Chambray And Denim – What Are The Differences

The chambray fabric gives us very good shirts. It also looks almost the same as denim. But is chambray actually denim? There are certainly some common elements in both of them, but they are both very different. The use is also different. Generally, chambray looks good in shirts, and denim in pants and jackets, with a few exceptions. For instance, occasionally, you get denim in shirt, and chambray in jackets. Confused? Let us take a closer look at the two to compare and discover the differences.

Chambray Vs. Denim

chambray shirt outfit

There are some fundamental similarities between denim and chambray. They are both made by weaving cotton fabrics together. So the roots are the same. In other words, the fabric isn’t the distinguishing factor – it is the construction.

Chambray uses a plain weave where single strands of white and colored thread are woven together. Plain weaves can be strong too. In fact, they are often used in furniture fabrics, the reason why you don’t see couches ripping apart after heavy use. On the other hand, denim uses a twill weave. In this technique, the thread strands and weaves are doubled in a diagonal pattern.

chambray shirt fabric

You won’t find denim shirts that often as chambray because of the heavier ruggedness of the material. To many guys, it’s a bit like wearing your pants at the top. Chambray by comparison, is extremely versatile. It has a lighter touch, and is a good choice for the summer and spring. But it is still very strong, and can be worn even in the colder season.

chambray and wedges

Let me now list the differences between the two –


Thick and heavy
Twill weave construction
Classic look
Rough, when you touch it


Plain weave construction
Unique sheen
Feels softer to the touch

Washed Denim Vs. Chambray Shirts

chambray shirtdress

A shirt is sometimes sewn from denim that is indigo dyed or chambray, which is unfinished. This is a raw fabric, which is not yet completely colorfast. The shirt is washed with in a special garment washing process after sewing completely. This makes the seams fade a little bit, and the color colorfast. Never before has this process been feasible for dress shirts, until now. Recently, Proper Cloth has produced their first custom fit washed denim shirt.

Wearing Denim And Chambray

denim shirt outfit

You can wear a chambray shirt whatever the season. You can wear the shirt with khakis or denim. These shirts come in almost every color you can think of, so the choices are plenty. Just make sure to be careful while washing, though. Always turn the shirt inside out so that it doesn’t fade too quickly.

But don’t dismiss denim yet. It is a wonderful material that looks awesome, even in shirts. You can wear a denim shirt to work, and during the weekend. They are now available in lightweight versions as well. For caring, it is quite easy to take care of both denim and chambray. All you need is a little precaution.