I’ve been reading a bit about current trends in denim since I came home from New Brunswick. Not that I particularly care what the fashion sites and magazines are saying about the denim trends for 2024. I’m not looking to invest in new jeans. Mostly I’m looking for new ways to wear the jeans I already own. Plus I like to keep my hand in, and keep abreast of what’s going on in fashion, even if I won’t be buying, or buying into, what I see. And also, let’s face it, I just love to watch and read fashion content.

So here’s what I found out.

Apparently, according to Vogue, as you can read in this article, designers this year are “staying loyal to classics” and presenting a “pared-back approach to everyday dressing.” That’s good news, I think, since I’m only looking for inspiration to shake up my current spring wardrobe, much of which is classic, and try some new things with the jeans I already own.

Vogue says that designers are tweaking the basics in their denim offerings this year, and displaying a “sense of realism.” Or as realistic as runway fashion ever gets, I guess. I understand that runway fashion is meant to be about concept and not necessarily what we’d wear on the street, but the poor model wearing that Loewe outfit, below, just looks sad to me. And while I know that barrel jeans are catching on, the more exaggerated “horseshoe silhouette” on the right from Alaïa looks kind of laughable.

And I did chuckle at the ones from Gucci because that’s how my jeans looked all through high school: ironed by my mum with a clearly visible crease, and pooling at my feet. The pooling hem is somewhere I don’t plan to go again. And I only recently broke the habit of putting a crease in my jeans. Over the years people have chided me for being so anal as to be ironing my jeans. Anyway, it seems these exaggerated styles are not necessarily resonating with consumers. Have a look at this Refinery 29 article if only for the comments.

Exaggerated looks aside, Vogue also says, if you need new denim, go for a classic 90’s straight-leg look, and maybe a dark wash. Classic works for me. And for others apparently. In this article from The Guardian, kindly sent to me by Wendy from York, Jess Cartner-Morley writes that fashion is currently going through a “golden age of understatement.” Cartner-Morley says understatement works for her. As it does for me. Bring back the nineties, I say.

The two classic looks below help me visualize the vibe I want when I wear my jeans. Pared down, somewhat minimalistic, with a bit of an edge.

Here are some other looks I saved to give me inspiration. My intention in this week’s try-on session was to find a couple of early spring outfits with the jeans I already own, in particular with the ones I have trouble styling. Since I won’t be buying jeans in the near future, I need to try harder to make the jeans I already own work.

I bought the men’s Levi’s 511 jeans, below, a couple of years ago when I could not find full-length, straight-leg jeans for women. I wear them mostly in the fall with my Vejas sneakers and tweed blazers. Two weeks ago, in this post, I tried them with my nineties vintage denim vest.

This time, I decided to try the vest with the jeans and my treasured Veronica Beard Scuba jacket. I say treasured because I love this jacket; it’s been a staple in my spring and summer closet since I bought it back in 2016. It was expensive. But, you know, I’ve never once minded that I spent so much money on this jacket. It came with a soft grey, zip-out hoodie/dickie, and I bought the matching pants at the same time. I wear the jacket a ton with the dickie, a white tee shirt, white sneakers, and jeans. Or with a denim skirt and sneakers. Or with the matching pants and loafers. Even after eight years, when I pull the jacket out of storage each spring, I still smile and look forward to wearing it.

Me in my mens’ Levis 511s and my vintage vest.

Veronica Beard sells another dickie that zips into this blazer, one that looks like a faded jean jacket. And that’s what gave me the idea to put my denim vest on underneath. I’m also wearing a navy light-weight merino turtleneck from COS. I like the pearl earrings with this outfit. They pull in the white sneakers and my hair. And, next to the faded denim, they look kind of ironic.

Can pearls be ironic?

I like this outfit. Especially the way the faded denim looks under the navy jacket. I already have several ways to wear these Levi’s 511 jeans. This just gives me an additional option. What is way more problematic is what the heck to do with another pair of Levi’s I bought in Fredericton three summers ago.

Denim on denim again.

