The Denim Story
Reassuring, durable, comfortable, sexy, stretchy, stylish, irresistibly indigo and iconic; our relationship with denim has been a loving and enduring one and is still very much alive.
The current ‘double-denim’ look (wearing it on the top and on the bottom) may be a step too far for most of us but the rule this season is that it has to be blue. Thankfully, denim is a great wardrobe staple with something to suit everyone.
Denim to snap up this season
Denim is appearing in all sorts of guises from dresses to jumpsuits to duffle bags but it’s not to everyone’s tastes. If you invest in two new denim pieces only (aside from jeans) then you can’t go wrong with these:
The denim shirt dress – we’ve seen it before but it’s so versatile we’re delighted to have it back. You can dress it up or down and it’s a perfect holiday piece too.
The denim skirt- it’s almost as much of a wardrobe regular as jeans. There’s always a good range of cuts to choose from and it goes with any colour. Find the cotton denim versions for summer.
Forever in Blue Jeans
Jeans were originally created as men’s workwear until Levi Strauss made some useful changes and put his name to the updated version. In the 1950’s, just as celebrities dictate the latest look in jeans today, film stars like Marlon Brando and James Dean made denim a sought after item.
The great thing about jeans right now is that pretty much any style goes, as long as they look good on you. Our body shape, personality and age all contribute to which styles we wear so here are some basic rules to help you choose the right jeans for you:
Skinny Jeans – tight jeans that fit very closely on the leg
These are best suited to straighter body shapes with little waist definition and small hips. Curvier figures can and do wear them, they just need to take care with what they wear on top as skinny jeans are so close-fitting. Keep in mind that if you are heavy on the hip or thighs then the super-narrow ankle will accentuate those areas.
If you are curvy but have good legs and slim ankles (many round shapes are) then a narrow ankle can work if you wear jeans as leggings, e.g. with soft flowing tops. Hourglass figures should opt for soft and stretchy denim so it won’t fight against the curves. Good for tucking into boots. Generally better suited to younger women.
Straight leg – completely straight on the leg, doesn’t widen at the calf or ankles
In-between skinny and boot cut and easier to get into than skinny! These can work well on triangle and round body shapes as they fit neatly at the top so there’s no excess fabric adding volume around the hip or tummy. The straightness from the knee balances your shape better than skinny jeans. A bit of stretch in the denim will add comfort but too much can make them shapeless. They are also great for petite ladies as the straight style gives an elongating effect. Straight enough to tuck into boots. Good for all ages.
Boot cut – straight at the thigh but flares a little near the ankles
This style never seems to be out of fashion and that’s because it is flattering on most figures. The boot cut is good for balancing out inverted triangle body shapes and wider hips, but don’t go too wide on the leg as that will detract from the slim leg line. It has a softer look than the straight leg and is therefore more flattering for mature figures. Penelope Cruz and Jennifer Aniston are frequently spotted wearing fabulous boot cut jeans dressed up with heels.
Flared -can be a looser fit from the top going down to a bigger flare at the ankle or can be fairly narrow at the thigh and knee then widening at the calf
Despite Joan Collins’ recent statement that she ‘hates’ jeans (Daily Mail 12th April) she was a 70’s jeans icon and still looks great in denim now. Flares have been updated from the original ‘bell bottom’ jeans but they still give us a bit of fabulous 70’s chic. They are generally a looser fit and not as narrow at the top as the previous cuts. This style works best on taller ladies from slim to very curvy, however, you need to think about how loose they are and consequently how much bulk they add to your figure. If you are short then you should avoid flares as they will swamp you. If you prefer a looser fit then the key is to find a more gentle flare that isn’t too roomy. Good for any age.
Boyfriend Jeans – looser fit from top to ankle, generally lower on the hips
These are exactly as it says on the box – a man’s cut made for women. They can be comfy and they are a very current look, however, it is a masculine style so not the most flattering unless you can really carry them off. Generally better on slimmer or younger figures and teamed with heels.
Do’s and Don’ts with Jeans
1. Consider where the waistband sits on you: If you are high-waisted you may prefer a slightly lower waistband to give the illusion of a lower waist. If you prefer a high-waisted jean, don’t tuck-in! If you are low-waisted then low-waist hipster jeans will work for you but take care if you are short in the leg, they will appear even shorter with this style so choose straight leg jeans and slightly higher waistbands.
2. Consider the weight of the denim: structure and stiffness of fabrics are not ideal for curvier shapes, they should opt for softer denim. If you want the look without the stiff fabric you can find cotton denim and denim coloured clothes.
3. If you have short legs avoid wide leg jeans and try to avoid flats with your jeans, even a small heel will help elongate the leg
4. Take care with pale denim on the bottom half, if you are short and curvy it can appear to add pounds.