The Essentials: Gray Denim – 6 Complete Outfits That Prove It Will Change Your Wardrobe

The Essentials: Gray Denim – 6 Complete Outfits That Prove It Will Change Your Wardrobe
Your next favorite pair of jeans.

You would think having less choices would make dressing well easier.

It does just the opposite.

Most guys just don't have that many options when it comes to pants. Blue denim. Or chinos. Dark blue slim denim is an absolute staple for every guy's wardrobe regardless of his age. But restricting the entire bottom half of your body to just one color means your options are pretty specific.

What does that leave you with?

At best, jackets, sweaters, and shirts that are not the same color as your jeans. (That means no navy blazers or raw denim jackets.) At worst you'll be stuck in a sartorial cycle that'll leave you feeling like that guy who wears the same pair of light khaki chinos every – single – day.

Put another way, it feels like you're being restricted to a uniform.

But there's one color of denim that explodes your options like the Big Bang without increasing your “flashy” level.

love wearing charcoal gray jeans. I got my first pair probably a year ago and ever since they've become my go-to for occasions where I want to look my best, regardless of how casual or dressy I need to be. The reason is simple: They ground the outfit in a timeless way like dark blue while giving you a ton of room to play with the other colors in your outfit.

If you're like me, you've never been much of a black jeans kind of guy. They used to be relegated to rock musicians and those trying to dress like them, but there's no mistaking, over the last 10 years or so black denim has become commonplace in a wide range of men's fashion styles like monochrome minimalism, street style, west coast bohemian, among others. I have a pair of black jeans. I like them. But they're not nearly as versatile as gray denim.

Gray denim can be swapped in anytime you'd wear black, but don't let that confuse you into thinking that gray is just “light black.” Gray pairs equally well with brown footwear as it does black and plays more into the “flat” color palettes that have become more common across the fashion spectrum.

As you can see in the 6 outfits I've put together below, gray achieves something other colors simply can't: Near universal, chameleon-like adaptability. Pair it with a cardigan, blazer, and tie? It's dressed up. Pull together Nikes and a scoop neck tee? Perfect streetwear. Denim jacket and Red Wings? Instant rugged Americana without the normal denim-on-denim worries you get with blue jeans.

Charcoal gray denim picks

All 6 outfits were made with one  pair of jeans. The Slim Leroy in medium/dark gray from Mott & Bow on me, and on Shane the skinny version (also available in straight fit).  New to Mott & Bow? They're not new to premium denim, with 32 years of working in the industry and using only the best fabrics from the world's top mills, they're changing the way we buy jeans with their free HomeTry-on Program.

Take a look at these Getups and in the comments tell me which 3 you like the best!

6 Gray Denim Outfits

alpha industries jacket   gray shirt   gray jeans   nike sneakers

Gray Jeans: Mott & Bow Leroy, $128
M-59 Jacket: Alpha Industries, $180 / Shirt: Amazon, $12.50 / Sneakers: Similar – Nike, $85

bomber jacket henley gray jeans brown boots   men's fashion ideas

Gray Jeans: Mott & Bow Leroy, $128
Linen Bomber Jacket: Amazon, $49.90 / Henley: Goodthreads, $6.37 / Boots: Similar – Clarks, $52.97

shawl collar cardigan blue shirt gray jeans red wing iron ranger

Gray Denim: Mott & Bow Horatio, $128
Shawl Collar Cardigan: Similar – L.L. Bean, $109 / Dobby Shirt: Everlane $62 / Boots: Red Wing Iron Ranger, $240 / Watch: Nixon, $95

gray blazer, navy cardigan, gray jeans, black shoes   outfit ideas

Gray Denim: Mott & Bow Leroy, $128
Blazer: Similar – J.Crew, $248 / Merino Wool Cardigan: Uniqlo, $49.90 / Oxford Shirt: Goodthreads, $25 / Tie: J.Crew, $59.50 / Waterproof Wingtips: Cole Haan, $79.07

Andrew Snavely

Andrew founded Primer in 2008 and brings 15+ years of men's style expertise. Known for his practical, relatable approach to style and self-development, he has been a recognized speaker at conferences and has styled work for top brands. Off-duty, he loves photography & editing, and enjoys road trips with his dog, Leela. Raised in rural Pennsylvania, educated in DC, and living in LA for nearly 20 years, Andrew's diverse experiences shape the relatable and real-world advice that has helped millions through Primer. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.