left out (I've seen it both ways, and it's lovely either way), and worn with flats or heels. Statement jewelry, like this necklace, adds a really nice pop. 

This is by far the most adventurous way to wear denim, but if you're up for the challenge, let me know! I'd love to see how you work it into your wardrobe! 

So I hope this helped clear up some qualms you may have had about chambray. These guidelines are only the beginning. If you are new to denim shirts, start here and then experiment! Chambray is so versatile and limitless. It is honestly one of my favorite trends, and I can't imagine what I'd do without my own  little denim shirt. It adds another dimension to my wardrobe!

Any questions or remarks? Let me know in the comments below! :o)

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  1. Great ideas, thanks for sharing them! Makes me want to get a a chambray! (I should! :D)

    1. Thanks Eden! I absolutely recommend them. They are so fun and add such a variety! :)

  2. Love the post, Hannah :) I have wanted to get a chambray shirt, but haven't found one for cheap enough to buy. I love the way they look! And I completely agree about the darker washes. Dark wash denim is one of my best wardrobe friends ;)

    dance a real

    1. Thanks Hannah! I do agree they can be pricey; the one pictured from Maurices is priced at $39, and most other ones are probably around that. It is definitely a good investment if you can find a good deal, though; chambray is one of those things that seems to find its way into every outfit once you try it! :o) Hope you find one soon!


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