Fashion crime or not, double denim is back. Here’s how to wear it

DOUBLE denim is back and is bigger than ever and is no longer the fashion minefield it once was. But is the tricky trend still a fashion crime?

Made famous and covetable to the mainstream by Marilyn Monroe when she wore a Lee denim jacket with classic blue jeans in the 1961 film, Misfits, but it was 40 years later that Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears turned the trend into a fashion statement reserved for the tacky.

But why the resistance to double denim?

Most of us have the ingredients in our wardrobes, which, you would think, would make us receptive to the look. And compared to some other trends, double denim is blissfully undemanding of physical perfection.

However, the look underwent an unwavering revival during recent seasons and suddenly denim-on-denim pairings became a paragon of casual chic. Fashion magazines worldwide applauded the return of double denim.

“It is more about the wearer’s personal style and attitude than about applying strict rules to an outfit.”

Then there are those that think the double denim trend belongs in the if-you-remember-doing-it-the-first-time around-avoid-it-this-time camp.

And a trend wouldn’t be a trend without some sort of debate. This time around the tricky trend has divided opinion with the fashion industry. Of course, not everyone agrees. As you would expect, there are two schools of thought in doing double denim.

Many stylists and fashion editors, without discounting the trend altogether, were quick to point out the hard and fast rules of successfully pulling off the look. It has been tirelessly suggested that colours should always contrast, never match. Or to mix dark denim shades with light. Or to wear different colours such as faded black jeans with a stonewash blue trucker jacket or chambray shirt. Or don’t wear the same wash together. And never pair the same colour denim because it’s too matchy matchy. Or mix slim and loose silhouettes. And so it goes on.

I disagree. You can read more here. I actually don’t mind the double denim look. There are some fabulous new washes and treatments these days, so why not pair two pieces together. But (and it’s a big but) only if the wash and style are complementary.

Just as there are many different treatments and textures, weights and washes of denim, there are just as many many different hues of blue. So play it stylishly safe and stick to the same or complementary colour families.

And I’m all for contrasting denim … there’s nothing more stylish than a fabulous pair of dark denim slim leg jeans with … well, anything really. But there is one denim I’m not a fan of and that’s chambray.  However,  having said that the lighter colour is absolutely huge this season!

Try Levis, Lee and Wrangler for more traditional styles. If you’re looking for more fashion forward denim designs try international labels such as Earnest Sewn, Frame Denim, 7 For All Mankind, Citizens of Humanity, J Brand, Paige, Acne, Current/Elliott plus plenty of others all available online at Net-A-Porter, Shopbop, My Theresa and Stylebop.

For local  brands you can’t look past sass & bideTrenery and Sportscraft. If you want to explore chambray and denim tencel options then try Good Day Girl, and Country Road. And I’m sure there are plenty of others I’ve failed to mention.

So get inspired by the icons – think Marilyn Monroe, Deborah Harry, Elvis and Steve McQueen in their classic styling – and play with the mix of modernity and authenticity and put your own personality into it. To hell with the rules! It is more about the wearer’s personal style and attitude than about applying strict rules to an outfit.

Whether you’ll do double duty or not, one thing is for sure: denim, in all its forms, ain’t going nowhere! Denim jeans – and even a denim trucker jacket – are absolute essentials that every woman needs in her wardrobe.


* Break up the heaviness of the look with something light and feminine: the strap of a fabulous cross-body bag, a gorgeous pair of drop earrings, or a sexy lace bra strap or wear the shirt open with an extra button undone to show off a bit more skin or a glimpse of a pretty lace camisole.
* Roll up your sleeves and bare wrists with a bracelet or two, or a statement cocktail ring.
* No cowboy boots PLEASE! Keep feet semi-naked in ballet pumps or a pretty flat sandals.
* If you opt for a more tailored dark denim, pair of slim leg jeans then of course wear some sexy heels.
* If you must wear a belt do so, but it’s best to wear without to project a certain insouciance.
* If you choose to contrast the colours, a darker-hued denim worn on the bottom half will be more slimming.
* Beware wearing a too-pale chambray shirt as you will appear too washed out – unless, of course, you are blessed with a wonderful olive complexion.

What do you think about double denim? Are you a fan? Would love to hear from you. Ever stylishly yours …

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