Wear jeans surprisingly complicated. Denim was once the most democratic piece of clothing worn by workers, models and millionaires, if you now look like a different person wearing jeans, you are wrong.
The classic look of straight legs and indigo blue, exemplified by Levi’s 501s, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, has been put through the blender by designers with surprising results.
Logos now run rampant across denim from Louis Vuitton, Alexander Wang, Tommy Hilfiger and Valentino, while pockets outnumber patches. Australian designer Christopher Esper has split jeans with jersey for layered looks that mix hard and soft, offering a more contemporary contrast than leather and lace.
Denim’s newfound popularity is part of the Y2K resurgence with actor Julia Fox, model Bella Hadid and artist Dua Lipa picking up the smoldering torch of harried jeans from Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan.
Even if your approach to dressing is firmly rooted in 2023, here are the ways to look good in not-so-simple blues.
Layer with sheer fabrics
While some designers, like Christopher Esber, have done the hard work for you by creating maxi skirts and pants from combinations of denim and other fabrics, you can take a DIY approach by wearing a sheer blouse or bodysuit with low-rise jeans, or under a denim jacket. It’s all about the contrast.
Matchy matchy is okay
The denim jacket worn with jeans in the same wash has been controversial ever since Britney Spears and her then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake appeared at the 2001 American Music Awards. Now you can aim for the “Canadian tuxedo” look – a button-up jacket and matching jeans. You can even mix and match logo styles, but you don’t have to go full Timberlake and top it off with a denim hat.
More is more
Whether it’s extreme hardware with multiple zips and rivets, like New Zealand designer Wynn Hamlyn’s cargo jeans – which loosen below the knee – you want jeans that stand out. Madonna took distressed denim to new heights after this year’s Grammy Awards with a jacket-and-jeans combo that showed more rips than fabric, but you can hold back a bit by making sure your bra and knickers don’t show.
Swap the sneakers
The new approach to denim is about elevating jeans from your lazy Sunday uniform to ‘Saturday night on the town’ attire. Heels or army boots, favored by Anne Hathaway, are more effective than ironing a crease down the front of your jeans to show you mean business.
The new approach to denim is about elevating jeans from your lazy Sunday uniform to ‘Saturday night on the town’ attire.
Go to the next level with accessories
Feel free to test the denim waters with a slouchy bag in the durable fabric. Be quick, because this gateway item to head-to-toe denim is already climbing to its trend peak, with e-boutique Shopstyle reporting a 98 percent increase in denim bag searches in January.
Fashion Editor, Penny McCarthy; Hair, Keiren Street using Wella Professional; Makeup, Katie Angus with Chanel Beauty; Model, Jordan at Chic; Fashion Assistant, Emmerson Conrad.
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