The Levi’s 501 loose-fitting dad jeans, below, have never really felt like me. For one thing they are too short. Whatever possessed me to buy them when they have only a 30″ inseam?

Well, I’ll tell you.

I was shopping with my old friend Debbie. And we were having a wonderful day. I love the independent shops in downtown Fredericton, and Wasted Fashion on York Street was a favourite. I think I was distracted by the conversation, the beautiful day, and the fact that Deb and I had been joking with the salesperson that we were celebrating our 50th year of shopping for Levi’s jeans together. Seriously. We started back when we were fifteen… when Levi’s were the only cool jeans to wear. The salesperson… really only a girl… looked as if she couldn’t imagine being old enough to have been doing anything for fifty years. Let alone jeans shopping. Ha.

So that, plus the fact that they had no jeans with a 32″ inseam in stock, and I was wearing my black Birkenstock sandals which looked good with the 30″ jeans, lulled me into an uncharacteristically uncritical mood. And I bought them. Even though they did not make me sigh with happiness, like one does when one finds a really perfect pair of jeans. Lesson learned.

And now I am stuck with them, at least until I exhaust every possible way to style them.

Yes, these jeans are too short.

So here’s what I did yesterday.

I tucked my light-weight navy COS turtleneck into the jeans and hauled on my navy Veronica Beard jacket. I thought the tight turtleneck and the slightly shrunken-looking jacket would balance the loose jeans. Then I hoicked the jeans up to my proper waist, instead of pushing them down on my hips to make them longer. I pulled on a lovely pair of navy and green plaid socks from Uniqlo, and my black Stuart Weitzman loafers. I added a silver vintage brooch that belonged to my mum. And my silver COS earrings with the green stripe inside. I love these earrings. The pop of green is unexpected.

Vintage brooch, earrings from COS.

I have to say I love this outfit. The first full-length photo does not do it justice. I like the baggy jeans with the slim-fitting sweater and jacket. The visible socks. And the dressy loafers. I like how the length of the jeans now looks intentional, instead of just slightly too short. And how the whole combination looks more modern than when I was styling them before.

I am really happy with this look, my friends.

I have to go to a breakfast this upcoming week. And I plan to wear this outfit. I’ll let you know how I fare when it comes to wearing short baggy jeans in public, instead of on my own deck with no one to see except the five hundred or so geese on the river. And you guys, of course. Ha.

I know I said in my opening that I don’t really care about trends. And I don’t. Except when I do.

I don’t intend to rush out and buy clothes that conform to whatever outlandish trend is… well… trending… for lack of a better word. I won’t be buying into the “horseshoe” jeans trend. Perish the thought. I don’t aim to be swimming in a hugely oversized, knee-length sweater and pooling jeans. They call them “puddle jeans” by the way. Ha.

I don’t really need any new clothes. I have lots of well-loved pieces in my wardrobe that are hauled out of storage year after year. Then lovingly tucked away again when the season is over. But even with all that love, things can get a bit stale. So it’s fun to see how I can revamp what’s already in my closet to keep up with a trend that I like. Finding new ways to wear the jeans I already own is part of that effort to keep my outfits modern. And avoid shopping.

And sometimes, like in the case of those baggy 501 jeans which did not make me sigh when I bought them, I stumble upon a look I really like. Which does make me sigh with happiness. Finally.

So that’s it for me today, my friends. I hope you have a wonderful Easter holiday, if you celebrate Easter. And a great rest of the weekend if you don’t.

And let us know what you’ve been doing to revamp or refresh some of the favourite pieces in your spring closet. Or what you’ve been trying with those pieces that are just a bit… well… problematic. Might as well try everything with what you have before you go looking for something new.

P.S. There are affiliate links in this post. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission which helps to pay for the blog.

P.P.S. If you enjoy my posts and don’t want to make a purchase through an affiliate link, please consider “Buying Me a Coffee” to support my blog. Just click the coffee cup icon in the lower right corner of your screen. All funds go to pay for hosting fees, costs around mailing lists, and intermittent tech support to update themes and widgets and all that kind of stuff. 🙂


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From the archives


What’s In Your Fashion DNA?

