Denim experts dish on five fresh styles for the new season.
After months of seeing jeans bathed in a range of hues, it's back to black in a big way for the colour that seems to transcend seasons.
"Black is essentially the new denim," said Gap Inc. spokeswoman Heather Hopkins. "It is the most wearable colour for many people, not just in terms of colour, but in terms of silhouettes and shapes and how it flatters one's body, too."
Toronto-based image consultant and personal stylist Lisa McLatchie offers a free copy of "Denim DNA" for visitors to her site (www.lisamclatchie.com), to help individuals select the best jeans for their body type.
As workers wear jeans more regularly to the office, McLatchie said a darker wash gives women a dressier alternative for day. What's more, it offers women who may be more self-conscious about the lower halves of their bodies another more slimming dark-hued option.
"It's even one step above the dark blue for minimizing areas they may be self-conscious of," McLatchie said.
Adding a twist to traditional styles is the arrival of coated denim, a good alternative between a classic jean and leather pant, Hopkins noted.
"The style is super versatile and also very comfortable and easy to work with from day to night," said Hopkins, who suggested wearing them with more sleek, structured tops or tailored wovens.
Pretty prints like florals and stars have lent eye-catching detail to denim in recent years. But tartans are also emerging as a statement-making pattern.
"I would say sort of the only rule with patterns is if a woman is a little bit curvier, she'd want to avoid patterns that have more straight lines in them. A plaid could be tricky for somebody who has fuller hips and is a bit curvier," said McLatchie. "Women with curvier lower halves would maybe want to stick with some sort of geometric print or abstract or floral, polka dots ... as opposed to lines and stripes and plaids."
McLatchie said when selecting prints of any kind, consider sticking with patterns that are in the same scale as body proportions.
"A lot of women think that if it's a larger print and they're a larger woman, they can't get away with it. But it actually is more flattering to do it that way."
When it comes to teaming printed jeans with tops, McLatchie recommends keeping the garment on the upper half of the body in a solid neutral. But women can still have fun and mix prints and patterns and a bold range of colours if they so choose, she noted.
"You can still go for things that still have a different texture that pick up a colour that's in the jeans, like a cable-knit sweater or mohair or angora," she said. "You're still adding some sort of visual interest and element with the texture as opposed to the pattern."
The comfy boyfriend style offers a hybrid of both slim and relaxed styles, and a new variation on the horizon for fall is being offered with the cuffs pre-rolled.
Nigel Seebaran, menswear buyer at Over the Rainbow, a premium denim boutique in Toronto, said the cuffed style pairs well with flats or cropped boots.
"I think it's a great look for the fall because it gives your denim a little more depth and a little more of that relaxed look," he said, noting that pairing the jeans with a looser shirt offers an "effortless chic."
Looking to dress up the boyfriend? Consider teaming them with a pair of wedges or heels, Seebaran said.
Distressed is still best for women seeking a more laid-back style of jean that features signs of wear and tear as a stylish badge of honour.
While the super-casual style pairs well with classic runners, Seebaran said the look can easily be made more upscale for evening with a pair of flats or shoes showcasing a bit of lift and flash.
"Dress them up with a great black bootie, which will give you a great contrast," Seebaran said. "For a great pop of colour, throw on your favourite heels with them. Just being able to have a little bit of stacking at the bottom with a nice skinny jean will give a great look."
For women nervous about sporting an all-over pattern on their lower halves, McLatchie said the patchwork style is a popular option.
"I would probably try to stay a bit safe and stick to more of a solid on top for sure," she said.
Since most patchwork jeans are in a baggier style, women should pair looser-fitting variations of the jeans with a more tailored top in a solid colour, or perhaps a cute blazer or structured jacket, McLatchie suggested.
Hopkins said women can keep the patchwork look polished with their choice of footwear, such as a pair of heels or an ankle boot to "really elevate it."
"It kind of gives you that more urban, downtown look, too."
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