Fall Fashion Guide: What to Wear with Light Wash Jeans

I’ve had some reader questions about what to wear with light wash jeans, so I thought I’d do a post about it. This might seem like an odd time of year to discuss this topic, but contrary to what you might think, light wash jeans aren’t just for summer.

MOTHER Hustler (29) (budget option) // J.Crew vest (S) (50% OFF FULL PRICE WITH CODE SALETIME) // Jenni Kayne sweater (S) (budget option) // clogs (8) // similar sunnies

Sure, they have a great beachy vibe, but I like to wear mine all year ’round. They’re especially nice during this transitional time of year because they have a way of bridging the gap between summer and fall.

Keep reading for my favorite light wash jeans, plus outfit inspiration with the best shoes, tops, and colors to pair with them.

My Favorite Light Wash Jeans for Fall

MOTHER Roller in Let’s Trip // MOTHER Dazzler in Hopeless Romantic

I have a variety of styes of light wash jeans in my closet at the moment, but my favorites that I’m reaching for the most this season are this MOTHER Roller in Let’s Trip from last spring and the MOTHER Dazzler in Hopeless Romantic from the #NSale.

I rounded up a bunch of my other favorites, plus a few more options at various price points in the shopping widget below, for anyone looking to add light wash jeans to your closet this fall.

Shop those and more light wash jeans:

What Goes with Light Wash Jeans?

MOTHER Weekender (29) // camel sweater (S) ($50 off in cart) // black boots (8) // black coat (S) // black bag

Honestly, light wash jeans go with just about everything, so don’t overthink it. The most important thing to remember is that light blue jeans tend to read more casual, so if you want to dress them up, be sure to make it look intentional by combining both dressy and casual elements, as I did in the outfit above.

Here are some of my favorite outfits with light wash jeans and why they work.

#1. Light Neutrals

What to Wear with Light Wash Jeans for Fall: Light Neutrals

Pairing light wash jeans with light neutrals such as oatmeal, grey, and camel creates a sophisticated and elevated look and feel, even when the individual pieces are on the more casual side.

MOTHER Roller (similar style) (budget option) // oatmeal sweater (S) // clogs (8)

Here’s a similar look with a grey sweater and white nubuck boots with grey trim.

MOTHER Hustler (29) // grey sweater (S) //  boots (8)

And another one with a camel sweater, a lighter beige jacket, and brown booties.

Gap Factory Mid Rise Classic Straight Leg Jeans (29) // puffer jacket (S) // sweater (S) // boots (8) // bag

#2. A Coordinating Print

What to Wear with Light Wash Jeans for Fall: A Coordinating Print

I love a floral print grounded on a dark background this time of year. We’re getting our second summer here in Philly this week, and this floral top is the perfect solution to being cool and comfortable and looking seasonally appropriate. The brown accessories help to take it into fall.

MOTHER Dazzler (30) // similar top (S) // Seychelles heels (8) // similar sunnies

#3. Shades of Pink

What to Wear with Light Wash Jeans for Fall: Shades of Pink

Pink and light wash denim is a match made in heaven; all shades of pink work, but I especially like the pairing with blush and lighter shades. Here, I paired a blush colored cardigan with light wash straight leg jeans and light beige booties.

AGOLDE Lana Straight in Riptide (29) // old Madewell Mayfair cardigan (S) // beige booties (8) // similar sunnies

Here’s an example with a bolder shade of pink. This time, I wore black boots, which work with my dark hair to bookend the look.

Vince sweater (S) // MOTHER Roller (exact, size 28) (option) (option) (option) (budget option) // Blondo booties (8) // Coach bag

Bright pink also looks great with light wash jeans. In this case, I completed the look with grey booties and a grey coat.

MOTHER Hustler (29) // Rails Josie sweater (more sizes) (S) // similar Vince boots (8) // J.Crew coat

#4. Darker Shades of Blue

What to Wear with Light Wash Jeans for Fall: Dark Blue

When you want a little more contrast, pairing light wash jeans with a darker blue top is a really pleasing combination. I often wear a navy top or sweater with light wash jeans, but in this case, I went with a bolder peacock blue.

MOTHER Roller (similar style) (budget option) // Everlane sweater (S) // AllSaints sneakers

Unfortunately, this color of my sweater is sold out, but any dark blue top works. I especially love how this outfit looks with the white sneakers for a casual-cool vibe.

#5. A Contrasting Color

What to Wear with Light Wash Jeans for Fall: A Contrasting Color

See what I mean? Pretty much anything goes with light wash jeans. A contrasting color can be basically anything, from coral and green, to burgundy to brown… even black.

Gap Factory Baby Bootcut Jeans (29) // coral sweater (M) // white tank // tan sandals

KUT from the Kloth jacket (S) // white tee (XS) // MOTHER Roller (similar style) (budget option) // Kork-Ease clogs (8)

MOTHER Hustler (29) (budget option) // sweater (S) (budget option) // vest (S) (40% off for J.Crew Passport members) // clogs (8)

MOTHER Dazzler (29) // thermal top (S) // sneakers (8h)

I hope this post was helpful! Are you a fan of light wash jeans for fall?

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photos: Alison Cornell

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32 Responses

  1. Perfect timing! I was going to email you a question about what colors are best with light and dark wash jeans. Thanks!