Jeans have always been part of my fashion DNA. Since I wore dungarees when I was ten. And lived in jeans in high school. Right up to today.

To Cruise… Or Not To Cruise

To cruise or not to cruise? Not to cruise, is our choice. Unless it's a small and short eco-cruise on a sailboat like we did In New Zealand.

Closet Edit Follow-Up: Blue Shirt Revival

As follow-up to my closet edit last week, I'm trying to rekindle my love for this old blue shirt, and finding out how my style has evolved.

50 thoughts on “Wearing the Jeans I Already Own”

  1. Bright blue skies here this Easter Sunday and we’re enjoying a short break in a highland area 2 hours south-west of Sydney. I love Easter weather, which is usually crisp, fresh and not humid.
    Your styling of the too short jeans is a big win. I’m not sure that pearls can be ironic (I love them too much to discern any irony) but the short jeans outfit is full of all kinds of intentional irony, in a very good way. I think the socks are a key to its success. They are pretty and deserve attention and the jeans make that happen. The snug jacket and sweater fit happily with the overall vibe, which I read as understated, edgy, a bit masculine and whimsical (thank you beautiful brooch!). I hope you enjoy wearing it to your upcoming breakfast.

    1. I guess that pearls are ironic for me because I associate them with dressy outfits. I like them with denim because that is more unexpected, at least to me.

  2. I can’t help but agree with everything Maria says here — I love what you’ve done by featuring the jeans (short) length by pairing them with cute socks! (and you can push this in slightly different directions with a pair in another colour or two 😉
    That brooch is perfect — as are the patent loafers! Brava!
    Meanwhile, I’m wearing my jeans less and less — and I’ve been down to two well-worn pairs for a few years now anyway. Definitely not interested in any of those three trends in the photos at the top of your post! The faffing quotient appears very high in those!

  3. I actually love and much prefer the second version with the shorter jeans ! I realize my opinion wasn’t requested , lol, but the lead up to the shorter jeans had me prepared for the worst ! I think it’s a great look . I cannot wrap my head around the double denim trend ; I appreciate it’s a huge trend right now and with all things fashion , it’s one thing in the buffet 😉 I’m having trouble getting settled on the denim cut that’s best for me and am maybe spending too much $ and brain power figuring it out . This post is a good reminder to sit back on the shopping and spend more time restyling what I have .

    1. I don’t wear double denim very often either. When I was home in Fredericton this past week, I finally found a pair of Levi’s that I love the cut of, but although they had a 32″ pair they did not have my waist size. I think I am destined to never have the exact jeans I want. 🙂

  4. Enjoyed the comments to the Refinery 29 article. The argument in favor of some of the latest styles, such as the barrel leg jeans, seems to be that they are comfortable and the wearer does not wish to buy into the idea of a women needing to wear clothes that are flattering. Well, I don’t need to buy into the idea that I need to invest in the latest trend no matter how unflattering. Just another way to sell us on a change in style so we’ll spend more money. Thanks for another great article.

  5. Hi Sue, echoing Frances and Maria, I really like the outfit with your “ too short Levis” It looks minimalist and stylish! A very wearable choice and the jeans definitely don’t just look short. I thought this immediately as I ready your comment under the photograph, so it was good to read on and realise you felt the same!
    The socks and loafers are “just right”
    As I mentioned on IG I love a navy and denim combination and for the first time ever ( before I realised it had unexpectedly become a “thing” ) I’ve worn double denim by adding a navy jacket.
    Having seen your Veronica Beard jacket I can testify what a great buy it was!
    Wishing you, Stu and everyone here who celebrates Easter, a very happy day!
    Rosie xx

