The word “denim” comes from the French term “serge de Nîmes,” a fabric that was actually a was a blend of silk and wool (and invented in the 16th century!). During the gold rush, Levi Strauss (yup, the brains behind Levi’s) created and popularized denim jeans as a durable alternative to other types of pants.
Despite the material’s literal longevity, it’s still amazing that jeans have remained a part of the modern fashion lexicon for three centuries and counting. For a full rundown of the cultural history of denim, from then to now, click here.
Denim in Pop Culture: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
We’ve seen denim in every possible iteration: from Brooke Shields’ provocative Calvin Klein ad in the ’80s (a turning point for jeans — the first time they were marketed as sexy) to Jessica Simpson’s mom jeans fiasco (a step back, in our humble opinion). To get you in the mood for the new denim trends, here are some of the most memorable denim looks from the last few decades.
Spring 2013: Get Ready to Rock
This season, denim has been reimagined in half a dozen ways. From fresh takes on the denim dress to structural denim outerwear and embroidered pieces, there’s something for every level of fashion risk taker.
Style tip: Denim outerwear can give a masculine vibe. If you want to exaggerate that, style your jacket with classic denim and brogues or sneakers. If you want to go more feminine, try dark, skinny jeans or a flirty skirt with platforms or pumps.
Style tip: Wear these the way you’d wear nice jeans or leather pants. You can dress them up for the office with a tailored shirt and pumps, or take them for a night on the town with a peplum or bustier top and heeled booties.
Style tip: With printed denim, the same rules for other printed pieces apply. If you’re mixing prints, either stay in the same size range or color family. When in doubt, pair with a solid top in a complementary color. Depending on length, you can wear these with boots, booties, heels, or flats. Who knew prints were so versatile?
Style tip: Take a cue from Pippa here. Her warm-hued, smooth accessories complement the tone and texture of the dress. Your dress has enough going on that you don’t want your accessories competing for attention.
We hope this denim trend update inspires you to take a few fashion risks this season — when it comes down to it, that’s what fashion’s all about.
If you have any questions about how to style a new look (denim or otherwise), or want to stay up-to-date on the latest fashion news and trends, follow us on Twitter @krstylist. Here’s to a fabulously chic 2013!