Once upon a time, before street style changed the way we’d view dress codes forever, there existed an extremely unhelpful fallacy that fashion editors never wore jeans. As a Millennial who lived through this changing of the guard, it’s hard to say who or what was to blame—likely a fun combination of passé ideas around professionalism, gatekeeping, and good old-fashioned sexism. Sadly, we fashion nerds spent those years robbed of the kind of hyper-indulgent, wonky conversations about denim that other trends demanded. So let’s overcompensate for a moment, shall we?
Recent chats with my fashion-editor friends (all of whom, I will add, truly thrive when it comes to wearing denim) are buzzing around a modern iteration of the all-American vibe that Calvin Klein has come to define. It’s classic style anchored in great jeans, with a punchy little edge. Accessories are attention-seeking, like how we might have dressed that first summer we came to New York for an internship, but a closer look suggests it’s the denim that’s doing the work—shaping silhouettes and lending itself to styling that feels intentional without trying too damn hard. After all, isn’t that instantly effortless vibe exactly what we love about denim? The way it takes our extra-ness down a notch? I cornered three of my fellow fashion editors to discuss (and give you a peep at how we’re wearing our favorite denim right now, of course).
“Honestly, nothing feels more classic than denim and a tee. It’s an outfit recipe that people of all ages and style preferences can wear effortlessly. American style is all about adding your own flair, and that’s what we’ve been doing with this pairing for centuries. When creating this look, I stepped out of my comfort zone a bit because I don’t typically gravitate toward a mostly black ensemble. I absolutely love neutrals, but my style tends to err on the lighter side (whites, creams, and grays), keeping my outfits easy to pair with bold colors. I would totally wear this outfit to a dinner date or a day at the museum.” — Aniyah Morinia, associate editor
“Why does the thought of classic, American style immediately transport me to a scene in an old Western movie? I’m picturing lots of denim and Western touches that read ‘chic cowboy,’ which was the inspiration for this look. Every recent decade has been dominated by a popular denim trend. That’s how important it is to American culture and fashion in general. We’ve got the bell-bottoms of the ’60s, the baggy styles of the ’90s, the infamous low-rise of the early aughts—and that’s just scratching the surface. Calvin Klein has played a huge part in the popularity of jeans and was one of the first to create a designer-denim craze by putting his logo on the back pocket of jeans. The brand’s styles have evolved constantly over the years, and it’s always one of my go-tos for denim.” — Michaela Bushkin, senior fashion editor
“The all-American vibe reads as wholesome, but it’s definitely a bit sexy. I love that Calvin Klein has always embraced this effortless, more inclusive approach, and that continues this season with so many non-gendered pieces (like my favorite denim jacket). I paired it with a black slip dress, which is one of those staples that’s really worth investing in. It’s endlessly versatile, always in style, and perfect for those long days out and about in New York, which demand outfits that can handle uncertain dress codes and the possibility that you won’t have time to pop home and change before dinner. I love the contrast of the rigid Kurabo denim against silk that feels almost liquid.” — Natalie Cantell, executive director
“Classic Calvin Klein ads definitely inspired my outfit. I wanted the underwear to be a point of focus, but I love how it didn’t take away from the double-denim moment at all. I tend to dress in a way that mixes and matches polished pieces with more casual styles, which is why I paired this low-key look with elegant accessories like pointed-toe kitten heels and a simple black handbag. I would wear this look out to dinner with friends. I think it’s the perfect outfit for showing off some more daring styling elements (like exposed underwear) while still reading fairly approachable thanks to the denim.” — Lauren Eggertsen, editorial director