Monday 27th May 2024

Denim dreams: why jeans aren’t just for ‘peasants’


Through hipsters’ wardrobes and high-street trend-following, double denim has crept its way back to everyone’s consciousness. One prominent women’s fashion magazine recently ascertained readers that triple denim is OK, as long as you limit at least two pieces to accessories.

So here I am waving my fist at the imaginary fashion overlords, cursing the fact that the true comeback of denim has happened a year after I finally binned/gave away all my old denim miniskirts.

We all remember Britney and Justin…don’t we?

But this also reminds me of a time, circa 1999, when I was walking around wearing a polyester denim-imitation top with some blue jeans and a pair of cork-soled denim platform shoes. I am pretty sure at some point in 2000 this combo was also complemented by an H&M denim bandanna with white and red floral embroidery.

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OK, to distract you from that image, I will remind you of this one. We all remember Britney and Justin wearing a whopping SIX pieces of denim between the two of them, right?

My headmaster always said only ‘peasants’ wear blue jeans.

Denim has gone through multiple mutations over the years – initially considered a cheap workman’s outfit, then made cool by James Dean and glamorised by the likes of Calvin Klein and then mocked in its double form as a Canadian tuxedo (as to the origin of the latter, see here).

In the past, jeans were regarded as a form of rebellion. They were also that for me at school, where we didn’t have uniforms, but our headmaster’s sole pet peeve was blue jeans. He always said only ‘peasants’ wear blue jeans and it took me years to figure out he meant farmers. (I’m from Estonia, and in Estonian ‘peasant’ is not an insult of any sort as all Estonians come from tree-hugging peasants, who were more inclined to wear clothing made out of hemp and linen and missed denim sorely during the Iron Curtain years.)

But somehow, to a large extent, this notion of blue denim not being ‘polite’ enough has stuck with me, so my colleagues are yet to see me show up at work in blue jeans. Maybe I ought to invest in a denim bag this season?

However, if you are braver than me and considering doubling or tripling up with jeans, skirts or jackets, my one piece of advice to you is contrast. Lighter and darker shades and maybe even a different texture or grain of the fabric will create a more interesting overall impression.

So let’s free ourselves from the fear of denim. And happy mixing.

Helen Harjak

Mouthy Blogger

Would you like to know how to dress like a catwalk model for one millionth of the price? Talk to Helen.

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