Life after denim

Woman and man cannot live by denim alone, although we do try, and recently I’ve received a lot of enquiries asking for recommendations for casual, stylish alternatives to jeans.

You cannot argue that denim changed the landscape of fashion forever and without question it deserves all its laurels, but it also deserves a break. So how about you give your jeans a well-earned rest and try one of these casual options currently available on the great British high street instead.

For women…

Leggings / jeggings
The relatively easy way to add sheen, print, sparkle or corduroy to your bottom half. Leggings (or for a more substantial trouser effect) jeggings can give you a sleek and modern silhouette. Layering is crucial, opt for thick fabrics and longer tops, and wear with flats, boots or a low heel.

Flight pants
Brand’s Earhart Flight pants were a big hit in Spring 2011 and alternatives can still be found on the high street. The classic flight pant (or slouchy cargo) style gives you both a flattering silhouette and a comfortable, relaxed fit.

Skinny cargo pants
Another J Brand classic that took the fashion world by storm in 2010 was the Houlihan skinny cargo pant. Taking its influence from the military trend the distinctive seaming adds dimension, and the slim legs with side patch pockets give it a modern streamlined style.

Plazzo pants
These are long women’s trousers cut with a loose, extremely wide leg that flares out from the waist. Just remember to keep your top simple to stay elegant.

Harem pants
The slouchy fabric and loose-fitting style usually means they are supremely comfortable and as a result are more traditionally worn as part of a casual outfit (tucked into ugg style boots etc). However the draped style also means that they are very versatile and with the right accessories can be the focal point of an equally glamourous outfit. The top tip (when styling them up) is to always keep the top half simple, a sleek sillouette is absolutely essential when pairing with billowing shapes. A heel (the higher the better) is a must.

A subtle geometric print is a foolproof way to work the print trend this season. Pair with a blazer and heels for work, or a loose fitting jersey top for the weekend. Keep the ankles tapered for a more stylish look.

Image: Monsoon Chevron Jaipur Tile Print Trousers, £39. Image curtsey of

For Men…

Military style slimfit chinos
Update the classic chino with khakis and heritage inspired colours and directional shapes.

Strike a cord with some slim cotton corduroys. Keeping the cut and style contemporary is essential to avoiding the ‘geography teacher’ look. A slimmer cut and therefore more streamlined silhouette is what you want to be aiming for. Cords in black, brown or camel, paired with a simple white shirt and brogues finishes will create a timeless outfit.

Crisp fitted black trousers
Dressier than denim but still versatile enough to dress down if required. Look for straight leg, flat-fronted, preferably a wool blend with fabrics such as cotton, nylon and even some Lycra. Opt for a dark grey or indigo for a softer look and to add variety to your wardrobe.

Create the urban outdoorsman look with this stylish yet hard-wearing style. Wear with a neutral linen shirt, bomber jackets and boots to give the look its final touches of style.

But if you really can’t go without your trusted jeans, look for variety within denim…straight leg styles, boot cut, super dark washes, lighter dark washes, grey or black denim, colour denim, white denim, wide legged etc.

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