  6. I really enjoyed the Refinery article & I’ll always have a soft spot for denim . I like the ‘barrelish’ shape & the black ‘widish’ slightly cropped ones too but , as ever , there’s a lot of weird stuff being pushed at us & it’s better watered down . I love the sleeveless maxi dress , such a great shape but it wouldn’t fit in my life . My only dress now is a heavyish denim shirt dress from Toast with elbow length sleeves & a tie belt . I like it over a thin , high necked turtle/polo ( long sleeved & stripey ) with a jacket on top . The effect is like your ‘sandwich’ & I like that look . The neck of the top has to be floppy , don’t know why . I’m the same with winter jumpers . Reading this , I sound rather obsessed- but I’m just quite picky . I’m sure you understand 😉
    You’ve got those new jeans sorted & they’re a lovely shape on you . New shapes can be frustrating & we can’t always get it right . But isn’t it great when we do .

    1. Hi Wendy! Like you I definitely prefer “floppy necked” jumpers in the Winter. Especially ones that I can pull up to almost be like a snood and mean I don’t need a scarf on a chilly day!
      I’m also a fan of elbow length sleeves!
      Rosie xx

      1. Re floppy necked jumpers . I think it’s a combination of the softness being flattering & not enjoying the feeling of being strangled !

    2. I think we’re all obsessed with whatever we’re picky about. Just that people who don’t share the pickiness can’t understand it. Perhaps we should point out that they are just as picky about other things. Like some of my former co-workers who gasped at my Max Mara jackets and how expensive they must be, then took expensive winter holidays to Caribbean destinations when Stu and I went cross-country skiing and stayed in a small motel where we liked the owners. That always made me laugh. Especially since I’m still wearing those MM jackets. Ha.

  7. Great article. I really love the second outfit with the shorter length. It looks edgy and suitably understated but with a touch of class.
    Can’t say I’m a fan of either the puddle pants (a description my husband finds hilarious) or the barrel ones either – bit too faddish I feel. Think I’ll stick to my straight legged jeans and be untrendy, although perhaps I could upgrade the look with a blazer and a whimsical brooch or two.

  8. Lovely combinations!
    Loved straight jeans,during the “skinny jeans era”,as well as now
    It was surprising (even for me,when I was trying-on them last year) that I don’t like long jeans any more. Classics for me….is it aging?
    Happy Easter

    1. I packed my skinny jeans away for now. They look a bit odd to me now, except when tucked into high boots.I find I’ve grown a bit tired of cropped all the time which is why I’ve been searching for full-length jeans. I still love the cropped with loafers and sandals and bare ankles though.

  9. I have noticed, like Dottoressa, that I seem to have gravitated to cropped styles in recent years. I’m surprised by this as I used to be rather obsessive about having long-enough jeans (longer than 30″ inseam, like you). I find that the slightly cropped styles (even 28.5″) give me more room to show off great shoes or laced boots. That said, I had pulled my dark wash Levi’s 501s out of the cupboard this spring and was wearing them all the time (with a 32″ inseam). They almost feel too long. Funny how that is.

    In any case, I like the way you’ve styled the second look with the brooch and earrings.

    1. I like a slightly cropped jean with slim ankle boots too, Stephanie. And with loafers and sandals. But I’ve just been longing for something full-length. I’ve been looking for three years now, and even though I see them on my favourite You-Tubers, I’ve been unable to find anything long enough in Ottawa… or Fredericton. Ha.

  10. Both looks are very cool and modern. Seems everything is in fashion, just a matter of how you style. I’m always looking at the internet to see what’s on trend and get ideas for new ways of putting items together that I already have. I’ve learned with age that not every style is for every body type and stay within the boundaries of what looks good on me and also most important, what I enjoy wearing.

    I have wide leg and straight leg jeans as well as other clothing that are 20+ years old that are in perfect condition and still fit. So glad I kept!

  11. Those shorter jeans will be perfect with sandals. They look intentional then. Or, pair them with taller booties that tuck underneath. You could even shorten them more so they are cropped jeans (not capri length) for summer.
    I was just reminded of my promise to not buy anything I didn’t really, really need. I’m afraid I forgot and have been shopping. Oops! I did need a pair of black sandals but the rest was a want. I feel rather disappointed in myself. I made it through January, February and the beginning of March without buying a single thing. That’s the problem when shopping with friends. You get talking and laughing and before you know it, you are all walking out swinging your bags on the way to lunch. Ok! Let’s right the ship and get back onboard.

