We’re over the moon to announce that head-to-toe denim has officially made a comeback! Don’t throw away your denim dresses before you check out the latest runway shows featuring denim-on-denim looks, patchwork designs, and Canadian tuxedos. Brush the dust off your vintage Levi’s and start wondering what shoes to wear with denim dresses.
We can’t help but think back to the iconic Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake’s matching moment at the 2001 American Music Awards whenever someone utters the word “denim”.
And, even decades after the event, these two keep making headlines and turning fashion designers toward experimenting with forgotten fabrics and patterns. While the Canadian tuxedo might not be everyone’s cup of tea, a good quality, structured denim dress seems to work for every occasion.
Running late for work, catching brunch with your girlfriends, or going on a weekend getaway with your partner – you can count on a denim dress to make your fashion statement much, much easier to make.
We adore turning to celebrities when wondering what to wear (or even better, what shoes to wear with denim dresses).
Meghan Markle, for example, serves as inspiration for moments when you want to look timeless, elegant, and effortless. She combined a denim shirtdress with a sweater to a tennis match, and she wore a belted denim dress with her favorite Aquazzura stiletto pumps.
On the other hand, Dua Lipa went for a modern, edgy denim-on-denim moment with a corset dress from Blumarine’s spring 2023 collection.
Zendaya, Bella Hadid, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas sported denim dresses, denim skirts, and even denim tight-high boots over the past couple of months showing that denim’s here to stay. What shoes did they choose to wear with denim dresses, though?
How to style head-to-toe denim?
Now that we’ve written the word “denim” more times than we can count, why don’t we talk about what makes the most popular and famous fabric out there that great? What do we mean when we write that denim-on-denim outfits are coming back?
First things first, the whole denim obsession began with none other than Levi Strauss (of the self-titled denim brand) and Jacob Davis. Davis was asked by a random worker’s wife to construct a pair of pants that would withstand the test of time and physical labor.
So, Davis came up with the solution to strengthen the existing worker’s trousers with metal rivets and created what we nowadays know as denim jeans. Davis’s denim jeans soon evolved and became the world’s first Levi 501 denim jeans.
Levi’s were developed around the 1880s and they didn’t take long before they took the world by storm. Over the course of time, the denim obsession grew stronger.
We witnessed different styles of Levi’s coming and going. From Lady Levi’s and straight-legged Levi’s to cigarette cuts and bell bottoms, Levi’s continued leaving a mark on the world of fashion.
Of course, other designers and brands started producing denim clothing and that’s when we witness some of the first denim-on-denim statements.
Fashion fluctuations aside, denim dresses aren’t anything we haven’t seen before. But, we might need to refresh your memory on how to style head-to-toe denim or what shoes to wear with denim dresses when you’re not trying to channel your inner Britney Spears.
Celebrities gravitate towards denim accessories (handbags, belts, and boots) to stand out and make headlines.
But, there are ways to wear denim dresses without looking like you came straight from the 2000s. White sneakers, espadrilles, and chunky, combat boots might be your way out of that fashion dilemma.
What shoes to wear with denim dresses?
When you’re wondering about what shoes to wear with denim dresses, you’re probably thinking about Kylie Jenner’s recent brown vintage Gucci x Tom Ford stiletto boots.
Or, maybe you’re thinking of Priyanka Chopra’s many, many denim moments combined with multicolored stilettos and high-heeled mules. Or, maybe you’re even inspired by the 90s supermodel style with Claudia Schiffer hitting the beach wearing a Guess denim dress.
Whatever the case might be, we’re here to make sure you know what shoes to wear with denim dresses without experiencing a fashion faux pas. Denim dresses are a wardrobe staple for pretty much every season because they’re super simple to style, dress up or dress down depending on the occasion.
Denim dresses work great with beachy espadrille wedges and chunky combat boots. Of course, we haven’t forgotten about sporty girlies who can combine them with white sneakers, chunky sneakers, or even the trusty Chuck Taylors.
Trust me, there’s not a chance you’re going to mess up that denim dress moment. Throw a glance at our “jeanius” picks, giggle at our puns, and decide which shoes work with your denim dress.
