Twill Jeans vs Denim Jeans - Harvey Ltd

Twill Jeans vs Denim Jeans

As with many things, what people mean and the true definition of a word can be two different things, and this is exactly the case when it comes to twill jeans and denim jeans. So, it’s best to start with a clarification of what people are actually referring to when they talk about them.

When people talk about denim jeans, they are referring to the ever-popular casual-wear pants that are typically made of denim fabric.

The denim fabric used in these jeans is often created with indigo dye, giving it that typical blue cotton hue that we all know.

When people talk about twill jeans, they’re usually thinking about casual pants made in a range of colors that are somewhere between jeans and chinos in terms of style and formality.

In actual fact, twill is a technique by which cloth is woven, and is not referring to a style of clothing at all, but a way in which a fabric is made. So, when we say twill jeans, strictly speaking, we are referring to any type of trousers made up of fabric manufactured using the twill technique, and not a particular style of clothing.

And, actually, denim is a type of indigo-dyed strong cotton fabric that is made using the twill weave technique. Therefore, technically speaking, denim jeans are a type of twill pants. In other words, all denim is twill, but not all twill is denim.

Something else to note is that because twill refers to a cloth weaving technique and not to specific material, twill fabrics can be made from different materials such as wool, silk, and cotton.

Twill Jeans Vs Denim Jeans: Main Differences

Although we now know that twill jeans aren’t technically a separate trouser style, I’ll compare denim jeans with what most people understand to be twill jeans – i.e., casual pants which are somewhere between jeans and chinos and made of a twill weave fabric.

1. Thread Dye

A notable difference between denim jeans and twill jeans is how the threads are dyed. With twill jeans, the threads are all dyed in the same color, giving a single-toned look to the fabric once it is woven. This is why most twill jeans you see will come in a single block color, with no contrasting-colored threads intertwining within the fabric.

Denim, which is a strong cotton twill fabric, has more than one color of thread running through it. The warp thread, which is the main front-facing thread of denim, is dyed in a shade of indigo, whereas the weft thread, which makes up the interior face of jeans, is left undyed, or white. This is why denim jeans are blue on the outside, but mostly white or pale-colored on the inside.

If you look closely at denim, you can see the diagonal pattern of the twill, with the white weft thread running between the predominantly indigo-dyed warp thread on its outer surface. This gives denim jeans a two-toned appearance, unlike twill jeans.

2. Color

Another difference between twill jeans and denim jeans is the color they tend to traditionally come in. Denim jeans, which traditionally come in blue, have a narrower spectrum of colors than twill jeans that they can commonly be found in.

The neutral palette of denim jeans offers a great opportunity to experiment with the colors of the pieces of clothing you combine them with. Twill jeans are much more likely to be found in non-traditional colors than denim jeans. They can be found in similar neutral blues, grays, and blacks, but can also come in burgundy, army green, eggplant, and mustard to name a few.

Paired with more neutral pieces of clothing, they can be the focal point of your outfit, whilst still feeling as comfortable as a pair of worn-in jeans.

3. Formality

As we all know, denim jeans, particularly in the classical blue cotton hue, undeniably fall into the ‘casual’ category of clothing. Although jeans can be dressed up with smarter shirts and blazers to look more ‘smart-casual’, they are most at home paired with t-shirts, sweaters, and casual shirts. Twill jeans, on the other hand, tend to fall somewhere between chinos and jeans in terms of the level of formality they exude.

The typical 4-pocket style cut of twill jeans is similar to how denim jeans are cut, but the block color of the twill weave fabric which twill jeans are made from makes them look an edge more formal than denim jeans. This is because this block color fabric of twill jeans is more easily dressed up than the two-toned denim fabric of jeans.

For example, twill jeans can easily be paired with a white shirt and blazer to make an outfit that would comfortably sit in the smart casual or business casual category. Twill jeans are still a touch less formal than chinos, simply because of the way in which they are cut. Twill jeans (and denim jeans) are made with J-shaped pockets, whereas chinos carry a more formal side slash pocket style.

Twill Jeans Vs Denim Jeans: How To Choose

But when and how should you choose one over the other? Let’s go through some factors you should consider when choosing between these two pant styles.


When it comes to price, both denim jeans and twill jeans can vary a lot in terms of how much they will set you back. Obviously, if you opt for a higher-end brand for either your jeans or twill pants, you can expect to be paying more. However, on the whole, it is easier to find good quality twill jeans that cost less than good quality denim jeans.

The block color of twill jeans is also more forgiving, in that even if made more cheaply it can be difficult to tell it apart from a slightly more expensive pair. With denim jeans, on the other hand, it is often easier to tell apart a cheap pair of jeans from a mid-range pair of jeans. Cheap denim jeans often have fabric that is stiffer, more uncomfortable to wear, and often the color of the fabric often fades very quickly after a few washes.


Another factor to consider when choosing between twill jeans and denim jeans is the weather you are likely to be wearing them in. Both twill jeans and denim jeans are good options for the transitional spring and fall seasons, as they offer some insulation against the cold due to their good quality twill weave fabric.

Both of these pant styles also can be worn in winter climates, again due to their decent heat-insulating properties. However, if there is a high chance of rain or snow where you live, then denim jeans are likely a worse option than twill jeans. This is because denim is a particularly tough, thick cotton twill weave fabric, and when it becomes wet, it loses a significant amount of its heat-insulating properties.

Denim also doesn’t evaporate water very quickly, meaning that your legs are likely to be wet, and cold, for some time. Twill jeans, although also made of twill weave fabric, tend to be made in slightly lighter materials, meaning they are likely to evaporate water faster than denim. You can also find twill jeans that are made of synthetic material, such as polyester or polyester blends, and these are better at drying quickly after they get wet.


Which is more durable, twill jeans or denim jeans? Denim jeans are made of a cotton twill weave fabric that has heavier fibers than those used to make twill jeans. This means denim jeans are both heavier and more durable than twill pants.

Overall, the cotton fibers used to make twill jeans are lighter than those used to make denim, which is a fabric made up of a very thick cotton twill weave. Therefore, even though both pant styles are made with fabrics that are manufactured in the durable twill weave pattern, the heavier cotton fibers in denim mean that overall denim is more durable.

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