The day after Thanksgiving (known in retail as Black Friday) and the following Cyber Monday made barely a dent in our closets this year. There were no fights over designer outfits at the outlets, and trendy clothes are still sitting on 40% markdown racks at local department stores and mall boutiques.
We’re all on a clothes diet, applying the same selective attitude to fashion that we did to feasting, with stuffing, gravy, and pecan pie sitting untouched while the veggies and lean turkey got gobbled up.
Come to think of it, most women I know made it through this year’s celebratory day with a calorie counter and post-meal workout. Which means sooner or later you (or rather, we) are going to binge — it’s inevitable during the holiday season.
When you do, whether it’s double chocolate chip cookies or a pair of Current/Elliot jeans, you’ll be asking yourself, “is it worth it?” Most women say they’re desperate for a new pair of jeans but have taken a sensible, unsentimental approach to almost everything else.
Here’s my pragmatic guide to a little denim indulgence. It’s practically guilt-free.
1. Winter is really the ideal time to wear skinny jeans. They’re easy to tuck into knee-high boots, big Hunter rain boots, or Uggs. Think of them as leggings with more substance and control. In a thicker stretch denim, they work like a body shaper. Choose a medium rise, so you’re not tugging them up all day, and a very dark even-toned wash or black for ultra-slimming power. This style is where you can get away with a really low-cost jean, because what really shows is the top of thighs to knees; the rest is covered.
I love Levi’s Hi Rise Skinny Jeans ($79) and DKNY Skinny Jeans in a dark rinse ($48). You do realize that despite paparazzi photos of celebs, in warmer weather, tight skinnies can look kind of trashy with skimpy tops. However, layered for cold weather with a big grandpa cardigan and double tees, down puffer, long scarf, and a trapper hat, it’s a great chic uniform.
2. It’s easy to dress up jeans for chilly evenings out. Forget about buying a pricey outfit. Dark wash jeans in straight, wide leg or bootcut styles are a perfect base for feminine tops and glamorous accessories you’ve been hoarding. For instant style, take jeans and add a draped jersey top, a silky blouse, or even a crisp white shirt. Then dial up the style with platform heels, a major statement necklace, and a clutch bag. To take the glitz up another notch, sprinkle in one major piece of sparkle like a gold sequin cardigan, metallic sandals, a jeweled bag, or skip the necklace and do big glimmery drop hoops or chandeliers.
I like J Brand Heartbreaker Bootcut Stretch Jeans ($178) if you’re petite, and the regular J Brand 818 Mid Rise Bootcut Stretch Jeans in Ink ($156) and the Not Your Daughters Jeans Tummy Tuck Stretch Jeans ($118) as well as Levi’s Trouser Flare Jeans ($78) with a whopping 3% Lycra and a higher waist if you’ve been skipping your crunches. The payoff with these darker hued classic styles is that they effortlessly transform to a businesslike look with a tailored jacket, booties, or stacked heels and a good leather bag.
3. Slouchy boyfriend jeans are as comfy as sweats, but a lot cooler-looking and give you a reason to buy new vintage distressed washes
(weathered styles look weird in skinnies and don’t have enough polish for most workplaces or cocktails and dinner). They look great worn low on the hips with a wide leather belt, so you’ll have to go up a size or two from your usual to get the look. Be sure to buy straight-legs, not flares, because you’ll want to roll the bottoms to just above the ankles. Add ballet flats, a cropped leather jacket, or a loose blazer and a messenger bag. It’s important to throw some feminine elements in the mix, so really do think about the shoes. Mary Janes are another option, and a delicate camisole or lace edged tank, a long crocheted or silk scarf are in all our closets, so drag them out.
Unfortunately, my favorites are the pricey Current/ Elliot 1957 Boyfriend Jean ($229), so you’d better love them if you spring for these. Or try out a cheaper brand first, like The Favorite Boyfriend Jean by American Eagle AE Jeans ($49.50)