Refreshing My Jeans Capsule for Spring and Summer

I wear jeans a lot because they suit my lifestyle and are easy to launder. They are also versatile, robust and comfortable. When styled in a particular way, a great pair of jeans can take you almost anywhere these days, which is part of the appeal. Dress them up or down and feel fabulous. As a proud Gen X-er, jeans are an extremely important part of my wardrobe, which is why my capsule gets lots of attention each season. 

I wear jeans in shades of blue and in a crisp optical white. I have a pair of pearl grey jeans which are more like a bone because they’re very light. I don’t feel great in black jeans, but do wear dressy black trousers. I’d be in the market for a coloured pair of jeans if the silhouette was not body-con skinnies. 

I can and do wear jeans year round, which is another good reason to refresh with regularity and forethought. You can see my current jeans assortment in this collection.

Wardrobe Essentials

Given the frequency that I wear jeans, a large part of the capsule are Wardrobe Essentials. It’s the component of my style where I enjoy injecting a trendy integrity, so even the essentials have to be TRENDY. The silhouette evolves over time to align with current trends. For the last few seasons, cropped straight and flared jeans have been my essential jeans. Before that they were boyfriend jeans, and before that they were straight and skinny jeans. And way before that they were bootcut jeans. I’m still wearing one pair of white boyfriend jeans. The exact essentials from my wardrobe are represented in this collection. 

Statement Pieces

A smaller subsection of my jeans are statement pieces: Two pairs of bell-bottoms, which are wider at the hem and more dramatic in person (they are not bootcuts), a pair of embellished wide crops, and moto jeans. 

Although statement pieces can become wardrobe workhorses, these jeans are not workhorses for me. I LOVE the bell-bottoms, but need to wear them with heels and in dry weather. I keep them for short client meetings and going out at night. I LOVE the wide crops, but still want to keep them a bit special so I don’t wear them as often. The moto jeans are body-con, so I have to be “in the mood” to wear very tight jeans.

Here is my collection of statement jeans. 

Spring & Summer Refresh 

I passed on two pairs of statement jeans this year: a gold pair that had faded and was no longer gold, and my infamous jodhpur jeans that have worn through at the knees. I refreshed my capsule with statements and non-essentials, since I felt light on statement jeans and have plenty of essentials. 

I added a high-rise cropped flared pair with jagged hem and exposed button fly. A cropped flared pair with high-contrast embroidery, and a pair of dark wash culottes.  The first two pairs became instant statement workhorses because they are easy to pair with very comfortable footwear, are “rain-friendly”, and a comfy streamlined fit. The dark culottes are fussier and wider, and also stretch after a few hours of wear. I like the way they look at the start of the day, but don’t like how they bag out later. Rotten luck. Here are the exact jeans represented in a collection. 

Going forward, I am set with essential jeans. I might add another statement style if it comes my way, but I’m also not forgetting one of 2017 style goals: “To wear dressy trousers more frequently, despite the dry-cleaning bill, because I feel great in trousers”. And that means wearing jeans less frequently!

The Resistance to Cropped Wide Pants

Cropped wide pants, or narrow culottes, have slowly been gaining momentum for five seasons. One of the most popular silhouettes on the catwalks at fashion week, yet not a trend that has gone mainstream at retail. They are a fringe trend at best, and judging by the way my clients feel, for good reason. 

Here are examples of cropped wide trousers and jeans for visual reference. They’re wide from the hips down, instead of being fitted on the leg with straight or flared hems. 

Ann Taylor
Marina Pants
View Info
Top Pick
2

There’s definitely an aversion to the cropped wide pant silhouette in denim or other fabrics. From my experience dressing clients, they are off-putting for six reasons:

  1. The silhouette makes the bottom half look wider than it really is.
  2. The waistband detailing accentuates the midsection, which might be an area of the body that you prefer to conceal. 
  3. The style can look best with heels to prevent the “dumpy” and “short-legged” feeling, especially when you’re petite.
  4. It’s a harder silhouette to pair with untucked tops when you’re opposed to the full or semi-tucked effect that’s a slam dunk combination with the style.  
  5. Many of the versions are high rise, which is problematic for those short in the rise and waist. Mid-rise versions are harder to find. 
  6. The extra fabric flapping around the legs feels fussy. 

The most important ways to troubleshoot these challenges is to get the length and width right. No less than two to three inches above the ankle bone, and by all means shorter. I’ve seen the silhouette look fabulous a good six to ten inches above the ankle bone too. Next, choose a narrower width on the leg when you’re petite, and opt for a mid-length rise. Add heels if you feel short-legged in the style, OR lengthen the leg line from the hips upward by showcasing some or the entire waistband when you prefer to wear flats. And last, pair the pants with a low-contrast top to accentuate the vertical integrity of the outfit. 

