For women of a certain generation, the idea of wearing jeans to work is sartorial blasphemy. This is largely because jeans—once the chosen uniform for cowboys, miners, and other rough-and-tumble laborers—were once considered by the white-collar set to be strictly weekend wear. Nowadays, jeans have become much more ubiquitous in any stylish person’s wardrobe—and they now have the price tags to match.
With more office cultures embracing a casual-professional vibe when it comes to work wear, it’s increasingly commonplace to be able to wear jeans to work. However, this wardrobe flexibility comes with one big caveat: your jeans are for dressing up, not dressing down. You can’t just roll into the office wearing your favorite pair of overalls; there’s a fine line between slouchy chic and just plain lazy dressing. But we’re here to help! Here are five tips for making sure you still look work-appropriate in your jeans.
- Photo via Molly Reynolds
1. The darker the wash, the better.
When it comes to the jeans themselves, a darker wash is always better for the office. Lighter washes tend to appear more casual and give off a certain laissez-faire vibe; a dark jean says you mean business. Whether you opt for a deep blue or an honest black wash, go with a super-skinny jean for maximum sleekness.
2. Wear really great heels.
The easiest way to instantly transform a pair of casual jeans into professional pants? Throw on a pair of heels. Opting for a sleek boot with a stacked heel is a great option for fall, but you can never go wrong with a classic pump in nude or black.
3. Wear them with a blazer.
The blazer is one of the oldest “professional woman” staples in the book, and the same goes for wearing the jacket style with jeans. It’s also a great way to add color—while a blazer in black or navy blue is a standby, trying one in a feminine cream or even a more daring red or coral will jazz up your work look without making it too loud.
4. Tuck your blouse in.
This may seem like a bit of a “duh” moment, but simply tucking in your shirt is a great way to show you’re putting effort into your look. A blouse is your best bet, though a sweater in a relatively thin fabric could also look seriously chic. For an edgier approach, tuck in the front portion, but leave the back un-tucked.
5. Throw a little sparkle on top.
While wearing a Stella McCartney crop top a lá Rihanna might not be the most work-friendly wardrobe choice, wearing a little bit of sparkle on top of your denim is great way to instantly glam it up. Try a blouse embroidered with sequins, with metallic accents, or perhaps just a jacket with a subtle sheen to it.