7 Jan , 2015  

Styling 101 – Denim-ology

One of the things I get asked a lot by women is help with finding the perfect pair of jeans.

Jeans are, for most of us a wardrobe staple, dressed up for evening, dressed down for the school run. Yet how often are people able to really find a pair that ticks all the boxes? I know firsthand what a minefield denim can be and unfortunately there is no real shortcut to trying on 50 plus pairs just to find the right one for you. However there are some simple rules to keep in mind when shopping for jeans…


One of the best pieces of advice I can give is to invest in a classic. By this I mean a pair of jeans that will never go out of fashion, so the colour cut and fabric should be simple. This is one area worth investing in a designer pair from a denim specific brand. A classic pair for most people will include one pair of skinny jeans with a very dark wash, soft denim and a little bit of stretch. So many women are scared of the ‘skinny’ jean thinking that it’s a style best suited to ‘skinny’ women, this is a common misconception and not even close to being true, skinny jeans are actually one of the most flattering cuts for all body shapes.

When buying a classic pair of skinnies always choose styles that are long in the leg, (we’ll come onto tailoring a little bit later). Also buy a pair with at least 2% stretch just for the comfort factor and so that the jeans will keep their shape over time. Lastly look for quality fabrics, super thin denim shows up every lump and bump.

I’m not the biggest fan of boot cut jeans; I prefer the extremes of skinny or flared. Kate Moss is often seen rocking super flared jeans, with the J Brand Love Story’s being one of herwardrobe staples. What’s great about these jeans is that the top half of the leg is fitted; the flare only starts below the knee which is super flattering. A big mistake people make is buying jeans that flare from the upper thigh thus creating a giant leg effect.

Cropped Jeans come and go, most often in fashion in the summer. Cropped is a very wearable shape if you follow some simple rules: Always choose fitted and cropped never loose and cropped, trousers flapping round your lower calves, cuts of your legs and ruins the line of your body. So think Capri pants, gently hugging the calves for a more slimline look

One of my favourite looks, is the boyfriend cut, nothing too baggy but loose with a tailored shape, I particularly like the boyfriend styles that have a bit of shredding and are heavily rolled at the ankles, these look great with heels and a loose top, casual but sexy and understated.

Colour washes can date hence why when picking classics choose, black, white or a dark indigo blue, every other wash will be too trend-led. A capsule wardrobe should include one black pair either skinny or flared, one white pair of pencil or skinny leg – white is very much something exclusive to The UAE and other countries benefiting from brilliant sunshine, while white jeans will never go out of fashion they definite suit a hot climate. Lastly for blue jean lovers I like an indigo wash without distressed patches.

Distressed is one denim trend that comes in and out of fashion regularly, super shredded and distressed has been a major fashion trend on the runways and copied all over the high street. Tread carefully here, if you want to invest in a seasonal pair of denim then choose something cheap and cheerful from the high St that won’t matter if you only wear them a few times.

In terms of sizing and fit, never pick a pair that are already loose straight off the rack, this is one of those times where you should pick an item that is on the tight side, this will mean that even after a few wears they will still fit you well, it’s disappointing to find a great pair of jeans and then have them lose shape quickly.

For those keen to hide the bum, choose styles with pockets, jeans and jeggings without pockets really draw attention to the derrière. In terms of waist, I generally advise to avoid ‘low-rise styles for most people, I am a huge fan of high-waisted styles they take the hard work out of styling as they solve the problem of proportion and layering in one foul swoop

Never discount a great pair of jeans just because of something simple that can be tailored, I regularly get clothes tailored to fit me exactly, exercise caution with tailoring lengths though, the longer the better for all styles.

How to style your look once you find that perfect pair is a whole other tutorial but just one tip about footwear; try to avoid wearing closed toe shoes with flared jeans; this is a recipe for making yourself look short and dumpy, ironic given that ‘Bootcut’ jeans gained their name as a style to wear with boots. As a general rule wear open toe sandals and wedges with bootcutand ballet flats with skinny jeans and more fitted styles.

Lastly, for longevity a good pair of jeans requires after care, the following tip is beneficial two fold – rarely wash your jeans! Not only is this environmentally friendly it will prolong the life of your jeans, assuming that you don’t wear them day in and day out your average pair of jeans does not need washing more than once a month much less if you can get away with it.

So happy shopping and if you do find the perfect pair! buy at least 2!

For daily fashion inspiration and tips follow Dawn on twitter @Dawnwstyle