Three Denim Styles Every Closet Needs

A fixture of pop-culture headlines in the 1980s was Imelda Marcos, the first lady of the Philippines whose shoe collection allegedly contained more than 3,000 pairs (of which she later corrected was really just over a thousand). She influenced many a Halloween costume, made her way into the opening monologues of every talk show host and is now about to be featured in a new documentary from Lauren Greenfield, a director known for capturing icons of excess. One can argue that the eighties was a decade where everything was outsized: shoulder pads, cell phones and the giant speakers from the Memorex commercials. Still, Imelda was an anomaly (and a criminal, to be fair) but nowadays, her massive closet would likely be dwarfed by any of the Kardashian krew, kids included. Even the normies are bragging about their shopping sprees; take a look at YouTube’s shopping haul videos if you want to kill a few million brain cells. More sedate example reside on Pinterest with everyday folks showing off their DIY walk-in closets and cubbies for their stockpile of designer handbags.

The drive for more is more is real (#truth) and most of us own more clothes than we actually wear. In fact, a recent survey by Closetmaid found that the average American woman has more than 103 items of clothing in her closet of which she considers 21% unwearable, maybe because they are too tight (33% of items in her closet) or too loose (24%) and there’s 12% that she’s never even worn. Of course Closetmaid’s cure for this is (surprise!) to build a more beautiful, organized closet, but the reality is that most of us are not making good decisions when we buy clothes. Case in point: this.

Not only are we making some questionable purchases (ahem), but we’re also holding onto clothes that don’t serve us whether they’re too small, of sentimental value or we’re hoping they’ll come back in fashion. Hint: these won’t. These unnecessary pieces are taking up valuable space in our closets, contributing to a feeling of disorganization and likely making it harder to get dressed each day. The solution is to pare down.

We’ve talked a lot about capsule wardrobes but we’re gonna break it down even further and focus on just that closet staple: your denim collection. If you start with these must-haves, you can ditch the rest and trust that we’ve got you covered. Especially if you’ve been wearing these

 

Three essential denim jeans

1. Slim and dark - If this style doesn’t already reside in your closet, get your credit card ready because they are essential. Don’t confuse slim for skinny, this cut is much more forgiving and every body type can find a cut that works with their body. Look for a mid- or high-rise (though brace yourself, the low-rise trend is rumbling) in a dark wash or raw indigo color. This silhouette works well for the office when paired with a pullover or graphic tee and blazer and is appropriate for nearly every occasion: date night, happy hour, picking up mushroom jerky at the Farmer’s Market.

Try the Men’s Modern Slim from Bluer Denim, $178. (Note: women’s styles coming soon but these work for the gals as well.)

2. Worn-in and slouchy - These jeans are the denim equivalent of a weekend warrior: relaxed, easy and probably spent last night on a sofa. Look for a lighter wash-- with or without distressing-- and a loose fit that skims rather than hugs the body. This style works well with those collectible trainers you’ve been hoarding or a simple high-top. Or make it a high-low look with pegged cuffs and a heel or boot and button-up.

Try the Men’s Graham Taper fit denim in Pilot wash from Raleigh Denim $245 or the Women’s Catherine Abilene from Imogen + Willie, $295.

3. Black and straight - Like the slim and dark, black denim is an all-occasion, everyday pair to put on rotation, especially when you want a break from your blues. The great thing about black denim is that it can be dressed up, think: velvet jacket, sequin top or worn casually with a bright tee or chunky sweater. Black jeans also work well for a monochromatic look: black tee, turtleneck or cardigan. You can choose from either a raw black denim or an overdyed denim. Both will inevitably fade over time, but the wear will conform to your body so think of it as your signature wash. Speaking of wash, try to avoid cleaning this as often to preserve the color.

Try the Men’s Classic Straight in raw black from Bluer Denim, $178 or the Women’s Haywood black rinse from Raleigh Denim, $245

Now that you’re in a mad frenzy, tossing clothes out like a resentful bridesmaid in a rom-com, you’re probably wondering what to do with those jeans that no longer work. Now, unless you’ve got a vintage pair of Levi’s Two Horse-- in which case, get thee to an auction house and fast--there’s no real reason to hang on to old, outdated or too-small jeans. Fortunately, there are a lot of options for upcycling, repairing or donating so they don’t have to get added to our growing landfills. Here’s a couple options to consider:

Tailor Your Denim

You can’t turn a pair of low-rise jeans into high, but you can consider a few types of alterations if they’ll make your jeans more wearable. Any tears or rips can be easily patched up and you can even turn those repairs into intentional flourishes by using a vintage patch or a piece of Shibori fabric. Wide legs can be tapered and of course jeans that are too big can be nipped and tucked in all the right places, just leave it to a professional.

Reuse and Recycle

More apparel brands are getting into the recycle game to encourage consumers to give worn jeans another life. Our Denim Rescue program will give you a $10 credit towards new jeans when you send us an old pair that we’ll donate to someone in need through one of the local Pacific Northwest shelters. If they’re unwearable, we’ll send them to be used for insulation. We’re also working on a way to turn those recycled jeans into new selvage to further close the gap.