Denim is the working man’s uniform, a tribute to the 1940s industrial age, an homage to the days when greasy sweat and oiled machinery pervaded the American middle-class. It’s classic. It’s an American staple. It’s a lot more than jeans, and it’s just what we need for winter.
The Denim Dress
For months, I had been pining for a denim dress. I had routinely explored local thrift stores, and each time I would see a glimpse of denim peeking out of an overstuffed rack. I’d tug the denim snippet away from its satin and taffeta neighbors only to realize that this was the same skintight jumper I had rejected the week before. That was until I stopped in at The Salvation Army Family Store and doubtingly made my way over to the dress section.
There, I spotted it: an ankle-length, cuffed-sleeve beaut. It had shoulder pads and rosettes on the collar with a silhouette that was too extreme an hourglass for my body type. The dress didn’t fit me. But it had pockets! I bought it.
I ripped off the rosettes and cut out the shoulder pads when I got home. I slimmed down the full hips of the dress by sewing a straight line from waist to hem and made sure to salvage the pockets. Now the dress fits slimmer and actually complements my straight body type.
The Denim Jacket
Bon Jovi. Michael J. Fox in “Back to the Future.” That one punk kid in “The Breakfast Club.” They wore it back then, and we’re wearing it again now. Oh yes, the denim jacket: my favorite fall accessory.
Throw it on over some dark jeans or wear it with a summer dress along with tights and boots. To be honest, there’s nothing like rolling up the sleeves of a well-worn denim jacket and feeling like the perfect combination of American cowboy and laid-back, urban adventurer.
The Denim Button-Up
I swore off the denim button-up when I was 8 years old and first saw The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album cover. On it, the boys are walking across a zebra crossing, each looking sharp in different-colored suits. Except George. George is wearing a denim button-up tucked into denim jeans of a nearly identical hue. That’s right — full-body denim. From that point, I refused to wear outfits that gowned my body in the same material from neck to ankle.
But I got over it. And now, men’s denim button-ups are everywhere this fall.
I saw one button-up (paired with a cozy cardigan) at Hobbs, 700 Mass., but expect to pay a pretty penny for this Ben Sherman piece; it retails for $95. If you can’t stand to shell out that much cash, check out the denim stock at Wild Man Vintage, 939 Mass., or Arizona Trading Co., 736 Mass.
Who knows, you might find the shirt George Harrison wore on the album cover. It’s got to be floating out there somewhere.