1. Classic white sneakers
Starting off with a bang, white sneakers can’t go unnoticed. When you’re thinking of wearing a denim dress, but you’re not happy about the thought of wearing stilettos or wedges, you can always go for what many consider the most popular style of sneaker.
White, clean looks have never been as fashionable as they are right now which means you’ve got your work cut out for you. Now, fashion trends have moved away from Phoebe Philo’s minimalism.
But, white sneakers combined with denim, clean-cut blazers, and tailored trousers continue stealing the spotlight. And, don’t be discouraged by the “beat head” trend of wearing sneakers that appear to have been worn-out and distressed.
Nothing screams “fashion” as much as fresh, straight-out-of-the-box, white sneakers ready to be styled with a denim dress of your choice.
The Row Marie leather sneakers have our undivided attention, but we suggest you go for whatever brand speaks to you. Nikes, Pumas, or Adidad sneakers are great for a sporty approach to your outfit, but Alexander McQueen, Veja, and Sam Edelman have the dressier ones.
2. Chunky sneakers
Turns out you can’t go wrong with some chunk “in the trunk!” We’re kidding, but we’re not kidding about the prospects of chunky sneakers making your denim dress dreams come true.
Whenever you look at fashion magazines, social media posts, and even advertisements, you’re bombarded with supermodels (*khm* Hailey Bieber) sporting chunky sneakers and looking like they came straight off the runway.
Who wouldn’t want to look like that? Now that the denim-on-denim ensembles seem to be making headlines, the only things you need to purchase are chunky sneakers!
What shoes to wear with denim dresses, you’re wondering? New Balance Unisex 57/40 Leather Sneakers, Hogan Hyperactive Suede-Paneled Sneakers, or Adidas Karlie Kloss X9000 Shoes, of course.
Denim dresses tend to appear quite feminine when combined with white sneakers. But, when you’re not looking to attract unwanted attention, go for the trendiest of chunky sneakers. Chunky sneakers, sunglasses, and AirPods give off the “don’t speak to me” energy we’re craving for.
3. Converse sneakers
Need we utter anything other than “Gigi Hadid has been wearing denim and Chucks on repeat throughout 2022?” We might have talked your ears off with celebrities, but they’re a great source of tea when we’re talking about fashion trends and faux pas.
Gigi Hadid’s style has evolved over the years, but she seems to have stayed true to classics – denim and Chucks always work wonders. Now, there’s nothing surprising about experimenting with denim dresses and Converse sneakers.
For warmer weather, wear your denim dress with white Chucks, sunglasses, and a raffia handbag. For colder weather, layer your denim dress with a structured, white button-down, sheer, black tights, and a cream coat, and opt for black high tops.
Converse have come out with numerous styles during the past couple of years which means you have plenty of options to choose from. Our favorite picks are Converse Chuck Taylor Hidden Heart Low Top Sneakers and Chuck Taylor All-Star High Top Platform Sneakers.
Loafers scream “Hailey Bieber’s go-to style,” and we’re here for that! Whenever you’re wondering what shoes to wear with denim dresses, think of the weather and the event you’re going to attend.
Not everything works with everything, as much as we would want that. Loafers are a great staple to have for work, running errands, and grabbing lunch with friends.
And, loafers happen to bring that “cool girl vibe” to your denim dress. Combine chunky loafers with knitted socks and a shorter denim dress that draws attention to your (long) legs. Throw a leather blazer on top, accessorize with a leather handbag and gold accents, and you’re good to go.
Regular loafers would look better without the socks. Combine them with sheer black tights, a denim dress, and a coat for a fashionable, but classic take on the look.
Oh and, don’t overthink the possibility of going with block-heeled loafers for an event. Our favorites are Prada Triangle Logo Loafers, Jeffrey Campbell Velveteen Bit Loafers, and COACH Leah Platform Loafers, but you can find affordable alternatives pretty much anywhere.
Mules have been around for quite some time, but they might not have been the first thought you had when you tried to figure out what shoes to wear with denim dresses. But, mules are versatile which means you’re guaranteed to (eventually) stumble upon a mule that works with whatever vibe you’re going for.
