Denim Chic: A Style Focus

Denim. A staple of American fashion since 1873. We use denim as our go-to fabric, an important part of our casual wardrobe. Yet, how denim transcends that everyday use image into the stylish requires a precise effort. Not every piece does it. For sure, not every combination works.

As with tropical fashion, ladies will have greater creative leeway in forming chic denim outfits than the gentlemen. Have the following parameters in mind and your denim will fashionably pop:

1) Washes/Colors

denim washes
denim colors

The classic blue runs through a range of different shades, from the deep navy to the traditional. Washing also differentiates the type of denim finish. Stone washing gives a granular look while lightening the color to a certain extent while sun-bleached basically white washes the primary color. Coloring options include formative colors like white, black, and tan as well as a variety of rich, eye-catching colors such as burgundy, teal, or forest green. Keep in mind how your choice anchors your outfit. Denim has a funny way of grabbing attention, especially if used beyond the traditional jeans. Lessening an unwanted impact when coordinating your outfit depends highly on the wash and color.

2) Stylings

denim flared hem
denim jacket print

Even after sifting through washes and colors, stylings come into play. When mentioning stylings, it relates to extra features a denim piece may have. For shirts or jackets, there is variety in collar, sleeve, and cuff color. If talking jeans then reflect on fit, be it relaxed, loose, straight or skinny. Hemming is also important. Cropped hemming for jeans are an important aspect for women this fall with a variety of lengths and cuts. Dual tone jeans — those blend two or more denim colors — are making a comeback as well as patches and the all-present distressed jeans.

3) Combinations

Here is where everything comes together. Do find your creative style but there are certain parameters you should not cross. Guys, uniformity is key. If going with a light wash or bright color jean, for example, go with a light color shirt or t-shirt. Dark shirt? Then dark denim. If dressing it up, again, dark always makes the mark. The key is finding sameness with the overall color. Always choose a boot cut or an at-length seam for jeans where the hemming falls right above your choice of shoe. If it doesn’t, then cuff the hem until they do. Worn-in jeans are in this Fall but still err on the side of precision. Regarding alternative pieces, focus on probably having a denim shirt or jacket while staying away from short-sleeve shirts, distressed jeans or the dreaded jorts.

denim guys uniform
denim uniform

Ladies, as always, I stress that you take calculated risks. Have a lighter wash jean? Go ahead with the dark top if it also combines with your shoes. Have patched or distressed jeans? Don’t overdo the patches with a patched filled jacket or top and don’t pick distressed jeans that simply have full-length pieces cut out. Otherwise, go for it. Heming-wise follow through with either a higher than usual, unfinished, tube, or even bell bottom hem. Maybe forego the jeans altogether for a denim skirt or overalls. But be careful that your choice of shoe is appropriate (i.e. high hem with either a high-top sneaker or flats. Eh, no.).

denim choices

Finally for the adventurous individual seeking to rock the dual denim look (and you know who you are), uniformity becomes excessive. Rather, break it up with different washes or colors.

denim ladies patch
denim outfit break

Denim becomes what you make of it. Pair it correctly and you elevate it from the mundane to the highly fashionable.