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Anatomy of an Outfit: Not Wearing Jeans

There’s nothing I wear more often than jeans. I may even be addicted to them. There, I said it. I love so many things about them.

1. I love how skinny jeans tuck into boots and can make your legs look longer.

2. I love the relaxed jean especially when it’s cuffed and the ankles show. I think ankles are sexy, especially on a woman over 50.

3. I love how durable they are. You can wear them and wear them and wear them. They aren’t like a white blouse where you wear it once and you have to launder it. They’re tough.

4. I love dressing up a jean, adding a pretty silk blouse to it. I like the mix of practical and prissy. A dark denim jean can look dressed up enough to go to a party or on a dinner date.

It would be easy to grow dependent on them!


Starting the anything-but-jeans diet


But something strange has happened to my steady diet of jeans. I think I’ve seen so many pairs of jeans being worn by men and women-day and night, night and day-that I’m hungry for something else! I’m craving skirts, dresses, trousers. Heck, I’d even be okay with silk track pants…well, maybe not silk track pants, but nearly every other possibility but jeans!

Imagine being in a buffet line of fashion choices and nearly all of them were jeans. It would be disappointing, wouldn’t it? So I’ve decided to go on a new diet. For a week I will allow myself to wear jeans only one of the days. The other six days I’ll wear pants of some sort, skirts, or dresses. To motivate myself I’ve clustered my skirts and dresses to the very front of my closet so that’s what I see first.


Anatomy of a non-jean outfit


My Day One starts on the day I’m going to a workshop for writers at Book Passage in Corte Madera. It’s an iconic Bay Area independent bookstore. I want to be casual and fit in, but if I have to introduce myself, I want to look smart and fashionable enough to make the words “I’m an author of books on fashion for women” match my outfit. It’s at nine a.m. on a Saturday. It’s a four-hour class. The classrooms are often cold. I want to be warm enough.

casual chic outfit

Anatomy of a non-jean outfit


The pieces and the reasons


1. My first layer (invisible to the eye) is a Cuddl Dud v-neck tank. It is a guarantee that my torso will be toasty if the room is frosty.

2. Next I create a column of color with my Caslon black long-sleeved cotton t-shirt and my Cynthia Rowley black knit pants.

3. Over that column of color I add my loose cashmere Vince charcoal sweater with dolman-sleeves. The neck is open and the sleeves are just at my elbow so I have a little built in air-conditioning if I’ve overestimated the chilly room situation. A long-sleeved cashmere sweater with a turtleneck would not give me any relief from a stuffy room. I’m feeling confident about my choices so far.

4. I put my black Ecco mid-calf boots over the knit pant. I’ve met my 50-50 formula regarding volume. The bottom half of my outfit is lean and the top half is full.

5. Next comes the gunmetal/silver Beauty Bundle. I wear my Calleen Cordero black studded leather cuff, my chunky gunmetal arty ring. I add interest at the neck with my Carlisle net knotted necklace filled with tiny sparkly beads. My silver bulb earrings are neutral and casual and act as the garnish to the necklace which is the main course in the frame around my face. I add my gunmetal woven leather small bag with silver hardware and handles. The ring, bracelet, necklace, earrings and handbag all share a quiet harmony in color, metal and sheen. That’s what makes them a Beauty Bundle. This same Beauty Bundle gets worn with many outfits–dresses, skirts and tops, and even blue jeans!


Analysis and results


When I got to class, there were seven other people there–all in blue jeans. When I introduced myself as a writer of books on fashion for women, no one gasped in disbelief. The room was chilly and I even wrapped a scarf around my neck for the first half of the class. It was stuffed into my book bag, just in case. I was comfortable (what I also love about jeans), casual enough (another jean loving trait) but happy to have done something different on a day when I could have just worn jeans like everyone else. I in no way want to make it sound like everyone in class looked sloppy in their jeans, because they didn’t. They looked just fine. I suspect I was the only one in the room giving myself a pat on the back for changing things up.

I may keep this diet idea to myself and wait to see if anybody notices.

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