Wednesday, 15 June 2011

today i love... basics

2. Jeans

So welcome to the second post on the essential items I think every woman's wardrobe should contain (sorry that it took me two weeks instead of one!) Anyway this week it's jeans: that Holy Grail of fashion items. Ill-fitting jeans are one of the most perennial of fashion crimes: the rest of your outfit can be as hot as you like but put on a pair of saggy, unflattering jeans and you will be a world away from stylish. Get it right, however, and jeans can be a figure-enhancing basis for countless outfits. And in my opinion you really only need to learn a few simple rules and soon you'll be smug in the knowledge that all of your jeans will fit well and look great.

Firstly, and most crucially: they should be very tight when you buy them. Not so tight that they don't pull up over your hips, or that you can't breathe when the button's undone. But if they feel pretty snug, and you can only just do up the top button, then they're probably a perfect fit. The reason for this is that jeans (especially cheap high street ones) stretch. Like so many others, in the past I've fallen into the trap of buying jeans that are a perfect fit in the changing room, only for them to stretch and sag after just one wear. You can wash them as many times as you like after that, but a couple of hours into every wear you'll be hoiking them up every two minutes, trust me. Of course there is such a thing as too tight, and I have previously bought jeans so tight that they gave me a stomach ache (luckily I was able to return them). All I can say is, make sure they're quite a stretchy style. My all-time favourite jeans are Topshop's Jamie style, mainly for this reason. They're so stretchy and comfortable that even when you buy them super-tight they won't restrict your movement, and they'll stretch a nice amount but won't sag. Honestly I can't recommend them enough. Do make sure you go down a size from what you usually are in Topshop trousers, though. The Jamie jeans are also lovely and skinny, which brings me on to my second rule...

They should be super-skinny. Now this might seem like an overly narrow view, given that magazines declared them to be so over a couple of years ago, and all sorts of styles parade their way down the catwalk each season. But have you honestly ever seen a fashionable woman wear any other style? Skinny jeans are simply the most flattering and the most versatile. Bootcuts look horribly mumsy, boyfriend jeans are just ugly, and nobody other than Claudia Schiffer has ever looked good in flares. I have some jeans that are skinnier than others, and I invariably prefer the super-skinny ones (that's the Jamie style again...) I remember when they first came into vogue in the mid-00s and everyone was very sceptical (in fact I recall worriedly asking my friend in the changing room whether I looked like an emo). But they have steadfastly remained stylish ever since and for good reason.

Thirdly, you should have a pair in black and one in every wash of blue. Black jeans are probably the most versatile and smart-looking (though they do have an annoying tendency to fade), but indigo are also essential. Plus I love my faded mid-blue jeans, which have been so well-worn that they've developed a rather nice hole in the knee. I am a fan of little details to add interest to your standard skinnies, too, like the hole in the knee or the side zips on my lovely high-waisted pair. Once you've got a few good pairs of no-nonsense jeans, it's as well to invest in some statement ones, too; leather details, zips, metallics and panelling are all good in my book. Where colours other than blue or black are concerned, I'm not generally a fan, but of course that's up to you. And I did recently make an exception for my cropped red jeans; they just won't be quite as versatile as your basic blues.

So now that you know which fit, style and colour you're going for, all that remains is to check out my picks of the best jeans around and get shopping. As long as you find a nice stretchy style with a snug fit, there's absolutely no need to splash out on jeans (especially as they will probably need replacing at some stage), so look no further than the great British high street.

Plus don't forget to check back next week for another basics post.

5. Warehouse coated biker jean, £20 (reduced from £45)
6. H&M &Denim jeans, £9.99


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