“I have often said that I wish I had invented blue jeans: the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed and nonchalant. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity – all I hope for in my clothes.” Those bon mots came from iconic French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. He, as well as other designers, remain as obsessed as ever with the humble twill-weave cotton. Even though the once-working-class fabric’s status is 100 percent tried and true, a girl can always use some fresh and unexpected ideas on how to make a
jeanius statement. From floral prints and formal details to sophisticated add-ons to make it office ready, check out our favourite denim looks for spring.
Denim styling tips #1: Look for tuxedo details
What happens when you combine the simplicity of skinny jeans with the sleek androgyny of
traditional tuxedo dressing? A distinctly modern take on denim. New York based Rag & Bone’s latest denim collection features cool denim cuts with contrast tuxedo stripes that goes from boardroom to post-office soiree.
Denim styling tips #2: Get a boyfriend blazer
Before you slip on a pair of your favourite weekday jeans, consider your workplace and what is appropriate — if you are a corporate type, you might be limited to twill trousers even on Casual Friday. But if you work in a more casual or creative profession, try upgrading a sleek pair of jeans with a structured blazer. For a classic look, team a black double-breasted jacket with dark denim. Alternatively, try a pretty pastel blazer or a bright white tuxedo design (very French fashion editor) with a light chambray — Hudson Jeans offered a
range of sorbet shades of denim for spring. Think suits and match light colours with light, and dark with dark.
Denim styling tips #3: Try a denim dress
As Stella McCartney demonstrated in her inventive resort collection, a fitted denim shirt-dress or pencil skirt is both feminine and sophisticated. Be sure to add a buttery leather belt and combine them with streamlined ladylike pumps for added polish.
Accessories, sequins and washes are just a few things that can spruce up your denim selection. Keep reading for more of our suggestions for revving up your jeans, on the next page..
Denim styling tips #4: Wear the right washes
Old school, plain, dark-rinse denim tends to look more polished than other blue finishes, and therefore is more office-appropriate. White denim in a trouser cut can also substitute for pants on casual Fridays.
Denim styling tips #5: Embrace sequins
As any glamour-loving girl will tell you, a bit of shimmer is an instant outfit upgrade. If you’re a risk-taker, try a
bolder sequined piece like an eye-popping blazer. For a more understated look, try a shimmery tank under a cropped jacket.
Denim styling tips #6: Throw on a jean jacket
Great as an unexpected cover-up day or night, the most interesting jean jackets are often cropped and body-conscious. Consider a size smaller than your regular coat (or scope one out in the boys’ department) and be sure to push up the sleeves to show off statement jewelry. Make it your only denim element.
Denim styling tips #7: Get buttoned up
A sweet silk blouse will give your jeans a feminine feel — look for tops with pretty patterns, delicate lace or dainty bows. If you’re after a more formal feel, skip distressed denim in favour of a crisp pair of dark-wash skinnies.
Denim styling tips #8: Add bold accessories
Whether it’s a pair of killer heels, a brilliantly bejeweled belt or a gemstone parade of jewellery, the right extras lend a jeans-and-t-shirt look a luxurious spin. Think of the super adornments that popped up on the Spring 2012 runways: Alexander McQueen’s pearl bedecked bags, Erickson Beamon crystal encrusted earring clips at Jil Sander and endless pairs of shoes decorated with bright 3-D florals and prints all over the place. Piling on a few
look-at-me accessories is the easiest way upgrade your favourite 501s.
Denim styling tips #9: Cover up in a cardigan
Tap into spring’s global-traveller trend with an eclectically embellished sweater worn with a pair of jeans. Look for crafty details that will dress up denim, like artisanal embroidery, mixed media or tribal-inspired beading.
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's daily newsletter.