Every well-rounded wardrobe needs certain basic elements that serve as the basis for all other outfits. While all wardrobe essentials are extremely versatile, arguably the most flexible component is something we are all familiar with — denim. This sturdy cotton fabric most often takes the form of blue jeans, but there are other variations available for both men and women that will provide a fresh take on this wardrobe staple.

Take chambray, for instance. It is a thinner, more linen-like relative of denim that is often used for button-down shirts. While you might be hesitant to pair a chambray shirt with jeans, it can be done. To avoid what is commonly called the “Texas tuxedo” look, be sure that your jeans are in a darker wash than your shirt. Guys can sidestep this issue altogether by pairing their chambray button-downs with khakis, while ladies can wear theirs with leggings. Additionally, both guys and girls can wear their chambray button-downs underneath a sweater so only the collar of the top peeks out from the neckline of the sweater, thereby lessening the competition of the chambray against the jeans.

Junior Patricia Masi finds her chambray shirt to be a versatile essential of her wardrobe.

Junior Patricia Masi finds her chambray shirt to be a versatile essential of her wardrobe.

Another denim classic — specifically for the fall — are denim jackets. Light enough for milder fall days but heavy enough to keep you warm when it is breezy, denim jackets are the ultimate in versatility for transition weather dressing. To refresh this classic piece, pick a jacket with either some distressing to give it an edgier look, a jacket in a gradient wash or a wash that is not completely uniform and provides some variation in color. Incorporating this piece into your wardrobe largely follows the same rules as chambray, though it can be even trickier to avoid a denim-on-denim look since the weight of both denim pieces is the same. To avoid this, guys should try to pair their denim jackets with khakis and a plaid button down for a look that practically screams fall. Girls, however, have a few more options as they can wear their denim jackets with everything from dresses to skirts to leggings.

But if you’re tired of the quintessential blue denim look, luckily colored denim jeans are a big trend this fall for both men and women. Colors like maroon and army green are very popular colors for guys and girls alike, and because they are pseudo-neutrals (or colors that can act as neutrals), they can still easily pair with the go-to pieces in your wardrobe.

Another popular jean trend this season is coated denim, in which the denim is often treated with a wax that gives the jeans a delicate shine. When done on black denim, this treatment can give the pants the appearance of leather. Men and women can participate equally in this trend, wearing coated jeans — either in a color or in black — to add dimension and visual interest to your outfit.


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