Legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent once said, “I wish I had invented blue jeans: the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed and nonchalant.” It’s true that we often live in our favourite jeans, with denim the basis for so many of our wardrobe choices. After all, there are few items which can look laid-back enough for running errands but also quickly transform into a night-out outfit.
It was a true blue takeover on spring/summer 14’s catwalk with denim’s latest renaissance. Balmain delivered heavily embellished patchwork pieces, Donna Karan showed slouchy dungarees at DKNY, and Donatella Versace paraded indigo denim-clad rock ‘n’ roll rebels down the runway. Now the high street, including Topshop with its ripped and patch jeans above, has taken up the denim charge. There are countless options for this 400-year-old fabric, whether you want to wear a denim accent or top-to-toe takeover.
Balmain’s quilted, houndstooth, patchwork, chain-embellished bomber is possibly the most maximalist denim jacket to ever exist – with a price tag to match. Luckily, the high street has delivered far less jaw-droppingly expensive denim outerwear.
Balmain ready-to-wear Spring/Summer 2014 (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Quilted bomber jacket, £45, Next
Next’s faded collarless denim jacket comes in a neat bomber shape with subtle quilting effect. The copper zip details and faded fabric give it extra lived-in appeal.
Cropped denim jacket, £19.99, H&M
For a more traditional approach to the denim jacket, try a long-sleeved cropped version in distressed pale blue. Throw it over a vintage tea dress or pair with indigo high-waisted jeans for a deliberate double denim clash.
White jeans always had a bad reputation thanks to Liz Hurley connotations. They’re refreshed for spring though with a cooler edge – wear skinny versions with hi top trainers or boyfriend styles (the easiest to pull off) with plimsolls and Breton stripes. Hobbs, Topshop and The White Company all have great white cuts. Now the only challenge is keeping them pristinely clean.
The White Company Jeans, £85
Denim after Dark
Take on the trend for eveningwear with an LDD – little denim dress. Make like a Fifties pin-up girl in this clingy indigo number below from Phase Eight. The low neck, cinched waist and knee-length hem make it particularly flattering on top-heavy body types. Add peep toe heels and spotty neck scarf for vintage authenticity.
Ashlyn dress, £89, Phase Eight
Work a vintage vibe with this Dorothy Perkins dress with sexy cut-out shoulders. Amp up the Eighties-effect with pointy-toe heels and armful of bangles, or dress down with black leather ankle boots and a rucksack.
Cold shoulder dress, £25, Dorothy Perkins
The jumpsuit has become a staple in many a modern woman’s wardrobe. This season’s denim varieties are the most hard-wearing all-in-ones.
The humble return of the dungarees to the fashion rails was set in stone when Cressida Bonas wore a pair to Glastonbury last summer. Fast forward to 2014 and you can get in on the action too with House of Fraser’s perfectly slouchy, ever so slightly distressed blue denim dungarees.
Dungarees, £65, House of Fraser
Take it a step further in a Balmain-inspired boiler suit from Primark. It’s basically a denim onesie – daytime dressing doesn’t get much easier than this.
Not quite up to diving head to toe into the denim trend? Accessories are your easy access tool.
Dialling down the tomboy factor that denim so often denotes, these Faith pointed toe pumps are pretty and practical. The light blue matches almost anything – accessorise with any denim piece and you can do double denim the subtle way.
Faith shoes, £25, Debenhams
Want that cool had-it-for-years battered denim look without having to wait for a decade of wear? Topshop’s ripped and roughed-up backpack has all the appeal of a treasured hand-me-down without any of the moth damage.
Backpack, £30, Topshop
In recent years denim trends have become less prescriptive. Skinny, boot cut, boyfriend – take you pick from every kind of cut, colour and wash.
Big denim news this season comes from Gap where new Creative Director Rebekka Bay has opted for a big emphasis on new ways with jeans in her first collection. Instead of just focusing on classic styles, Bay has added fashion details like frayed hems and sharp cuffs to denim jackets and jeans. Fashion insiders are particularly excited about the sumptuous indigo washes with deep turn-ups.
1969 Cuffed Always Skinny Jeans, GAP, £45
Hark back to the skinny’s Eighties predecessor, the drainpipe, in New Look’s high-waisted acid washed style, which work well for day or night.
Blue acid wash skinny jeans, £22.99, New Look
River Island’s loose cut blue jeans have added oomph by way of statement silver foil stripes. Wear with a crop top for an all-out Nineties homage.