And, here’s the thing. Denim dresses can be boring. Depending on the style of dress you purchased, you might be working with something as simple as a denim shirtdress or an oversized denim button-down you plan on wearing like a dress.
When you’re working with something as basic as that, you’re better off opting for shoes that make a statement – like mules. Mules can never go unnoticed, whichever style you decide to go with. For example, the backless silhouette makes them comfortable to slip on and slip off.
And, the versatility of the heels makes them simple to style. Flat mules are great for running errands and catching up with friends, while high-heeled mules are more appropriate for work, date nights, or events. Oh and, you can find Tory Burch Jessa Mules, Open Edit Kyla Flat Mules, and Sam Edelman Brit Pumps at Nordstrom.
Who’s surprised to see espadrilles on the list? We know you’re not because you know that espadrilles are the summer shoe everybody needs to have.
And, we’re happy to announce that espadrilles are the answer to your “what shoes to wear with denim dresses” question. Espadrille work with whatever style of denim dress you opted for, and they’re guaranteed to make you stand out.
Before anything else, espadrilles are comfortable and super simple to style. Knowing how absolutely adorable they look when combined with denim shorts and blouses, don’t shy away from combining them with denim dresses, straw hats, and sunglasses.
For the ultimate summer look, add a raffia handbag and you’re ready to take on the beach, the streets, and every hot holiday spot ever. Hermès Antigua Espadrilles are what summer dreams are made of, but you can get a similar style at Zara, Mango, and Asos.
7. Espadrille wedges
We had to focus on separate espadrilles and espadrille wedges because they have completely opposite energies.
With flats, you can picture yourself roaming around the streets of Madrid, wearing your denim dress, and living your best life. With espadrille wedges, you’re sitting at a bar, sipping on margaritas, and showing off your newest Zara halterneck denim dress.
When you’re looking for something a little more “out there,” go for espadrille wedges. Worry not, you can dress them up and dress them down the same way you can flats.
Copy celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Priyanka Chopra and wear them with shorter denim dresses to show off your figure. Or, go for ankle-length denim dresses for a Meghan Markle-at-a-charity-event moment.
Whichever style you’re going for, check out the Loeffler Randall Posey Knotted Espadrille Platforms, Saint Laurent Cassandra Leather Espadrille Wedges, or Chloe Lucinda Platform Espadrilles. Other than these brands, you can always turn to Zara, Mango, or Asos for affordable alternatives.
8. Strappy stiletto sandals
OK, we have to talk about Bella Hadid’s love of denim dresses and strappy stiletto sandals! We often turn to the Hadid sisters when looking for fashion advice, and we’re always happy to copy Bella’s enchanting denim ensembles.
From denim dresses to denim sets, button-downs, and one-pieces, she might be the queen of styling everything-denim outfits. Bella loves to experiment with fabrics, patterns, and styles which seems to be the reason why she often wears them with strappy stiletto sandals.
Footwear can make or break her outfit, and she’s absolutely aware of that. Strappy stilettos sandals elevate the entire energy and make the distressed, oversized denim intentional.
So, when you’re wondering what shoes to wear with denim dresses, always go for strappy stiletto sandals. Schutz Dive Strappy Sandals and Steve Madden Gracey Strappy Sandals would work great for a night out.
But, block-heeled sandals would work just as well (with Dolce Vita Paxx Strappy Sandals and Marc Fisher LTD Chiara Strappy Sandals as our top picks).
9. Slingback pumps
Slingback pumps aren’t only for grandmas! While you might think these princess shoes are reserved for elegant, effortless, and timeless looks, slingback pumps are a versatile wardrobe staple you can combine with numerous styles.
We suggest you wear them with tailored trousers and structured blouses to work, with flowy, floral dresses and trench coats to brunch, and with denim dresses for a date night.
Depending on the style, slingback pumps can work for whatever event you’re attending. Stiletto and high-heeled slingbacks would work with figure-hugging denim dresses, for example.
Block-heeled and kitten-heeled slingbacks might be a better choice with longer, A-line denim dresses. And, denim shirtdresses would look best with slingback wedges (preferably espadrille ones).
