Dark denim. After Labor Day. Groundbreaking!
The best jeans for work, and whatever back to reality you are embarking on, are a crisp dark blue.
I obviously do not abide by fashion rules as silly as ‘no white after Labor Day’ but I do love the idea of a dark jean right now. It’s still hot out yet we are (I am) ready for fall clothes. Trying to navigate this urge while recognizing it will be hot out in NYC for at least a month has me thinking about indigo. There is something about this super dark, flat wash of jean that feels just as retro as a stonewash (light wash you wear in summer) but a bit less ubiquitous. So simply swap out those light blue and white washes for a crisp, stiff navy. You’ll find it actually pairs wonderfully with a skimpy tank, hoop earrings and a sandal but scratches that fall itch pre-sweater-weather.
Added bonus, it’s really the best blue for work. I’m sure some of you still are in a corporate “no jeans Mon-Thurs” universe, but the rest of us are trying to figure out how to look like leadership material but also slightly effortless and not overdressed since we might only see other humans outside our family unit two to three days a week. But those office mandates are beaconing and you need to wear SOMETHING. These jeans are it.
I call it “No-wash” denim. Not referring to your laundry room but the idea that a wash on jeans is industry lingo for whiskers or distressing. Stripping away all of this added “decoration” leaves us with a crisp, solid colored trouser….that happens to be jeans. Below, five pairs worth the cash that tow the line between fashion and your actual job….and are flattering to boot.
So I know a baggier jean is au courant right now, but I find my hip width to leg length ratio does not work for the whole puddle at the ankles look. It makes the jeans bunch up past my knees and just makes me look….wide. Plus, I’m not trying to drag my pants on NYC streets, gross. We are aiming, here, for a general “flattering” look that will not draw unwanted commentary at the office, or conference, or lunch or whatever.
First up, the Khaite Vivian. This baby holds me in, in a great way, through my hips and thighs and then flares out from the knee to feel more right for right now. It also will fall over a boot nicely when it gets cold. These are very tight if you order your normal size, so size up if you want a fit conducive to sitting at a desk all day. I personally, like the feeling my size is giving me in these.
These are for those who want the baggy look but without actually having to wear a baggy jean. An optical illusion! These are tight and high at the waist and then curve out in the thighs giving us fashion. But the cropped ankle lets gravity do its job and not let them bunch. Toteme sizing can be confusing, so I actually went in person to try these on at Nordstrom near me. And I ended up sizing down. So that’s my rec here…size down if you want them to sit high and nipped at the waist. And if you’re not going to go try on IRL, might not be a bad idea to order two sizes to try.
I have been wearing this 501 cropped pair for a few years now and always get comments on them (in a good way!). The cropped version comes in and out of stock but the classic length is always there and easy to hem if you don’t like checking back a million times a month. The price is right and the classic shape and style can help balance designer accessories. So if you’re wearing any logos or sparkles or just a lot of great jewelry, these might be the pair for you.
B Sides Plein
Ok I don’t actually have this jean. But I really want it. It appears to give me all the flattering waist stuff I require, with a wide-ish leg and a hem that hits high enough to not skim the ground. Plus, I think the color is really fun. It’s like the “goes with everything” French workman jacket but pants. I would wear this with simple sweaters, this old sequined Dries shirt I have but needs an ironic bottom to so is worn rarely, a tweedy blazer (but not a suiting blazer), an old t-shirt, a dressy t-shirt and pointed toe sling backs, off-white Converse All Stars…you get it.
The Row Goldin
Before I begin, I’m sorry mom for having to learn what I’ve spent on jeans this way. Now that that’s out of the way, I have never regretted buying The Row jeans!!!!!! I have sold, donated, bought, cut, hemmed, sold more and donated again countless pair of jeans. (Fun fact, I was a denim editor at Glamour for many years and know way more than anyone should about this category, and have basically tried on every pair in existence.) My The Row jeans are still with me to this day. And they have not aged out of wearability. And since denim is basically indestructible, they still look great. My favorite style, the Ashland, is no longer in circulation, but I think this newer cut called the Goldin is basically the same thing. The fabric is heavy. It hurts your hip bones the first few wears, and the wash is perfect. This pair is more “washed” than the rest in this lineup, but I sort of feel like, when I’m wearing The Row, I’m untouchable, so I get the same confidence boost from these that I do the darker, flatter wash pairs above. Is this crazy? Maybe. But I love. And if I were to do an extreme purge of my closet tomorrow, my The Row jeans would stay. And my wedding dress. And my The Gigi blazer (above). That’s basically it?
I also think these look amazing…but hard for me to look at that price tag anywhere other than The Row.
As a final note, and this may seem like a small detail, I really love a dainty watch for work. A little dress watch will make your jeans look so finished. If you don’t have a flea market option from your grandmother, look at Gomelsky on 1st Dibs. It was a very short lived offshoot brand by Shinola years ago and they are SO pretty. I was sad they didn’t really take off. I have TWO and wear them ALL THE TIME.
All for today. Happy Labor Day. And feel free to wear your whites all winter with a great brown suede boot and grey boiled wool sweater.
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Thank you for this! I have enjoyed these lists every week. I can speak to the Feel Studio jeans you link to. I have one of their (slightly) less costly washes. They only make the one style. They are made from a very substantial, non-stretch denim, and are very well made. No pair of jeans has ever made my butt look better, IMO. However, they are rather nipped-in at the waist, to the point where I have to size up because I have a straighter figure. As a shorter girl, I appreciate the short inseam option. I am excited to see that the Row jeans are a shorter inseam too, but with a lower rise. They do look smart and very comfy...
If you ever feel up to a jewelry edition of '5 Things', that would be most welcome.
Great suggestions and styling.