How To Dress Up Jeans: 11 Ways To Make Your Denim Stand Out

Maggie Griswold
How To Dress Up Jeans: 11 Ways To Make Your Denim Stand Out
Photo: Lou What Wear/Curves to Contour/Oh to Be a Muse.

Jeans are arguably the most versatile and long-lasting item in any wardrobe. They come in myriad different hues, shapes, sizes, styles.—You name it. And while it’s easy to pair your favorite denim with a graphic tee for a casual look, figuring out how to dress up jeans to make them perfect for any occasion takes a little bit more creativity. Luckily, there are so many street style mavens, fashion bloggers and influencers who have cracked the code for us. During our occasional lack of sartorial imagination, we can turn to these fashionistas and let them inspire us with their effortlessly cool and classic ensembles. Thanks, guys!

To give us all a bit of inspiration, we rounded up several different ways to dress up all your favorite pairs of jeans. From elevating boyfriend jeans to create the perfect office-ready ensemble to taking go-to skinnies from day to night, there is no shortage of ways to make your denim look chic AF. No matter your favorite style of jeans, there’s a way to make them look as polished as you want. Using simple tricks like adding a blazer and heels or pairing a graphic tee with a more polished jacket, these stylish folks can amp up any pair of denim.

Don’t be afraid to go bold, try something new and switch it up. You might find that the top you pushed to the back of your closet looks amazing with your high-rise flare jeans. Or, you could discover that your favorite work blazer looks just as elevated paired with a simple white t-shirt. The possibilities are truly endless, but we have 11 different looks for you to try out below. Go forth and wear those jeans like you mean it.

 

1. White Top + Printed Blazer + Black Ripped Jeans

One of the easiest ways to dress up a classic pair of black skinny jeans is with a chic blazer. Have some fun with it and choose a pattern rather than a solid for a little bit of a statement this season. This is a great way to spice up a simple white tee, too!

STYLECASTER | How to Dress Up Jeans

DL1961.

There’s no doubt that these ripped skinny ankle jeans will be a go-to in your wardrobe for years to come. No matter the season, you can find amazing ways to rock them.

 

2. Puff-Sleeved Top + Structured Bag + Long Jeans

A puff-sleeved top is a fun way to add a little flare to any classic denim look. If you’ve got a pair of long and lean jeans in your closet, try adding a puffy sleeve and structured back for an easy and polished ensemble. Add in some heels or heeled booties for even more stylish vibes.

STYLECASTER | How to Dress Up Jeans

AG Adriano Goldschmied.

You might think that a light wash jean is meant for spring and summer only, but the hue plays well with all seasons. Go with something skimpy on top when it’s hot or a fun cropped sweater when it’s cool.

 

3. Pattern Mixing + Heels + Boyfriend Jeans

Have some fun with your denim looks and try pattern mixing on the top. Pairing stripes with florals is an easy way to get the look and test it out if you’re unsure what patterns might look best together. Add a hat and some heels, and you’re good to go.

STYLECASTER | How to Dress Up Jeans

Pilcro.

A good pair of boyfriend jeans is a must-have in any closet. You can roll the hems for the OG boyfriend jean look or keep them unrolled for a different style.

 

4. Graphic Tee + Jacket + Frayed Edge Jeans

While it might not seem like a graphic tee and frayed jeans can be dressed up successfully, they totally can. Just add a nicer jacket, some heeled booties and a classic bag, and you’ve instantly amped up your denim look. (A little bit of red lipstick helps, too.)

STYLECASTER | How to Dress Up Jeans

DL1961.

These high-rise wide leg frayed jeans are perfect for just about any season. In the summer, you can play around with chic crop tops, and in the winter, pair with boots and a turtleneck. You can’t go wrong with these.

 

5. Solid Blazer + Heels + Skinny Jeans

If you want to keep things classic but still elevate your skinny jeans, try adding a simple solid blazer, heels and a structured tote. This look is a go-to for so many—and for good reason. It allows you to easily dress up almost any type of jean for a cool, casual and still work-friendly outfit.

STYLECASTER | How to Dress Up Jeans

PAIGE.

Make sure you have a pair of ankle skinny jeans in your closet this season. They can easily be paired with boots, heels or sneakers—and pretty much any top you have already in your wardrobe.

 

6. Striped Top + Flats + Statement Earrings + Skinny Jeans

Who says you can’t elevate jeans with a t-shirt? Darker jeans are already a little more formal than light wash, so you can easily add a fun striped tee and pretty flats for an effortlessly classic look. Thrown on some statement earrings and grab your prettiest bag, and you’re set.

STYLECASTER | How to Dress Up Jeans

Eloquii.

These dark wash skinny jeans are truly a go-to for any event. They’re stretchy and comfortable enough to wear at home, but cute enough to rock during a night out with friends.

 

7. Off-The-Shoulder Top + Heels + High-Rise Skinny Jeans

Let the sun shine on those shoulders, baby. Try tucking in an off-the-shoulder top to your favorite high-rise skinnies. Then, add a belt, heels and pop of color on your lips, and you’re ready to stun all who see you. To make this look more casual, too, you can also swap the heels for sneakers!

STYLECASTER | How to Dress Up Jeans

Talbots.

These stretchy jeggings are the type of jeans you’ll wear for years. (Trust me—I own five pairs!) They’re available in a huge range of sizes, too. So no matter your body type, you can wear these jeans year round.

 

8. Striped Top + Hat + Paperbag Jeans

Paperbag waist jeans make a statement on their own, so the trick here is simply to elevate them. Using a neutral striped top, fun hat and mini hand bag to bring out the already-cool style of these jeans is the way to go. Add some heels for an even more dressed-up look.

STYLECASTER | How to Dress Up Jeans

& Other Stories.

These paperbag waist jeans are made with organic cotton, so they’re soft enough to wear over and over again. They’re easy to keep casual, too, if you just want something to run errands in.

 

9. Silky Cami + Statement Heels + Ripped Black Jeans

If you’re looking for the perfect edgy-but-still-dressy date night outfit, look no further. Pair your favorite black jeans with a silky cami, statement heels and a matching bag. It’s a simple but effective way to look amazing no matter your plans.

STYLECASTER | How to Dress Up Jeans

Levi’s.

High-rise black skinny jeans are truly a blessing. You can dress them up easily with heels and a fun blouse or keep them cool and casual with a graphic tee and sneakers.

 

10. Denim Top + Sandals + Straight-Leg Jeans

Don’t knock denim-on-denim until you’ve tried. When you pair two different washes of denim with a fun bag and cute sandals, you can an effortlessly elevated look perfect for warm weather. You can also belt your jeans and do a half-tuck for an added polished detail.

STYLECASTER | How to Dress Up Jeans

FRAME.

Classic straight leg jeans are a must-have for anyone who likes to pair their pants with tucked-in oversized tops. Not quite a flare, but not skinny either, straight jeans give you that perfect in-between look.

 

11. Ruffle Top + Heels + Skinny Jeans

Another ridiculously easy way to dress up your favorite pair of skinny jeans is with a fun and bright ruffle top and open-toe heels. Try matching your top to your accessories for a truly coordinated look you can wear to the office (or a Zoom call!) or out to brunch.

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DL1961.

You can truly never have too many pairs of skinny jeans. This ankle length jean is slightly cropped, so you can wear it from spring to winter with the right shoes. The possibilities are endless.

 

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