For me jeans are high wear quotient wardrobe workhorses, which is why I crave a change in silhouettes every four to five years. Refreshing my own denim capsule became an unexpected priority this year when I started to feel that my casual style was in a bit of a rut. Thanks to denim trends that tickled my fancy, I’m once again excited about jeans and awfully pleased with my new capsule. It feels GREAT to try something new.  

Looking back over the last 20 years, I have refreshed my denim style every four to five years. In the mid to late ‘90s and early ’00s I was in bootcuts, gauchos and straight legs. Five years later skinny jeans were back in fashion and for a few years I wore those or straight legs exclusively. Then it was on to boyfriend jeans, again complemented by straight legs. In March last year I bought a pair of dramatic flared jeans — the J Brand Love Storys — and that marked the start of my current denim phase.

This year, I’ve passed on my blue boyfriend jeans but kept the AG Nikki relaxed skinnies, just in case. I put an old pair of blue zippered skinnies back into rotation because they’re great with my mid-calf moto boots, which I wear when we take Yorkie Sam out on day trips, or when it’s raining cats and dogs. I continue to wear my white boyfriend jeans very frequently because they’re dressier and more streamlined than the blue. 

Over the last 18 months I’ve transitioned to a new jeans capsule with silhouettes that are much more sleek than before. Dressy full length flares, high-waisted cropped kick flares, high-waisted cropped skinnies, slim straight skimmers, and a pair of moto skinnies. I also shortened an old pair of white skinnies to ankle length to create a trendier silhouette. The new jeans have been in heavy rotation this year, and have been instrumental in refreshing my smart casual and casual style. 

Because of my complicated relationship with cropped pants, the cropped jeans silhouettes require very specific footwear to create proportions that I’m happy with. Thankfully I could shop my closet for ankle strap footwear and booties with higher shafts, which is the type of footwear that I like best with cropped pants and jeans. But this year I added a few extra pairs that work well with “high water” lengths. 

Refreshing your denim capsule often means that you need to refresh your footwear along with it. This can be costly so take one pair of jeans and shoes at a time, and relax into refreshing your capsules. I already had a good assortment of hot and cold weather footwear to wear with several of my new pairs of jeans, which kept my budget in check. I also took a few seasons to finalize the refresh. There is no need to rush the process! Road-test a few new-to-you jeans and footwear combinations before you purchase the next pairs, and enjoy the process. Hopefully you’ll have fun along the way too.