Denim has always been the perfect blank canvas to express your personal style. Everyone has a go-to silhouette that they make their own. But while you mindlessly head to the boot cut, skinny, or high-waisted section at your favorite denim shop, it means more than you think. And it's not just the silhouette you choose, it's the way the style them that really counts.
InStyle’s Ali Pew took on key personality types—the cool prepster, the sophisticate, the creative, and the neo-rocker, naturally—and turned out looks to suit each girl using denim as the building block. So what does the chic sophisticated girl say about her denim wearing days? "I’d never wear jeans with holes in them. Keep it sleek, tasteful, and expensive looking, please." The neo-rocker has more of a relaxed, laid back take when it comes to staying true to her blues: "With my eye for fine detail and design, my denim combo will be as Instagrammable as the interior of my carefully curated apartment."
—Styled by Ali Pew
1. The Cool PrepsterYou say: “Forget madras and polos. I like my classic blues with a dash of subversion-it’s Connecticut by way of SoHo.”
The Muses: Alexa Chung, Jenna Lyons, and Olivia Palermo incorporate unexpected details like frayed seams or embellishment to bring a twist to tried-and-true staples.
The Outfit: Striped Ts, crisp oxford shirts, and a rainbow of knits make up the bulk of your closet. But this clean look is about symmetry with color and prints-you’d never be caught dead in a cutesy lobster or whale print.
The Fantasy Accessories: Heels and fussy jewelry would feel out of place; you’re more into androgynous extras like Adidas Stan Smiths or a men’s-style silver watch. You’re not into the It bag—you gravitate toward an all-seasons leather tote by the likes of Mansur Gavriel.
3. The SophisticateYou say: “I’d never wear jeans with holes in them. Keep it sleek, tasteful, and expensive looking, please.”
The Muses: Victoria Beckham, Miranda Kerr, and Kate Middleton make off-duty dressing as glamorous as any cocktail attire.
The Outfit: Silk Equipment blouses, sumptuous cashmere turtlenecks, and sharp blazers reinforce your always-refined style.
The Fantasy Accessories: Skip the embellishment and flashy finishes for structured minimal pieces like a Celine box bag or elegant single-sole pointy pumps. It’s unobtrusive luxury all the way.
5. The CreativeYou say: "With my eye for fine detail and design-hello, artistic crop!-my denim combo will be as Instagrammable as the interior of my carefully curated apartment.”
The Muses: Kirsten Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Michelle Williams all exude an unforced artsy and slightly off-kilter aesthetic.
The Outfit: Printed tunic blouses by the likes of A.P.C., cozy Stella McCartney oversize cardigans, and a tailored wool peacoat showcase your ability to marry polish with quirk.
The Fantasy Accessories: Opt for flats with the same relaxed appeal: Birkenstocks or Soludos espadrilles for warm weather, and come fall, menswear-influenced styles like Repetto oxfords or Rachel Comey loafers.
7. The Neo-RockerYou say: “Oh, I’m friends with the band. I totally wore these jeans to their surprise show last week.”
The Muses: Sky Ferreira, Kate Moss, and Rihanna embody that badass “I don’t care what you think because damn, I look good” attitude. They have the uncanny ability to create outfits that in theory shouldn’t work but do.
The Outfit: You’re not a try-hard, so it’s cool finds in the form of a worn leather moto, a slouchy white T, or an amazing vintage leopard coat.
The Fantasy Accessories: Chunky, biker-inspired boots are ideal for casual outfits, while stiletto sandals elevate your evening attire. Finish with a spiky Eddie Borgo bracelet.