A pair of black jeans is up there with the most versatile garments in a man’s wardrobe. They can be smart, they can be casual, they’re completely trans-seasonal and it’s almost impossible to style them badly.

The trouble is, with so much choice it can be a daunting prospect to put an outfit together. What you really need are a few key outfit combinations you can fall back on for a variety of different occasions and dress codes. That way, you can get it right every time without any of the hard work or tough decisions.

Below you’ll find a few of our favourite failsafe ways to wear dark denim, ranging from dressed up and date-ready to stripped-back and minimal. So, if you’ve ever found yourself wondering what to wear with black jeans, consider this the definitive answer.

Monochrome

Working with a restrained colour palette is an easy way to ensure you look well put together. Sticking to black, white and grey keeps things clean and takes any guesswork out of the equation. You know this is going to work every time.

If you’re worried about it being boring, don’t be. There are still plenty of ways to inject a bit of your personality into a monochrome look. Play with texture, pattern and fit to find what works for you.

Using black jeans as a base, build the look up with other simple monochrome pieces. Things like a plain white tee, a grey Oxford shirt or some luxe white sneakers are a good place to start. Experiment with mixing and matching different garments while sticking to the colour palette and you might be surprised by what works.

Spring/Summer Ready

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking black jeans are only good for autumn and winter. Styled right, there’s no reason they can’t carry you through the summer months and beyond.

This is where it’s good to get creative with colour and patterns. Use the jeans to anchor your outfit and introduce a statement piece on your upper half to generate a focal point. A printed camp-collar shirt can be a great vehicle for this. Likewise, a printed T-shirt layered underneath an overshirt or light jacket on those cooler days.

The key thing is to avoid wearing too many dark colours. Summer is all about warmth and light so try to reflect that with your choice of clothes.

Leather Jacket

Black denim is a rock ‘n’ roll staple, so it makes sense to wear it accordingly. Teamed with a suede or leather jacket, it’s ideal for bringing a little attitude and swagger to your next night out.

The overall feel of this look will depend heavily on the colour and style of the leather jacket you choose to wear. For example, opt for a classic black biker jacket for that typical rocker look, or switch it up for a brown leather field jacket or racer for something a little more contemporary.

Whatever style you go for, you should ensure that the rest of the outfit follows suit. Think worker boots and knitwear if you’re playing it sensible or Breton tops, plain white tees and Chelsea boots or canvas sneakers for something a little edgier.

Simple

Less is often more when it comes to menswear. A simple, well-executed outfit is always going to be more effective than something over the top. The trick is making sure that every element is perfect, which means paying close attention to fit and quality.

If the temperature allows for it, there’s no reason an outfit needs to consist of more than three elements (not including underwear, of course). A shirt, crew neck top or knitted jumper is a good place to start, followed by your black jeans and some suitable footwear.

For bonus points, keep the colour palette muted and ditch the accessories in the name of minimalism.

Smart Casual

One of the best things about black jeans is how easy they are to dress up. Sure, denim isn’t exactly known for being dressy, but in black it actually offers a fair amount of room for manoeuvre.

Smart casual can be a tricky thing to wrap your head around, but throwing a pair of black jeans into the mix makes it a lot simpler. They provide a great base to work from and can be worn with anything from smart shoes to luxe sneakers depending on the mood.

As a rule of thumb, stick to darker colours. That’s not to say you can play with lighter or bolder shades, but use them to add a single punch of contrast rather than composing the rest of your outfit with them. Things like roll necks, unstructured blazers and Chelsea boots all make great accompaniments.

All Black

Timeless is a word that gets bandied around a lot in menswear circles, but how many things are truly capable of transcending decades gracefully? Admittedly, not many, but a simple all-black outfit is most definitely one of them.

It’s slimming, it’s stylish and it’s a great backdrop if you do decide to throw a statement piece into the mix. Plus, when the garments involved are slim-fitting, it gives off an air of mystery and European cool, which is never a bad thing.

The best thing about it is that anything (within reason) goes. Sneakers, smart shoes, athleisure, tailoring – just make sure it’s all nicely cut and form flattering and you really can’t put a foot wrong.