    1. Yep. I’ve tried them with my ankle boots, and I’ve rolled them up a bit and neither look was exactly what I wanted. It’s a combination of the cut and the length I think.

  12. Love the discussion of jeans and denim. Here in the Wild West, layered denim is known as the Cowboy’s tuxedo. Come to the Calgary Stampede to see denim in every permutation and combination imaginable. Truly, forget fashion week anywhere else when it comes to denim. Or, as we say, Yahoo!

  13. Love the focus on denim “trends”
    Seriously denim has never been off my radar., and like you I have been shopping for jeans since I was 13…and I am now 69! Jeans especially and your short jeans are fun and look great the way you have styled them…i also like the vest under your jacket!
    Pearls are a great accessory for denim and I am a dedicated fan of vintage brooches…yours is stunning!!
    Happy Easter…blue skies here at the cottage and the geese are honking :-))

    Hostess of the Humble Bungalow

  14. I thought, Oh, a new pair of jeans would be wonderful, pause, I did decide to not buy this year, therefore I have decided that no one really can tell how many pairs of jeans I wore this week so will be rotating what I already have and switching out the top half with what I already have as well. I really have no need to shop, and find this test of 5 things or less is filtering into all areas of my shopping as well. No, I do not ‘need’ another lipstick or eyeshadow and have planned to use what is in the rather full skincare cupboard for now and get it down to what I thoroughly enjoy. I digress…. I like the socks showing under the jeans and will try similar with a pair of my shorter length.
    As always, I absolutely love your fashion posts and thought process.

  15. I love the “too short” jeans combo you put together – looks very current and chic. I’ve lost a bit of weight, so pulled out a pair of Ralph Lauren straight legs that fit again, and now I have to wrestle with the length. They’re just a little long for my flats (I guess I wore them with heels in a previous life), but do I shorten them or wear mostly with (low) heels or what? Decisions. I confess to being somewhat attracted to the more restrained barrel jeans silhouette, but since they’re not in this year’s 5 things “budget,” it’s a moot point, and since I’m pretty sure the trend won’t age well, they won’t be in next year’s budget either. Thanks for the link to the Refinery 29 article – the comments were indeed worth it!

    1. Some of the comments in the article made me laugh out loud, Carol. And I confess that the more conservative barrel jeans look good to me now. But, like you say…for how long?

  16. Linda T from BC

    I love your “this year” Jean stylings. I too am wearing the jeans I have this year. I (mistakenly?) bought a pair of the wide leg jeans last year. I do not like how they look on me at all now. I cut the hems off thinking that might help but no. Now I’m going to unpick the legs and resew them into a skirt, as I do need a new long denim skirt this year and I’m seeing them everywhere.

  17. I agree with Joanna. I was thinking the shorter Levi’s would be fine with sport sandals, or maybe even turned up once with Chelsea boots (and socks)! I am not a fan of the “double denim” look, but I do have a pale of light green barrel pants that I love! Must pull those out for spring. To each her own!

    We are having the carpets removed in the bedrooms in a few weeks, which means emptying the closets! I find I have 16 skirts, NONE of which I have worn since the pandemic. I rarely go to the office these days and will be retiring at the end of May. (Yippee!) I haven’t counted the trousers/pants. And then there are the dresses… Yikes! I need to do some serious purging. However, so far I have only purchased one new item this year – a pair of wide leg (full length) gap jeans. Hoping to stick to the pledge!

    1. Yep. I’ve tried all those combinations and permutations… and while they worked okay, I didn’t love them. Good luck with the purge. After I retired I gave away a lot of my businesswear to younger (and very grateful) colleagues.

