One early September morning in Los Angeles, in a cool Arts District loft, celebrity stylist Cristina Ehrlich is elbow-deep in a rack of Madewell jeans. Ehrlich–who has topped lists of the industry’s most powerful stylists time and time again, and (perhaps most importantly) is responsible for some of Margot Robbie’s most devastating red carpet looks–is in the midst of a very different assignment to her usual glitzy gowns: Finding new season jeans for three highly opinionated, style-savvy fashion influencers. Top priorities: Cool denim outfits that are all about great fit and maximum personal style (versus simply being walking F/W 18 trend billboards).
"Jeans are a great wardrobe staple to accentuate the things someone loves about their body, or diminish the things they might not like so much,” Ehrlich explains, telling us that Madewell is her go-to spot for denim that manages to be both timeless and on-trend. “Madewell has jeans for everyone—between the styles, the cuts, and the touch of the jean, it ticks off all the boxes that a stylist is always looking for”.
Ehrlich wants to take a moment (just a moment, though) to ignore all the current trend-noise and get back down to basics (neutral color palettes and all), with a heavy emphasis on each influencer’s personal style. “Each of them have their own aesthetic, which is something I really take into consideration. Before they came in, the first thing I looked at was their general sense of how they carry themselves.” From boyfriend silhouettes to exposed button flies, see Ehrich’s denim updates below.
WHO: Nikki Joiner
HER USUAL STYLE: Layers on Layers
Nikki Joiner is an artist with true California style, who loves mixing muted colors with vintage-inspired jeans–and Ehrlich had this dress in mind for her before they ever met IRL. Joiner was the perfect candidate to play around with layering, and Ehrlich nudged her towards an ever-so-slightly bolder hue than her usual vibe on her IG. Sliding the Madewell silk slip over a “very her” striped tee and skinny jeans, Ehrlich told us, “The skinny is an every-girl staple, and they should also be considered as a layering piece, too.”
Joiner is all about finding classic staples, and adding a twist: “My favorite style is a simple outfit, I just focus on finding unique accessories and layering tips to make my outfits a little more interesting.” Max out on gold pendant necklaces to finish the look.
WHO: Alex Michael May
HER USUAL STYLE: A Little Somethin' Extra
Alex Michael May, who started her career off as a prop stylist for other bloggers, has that kind of near-palpable energy you can feel radiating off of her. She describes herself as a little femme, a little extra, and a sprinkle of edge to keep her from being too “cute.” Picking up on this, Ehrlich styled May in a look that at first seems a long way from her usual sorbet tones, but still spoke to her ‘sort-of-edgy-sort-of-femme’ vibe.
May’s take on her toned down look: “I realized I rely on my clothing to do some work for me–I don’t always need to be so loud with my wardrobe. Sometimes, choosing simple pieces can be a different kind of statement.” Ehrlich’s choice of bold accessories (vintage vibe gold earrings, peachy eyewear and luxe burgundy slides), took May’s classic-cool outfit to a definite look.
WHO: Sara Combs
HER USUAL STYLE: Desert Darling
Sara Combs, who founded the dreamy The Joshua Tree House with her husband, is all about creating beautiful, vintage-vibe desert escapes, so it’s only natural that she has serious desert roots engrained in her style. You can usually find her in laid back pieces with a sunny, subdued palette. If you find yourself daydreaming about stepping into her warm-hued Instagram-feed, take note. Ehrlich went for a denim on denim look: “The button fly jeans speak to a certain girl who is timeless and dresses across decades of style.”
Combs told us, “I wouldn’t have thought to layer a long cardigan under a denim jacket. I had fun breaking some rules I had in my head while it still feeling like me.”. If you’re looking to just add a little extra something to your denim-on-denim look, here’s the TL;DR: Opt for a button-fly jean, add unexpected neutral layers, then top off with a boxy denim jacket. (Slick black accessories make the look feel instantly city-ready.)