Denim will always be a wardrobe essential. Unaffected by the constantly fluctuating trends of the moment, denim has – and always will be – a convenient and casual number to throw on for a quick supermarket run. It’s a failsafe go-to with unlimited styling options. Team a pair of high-rise straight-leg jeans with anything from a ‘90s-style knit top to a loosely-fitted white shirt; a dark wash denim jacket next to a floral dress; dress down a polished top with streamlined white jeans.
There’s also the cool new way to wear denim: via a utilitarian boilersuit. A modern new twist to the Canadian tuxedo, a denim one-piece looks super chic when worn with knee-high slouchy boots. Creating interesting looks around denim can be easy — with just the addition of a few details. Here are some ways you can add a fresh spin to this closet staple.
The double denim look has firmly embedded itself in almost every zeitgeist since Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake famously pulled it off (a controversial opinion?) back in the ‘90s. The 2020 way to approach the longstanding Canadian Tuxedo is to opt for a denim boilersuit: a one-piece wonder that will complete your directional weekend edit. This bleached denim jumpsuit from Stella McCartney will look chic worn zipped down alongside a logo tee and a pair of naked sandals.
Bleached denim zipped jumpsuit by Stella McCartney, S$1,535 via Farfetch
To the point of one-piece wonders, there’s also the denim dress if you’re looking for a practical-chic number you can easily slip into on days where mix-and-matching separates feel like a nearly impossible task. We like this distressed acid-wash denim mini dress that features oversized puffy sleeves and a throat latch that can be buttoned up. Team it with minimalistic mules in a bright contemporary-coloured vamp for a streamlined edit.
Inaroa acid-wash denim mini dress by Isabel Marant Étoile, £345 (S$608) via Net-a-Porter
We wouldn’t bat an eyelid at traditional silhouettes such as a jacket, but a military-style greatcoat is such a unique take on denim. A high-impact statement piece that immediately elevates your ensemble with an unconstrained, contemporary feel, this denim coat by MM6 Maison Margiela is cut to a cinched waist and voluminous skirt. Wear it as a dress with white sneakers for casual weekends, or lean into a more whimsical look by teaming with a white denim mini with frayed edges and a colourful jumper.
Denim coat by MM6 Maison Margiela, £635 (S$1,118) via Net-a-Porter
Shorts are a major trend for 2020. From tailored to casual, the abbreviated silhouette is here to dominate all year round. Inspired by biker shorts, these knee-length denim shorts from zero-waste, sustainable denim brand E. L. V. Denim is crafted from panels of upcycled denim to a skinny fit and is finished with raw, frayed hems. Style it with a pintucked white shirt with ruffle detailing and a pair of mid-calf leather boots for an equestrian vibe.
The Twin denim shorts by E. L. V. Denim, £155 (S$273) via Net-a-Porter
If you want to look put together, a blazer’s always a reliable number to consider. Pairing it with a pair of your favourite jeans is just another way to add a little fun to your ensemble – ideal for those of us who aren’t too keen on looking too done up in a stuffy blazer. Choose a sharp tailored blazer with clean modern lines and team it with these heavily distressed jeans from Givenchy to create a juxtaposition that adds character to your look.
Straight-leg distressed jeans by Givenchy, US$850 (S$1,204) from Moda Operandi
New York-based it-label Khaite’s line of denim has garnered a cult following for its classic and contemporary stylings that felt fresh and modern while sporting impeccable fit for women of all ages. These Kerrie jeans are crafted deliberately and feature immaculate construction, making it one of our top picks of jeans from the brand. For a pared back and sophisticated look, try teaming them with a ‘90s-style knitted tank top in a neutral colour palette and elevated leather slides.
Kerrie loose-fit jeans by Khaite, S$430 via Matchesfashion
There’s no rule that says you can’t rock denim for parties and occasions after dark (unless the dress code on the invite clearly says so – in that case, we concede). For a party-ready gear, team your favourite pair of denim jeans with a “going out” blouse like a satin wrap cropped top or a one-shoulder blouse with ruffles trimming the neckline. These cropped wide-leg jeans from Proenza Schouler offer a polished mood fit for the occasion.
Wide-leg acid-wash jeans by Proenza Schouler, S$584 via Farfetch
As the current fashion mood starts shifting towards more streamlined styles, we find that jeans cut to a cropped length are enjoying a resurgence as well. Look to Citizens of Humanity’s high-quality denim for a pair that are thoughtfully created to be form-fitting and flattering. Show off your ankles by teaming these high-rise jeans in an ivory colour with a pair of mules featuring colourblocking details, and complete the look with a laidback ribbed knit tank top and an oversized jacket with contrasting panels.
Emery highrise cropped jeans by Citizens of Humanity, S$484 via Farfetch
If you’re looking to wear a denim skirt to the office, make sure that they’re fashioned just as you would a pencil skirt in monochromatic hues, like this piece from Givenchy. Brighten this skirt up with blinding turtlenecks. We’re thinking of hues like marigold yellow, vermilion red or cerulean blue — they’re fun and not too ostentatious for work.
Two-toned denim pencil skirt by Givenchy, £725 (S$1,295), via Net-a-Porter
Pair your favourite pair of denim with a slouchy, oversized sweater to exude a laid back flair that’s still a touch formal when you pair the look with chunky boots. Make sure the pullover you have chosen comes in fine cotton instead of chunky knits to keep yourself cool and comfortable in Singapore’s heat.
Distressed denim mini skirt by Alexander Wang, £285 (S$509), via Net-a-Porter
Who says denim skirts have to be boring, or blue, for that matter? Draw inspiration from French fashion influencer Camille Charrière, who is unafraid of pushing the boundaries with her outfits. Show your rebellious side with this leopard print piece and match it with a hoodie and a pair of Dr. Martens boots. But keep your accessories simple — you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard.
Leopard printed denim mini skirt by R13, £390 (S$697), via Net-a-Porter
Instead of going for the typical denim pencil skirt or mini, how about changing it up with a long piece that ends at your ankles? Go for something that allows you more breathing space, such as this flare skirt. Style it with a bandeau top and sandals or sliders and you’re good to go for an alfresco brunch.
Denim maxi skirt by Elizabeth and James, £410 (S$732), via Net-a-Porter
Give your pair of everyday denim jeans some zing by throwing on a khaki trench. Add a little Parisian chic by wearing a striped top underneath and throwing on a beret, then roll up your sleeves to exude a devil-may-care attitude. Tip: Make sure your trench is made of a light-weight cotton-blend material so you can still keep cool.
Distressed denim mini skirt by Maje, £160 (S$286), via Net-a-Porter
Lose the t-shirts and go with shirts instead — they can instantly transform your look from sloppy to classy. Opt for shirts that are billowy and lightweight — those made of cotton or silk would be a great choice as they’ll provide you with both comfort and style. We say go for one with ruffles or floral prints to add an interesting dimension. Pair these with a straw bag and shades, and you’re all set for a resort vacation.
Denim mini skirt by Madewell, £90 (S$161), via Net-a-Porter