  18. I find this post so appropriate for this week as I actually purchased my first new clothing item this week….yup, I went all in for a new pair of jeans. I love both outfits you styled especially the second one! I’m into wearing my brooches more frequently lately to help distract me from feeling the need to buy something I don’t need. Love the Refinery article and all the discussion your posts generate. I absolutely hate the barrel legged jean “look”, trend, or whatever. I am trying to lovingly accept my body as it has changed and not buying into trends unless they compliment my basic look is really important to me.

  19. Aren’t ankle grazer pants right in style this year? Just saw them on a video for spring styles from Marks and Spencer’s

    1. Yes, ankle grazer jeans are big this year. I like them, especially in the summer. But they’ve been around for a while and I wanted a break from them which is why I’ve been searching for full-length jeans. They are super hard to find… at least in a style and length I want.

  20. I was excited to see that you were writing about denim this week. I live in jeans and have since I was a kid. I think that my first pair were Wrangler’s and I loved them. I remember wearing them with Ked sneakers.

    When I was in high school, the trend was to wear jeans that dragged in the dirt and I wore them that way. I cannot be bothered with that mess today. I’d probably trip, fall and break a bone! I can’t say that any of the runway trends appeal. I’ll head over to the Refinery 29 article and check out the comments.

    The middle Pinterest photo is really nice and it looks so much like your classic approach to dressing. While the blazer is much longer than the one you are wearing so well with your shorter jeans, there is a similar look in the two outfits. You really figured out a great outfit with the jeans you were not loving. I think that the shorter tailored look of the blazer works well with the looser jeans. The outfit has so many nice touches, the loafers and socks and the brooch. Congratulations for figuring out an outfit that makes you happy. Your Veronica Beard jacket is lovely.

    Enjoy your newly-curated outfit on your breakfast outing.

    Happy Easter.

  21. Hello Sue,

    I’m impressed with your commitment to the rule of 5 and no shopping – going vintage. You have inspired me. I am now intentionally going to my closet when I get a tinge for wanting something new – trend based, or just different.
    As a high school teacher, watching 90% of my students wear what seems to be their pajamas, or serious lounge wear to school everyday, I am determined to be a follower of proper dressing. I enjoy planning my outfits for the work week. I try to be creative, but classic, with a little edge (my three words). Post pandemic, many of my colleagues started wearing jeans daily to work, some with hoodie sweatshirts, just like their students, only they don’t wear them tightly pulled around their heads, at least not yet.
    When I’ve had jeans that did not fit solely because of the length, but everywhere else, I turned them into shorts, or, in past times, capri clam diggers.
    Thank you again for your inspiration to resist shopping, it has held me off from searching for a pair of light blue strapped Mary janes that have caught my eye recently.
    Happy Spring!

  22. Oh the barrel pants…I wore similar but not as barrel- y when I was young and less barrel-y and don’t appreciate the return..I’ve seen a few popular bloggers wearing them and honestly the Charlie Chaplin vibes are there. What I don’t understand is a lot of bloggers go on about not looking like they are wearing a costume yet….they are! I guess the desire to incentivize with silly trends is stronger than the need to not have readers cringe. I have been doing a lot of cringing lately. Anyway Sue you look stunning in your ‘short pants’ the straight leg is classic not clownish at all and worn with great socks and a dashing shoe it’s a cool look as well! They’ll look great in the summer with a chunky sandal and no socks…you could even cuff them up a bit ( not too much) I’m glad there is one blogger who really does try to shop her closet and doesn’t post a list of links a mile long at the end of her post.

    1. Thanks. I try to not overload my posts with shopping links. It’s not hard sonce most of my clothes are older and not available anymore. I do include links to recently purchased pieces if I think the piece is a good staple that will last in someone’s closet.

  23. I’ve been refashioning a lot of my clothes, lately. I did take a pair of jeans I didn’t care for and added fabric to the sides to make horseshoe jeans. They were taken for their first test wear yesterday. Ha, I’m not sure how I feel about them, but it was humid out and I appreciated the swooshing around my legs.

    Echoing the other ladies, I really like your cropped jeans outfit—always appreciate your analysis.

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