- Photo by Mica Asato on Pexels.com
There are so many brands and styles of jeans on the market you could spend a whole year trying them on. Despite my fondness for the Mossimo jeans I bought this Spring at Target, the white skinny jeans from Ross, and the Blue Desire Midrise with the distressed hems from T.J. Maxx, my all time favorite type are pre-owned and vintage. Soft, worn in and characteristically inexpensive their main attribute is timelessness.
Paired with a feminine Ralph Lauren blouse they’re “shabby but chic” or with a pristine white tee and menswear blazer, they’re ’80s street. In homage to one of my prized separates, today’s post is all about how to coordinate them five different ways.
Mixing It Up with Florals and Stripes
Painter’s jeans are considered serious work pants when worn with a flannel shirt and steel-toed boots, but they can also be playful when worn with a blue floral jacket and a navy-blue and white Breton (sailor top). Perfect for a quick jaunt to your neighborhood Farmer’s Market or local art gallery, museum or used bookstore they’re tidy and chic.
The Museum of African-American Art: Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza (Macy’s 3rd Floor, 4005 Crenshaw Blvd., Thursday-Sunday:12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.,maaala.org). Please call about exhibits and special events.
The Whole 9 Gallery: 3830 Main Street, Culver City, CA. 90232, 310-836-4600. Please call for more information about hours, exhibits and special events. thewhole9gallery.com.
Cool Errand Gear
Distressed and faded Levi’s can still be stylish and versatile when mixed with a vintage white cardigan, statement belt, and shades. The patina and wear of both items also give them a modern elegance. Slip this outfit on when running out to McDonald’s for a quick lunch, bank for much-needed funds or the cleaners with your suit for a job fair. Comfortable enough to be laid-back, but not so sloppy you’ll have to hide behind a nearby bush if you run into an old boyfriend, the structured lines of the jeans and sweater prevent it from being slovenly.
Baggy Hip-Hop Swag
Loose, baggy jeans add an extra saucy edge when coordinated with an oversized white Ralph Lauren shirt, vintage Levi’s jacket, and suede sandals. Then accessorized with a vintage red, white and black print vintage 1940’s doo-rag and oversized shades, it exudes a feminine allure to an ensemble comfy enough for a morning matinee at the Cinemark, artsy afternoon at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) or craft and school supply haul at the Dollar Tree, JoAnne’s or Michael’s.
Distressed But Louche
If you buy a naturally worn and paint splattered pair of jeans from Timeless Treasures or another local thrift store, you can always dress them up with a knock-off Chanel-esque blazer to give them that high-low appeal that’ll take you to school and studying at the library afterwards, or dress them down with a grey retro Aerosmith tee from Ross, for a personal field trip to a Saturday yard sale. Brimming with lively backstories, if you’re lucky enough to find ones this authentic and beloved, they may soon accompany you on your own adventures, and collect tales picked up along the way, for the next owner to ponder over.
Sometimes it’s not just nice to comingle prints and patterns, but layers too. A cropped cardigan can be very smart when placed over a striped blue and white blouse then accented with a navy-blue and white polka-dotted scarf tie and cuffed vintage Levi’s. If you work somewhere semi-casual, arduous, yet with exposure to the public in a school or library this combo is just right for long shifts and hard physical tasks that would render nicer duds torn and tattered in minutes.
As you can see, the ways to coordinate vintage jeans are as varied as the occasions they can be worn too. With a little ingenuity and self-analysis, you can easily include them in your wardrobe and use them to add uniqueness and classical styling any time you need to.
The True Story of Jeans
1) “What textile are they made from?”
They are made out of a material called “denim”. Its name comes from the French term “Serge de Nimes” where they originated in Nimes, France.
2) “How is denim created?”
Denim is created from the weft of the “cotton twill” which goes beneath the warp “threads” before they’re woven together. To get the distinctive blue and white shade of traditional jeans, the warp is “dyed indigo” while the weft is left white.
3) “When were jeans first invented and by whom?”
Jeans were first invented in 1873, by Jacob W. Davis a Reno, Nevada-based tailor and Bavarian native, “businessman/entrepreneur” Levi Strauss.
4) “Which group first wore “blue jeans” and why?”
Cowboys and miners were the first groups to wear “blue jeans. They wore them because they were sturdy and held up well over time.
5) “How did they become so popular with the mainstream?”
James Dean in the film Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Giant (1956) made them popular and okay for anti-establishment males to adopt them as an alternative garment that signified youthful rebellion and allegiance to a sub-culture separate from their 9-5 fathers. Marilyn Monroe in the 1961 film The Misfits did the same for females.
- historyofjeans.com, History of Jeans and Denim
- www.racked.com/2015/2/27/8116465/the-complete-history-of-blue-jeans-from-miners-to-marilyn-monroe, Wright, Jennifer. The Complete History of Blue Jeans, From Miners to Marilyn Monroe
Places to Buy Vintage Jeans in Los Angeles, CA.
