Denim, but not as we know it

It never re­ally went away, but that hasn’t stopped denim mak­ing a come­back. And it’s chicer than ever

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - THE CONVERSATION -

We all knew denim would be back. You can’t keep a good util­ity fab­ric down. And this time there’s some­thing chic about it, which is clever, be­cause it’s also look­ing more rugged than it has for ages. It’s the con­trast be­tween func­tion­al­ity and clas­sic ready-to-wear de­tails such as high, con­toured waists, fancy zips, crisp white top­stitch­ing that made the loose denim boiler suits at Dior – where deluxe util­ity kicked off – so ap­peal­ing, so soft, so an­drog­y­nous, so dif­fer­ent from skinny jeans and boyfriend cuts of ye olde denim days. I was sorely tempted.

But sen­si­ble­ness saved me. A denim boiler suit, for all its easy air, can be quite a faff. Not just get­ting in and out of it, but find­ing the right jacket or coat to go with it.

I went for M.i.H’s Caron jeans in­stead, which, with their high, shaped waist and wide 7/8th legs, give me the same sil­hou­ette as the boiler suit when worn with a shirt tucked in and, like that Dior num­ber, are smart enough for work, with a nice touch of that util­ity vibe.

The thing about the Carons is that, on me, they don’t work with flats. For that I needed

It’s the con­trast be­tween func­tion­al­ity and clas­sic de­tails that make it so ap­peal­ing

a straighter, longer length, and while I didn’t ex­pect to be back in skin­nies, when I tried on a black, lov­ingly frayed-hemmed pair from DL1961 – which work with kit­ten heels, but also look good tucked into some trac­tor­soled boots – I knew I’d hit on a win­ter sta­ple. And so be­gan a new cap­sule edit of denim.

I’m not alone in do­ing this. Jeans are back big time, but in a mul­ti­plic­ity of shapes, washes and lengths. Un­like the last denim gold rush in the early noughties, there are a bunch of eco-aware brands to choose from, such as Stella McCart­ney, Re/Done, Hiut Denim and DL1961, which has re­duced wa­ter, dye and en­ergy use by 50 per cent. This is im­por­tant. Denim has tra­di­tion­ally been an en­vi­ron­men­tal van­dal mas­querad­ing as an earthy back-to-na­ture type. It’s clean­ing up its ways, fi­nally. Time to get hon­est.

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