Last month Selfridges opened its doors to a stylish new denim department, aka Denim Studio – the largest retail space for the blue stuff in the world. The Oxford Street department store has decided to dedicate 26,000 square feet for the sale of every single kind of jeans one could possibly imagine, and all within a price range of £11 to £11,000. This echoes the 104 year old stores’ other major recent investment, the 2010 Shoe Lounge, indicating further the unstoppable ascent to wardrobe staple this original cowboy wear has become.
Denim also went haute in 2013, so the Denim Studio arrives at an important moment. Dungarees have been an unlikely but successful summer hit thanks to a number of stylish fans, including Alexa Chung, Keira Knightley, Alessandra Ambrosio and Cressida Bonas, who took their cues from the Okahoma-Dust-Bowl-meets-All-Saints offerings on the catwalk. This nineties trend comes in both long and short versions, but looks best worn nonchalantly, and slightly baggy, to avoid any slutty farm girl associations. With the long-legged types always wear heels or you may verge into Andy Pandy territory – though better still, leave it to the models. Nonetheless, while dungarees lend themselves very easily to a grunge look, they can also be chic and modern when paired with a white t-shirt or Breton top and brogues. Perfect for an understated but ultra cool festival get up – particularly in colours that pop.
Ralph Lauren Henry Holland Kinder Aguggini
Alessandra Ambrosio Alexa Chung Cressida Bonas
Jeans remain the principal item, alongside shoes, handbags and coats, in which women continue to invest astronomical amounts of time and money in order to seek out the perfect pair, and never quite succeeding. Mid-range premium jeans labels, such as J Brand and Citizens of Humanity, are now just as mainstream as Topshop and Zara denim. Designer offerings have made fashion headlines too in recent years, though specifically for their ever more luxurious pricing. In early 2009 Balmain’s £1060 artfully and presumably couture-ripped distressed jeans were memorably a sell-out, much to the horror of British Vogue editor, Alexandra Schulman.
Nonetheless, the biggest denim story of the past two decades has without question been the skinny jean. The hallowed style shot to fame courtesy of Kate Moss, and retains its crown as the global denim favourite via Sienna Miller, and more recently Cara Delevigne and Alexa Chung. Although designers have tried and failed to preach the virtues of boyfriend and bootcut, they have been more successful in persuading us to dabble in fun prints, different washes and distressed trends.
Sienna Miller in Skinny Millie Mackintosh in Pale Wash
Olivia Palermo in Printed Balmain’s 2009 Distressed
The universal nature of jeans is why Selfridges’ mission to cater for the eager masses right through to its elite buyers is seemingly a no brainer. That is indeed the message the company attempts to convey – ‘Jeanius’ bar in tow – that anyone, on whatever budget, can find their perfect pair.
Jeans are fundamentally wearable, have no style limits and deign to be defined by social barrier. There are colours, patterns, washes and styles for every taste and shape. Nowadays you are able to buy as cleverly tailored a pair in Cheap Monday as Chanel. Denim obviously is not limited to jeans either. Slouchy Levi jackets are the urban hipsters’ favourite, as are Levi cut off hot pants with or without tights, and the humble denim shirt is popular with both Kingston and King’s Road. This season though, keep up and pull out the old paint splattered denim overalls.
Alexa Chung in Denim Shorts Miranda Kerr in a Denim Jacket Rihanna in a Denim Shirt
My Favourite Denims…
Vintage Oversized Levi Denim Jacket from Rokit Vintage Store
Black and Sky Blue Topshop Joni Jeans. I swear by these super high-waisted spray-on skinnies.
Vintage Black Levi Denim Shorts from Urban Outfitter’s Urban Renewal