Denim & Chambray, Spring 2013

by - Friday, February 08, 2013

Perhaps because some of us rely on our friendly favorite pair of blue jeans a bit too often, we like to assume that denim never goes out of style. However, the nation's constant production of jeans versus the fabric being celebrated on the runway are two very different things. Denim and its close cousin, chambray, are decidedly hot this spring. In addition to what we typically think of when we consider denim—blue jeans—designers are also showing off denim jackets, shirts, vests, shorts, skirts and dresses.
Unlike previous years that required a certain silhouette or color in the style, 2013's blue jeans vary from worn and light blue to dark blue and from skinny-legged and cropped to wide-legged Popeye style pants. Finally, denim isn't just blue—or black or red—anymore. As fashion blogger Cameron Jacoby declares, "Spring 2013 takes it to the next level with denim pieces that are more than just your classic pair of jeans."

Printed Denim Pieces

With this spring's acceptance of all the various fits and degrees of wear, it only makes sense that the fashion novelty of the fabric would have to be something unique—hence printed denim. This spring's printed denim is available in nearly every conceivable pattern: floral, geometric, stripes, leopard skin, hound’s-tooth, tie-dye and even some with a metallic sheen.

What does that mean to a fashionista? Unlimited variety and experimentation! The edgier the print, the more avant garde the outfit and the more attention you need to pay to your shoes—usually heels or booties—and the better the quality of the top you should wear to top off the outfit. Just because the printed denim will be the focus of your outfit doesn't mean you can skimp on the other parts of the look! Choose a lightweight leather top, a silk T-shirt or even a lightweight cashmere sweater for early spring.

Printed & Unprinted Denim for Casual Wear

Let's handle this subject first as we're most familiar with denim as casual wear. A printed denim piece—even in a quietly toned-down pattern—compared to the same piece in the usual unprinted state lends you incalculable style points. Daisy Duke may have made cut off denim shorts infamous, but a subtle wallpaper-patterned pair of short-shorts is just as sexy and leaves the wearer with the unspoken assumption of having graduated from high school.
A gently worn regular denim jacket with the sleeves rolled once or twice and worn over a dress fails to distract from the dress's femininity but somehow enhances it instead—in addition to adding a patina of cool. The only rule regarding wearing unprinted denim for casual wear is to avoid, at all costs, wearing the same wash or shade of denim for all your pieces. The result is known unkindly as a Texas Tuxedo.

Printed & Unprinted Denim for Dress-Up Wear

The sheer variety of prints available for denim this spring can allow you to wear it to most social functions. A belted shirtdress designed with different washes of blue denim and white and black panels makes a comfortably chic dress for the office, while the dark black and white checkered skinny-legged jeans look more like dressy trousers. A fair number of printed jeans include vertical stripes; the more traditional the color and the smaller the stripe, the less the jeans resemble casual denim. Pairs with fat stripes of vivid green and white are too fashionable almost to be uttered in the same sentence as "denim."
Printed denim can dress you up for the office, a must-attend party or your very own rock concert. Follow the lead of the printed denim and accessorize accordingly. Look for some ultra-feminine earrings and a bow necklace to complement the look.

Cowboys & Divas

If the popularity and acceptance of all these types of denim remain past 2013, denim's may become more ubiquitous among fashion divas than cowboys. Keep an eye out for a couple of pieces that will work well into both your wardrobe and your budget.

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