Fashion rules are meant to be broken, and lately that includes wearing denim on denim. The look has been seen on Kim Kardashian, Cameron Diaz, and Rihanna, among other A-listers. “Mixing denim is exciting because it has infinite possibilities.
It certainly had a pretty bad rap. I think for a long time we couldn’t get the image of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake at the 2001 American Music Awards, wearing matching head-to-toe light wash, out of our minds. No one wanted to touch it. The shift can really be attributed to the rise of bloggers and street style. They offered up a host of styling ideas, making the thought of pairing a chambray shirt with jeans feel fresh again.
The secret is balance. A lightweight pale shirt looks great with a dark denim skirt. It’s about knowing your body, and flattering your shape. When wearing denim on denim, lighter shades of denim draw attention to the body areas they cover, while darker washes create a slimming effect. Celebrities like Kate Bosworth, Miranda Kerr, and Alexa Chung always get it right. But if you pay attention to proportions, this look is easily accessible to anyone.
There are two major denim on denim pitfalls: picking denim that’s all the same weight and wash, and accessorizing with busy pieces. Both of these choices will leave you looking like a bit of a miss.
How do you know when you’ve gone overboard?
When you look more Jay Leno than J.Crew.
Should you look for pieces that are similar in colour or is it best to mix washes?
Mixing is best. When it’s all in one shade, head to toe denim can easily look you’re headed to the rodeo. But it’s not just a matter of wash—the weight of the fabrics should vary as well. A lightweight chambray shirt paired with dark skinnies and an amazing pair of heels can look very glam.
For a casual look, try mixing light distressed denim shorts with a medium wash, over-sized, denim shirt and a great pair of motorcycle boots. A denim blazer and trouser-cut jeans are perfect for the office. If you want to look chic and sophisticated, accessorize with a sexy, slinky heel.
Which silhouettes work best?
Skinny jeans are probably the easiest to pull off. But it’s all about proportions. Any silhouette can work if it’s done right. The key is balance. Slouchy boyfriend jeans can pair nicely with a more feminine lightweight chambray shirt and instantly give a street style vibe that looks effortlessly put together.