It’s all a bit hard to take, especially for those of us who remember the domination of denim throughout the 1980s, when terms such as “snow-washed” and “stone-washed” were used to describe techniques used to rough blue denim up, give it extra texture and pattern, but which actually served only to make it the clothing equivalent of woodchip wallpaper – ugly, impossible to ignore, and so, so dated.
Now, for spring/summer 2013, we haven’t sunk to quite those worrying depths, but there are distinct signs and hints of denim dabbling going on, with fading, dip-dye and even some mottling techniques seen on jackets, shirts, and sometimes on skirts and shorts.
Nothing dates a film so much as the wearing of denim, and there must surely have been plenty of PhDs on the topic, examining how the subtle changes of the cut and colour of the denim on show can pinpoint precisely when a movie was made. I was musing on this on Saturday night while watching Prime Suspect, in which one of Sharon Stone’s many and varied outfits involves frayed denim beach shorts. This marks it out forever as early 1990s, when faded tiny but slouchy denim shorts teamed with oversized, off-the-shoulder cotton tops, were the off-duty look of choice for screen sirens with toned pins.
Then there is denim on denim, as worn in the 1980s by Kylie Minogue in Neighbours, who also ensured that denim dungarees became quite the thing.
If you watch The Voice on a Saturday night, you have probably witnessed Jessie J berating fellow judge Danny O’Donaghue for wearing the fashion no-no known as “denim on denim”, usually in the form of a denim jacket or (even worse) waistcoat, worn with denim jeans.
Yet, fashionista or no, Jessie J is wrong, because this season, denim on denim is quite acceptable, so if the urge takes you, you have permission to go for it (although I would advocate caution for anyone over 35, because, rather than looking retro cool, you will probably look more like an old crock who has just discovered clothes long forgotten at the back of your wardrobe).
Still, the denim jacket is a major trend revival for this spring and summer . You could visit your local charity shop because, if there is one item of clothing you are guaranteed to find there, it’s a fine example of the 1980s denim jacket. However, the High Street is coming up with some interesting and wearable options, so look out for denim biker-style jackets which nip in at the waist, to wear with white cotton and lace dresses, or with florals, for a fresh 2013 take denim.
Kylie’s denim dungarees are also back, and great for all ages, in my opinion, perfect for weekends and holidays, as is the denim dress, although for comfort choose in a silky denim-style fabric – much easier to wear.