Wearing jeans could be the most telling thing that we do

Jane Herman Bishop and K, creators of Jean Stories

Jane Herman Bishop and Florence Kane, creators of Jean Stories

If you were to ask me when I get dressed, what clothing feels most like ‘me’ I would always say my jeans. Jeans and a tee is my feel-good outfit: Simple, easy, chic, perfect. I have five pairs, one for each day of the week, as seen in my Five Days of Denim series, but my all-time favorite pair are my Mavi jeans that I bought years ago at my favorite consignment shop. They didn’t have holes, originally; that came with time and love. Now, whenever I put them on I feel happy and free and completely me. That is what wearing jeans does for me and I suspect for you, too. Winter, spring, summer and fall, that is perhaps why jeans are the all-American must-have.

I recently discovered a website, called Jean Stories, created by Jane Herman Bishop and Florence Kane; a site dedicated to denim, including stories of who is wearing it, the various looks of it, and how to buy it. Ms. Bishop and Ms. Kane (who, by the way, share stories of their own favorite pairs of jeans) are storytellers, with a background in and a passion for fashion; Ms. Bishop is the daughter of Ron Herman and grew up selling jeans at the family’s stores and Ms. Kane has a background as a fashion writer. Jeans are in their blood. Together, they are creating a completely fashion-forward concept with denim as the main character. Continue reading

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Denim: Day Four

Day four, wearing my Hudson jeans, Diesel leather jacket and Vince t-shirt

Day four, wearing my Hudson jeans, Diesel leather jacket and Vince t-shirt

Who says jeans can’t be a little dramatic? Simply by adding a black leather jacket to my white tee and jeans, I go back in time to tell this story; a little tough, a little moody. Think Marlon Brando circa 1953 in the movie, “The Wild One.” This is the perfect time of year to pull out your leather jacket and this fall fitted, sleek leather jackets are very much en vogue. These medium-wash Hudson Jeans are ideal for the transition to cooler temperatures. But not too cool: before the temperature dives and I need warmer tights and leg coverings, these classic boot-cut jeans are just the right weight. Here I am wearing them with a black kitten heel but I often opt for black flats for those days on-the-go. It’s okay to make a statement. Let the Marlon Brando mood carry you …

All five days of denim photos by Alexandra

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Five days of denim: Day One

Day One - wearing my Mavi jeans

Day One – wearing my Mavi jeans

I love denim. It is by far my favorite way to dress – a pair of jeans with a tee or a blazer or  sweater feels most like me. Considering how much joy I experience when I try on a cowboy hat or cowboy boots I would have to say that in my heart I am a cowboy. I own five pairs of jeans. Crazy? Well, yes. But I rationalize it by telling myself that I wear different styles for my lifestyle and wardrobe needs. One pair for every day of the week, in fact. So I decided it was time for me to do an experiment: five days of denim. Over the next five days I will wear a different pair of my jeans – and if you pick up a styling tip or two during the week my efforts will have been worth it.

Day One: My favorite jeans are my Mavi distressed boot-leg jean for their ease, comfort and fit. I think boot-leg are the most flattering. Continue reading

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Phoebe

Phoebe

It warms the heart to enjoy a conversation with a young woman with whom you have history and have known all of her life. I sat down with Phoebe, who turned sixteen last month, and at first, all I could see was the adorable cherub of a baby I once knew. But as Phoebe spoke, I left the baby behind and saw only the young woman sitting next to me. And isn’t she effortlessly chic and stylish? Here is Phoebe, in her own words: on fashion, where she shops, and the need to express oneself …

“My feeling about fashion is that you should dress the way you want to dress. I never understood trends. I just pick the things I like and I wear them …

My high school is big (Fiorello H. La Guardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts, or simply, La Guardia High School), and like any other large school there is a wide range of fashion looks. But we definitely feel free to express who we really are without judgment. Sometimes students’ choices are wonderful and sometimes terrible, but at least they are their own and I think that is what’s important …

I shop at J. Crew, Forever 21 and The Gap. If I had to pick my favorite place to shop, I would say J. Crew, because their clothes are always current and classy. My friends and I also like to shop at Buffalo Exchange, a consignment shop filled with current looks and is geared toward a young, hip crowd. There really isn’t one store where I shop most, because I look everywhere for pieces that fit my style. As long as it’s not too expensive and I think I can make it work in my wardrobe, I’ll buy it …

I wonder about the connection between fashion and self-esteem and people who don’t care about how they dress or what others think. I have a certain level of self-respect and it affects how I choose to dress. From what I observe at school people care about how they present themselves, too; from their outfits, to their makeup, to their shoes and their accessories. I think it’s connected to having a more positive self-esteem …

I used to wear only jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. Now, I like to add different pieces to enhance my outfits and go a step further. I may choose a collared shirt under a sweater, with leggings and boots, for example. I’m also warming up to accessories like headbands and bracelets and I have a pair of pearl earrings that I wear with everything. I’m definitely more open to different styles.” ~ Phoebe

Phoebe, you are doing so well! I think you have a smart fashion sense and a solid perspective on the benefits of expressing yourself through your clothing choices. I love to see it and to see you too!  xx, Melissa

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Aging: A slight shift in perception

Me, age 52

It is inevitable. One day you find yourself over 40. You look in the mirror and find that you are not the young person you were. I know about this: I am 52 and I have made this realization several times in the last few years. I am shocked when I notice any number of changes to my body: My arms look a little funny in a specific light, the lines on my face are increasing, I am more aware of the need to pull my stomach in, and my size and weight is up and doesn’t seem to be going down any time soon. A friend told me that she heard actress Goldie Hawn talking about aging, and she said that you must come to terms with the fact that after 50, you may indeed go up a dress size. Hmmm …

I say don’t give up on yourself! In your heart you are the same. Actually, because you have the wisdom of age on your side, you are more the same than ever before. You are still vibrant and want to feel good. You may have to make a slight shift in perception, but you don’t have to give up who you are. In fact, enjoy this new phase and let your fashion choices enhance your life.You may want to wear it knee-length, but wear that skirt. You may want to check the rise on your jeans, but wear those jeans (and wear them fitted; stay away from baggy and non-fitted because they actually make you look older). You may want to check the fit of a tee, but wear it if you like tees and sleeveless shirts as I do. Never forget to wear color. Black will always be slimming and chic. Smile back at yourself the next time you look in the mirror! And don’t stop wearing that dress, no matter what the size.

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Smile back at yourself the next time you look in the mirror!

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Jeans, jeans, and more jeans!

Contemporary fashion designer, Prabal Gurung likes to wear his standard uniform, jeans and a t-shirt (more of Prabal in this fascinating interview with Time Magazine!). His jeans of choice are J Brand, and his tees? American Apparel. I too, have my uniform of jeans and a tee. And now that the weather is cooling a bit this outfit transitions beautifully when you can’t dress too warmly but need the extra cover. The trouble is that I go overboard when it comes to jeans and I own several pairs: my go-to is Joe’s Honey, for the fit. My other favorites include, Gap 1969 high-rise trouser jean, Citizens of Humanity dark-wash high-rise wide leg, Vince slim-leg, Denim & Company with spandex that I ordered from QVC, and my ripped, torn and will-never-part-from jeans by Mavi. I love all tees, but Vince is my favorite brand for the fit.

I think the boot cut is flattering for most figures. Don’t be afraid to wear your jeans snug. That is how they are meant to be worn and jeans always stretch.

Join me and Prabal by celebrating this enduring and classic American uniform: jeans and a t-shirt.

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