Denim is Served

The Secret to Tweaking Denim’s Look

The old question was, when is it OK to wear denim? Now that the answer is, maybe anywhere but a wedding or a funeral, the choices are endless, and that’s even more confusing.

10.12.16 5:00 AM ET

Denim has evolved into one of the most versatile materials one can wear. Jeans are no longer meant for just casual dressing—heck, some celebs even wear them on the red carpet, and they have certainly become acceptable for many office spaces. Since we’re now confronted with almost limitless options, here some direction on how to put together killer denim looks.

1. The easiest way to dress up denim is to pick a darker color and pair it with a nice pair of shoes. Here he is wearing very dark grey jeans with a nice pair of suede Chelsea boots. You can even style it up with a shirt jacket, which gives a nice put-together yet still easygoing feel. 7 For All Mankind has a great pair this fall called Luxe Sport; its fabric has some great stretch lending a sweat-pants kind of comfort.

Jacket by A.P.C. (apc.fr)
Shirt by Saturdays NYC (saturdaysnyc.com)
Jeans by 7 For All Mankind (7forallmankind.com)
Boots by Aquatalia (aquatalia.com)

2. You can also go funky by picking a pair of distressed jeans. It’s totally appropriate for a night out to a party or even casual brunch on weekends. Since the distressed look has a very casual feel, instead of pairing it with a simple T-shirt or sweater, a nice classic button-down shirt and a luxe bomber jacket is the way to go this fall. True Religion has been collaborating with NBA star Russell Westbrook since last season, and their newest collection includes this amazing distressed pair.

3. You can now certainly wear jeans to work—in most places. The safest way to do it is not merely by picking a darker color but also by going with a clean wash look. As long as they are slightly tapered and hemmed at the right length, you won’t look sloppy at all. Now that athleisure has become a thing, many denim brands are introducing jeans that can be incorporated in work attire. Mavi’s new Indigo Move collection offers jeans that are clean wash and have a trouser look. Pair them with a blazer and a button-down shirt for your client meetings.

4. Here is a more advanced way to dress up jeans with a blazer. If you look closely at the jeans, they are actually a moto style. Moto jeans are surprisingly one of the biggest denim trends this fall, so here is how it’s done. The key is not only a fit but also keeping the whole look tonal. Pick a similar blazer and shirt and pair them with some earthy colored jeans. A nice pair of derby shoes to go is a must as a pair of sneakers will look too casual. J brand offers awesome moto jeans this fall that are made out of super soft French terry fabric.

Blazer & Shirt by Brett Johnson (brettjohnson.co)
Jeans by J Brand (jbrandjeans.com)
Shoes by Paul Andrew (paulandrew.com)

Akiko Higuchi for The Daily Beast

5. Finally, here is the most advanced way to dress up denim… that is denim on denim. The basic rule is to keep one item slightly darker than the other, such as a lighter shirt with darker jeans, and so on… But a fresh way to do so this fall is to pick the same wash for both shirt and jeans. If you put a cashmere overcoat with it, the denim on denim doesn’t overpower the whole look and nicely balances out. Again, the key is to keep the rest of items (shoes and hat) tonal, which results a in sleeker look yet the denim on denim is still the focal point of the outfit. H&M’s new Close the Loop collection offers this thick, washed fabric denim shirt and matching selvedge jeans.

Photos by: Akiko Higuchi
Styled by: Mitsu Tsuchiya
Hair: Shino Koda
Grooming: Ayana Awata