I know what you’re thinking: was denim on denim ever really hip? Or was it simply the unfortunate mistake of the fashionably uncreative individuals of the 1990s who never heard of a khaki pant to go with their must-have piece –de- conformity, the iconic short sleeve GAP denim button-down? Yeah… you know what I’m talking about.
The tides of fashion rise and fall quickly and often without notice by John or Mary Q. Average. However, if the Levi’s Classic 501 challenge in Episode 9 of BRAVO Network’s fashion winner Project Runway tells us anything, it’s that denim IS hot. I must admit I’m a girl without cable TV (the easy access to fashion and celeb gossip is all I really miss), so my musings on the final products are without consideration of the judge’s choice, designer personalities, previous episodes, challenge rules, or catastrophes incurred. In fact, I don’t even know who won the or lost the challenge. Nonetheless…
Sweet P’s strapless wonder really did it for me. Her mix of the darkest and lightest washes was unseen in the other designer’s creations and the effect was modern and magical. Her flirty frock suggested a return to the minimalist simplicity of the 1990s ushered in by none other than Calvin Klein, picking up the current tide of fashion along its way and then pushing it slightly forward. Clean-cut and simple, the dress was far from masculine, harsh, or overly stiff. Perhaps it was the use of several different panels that kept the look so soft and feminine.
I also dug Ricky’s dark denim strapless dress complimented by a ruffled hem. Although it was certainly not on the bleeding edge of fashion, I’m a sucker for all things girly so I would most likely choose this dress to wear out in my own life. It’s also my pick for Most Likely to be Seen in Baton Rouge. However, the 60s up-do and mod boots were a huge miss. Instead, a flat (perhaps metallic?) sandal and a low side pony would keep it modern - away from overly seen, overly sexpot, overly done, flat-out over it. I’d even do a light denim cropped jacket for a breezy night. Denim on Denim, I’m bringing it back.
I’m not just a preacher; I am a practicer too. If you’ve ever gone to VELCRO, Baton Rouge’s indie-electro-hip-hop dance party held Wednesday nights at the Spanish Moon, then you might have seen me twirking the denim on denim look a couple weeks back. Inspired by a vintage long sleeve button down I came across, I emphasized the fact that I was indeed wearing a denim shirt by pairing it with nothing other than a pair of slightly darker wash jeans. In fashion, if you are going to do it, do it all the way. As one fashion maven told me, I looked like a fabulous early-90s urban Kate Moss. I don’t’ know about you, but I usually take comparisons to Kate Moss as a compliment, unless of course when referring to her infamous little habit shared with on-again off-again boyf Pete Doherty. But who are we kidding anyway? The blow to her rep was insignificant when seen atop the stack of Burberry, David Yurman, and Rimmel Cosmetic ads her pretty little face continues to grace. I suppose the blow really wasn’t a blow after all. For real though, that girl can do no wrong.
The random whisper of “You’re cute” by a fellow fashion conscious VELCRO attendee confirmed that the denim on denim look is spot on, even by Baton Rouge’s standards. And why not? The past couple of seasons have seen an influx of monochromatic looks, as well as jumpers, rompers, and onesies (pick your favorite term). Denim on denim is simply an extension of these trends. Still, a rather fashionable male comrade of mine was decidedly less enthused. He thought my seemingly fashion forward ensemble stunk of the 80s. Clearly, he didn't get it. I was a little surprised though, especially considering that this kid only shops at the GAP anyway. Didn't he remember that ever-present denim button down? Perhaps his memories of it are more like fashion nightmares.
In other denim news, be sure to check out this month’s issue (March) of Teen Vogue for their small spread on the arrival of light denim that isn’t so much your everyday American Eagle flare jeans from high school as an up-to-the-minute high fashion denim trend. Over the past couple of years we’ve seen denim go from the obligatory dark wash to candy colored and acid wash more recently. Perhaps the time, or rather tide, is right to rethink the light wash.
Whether you’re brave enough to work a denim on denim look, denim, in all its forms, is an American classic that only bears signs of revival. In recent years, denim has received a facelift and a nosejob (excuse me, rhinoplasty) with the aid of high-end brands such as Seven for All Mankind, Rock & Republic, JBrand, Notify, Citizens of Humanity, Paige Premium Denim, and the like. The aim of these brands is not just to make expensive lines of jeans (therefore imposing a market of desirability), but ultimately to rethink and reconstruct the jeans themselves and how we, the denim-wearers of the world, think of them. Not only that, they do actually make the booty look good. And isn’t that what it’s all about?
Moral of the Story: Chances are that you are wearing denim right now, even if it is because you just ran to the grocery store after work. Denim is THE American wardrobe staple, but that doesn't mean you should surrender to ho-hum run of the mill denim. Get creative, get bold, get fashionable with your denim. There is no reason that you can’t look like your fabulous self at all times, even when picking up tonight’s microwaveable lasagna. At least one of you will be de-lish.