Everything you need to know about the eternally popular textile, Denim
There are very few people who don’t own a pair of jeans. Even your grandma probably has a denim number pressed and ready for a casual lunch. If someone says they don’t have anything made from denim in their wardrobe they’re not to be trusted. Too much? Possibly. Anyways. We love denim and always have a pair of jeans (or several), a jacket or a denim shirt on hand. It’s a true capsule piece. Denim can be casual, smart-casual, work-appropriate (sometimes), weekend attire, out-for-dinner appropriate, holiday suitcase staple and everything in between. With the addition of heels- you’re out for drinks. Tuck in a crisp white shirt- bring on the work meeting. Pair of sandals- summer outfit perfection. Here’s everything you need to know about denim, what’s in style, how to care for denim and the age-old question, can jeans go in the dryer?
What is Denim?
Denim is so ubiquitous with everyday wear you’re forgiven if you’ve never even stopped to think about what it actually is. Denim is constructed with a twill weave from cotton. Twill weave (diagonal ribbed pattern) is what gives the fabric its distinct appearance. While it was first made in France, it was a company in the US that made sturdy denim work clothes for miners that transformed denim into what it is today. Levi Strauss has a lot to answer for. While jeans can be found in a variety of colours, blue denim has always been the most popular. Blue dye works in a special way, only sticking to the outside layer of threads under hot temperature giving it its unique appearance- this is unlike other colours which permeate the whole way through. Denim softens with age and becomes more comfortable. Just one of the reasons why denim is so popular.
Pieces you Need
While denim as a fabric, seems to transcend fashion, denim colours and garment styles do change within seasons. The key here is to find what fits you well, what feels comfortable and pieces that are able to move between your wardrobe and become real staples. A well-cut pair of jeans can make you feel fabulous and confident. Knowing you always have a great pair of jeans to throw on alleviates so many wardrobe dramas. Lately, we have seen the shape of the jean leg change significantly, from skinny leg to straight leg and wide leg. You might have also noted the waist height ocellate between high, mid-rise and (gulp) low rise. Memories of Paris Hilton wearing impossibly low jeans on the red carpet may still haunt your dreams but we’re here to tell you- you wear what makes you feel comfortable!
Key pieces we feel will sit in your “forever” wardrobe includes a straight-leg, mid-rise jeans in a colour that suits your preferences. Black jeans are also a winner and they can elevate an outfit in an instant with a gorgeous top and shoes. Our current picks are the Essential weekend jean and Enmore wide-leg in washed black. You will be reaching for both pairs year in, year out. A classic denim shirt will always be fashionable. Tuck into pants or keep unbuttoned over a tee for a casual feel. A denim skirt will also serve you well. The denim skirt length trending at the moment is down to the floor, but a knee-length skirt you will wear for years to come. Check out our Amanda skirt for inspiration. Denim jackets are the last of our “must-haves” and we can’t imagine a time when there wasn’t some variation of this piece in our cupboards. The shoulders and bedazzled moments may have calmed a little, but the current denim jacket styles will see you through many a mid-season chilly day
Denim is pretty resilient and when we understand its history it’s no surprise it was considered a worker’s fabric initially. Denim is popular for many reasons and one being ease of maintenance. In fact, the less you wash your denim, the better. Tempting as it may be to throw your jeans in the wash after a few wears, most care labels will recommend infrequent washing. Denim masters Levis suggest washing every ten wears to maintain the shape and colour of your denim. Wash the item inside out and in cool water to again, maintain the colour and size. Drying denim is another important step in maintaining the fit and style of your favourite pair of jeans. Please (please) don’t pop them in the dryer. The fabric integrity will damage quickly in a dryer so outside on the clothesline it is!
How to Wear It
How to wear denim is a broad and somewhat unanswerable topic but in loose terms, you wear what feels good- of course! It can help to find a shape and brand of denim that suits your lifestyle and body and stick with it. Trying on denim in a shop can be akin to trying on swimwear but if you pop into a store with helpful staff, they will be able to point you in the right direction and provide invaluable style advice. You might be surprised to find what shape or style flatters!
For work, denim is sometimes appropriate, depending on your job, how you wear it and, unfortunately, what your boss says. For some occupations, denim is acceptable and when teamed with more traditional “office wear” can look incredibly chic. Try jeans with a pressed, fitted white shirt and blazer (we love our Isabella Blazer) for a low-key office vibe. Going out for dinner, denim is a staple and you likely find half the other restaurant-goers donning denim also. To make it feel special, team jeans with a top made from a delicate fabric like silk (or something like our Galerie Shirt) or throw a denim jacket over a dress to balance the look. Black jeans are particularly good at night, finding the sweet spot between formal and casual. Denim on the weekend or holidays is a go-to. Pair with a tee and sneakers for the ultimate weekend uniform. Throw on some special sandals or a linen top for holiday feels.
A pair of well-loved jeans can feel as cozy as a warm hug and takes the guesswork out of wardrobe dilemmas. They can also take you from work to dinner to the school pick-up (not in that order, of course!) with a change of shoes and handbag. If treated well, denim will also love you in turn with longevity. Care for your denim and it will provide you with years of outfits and love.
There’s nothing more uncomfortable than feeling cold but getting out there to work, exercise and life in general is inevitable, even in the cooler months. Keeping warm is more than just a big jacket, it’s about flexibility, layers and being able to manage changes in temperature as you go about your day. Trust us, lovely layers are the answer to all your winter woes!