What Color Is Chambray? A Detailed Explanation

What color is chambray is a big question in the fashion world. Here’s everything you need to know about the light blue fabric.

The chambray color is a shade of light blue — here’s a detailed description and some styling tips.

There are a few colors that pair well with almost any outfit. And the ones that do? Hold onto them with your dear life. These pieces will get used the most out of the selection in your closet, and you should be willing to invest in quality, durable pieces that are available in these tints.

Yes, blacks, grays, and navy blues are the most neutral colors and they can pair with just about any outfit. But sometimes, they’re a bit stale.
If you’ve ever asked yourself, “What color is chambray?” I’ve got you covered.

Chambray is a lightweight, plain-weave fabric that’s typically made of 100% cotton but could also be made of linen. It’ll usually have white stitching, though it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb.

Be careful; even though it looks exactly like denim and is also made of cotton, chambray isn’t quite denim. Denim uses a twill weave and is usually heavier. Chambray does not equal Japanese selvage denim. So, if you were thinking about wearing that and the thick fabric rubbing up against your skin, don’t worry; that’s not the case.

In the production of chambray blue fabric, the warp and weft strands intertwine in an alternating pattern versus denim manufacturing, where the warp strands go over two weft threads before going below the third weft strand. This is why the inside of your jeans is lighter than the outside.

The actual color of chambray is a light blue color — much like a pair of light-wash jeans! Chambray fabric also has a softer feel compared to the rough touch of denim, which is great for when you’re not wearing an undershirt.

What Color Goes Best With Chambray?

Like many (not all) aspects of fashion, pairing your chambray shirts with other garments is a personal preference. What color goes best with chambray is often up to you.

The best part about chambray is how versatile it is in form, function, and fashion.

Of course, wearing a chambray top with a pair of lighter jeans could look a little off, but generally speaking, chambray fits in with darks, lights, and even patterns and designs.

Like the photo above, one of my favorite looks is a striped or checkered t-shirt with a chambray shirt on the outside. It’s unique but not too daring.

The biggest thing to keep in mind when picking a color to go with chambray is simply what season you’re in. During the fall and winter months, darker colors like black and brown look best. And during the spring and summer months, lighter hues like khaki are very complimentary of chambray.

Photo by Jaswant Shekhawat /

While picking colors by the season is one approach, it’s not necessary. A better approach is to match the setting’s atmosphere or the day’s weather. 

What To Wear With a Chambray Shirt

Because it’s such a universal look, you can really let your personal sense of style shine through with chambray.

Take into consideration the activity you’ll be in when deciding what to wear with your chambray shirt. If you’re just going out for a casual happy hour or to hang out with friends, then you can get by with just the shirt.

In fact, The Modest Man founder, Brock McGoff loved the look so much that a few years ago he even created his own. Unfortunately, they sold out pretty quickly.

But, if it’s a more formal event or chilly outside, then you’ll want to layer up with a jacket or sweater on top of your shirt.

In the spring and summer, a chambray shirt with a nice pair of shorts can be a welcomed uplift from a simple t-shirt or polo.

If you want to impress those around you a bit more, cardigans, topcoats, and sweaters make you look sophisticated and professional without wearing a full business suit. 

I love wearing chambray as a base layer with a cashmere sweater. I think it uplifts my presence at the office and gains quick respect.

We also did a full deep dive with example photos on how to wear a blue chambray shirt.

What Pants Go With Chambray

As I’ve mentioned, chambray pairs well with many styles. But you may want to know specifically what pants go with chambray. I’m here to tell you.

Because of its neutral tone, chambray can go with just about any pair of pants, but there are a few that I’d stay away from.

First, chambray can go with shorts. Please don’t wear gym shorts, but rather a nice pair of khaki shorts.

Second, chambray can go with jeans. Although they look similar, picking a darker shade of denim can make for a nice two-tone outfit.

Chambray shirt under cotton v-neckChambray shirt under cotton v-neck

Finally, chambray goes well with chinos. In my opinion, chinos of any color and a chambray shirt are some of the most polished, clean outfits there are. It’s youthful, timeless, and mature. Not to mention comfortable.

There are two types of pants that I’d steer far clear of. One is obvious, the second, not so much.

I’d never wear a chambray button-down with sweatpants. Maybe that’s a given, but just to be sure: no baggy cotton sweats with chambray shirts!

The other is dress slacks. Chambray is meant to be a more casual button-down shirt, not a fine silk dress shirt. I wouldn’t pair a chambray shirt with a dark business suit. Unless I was in Texas and had the cowboy hat to back it up, but proceed at your own risk.

What makes chambray great is that it goes with a wide range of pants — feel free to experiment with multiple combinations.

Conclusion: What Color is Chambray and Why I Love It

In this article, I explained what is chambray color, how it’s made and why it feels the way it does, different things to wear with a chambray shirt, and what pants go with chambray.

If you couldn’t tell, I’m a huge fan of chambray. I think it’s one of the most high-quality fabrics, the most stylish looks, and the most adaptable pieces of clothing.

Now you’ll never have to wonder what color is chambray blue again.

Want to learn more about fabrics, colors, and patterns like chambray? Let me know what you think, and if there are any other questions I can answer for you, I’d love to help!

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