For our very first installment of How to Wear, we selected something that should be on everyone's must-have list: black denim! These all-purpose jeans are everything you want in an article of clothing: flattering, forever fashionable, and they can go from casual to chic in seconds. Dressier than basic blue, more timeless than gray, and less trendy than colorful iterations, black denim is adaptable to just about anything, which is why you always need fresh ideas about how to wear it. While these jeans come in lots of different styles, we decided to spotlight one of our favorite versions for this story: Gap's Legging Jeans ($70) in True Black. These slim, cropped pants are perfect for any occasion and can go from office-appropriate to weekend casual to night-out fare without skipping a beat!
On The Job
While most jeans are considered too casual for the office, black denim is definitely a dressier option and therefore a practical alternative to traditional slacks. The key to making these jeans acceptable workwear is to elevate them with dressier fabrics and tailored pieces. With this idea in mind, we took inspiration from the runways--specifically the recent trend of monochromatic, minimalist ensembles--and paired these slim jeans with similarly sleek pieces in an all-black palette. When worn in combination with Equipment's Signature Blouse ($178), a crisp blazer from Burberry Prorsum's Resort 11 collection, and Yves Saint Laurent Palais Pumps ($720), skinny jeans look sophisticated and professional, which is just what you want for work!
On The Weekend As we mentioned earlier, black denim can be styled to fit a variety of occasions, and that includes casual weekend outings. Whether you're running errands or enjoying an afternoon lunch with friends, it's important to be both comfortable and stylish. To achieve this look, go for a few lightweight layers, like Sparkle & Fade's Knit Top ($39, 800.282.2200) and Club Monaco's Max Cotton Flannel ($79,310.657.1818) and Heath Cardigan ($179, 310.657.1818) to be exact. The key is to pick a combination of textures (a thin t-shirt, a heavier cotton button-up, and a chunky-knit cardi) so that your outfit looks interesting. As for footwear, this is the perfect time to pull on a pair of lace-up booties; go for a hiking-style ankle boot or a more polished wedge oxford, like Steve Madden's Marriano Boots ($170) in Grey Nu. The juxtaposition of the slim jeans and the relaxed layers is effortlessly neat and ideal for your off-duty hours!
On The Town
Sultry dresses are an obvious choice for an evening out, but why not create an even cooler after-hours look with a pair of black jeans and a couple of black leather accents? It's a smart dressing idea for anyone who likes to mix a little rebellious attitude into their ensembles or show off their favorite statement shoes (or both!). Simplicity is always chic, so a basic top like L'Agence's Dolmain T-Shirt ($140, 866. 654.4577) is always a welcome base for this type of outfit. Then all you need to do is add a little toughness via your favorite little leather jacket and a great pair of shoes; try Twenty8Twelve's Beronia Leather Jacket ($670) and Steve Madden's Fortres Wedges ($90) to achieve this exact look. Just show a little restraint--you're not going to a Hells Angels bar, after all--and skip the heavy chains, studded accessories, and other biker accoutrements. The idea is to have a hint of edge in your outfit, not to look antagonistic!--Jessica Baker
Fashion Editor: Neelo Noory Photographer: Justin Coit