- Goodwill Southern California Store and Donation Center, Culver Junction, 3340, 8950 Venice Blvd., L.A., CA. 90034, 310-845-9327. Hours: Sunday (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.), Monday through Saturday (9 a.m. to 9 p.m.), www.goodwillsocal.org. Online store (www.shopgoodwill.org), Ann Taylor Loft, Tommy Hilfiger, Lucky Brand, etc., (Under $50).
- Etsy.com, Levi’s vintage jeans (Various prices, under $100), www.etsy.com
- Timeless Treasures Thrift Shop, 9441 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA. 90232, 310-559-8338. Hours: Tuesday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Out of the Closet Thrift Store, 8224 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA., 90046, 323-848-9760. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
If I were to judge a trend that’s traveled the chic spectrum, by the women I see wearing a top and leggings on my job in Koreatown, I’d say it’s more a matter of comfort than innovation.
You could even look at it as a class division, where those who’re on the lower end of the economic scale view it as an inexpensive way to dress while those on the upper end view it as pricey athleisure. Unfortunately, nothing shows the economic separation more than its interpretation.
Disney By Junk Food Collab with Target
Target, that great mecca of budgetary gear, has updated the tunic dress legging style again, with another collab that will probably go down in retail history, especially for shoppers who remember their collaborations with Lilly Pulitzer and Marimekko. This time it was with Disney, and what makes this pairing so fun is the collection has a slightly retro 1960s-1970s vibe that can be updated for 2018. In other words, what would’ve worked as a mini back in 1965, can work equally well today with a pair of leggings.
Once coordinated with either solids or prints, the ensemble can then be topped with a structured blazer, soft sweater or denim jacket and worn either to work (on Casual Day), or out and about on dates, errands, and trips, without being too casual. In fashion, one of the most popular and iconic prints is stripes, which you’ll see worn by actress Jean Seberg in the 1960 Jean-Luc Goddard French New Wave film Breathless.
When I went to Target and shopped at their Disney x Junk Food collab in the Trend Spot section the breezy mod vibe of the collection reminded me of her. Then when I saw the striped, sleeveless hooded tunic dress I thought about all the years I’d worn a navy-blue and white sailor Breton with jeans, khaki’s, black men’s trousers and shorts. Cool and youthful, with a Mickey Mouse insignia, I figured I couldn’t go wrong for $26.
Instinctively knowing I could wear the tunic dress with my solid colored black, white and navy-blue leggings when I experimented with my black floral, black-and-white polka-dotted and multicolored ones its true charm came out. With just a little courage, research about how to wear today’s trends and time I added new life to an old standby.
How to Mix and Match Leggings with a Tunic Dress
- Look for prints and colors, in the tunic dress, that will enhance the leggings you want to match (i.e., a blue floral Marimekko x Target tunic dress with navy-blue or white leggings).
- Choose either flat soled sneakers, like Keds, Vans or Converse to maintain the comfortable ease of the overall look.
- Whether you choose a blazer, lightweight trench coat, denim jacket or sweater make sure the color compliments both the tunic dress and the leggings to pull it all together.
- To add that extra spice, a colorful bandanna or silky neckerchief, floppy hat, beret or baseball cap will do it effectively.
Is this nothing in this discarded pile of clothing that isn’t fashionable enough to be treated with respect?
Is this the way our clothes are meant to end up when we no longer want or need them?
You don’t have to spend a lot to look beautiful. I put together this black and white outfit from finds I discovered at Forever 21, Ross and the Pan African Film Festival and wore it on the day I saw Shen Yun 2018.
Black and white houndstooth coat (Forever 21), black and white swirl print long dress (Ross), black and white African necklace (Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza) and black and silver print Keds sneakers (Ross).
Here’s a link to an article I wrote for http://www.medium.com, Are African-American Women An Endangered Species?. I was inspired to write it while reading the book the book The Grim Sleeper: The Lost Women Of South Central, by Christine Pelisek.
Wecome Spring with floral jewelry.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to accessorize your look or be relegated to plain sneakers for a casual, but dressy, evening out. Now you can indulge in lush velvet and gold lame to dress up that feminine poet’s blouse, jeans and sleek leggings. Thanks to designer collaborations,and chic off-price styles,you can find ultra-stylish shoes, hats, jewelry andpurses on even the smallest budget.
Lovely… Continue reading
It’s not necessary to travel far out of the neighborhood for good looking finds.
For $20 you can visit your local Fallas, Ross, Dollar Tree and Walmart and stay on trend with today’s hottest looks.
Below I’ve included three of my favorite finds:
- Gold necklaces from Fallas
- Black and white short-sleeved top from Ross
- Pink and turquoise bandanna set from Dollar Tree