Every Piece of Essential Denim You Should Own in 2016
Ask any girl to name her top five wardrobe essentials, and you’re guaranteed to find at least one denim item on the list. Whether it’s a pair of white jeans, ‘90s-era overalls or an effortless chambray shirt, lazy girls and #OOTD enthusiasts alike can agree that no closet is complete without a little all-denim everything. The all-American fabric lends itself to some of the most versatile pieces in your arsenal, taking you from casual Friday to Sunday morning shenanigans like it ain’t no thing. With that in mind, we scoured the interwebs for 21 perfect denim pieces that go above and beyond your average pair of skinny jeans. Brace yourselves — they’re about to flip the script on your on- and off-duty style game.
1. Madewell X Vans Sk8-Hi Slim High-Top Sneakers in Denim ($70): Synonymous with the cool-kid crew that has skateboarding, surfing and hardcore chillin’ on their daily to-do list, hightop sneakers make an unexpected addition to any sophisticated ensemble. Slip them on with a slinky slip dress, lightweight turtleneck tee and shimmery drop earrings for after-work drinks or a leisurely lunch at your favorite sidewalk cafe.
2. ASOS Premium Rain Trench in Coated Denim ($98): Gray days won’t get you down when you have a show-stopping rain slicker like this on standby. Give new meaning to double denim by teaming it with laid-back boyfriend jeans, statement sneakers and an oversized printed blouse.
3. Zara Cropped Embroidered Jeans ($70): With their RN styling and effortless ease, cropped jeans are a fashion enthusiast’s dream, especially when there’s edgy embroidery involved. Balance out the badass vibes with a mock neck top, trend-right trench and platform ankle boots. Don’t forget to throw in a messy topknot and berry lip for good measure.
4. Alexa Chung for AG Cool Denim Skirt ($365): Don’t even think about letting Labor Day pass you by without adding a denim midi skirt to your new season capsule wardrobe. Take a note out of Alexa Chung’s style book and pair this dreamy button-front number with a cozy sweater, souped-up Mary Janes and a studded satchel bag for a look that reads cool girl with a sweet twist.
5. H&M Denim Bucket Bag ($35): No on-point outfit is complete without a bit of killer bag swag. Sling this patchwork stunner over your shoulder before heading out the door for the perfect finishing touch to a sleek boyfriend blazer, skinny jean and pointed-toe ankle boot ensemble.
6. Mother Denim Letterman Snap Jacket ($325): Borrowed from the boys goes south of the border in this vintage-inspired letterman jacket. Patterned textile and a preppy silhouette translate to a topper that you won’t want to take off. Play it cool with high-waisted jeans and Oxfords, or dress it up with a flowy midi skirt and lace-up booties.
7. Pixie Market Dark Chambray Cut Out Shoulder Top ($53): Why should off-the-shoulder numbers get all the attention? Unlike their bare-it-all counterparts, cold-shoulder tops can kick it all year round. Enlist this denim style for off-duty shenanigans, pairing it with a suede button-front skirt or belted high-waisted trousers for a casually cool look.
8. Madewell Cotton and Linen-Blend Chambray Shirt Dress ($100): A shirt dress is a wear-anywhere essential that will do your style sensibilities proud, no matter what the season. Soak up the last few sunny summer days with gladiators, a Jane Birkin-approved straw bag and a bright mani, then bring on the fall vibes with leather leggings, peep-toe booties and a pastel duster jacket.
9. Rag & Bone Varick Patch Denim Skirt ($225): A denim midi is a major wardrobe must — but why settle for anything less than ah-mazing? Ditch tradition and embrace two-tone styling and patchwork detailing to add instant panache to your getup with zero effort. Tap into your inner bohemian goddess by wearing it alongside a peasant blouse, bolo wrap necklace and metallic block heel boots.
10. McGuire Denim Bessette Culottes ($230): Once considered a style reserved solely for the fashion set, the culotte has taken off over the last few seasons, strongly positioning itself as a must-have silhouette on the denim front this season. Wear it now with a silk cami, lariat necklace and glitzy box clutch for GNO, then give it the cool-weather treatment post-Labor Day with a longline cardigan and shearling-lined slides.
11. Levi’s Boyfriend Trucker Denim Jacket ($98): Can a wardrobe even be considered complete without a jean jacket on hand? This classic trucker staple is the piece your everyday essentials have been missing. Whether you’re kicking back on the weekend or navigating the city streets on your morning commute, this laid-back number has you covered.
12. The Great Rope-Detailed Lace-Up Denim Top ($325): Whether you dig preppy, nautical vibes, or see yourself as a free-spirited femme, this lace-up chambray top is the things wardrobe dreams are made of. Take it along for a Saturday morning farmers’ market sesh with a pleated midi skirt and colorful clogs.
13. Junarose Chambray Jumpsuit ($89): Have a denim jumpsuit, will find a way to wear it for every occasion. Dress it up with embellished heels and a shimmery collar necklace for a gallery opening or casual dinner date, or keep it real for brunch or an afternoon in the park with slip-on sneakers and don’t-care hair.
14. Urban Outfitters Cotton Patterned Square Neck Scarf ($12): Forget on-trend chokers and statement necklaces — this striped chambray bandana will make you rethink your approach to accessorizing this season. Knot it neatly around the neck, then proceed to pair with everything from flirty frocks to military jackets for a note of girl-next-door charm.
15. Kubban Black Overall ($162): Segue into fall without a pair of overalls on hand? Not a chance! While they’re the perfect partner to t-shirts and sleek sneakers, why not take them to the next level with a ruffle-neck blouse and pointed-toe ankle boots? Add on a structured satchel and glam cat-eye eyeliner for a look that makes the transition from day to night SO easy.
16. Current/Elliott Dorothy Denim Shirt Dress ($350): No matter the season, this effortless off-duty piece is the one you’ll reach for every single time. Go all-out It girl and team it with gladiators and a fringe-flecked bag for a vintage shopping extravaganza, or dial up the style factor with funky block heels, statement-making socks and an arm party like none other for a night out on the town.
17. H&M Boyfriend Low Ripped Jeans ($40): Boyfriend jeans are the closet basic that keeps on giving, whether it’s the dead of winter or a balmy summer day. When the cool weather settles in, style it with an oversized sweater, Dr. Martens and a snuggly scarf for apple-picking adventures, hot cider in hand.
18. Express Embroidered Back Yoke Fitted Denim Shirt ($60): Enter the standout chambray shirt you needed yesterday. The denim fabric is straight-up timeless, and pretty floral embroidery gives this tried-and-true cover-up just the right amount of RN edge. Tuck it into a suede skirt or lazy girl-approved joggers for an Insta-ready look in a snap.
19. Topshop Moto Scoop Pocket Pini Dress ($66): If you’re looking to spice up your denim routine, add this playful pini dress to the mix ASAP. Styled alongside a retro rib knit top, bomber jacket and metallic platform Oxfords, it’s ready for everything from game day at your BFF’s abode to cappuccinos with your crew.
20. Guilhermina Rustica Heels ($188): The only thing better than a pair of chambray sneakers? A set of heels decked out in metallic leather and denim. Pop these puppies on with an It-girl take on a traditional suit (think: bright colors and unexpected prints) for an on-the-job getup that will send a case of the Mondays packin’.
21. M.i.h. Niki Jean High Rise Cropped ($255): White jeans pretty much epitomize effortless chic, so don’t even think about letting another season go by without adding a pair to your lineup. Be it a pair of on-trend culottes or foolproof skinny jeans, they make the perfect partner to just about every piece in your closet, from badass leather jackets to flirty ruffle-trimmed blouses.
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