  2. I love light wash jeans on you! I’ve never loved them on me though… I guess it’s the visual of making my lower half look larger? Anyone else?!?! I do keep trying and it could be that my eye just needs to get used to it? I love the surplus jacket you show in army green but it takes me to the Kut trucker jacket on Evereve. Is there an updated link for that jacket? It looks soft and pliable.

    1. I have this issue as well. But I do want to keep trying. I just ordered a couple pairs to try. Both are slim straight ankle jeans which I feel might help to avoid adding visual weight.

      1. If looking bigger on the bottom is your concern, try pairing light was jeans with light tops. Less contrast will create a more cohesive look and not draw as much attention to a wider bottom.

    2. I have the same issue. I do think lighter wash jeans visually add weight. I was able to find some crop flare that helped to balance out my hip area that I wore in the summer but still I think I look heavier in these jeans compared to a medium or darker wash jean.

  3. Now I am a fan of light wash jeans for Fall. And I think they can be worn throughout winter, as well.

  4. This post has great visual effect and I love the Mango coat. I think I’ve said it before, but thanks for adding Mango items to your posts, I just ordered a wool blend coat from Mango for the winter and I am blown away by the detail and craftsmanship of the coat (fully lined and nicely sewn) for less than $300. True their stuff can be hit or miss but they have free returns, so I don’t mind taking a chance.

  5. Great post. I don’t have trouble pairing with light wash. I have trouble now with dark wash. Lol. I just don’t grab them. I love my light wash with black and navy sweaters. Just wore my Wit and Wisdom light wash crop straight with new black sweater from banana republic factory and new black chunkier loafers from there too. I love the shoes. The are comfortable and not to clunky. I got on a good sale awhile back. Can we wear our light wash jeans into Winter?

  6. PS. By the way. I LOVE the very first outfit when you open your email at the top. I know it’s from last Fall but I hope you continue to wear it. It’s spot on and looks great on you. Wish I could wear that color puffer vest. With greying hair it’s a no now. By the way…..Assuming puffer vest still are in style? I purged some last season.

  7. Today I’m wearing the Loft burgandy short sleeve floral T shirt that has the hidden birds that we don’t really like, but kept from last Fall. Lol. Did you keep yours? Love for this time of year when warm weather still.

  8. Love your recommendations!

    What color is the Mongolian Cashmere Fisherman Crewneck Sweater? Heather grey or charcoal?

  9. With wider leg jeans, we normally wear a shorter somewhat fitted top. Shouldn’t that apply to outerwear? I find the black coat makes the outfit look somewhat sloppy. Is it just my eye needs to adjust from summer dressing to fall?

    1. In my perfect world, I like the look of a shorter coat with wide leg jeans but I’m willing to defer to practicality when it’s raining. I removed the coat as soon as I got inside so I don’t really care if it’s not the ideal length because it kept my butt warm and dry in the car, lol.

      1. I actually love the longer coat with the wide leg jeans. I know a shorter coat is often worn, but this look is chic in my opinion.

        1. It can be; it’s all about lines, and these long, fluid looks can be very chic, if done right. Not saying I did that with this black coat, as it’s rather sporty and utilitarian, but I see lots of long wool coats with long, flowy pants, and that can look quite elegant.

  10. Thanks for this post. I appreciate your encouragement and explanation for wearing light wash jeans this time of year. I have some and was struggling. For me the brown shoes and my brown purse idea will be helping me with my fall outfit looks!

  11. Do you notice that trends are coming back more quickly than they used to? For example, recently on your blog and others, I have noticed short cardigans, ballet flats, and peep-toe sandals/booties. It doesn’t seem like that long ago I read all of those were out of style and should be purged from our wardrobes. I feel like this cycle used to take longer. What do you think?

    1. Most definitely they are. They still manage to treat them just enough that I wouldn’t want to keep a lot of things “just in case”, but the trends are definitely cycling through faster than ever.

  12. I thought these vests were “out” but I’m still seeing them on blogs. Did I misunderstand? Or is there a difference between nylon puffer ones and cotton quilted ones? I saw one advertised that was really cropped so wondered about length but this one isn’t cropped. This one looks so nice and seems practical since I’m always cold and looking for another layer.

    1. I’m not sure what you mean by the cotton quilted ones, but I feel like the puffer ones can look on trend when paired with current pant silhouettes. I wouldn’t wear it with skinny jeans and a blanket scarf, but I will wear it with straight leg jeans and fashion sneakers, or crop flares and clogs as I did here.

  13. This post was super helpful! You’ve given me some great ideas for outfits with my lighter washed denim. Thank you!

  14. Thanks for all the ideas. I saw videos that say dark wash jeans are in this fall. It’s exhausting to keep up with every trend. I see a lot of skinny jeans and mid rise in websites. I’m trying to find more highrise before they quit making them. There was a time when you couldn’t find any high rise jeans or pants. We’re supposed to get cooler this weekend. I feel like I don’t even know how to dress for fall after 4 months of wearing shorts and t shirts.

    1. You don’t have to keep up with every trend, though. 🙂 Just pick a few that you like, lean in to the styles and colors you prefer when they’re plentiful, but don’t feel like you have to revamp your wardrobe with every season. That is exhausting!

  15. Thank you SO much for this! As a long skinny leg gal I want to opt for white or at least light wash jeans to build gam volume but feared they were fashionably out of season. Based upon your tips I will now pair my hi-rise light wash up jeans up with a beige cammie for the neutral aspect and a pomegranate pea coat for contrast. I only wish I could buy those brown booties you modeled, but at $400 that’s a car payment; sigh ;-(

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