With blue collar roots, denim has long been considered casual wear. It once would have been unheard of to wear jeans in the office, but times have changed their image. Worn the right way, a nice pair can finish off a clean, polished look. Thanks to modern fashion, denim has shed its working class association, but still toes the line for dressier occasions. That’s not to say it can’t be done. If you’re looking for a way to dress up your jeans, follow these rules to keep your look smart:
1. When in doubt, go dark. While light washes are currently trending, they don’t work for every occasion. Instead, opt for pairs in dark, solid colors like dark indigo or black, which are versatile and never go out of style. Keep your all-American blue jeans for your Fourth of July bash and go for a more serious look when you need to dress up
2. Pick a slim, straight leg. Baggy jeans may be comfortable, but lack professionalism. On the other end of the spectrum, jeans that are too tight are just as unattractive in the workplace. You want your jeans to fit the way your dress pants would, so choose a pair that is fitted in the waist and hips and tapered at the bottom. Bootcut jeans will not work.
3. Keep things clean. There should be minimal to no washing, and absolutely zero rips or tears. Distressed jeans may be cool for casual style, but they don’t belong when you’re dressing to impress.
Now that you’ve got yourself a nice, clean pair, it’s time to gauge whether or not you can wear them. If you’re going anywhere that requires a tie, forgo the denim. Dressing up on top while staying casual on bottom is a look that has already been lovingly coined as the “business mullet.” With a name that speaks for itself, it’s a place you don’t want to go.
Although workplace dress code still varies from office to office, jeans are generally accepted as work attire nowadays. If yours happens to require suit and tie, you won’t be able to get away with dressing down. Thankfully, most offices follow business casual attire, so balance out your cleanest dark pair with a nice shirt and jacket.
Just keep in mind that if you’re using denim in lieu of dress pants, you still want to look as professional as you would in a suit. The trick is to play them up and treat them like they’re as dressy as you’re trying to make them look. Keep it clean and smart, and give jeans a good name.