My previous guidelines for smart casual dressing suggested that a pair of dark denim jeans (either boot cut, trouser, straight or skinny) are best because they look dressier than faded and distressed denim. Well, my recent passion for faded denim is challenging my own guidelines.

When I work with clients my outfits are either creative business casual or smart casual. Over the last six months I’ve been bored with dark denim and reach for my faded washes whenever I wear jeans. So I’ve been combining smart casual ensembles with faded denim instead of dark denim, but when I do I take care to combine them with particularly polished pieces AND heels to offset the casual flavour of the faded denim.

On the right is an outfit I’ve worn out at night and on half day shopping trips with clients (the heels of the booties are a little too high for them to be 8-hour shoes). It’s quite a ruffle-y outfit! My relationship with ruffles is no longer a passionate love affair, but we still thoroughly enjoy each other’s company from time to time.

I matched the faded jodhpur jeans with a black dolman sleeve sweater. I topped it off with a tailored Victoriana wool jacket (that I scored at this year’s Nordstrom Anniversary Sale), grey suede booties and my Valentino.  I chose my white and black specs because the white against my face softens the harshness of the black and grey tops.

I would definitely look dressier and less edgy if I swapped out the faded denim jodhpur jeans for dark denim straight leg or skinny jeans. I would not wear this outfit if I felt the client or situation demanded a more formal look, but for some of my work settings the faded jeans are appropriate as long as I keep the rest of the outfit polished and tailored. It might be an acquired taste but I enjoy the contrast that is created between dressy pieces and faded denim.