Who says jeans can't be dressy? With the right pair of jeans paired with the right accessories, you can make jeans look professional or dressy. To get a dressy or professional look with jeans, you must first start with a dark-wash jean. Jeans that are too light or faded will look old or casual. Just as suits and dresses that are more formal tend to be darker, dark-wash jeans give a similar feel to the outfit. Women however can actually dress up light grey or white jeans, but today we are just focusing on good old (actually new) blue jeans.
Next, your jeans must have a modern cut and style to them. Okay, I have to pick on the guys for a minute here. Many people, especially men, think that jeans never go out of style. Let me correct that thought by saying that DENIM never goes out of style, but jeans and the way they are worn does! Men, just because your jean shorts from ten years ago are denim, doesn’t mean they’re still in style or that you should still be wearing them. Jean shorts are a thing of the past, please leave them there. Also, we’ve all heard of the “mom jean,” well guys, there’s such a thing as the “dad jean” too. Stay away from the “dad jean.” If you don’t know if you are wearing a “dad jean” or not, ask the women in your life and they will be happy to tell you.
Another thing to remember about cut and style is that you need to spend the time trying on enough pairs of jeans to determine which is the right cut for YOUR body. Not everyone can wear a skinny jean, but there are some people who think they can’t wear a skinny jean and never try one on. You’d be surprised at what kind of body types can actually wear a skinny jean and look great in it. There is a cut that’s right for your body, even if you are bargain shopping for jeans. Also, make sure you are buying the right size jean. Men, please wear jeans that show off your butt instead of making it look saggy. Women, please wear jeans that aren’t so tight that you damage your internal organs or cut off the circulation to your feet. Find the correct fit for your body and if doing so means having to get them tailored, then invest the extra money to do so. You won’t be sorry. Now that you have the correct cut, style, fit, and wash, it’s time to dress up those fabulous new jeans.
For the women:
I recently went to a music industry networking event and all I felt like wearing was something easy and comfortable. I wanted to wear my most comfortable pair of jeans and my softest (but most plain) sleeveless shirt that just happened to be the boring color of brown. When I got to the event, I received several complements on how nice my outfit looked and how put together I looked. How did I do it? I took those most comfortable, plain jeans and shirt and added the right accessories: a corset belt with a small gold buckle, a long scarf that has some sheen to it with bronze, blue and cream in it, a pair of wedge heels that had straps in silver, gold and bronze, a brushed gold and silver bracelet with some subtle brushed gold earrings (note, the earrings and bracelet were not made to match each other…I hate matchy-matchy jewelry), and a leather bag. That may sound like a lot of accessories, but for that particular pair of jeans and top, it needed those added touches. A pair of jeans with embellishments will not need as many accessories. When it comes to accessorizing, it’s all about knowing when there’s too much and when there’s not enough. (One of my favorite movie quotes is from Steele Magnolias when Clairee says “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.” LOVE that!)
High heels or boots with the jeans tucked in can instantly dress up your look. Just make sure that when you put on the high heels your jeans don’t suddenly look like high-waters. The right length is also important when it comes to finding jeans that fit. Ladies, you can also dress up nice jeans with a top in a dressy fabric such as silk or satin. For a more professional look, add a structured, fitted blazer. Make sure your blazer/jacket fits you in the shoulders and across the chest. Other parts of the jacket can then be tailored if necessary. One thing women need to keep in mind is to make sure any jeans they buy that have embellishment are not so overly embellished they look like they're straight out of a back-to-school ad for tweens.
For the men:
Men, you can take your girl out to a nice dinner and still wear your jeans. First, you must ditch the athletic sneakers. In fact, athletic sneakers should only be worn when doing something athletic and should never be worn with jeans. I’m talking about the kind if sneakers you would wear to the gym here, you know, the bright white ones. However, a pair of funky, stylish sneakers or Converse All Stars can work if they are paired with the right kind of trendy jean. It’s the Jerry Seinfeld look that we’re trying to avoid. It’s best to go for a trendy/dressy slip-on shoe or boot. Also, a collared, button-down shirt that is fitted (again, fit is important so don’t wear a shirt that’s so big and boxy it makes it look like you’ve got a spare tire that you don’t actually have). Throw on a blazer or a nice leather jacket and you’re ready to go. This look can also work for business casual events or networking events, depending on the industry in which you work. Flip-flops are never considered “business casual” so leave those for play!