McQ-Alexander-McQueen-Fluid-Cropped-Pants

I have two pairs of wide cropped denim bottoms, and they do make me look and feel wider than cropped straight or flared pants and jeans because they aren’t as streamlined on the leg. That said, I think wide cropped pants and jeans can look elegant, fun, fashionable, and above all fresh. My own outfit proportions do look better with heels, but as long as I lengthen the leg line from the hips upward by showcasing the waistband of the pants, I happily wear them with flats. 

RED Valentino Stone Washed Scallop Hem Jeans

Slowly but surely, a few more of my clients are wearing wide cropped pants and jeans when we get the length, width, footwear and top right. Black pants and blue jeans in mid and light washes have been the most popular so far. YES, I know it sounds like a lot of effort to make the silhouette work, but that can be part of the fashion fun! 

Over to you. Have you come around to wearing cropped wide pants or jeans, or are you still averse to the silhouette?

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Ensemble: Wrapped Denim Jacket

This ensemble was inspired by outfits I saw in the windows of J.Crew and Madewell a while back. They combined trousers or jeans with a top and denim jacket, and then they threw over a statement wrap to top things off. 

The look is an acquired taste since it can be a little fussy. That said, I enjoyed the creative layer of soft over hard, because it’s different from the more common hard-over-soft layering technique. Also, it’s practical at this time of year when Spring is far from warm, especially in the mornings and evenings. The added layer of the wrap can be as practical as it is dramatic, and functions like a Spring coat

Here are the components of the outfit. I’ve chosen light and dark neutrals, but feel free to choose any colour palette. The outfit on the right is a nod to Spring with the white jeans and neon bag. 

Bottoms: Choose a pair of jeans or trousers in a silhouette that tickles your fancy. I’ve chosen cropped straights because they’re current, and easy to combine with footwear.

Top: Choose a top to wear untucked over the bottoms, and make sure it layers comfortably under the denim jacket. 

Denim Jacket: Add a denim jacket in any shade of denim and leave it open. Those with stretch are the most comfortable to wear. I’ve chosen blue denim, but white and black denim jackets work as well. 

Wrap: Layer a large solid or patterned wrap over the outfit. The wrap is like a poncho with a front opening. The shorter sleeves and front opening of the wrap allow the rest of the outfit to peek through, which adds depth, interest and subtle structure to the outfit. 

Footwear: Choose footwear that works with the bottoms. Booties, sneakers, pumps or oxfords should do the trick. 

Accessories: Finish off the outfit with a satchel because that’s best suited to the wrap. Crossbody bags and clutches can work too. Shoulder bags and totes don’t work well with the wrap. Add jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired.

Ensemble: Wrapped Denim Jacket

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Roundups

Comfy Office Shoes

An assortment of lovely office footwear that will be kind to your feet.

Read More

Easy Tops

A selection of easy-to-launder tops with interesting design details.

Read More

More Hints of Spring

A selection of wardrobe items to kick-start your Spring wardrobe refresh.

Read More

Comfy Fashion Sneakers

Sneakers can be worn with most outfits these days, and here’s a fun roundup.

Read More

Embroidery & Floral

A selection of maximal items to kick-start your seasonal refresh.

Read More

Hints of Spring

Feast your eyes on fab new stuff as the first of Spring 2017 hits retail stores.

Read More

Link Love: The Big Earring

With the Maximalism trend in full swing this year, big earrings are certainly making a comeback too.

From Sade to Samantha Jones, The Guardian tells us how to take inspiration from those who have made statement earring-wearing an art form.

If you’re interested in snapping up an eye-catching pair, then this Guardian roundup has great suggestions.

Or you could make a pair yourself for less than $20 with these tips from Refinery29.

Need more visual inspiration? Here are five more statement earring looks that caught my eye:

Fab Links from Our Members

Elizabeth P found this Vivienne Files post timely as it discusses how to figure out what your wardrobe essentials are.

Joy wanted to share this lovely video with beauty tips from women over 100 years old.

UmmLila enjoyed this NY Times article in praise of the Dansko clog.

Sally talks about “spirit lifting clothing”, which has been on Angie’s mind a lot this year. Angie can attest 100% to the fact that wearing happy bright colours, a vibrant pattern, and sparkle, helps lift her spirits — especially on a grey Seattle day. High five, Sally.

Weekly Roundup: Easy Tops

Here’s an assortment of easy tops, many of which were winners on clients last week. The fabrics are nice to the touch, and easy to launder. The silhouettes are a step up from basic, yet an easy throw-on-and-go. Many of these tops come in multiple colour options.

You can see my descriptions alongside the items on the collection page.