Spring cleaning is in full effect, and most of us have begun transitioning our closets in preparation for the summer months ahead. And while, yes, the rise in temperature dictates some major wardrobe changes, one thing that never leaves the fashion conversation is denim. When it comes to updating your jean pieces for warmer weather, there naturally may be a shift to softer weight materials or lighter washes. Perhaps leg-baring silhouettes, like skirts and shorts, will start to make their way into your repertoire. One thing to keep in mind? Stand out trends should not always be your guide when shopping for the best summer denim.
“I don’t think it is necessarily about the trends that happen with denim, it is brands that become popular,” Rajni Jacques, Snapchat’s global head of fashion and beauty, tells TZR. “I am wearing R13 denim right now. They make great denim with different cuts.” Jacques’ style of choice? “I love a good baggy boyfriend jean. Even if it is not a boyfriend jean, I will buy Levi’s in sizes way too big, so they can be baggy on me.” Indeed, Jacques’ favorite style encompasses one of summer’s key necessities: comfort.
“Our customer is leaning into that relaxed, oversized look, with off-duty, loose jeans as our top spring silhouette,” states Caroline Huang Maguire, Shopbop’s fashion director. Overalls are at the top of Maguire's must-have list to get that easy, undone feel. “I am the biggest fan of overalls,” she says. “I always have been, always will be. This streetwear staple emanates ‘90s fashion, and I love the idea of a statement one-piece.”
Olympia Gayot, J.Crew’s creative director of women’s design, is also leaning into a familiar classic. “I believe every closet needs at least one denim skirt,” she says. “It’s an iconic piece that I can easily mix and match with my other summer staples.” Gayot’s wash of choice is a fresh ecru. “I like to wear dark, medium, and light washes including ecru and white all year round,” she comments. “The head-to-toe denim trend is great with any wash, but I especially love an all-white denim look for the summer.”
Another essential summer denim buy for Gayot is the mid-length short. “Mid-length denim shorts are definitely having a moment again,” she tells TZR. “They give that effortless ‘70s vibe that is both comfortable and stylish. They look chic and are quite flattering.” Again, style and comfort are key components on the shopping list musts, but Gayot proves neither has to be sacrificed when incorporating these pieces into your wardrobe.
Unanimously, these industry experts agree summer denim is all about getting back to the basics. Search for classic items that can be worn and styled in a plethora of ways, that you will return to outfit after outfit, season after season. Fast fashion trends don’t need to be your driving force, but a great, comfortable fit should be at the forefront. After all, it is the truly sustainable approach to shopping.
Keep scrolling for personal styling tips from these industry authorities on how to wear their favorite summer denim pieces.
“I love a baggy jean with a bodysuit or something that is bodycon on top,” Jacques tells TZR. “During the summer, I wear a lot of my denim with one-piece bathing suits,” she mentions. “When it comes to shoes, Birkenstocks or Crocs have become my new normal. I keep it very simple and don’t overthink it.”
“The denim miniskirt is so versatile,” Gayot tells TZR. “You can dress it up or down and wear it for day or night. For a day in the office, I pair it with classic pieces like the relaxed-fit crisp cotton poplin shirt and the Colette slingback pumps.” She also encourages adding a splash of color, like hot pink, to the mix. “Summer is the perfect season for a pop of color complemented by a neutral denim wash.”
“Designed with a relaxed fit, you can dress overalls up with bold jewelry and heels or stay casual with a simple white tee and your favorite slides,” Maguire tells TZR. And when it comes to summer denim styling? “I always go casual and like to mix in lots of bright colors and bold prints,” says Maguire. And to finish the look, she keeps her footwear no-nonsense. “I usually pair my jeans with fun, flatform sandals or an old school classic sneaker from Reebok or New Balance.”
“Mid-lengths shorts are cool because they’re more dressed up than a short cut-off,” Gayot tells TZR. “You can pair them with flats but also little strappy heels and a cotton blouse.” For those final touches to the perfect the outfit, Gayot suggests gilded accents. “I’m always layering up my gold jewelry like cuffs and rings to add some dimension to my classic style.”
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