Whether you go with slinky DKNY Macia Slingback Pumps or the modern Tory Burch Georgia Slingback Pumps, you have nothing to worry about.
10. Classic ankle booties
We know what you’re thinking. While you would adore combining your denim dress with strappy stiletto sandals or espadrille wedges, you’re pretty sure you would freeze to death.
With cold weather slowly creeping behind the corner, you’re starting to wonder what shoes to wear with denim dresses over the winter (or even fall). Ankle booties are the answer to all your troubles!
Ankle booties are fashionable and versatile, and they can be combined with anything you own. Denim dresses and denim-on-denim outfits need something to balance out the prevalence of the same shade and the same fabric.
Leather ankle booties such as Saint Laurent West Chelsea Boots and Sam Edelman Winnie Ankle Booties are guaranteed to make you look more polished and put together. But, denim dresses work even better with odd textures such as Max Mara Shearling Midi Boots or Minnetonka Back Zip Hardsole Bootie.
11. Chunky combat boots
Call the doctor because we’ve got a fever for Dr. Martens! We love them because of their durability, versatility, and comfort – but, we love them even more because they go with everything we own.
We’re obsessed with chunky combat boots, and we’re not embarrassed to suggest you wear them with your denim dresses and head-to-toe denim looks.
Dr. Martens ‘1460’ Boots are the combat boots every celebrity out there wears. From Hailey Bieber, Bella Hadid, and Gigi Hadid to Haidi Clum and Irina Shayk, supermodels seem to adore wearing Dr. Martens with denim, clean-cut blazers, and humungous puffer jackets.
Other than the iconic Dr. Martens, you can go for Prada Monolith Brushed Rois Leather and Nylon Boots, Michele Lopriore Minsk Combat Boot, or Mix No. 6 Linston Combat Boot. Whichever style you go for, you won’t be disappointed.
12. Knee-high leather boots
Oh, you can never have too many boots! Sure, you can’t go through winter without getting chunky combat boots to wear with whatever easy-going, relaxed events you have. But, you also cannot go through winter without knee-high boots for those occasions you want to look your best.
Therefore, when you’re wondering what shoes to wear with denim dresses, choose knee-high leather boots and experience an “all eyes on you” moment.
There’s nothing more attractive that a woman wearing a short dress with black, sheer tights, and knee-high leather boots. Whether they’re stiletto, high-heeled, or flat, they’re bound to make you look like you know what you’re doing (fashion-wise, of course).
Reformation Nylah Nappa Knee Boots and Schutz Maryana Pointed Toe Boots seem to offer everything you need, but don’t shy away from turning to your trusty Tara, Mango, and Asos.
13. Thigh-high suede boots
Even though knee-high boots get the work done, we can’t overlook the power that thigh-high boots carry wherever they go.
Emily Ratajkowski reminded us of that when she stepped out on the New York City streets sporting a monochromatic black look featuring an itty-bitty mini skirt, a turtleneck, and a pair of thigh-high Khaite leather boots.
And, we suggest you take a page out of Emily’s book when you’re trying to add a dash of je ne sais quoi to your denim dresses.
While there’s nothing stopping you from wearing thigh-high suede boots with ankle-length or floor-length denim dresses (especially when they’re stilettos), they look better combined with shorter silhouettes.
Burberry over-the-knee boots and Bottega Veneta over-the-knee boots couldn’t be more perfect, but you don’t have to break the bank for the same effect. Other designers, brands, and stores offer similar styles.
14. Cowboy boots
Oh, you thought we forgot about cowboy boots?! Now, the denim-on-denim outfit wouldn’t be complete without a pair of Western booties that make the whole thing come together.
And, a denim dress doesn’t have to be different from a denim skirt combined with a denim blouse or a pair of denim shorts combined with a denim button-down. Argh, again with the word “denim”!
Don’t worry, we’re coming to the end of the article. When you’re unsure of what shoes to wear with denim dresses, experiment with cowboy boots of different shapes, shades, and sizes.
From high-street brands like Zara and Mango to ultra-luxe ones like Khaite and Chloé, you’re bound to find something that works for you. Embroideries, embellishments, and odd color combinations are a must, don’t forget.