Six denim outfit ideas to try that aren’t jeans

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Back in January I wrote about how I hadn’t worn a pair of jeans in over a year. Partly because my once beloved Levi’s no longer fit me, and partly because I saw it as an opportunity to broaden my horizons when it came to my wardrobe. Throwing on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt became a monotonous and somewhat boring outfit choice and I wasn’t having fun getting dressed anymore. This week, I sold both pairs on Vinted (£18 each, if you were wondering). 

It can be so easy to fall into a pattern of wearing jeans and a nice top, but frankly, I’m over the millennial uniform. Since I shared my denim ditching journey in January, I’ll admit, I’ve slowly started to fall back in love with it over the last six months, just not in the traditional sense, (though I have got a rather nice pair of wide leg jeans from Albaray now).

Instead I have been discovering a few different ways to wear denim that feel a lot more ‘me’ and make for a great alternative to jeans. So here’s how I’ve been incorporating denim into my wardrobe recently.

Denim Maxi Skirts

Denim maxi skirts made a major comeback last summer and are perfect for those who want something a little bit different to jeans without going too wild. You can treat styling them exactly the same as you would do your jeans, styling them with t-shirts for a more relaxed look, or with blouses for something a little more refined. This Blue Denim Split Hem Maxi Skirt from New Look, cost £32.99 and is a nice balance between elegant and edgy, with the rough hem adding a bit of a rebellious touch to the overall look. I did have to size up (I bought a 12) as the fit is generally quite small, but once you get the sizing nailed, it’s so flattering and a dream to wear. 

Denim Jumpsuits

The epitome of a minimum effort, maximum impact outfit, a jumpsuit offers a head-to-toe denim look that’s effortlessly cool. I’ve tried a number of styles over the years but none of them have really flattered me quite like this one from River Island. There’s so many reasons to love it, from the convenient zip fastening to the elasticated waist that makes it really comfortable to wear – plus it as little poppers at the side so you can extend or cinch in the waist – ideal if you weight fluctuates up and down like me. I think the light wash of this definitely gives it a more relaxed feel, but a darker denim would be perfect for a more polished look, but personally I’ve had loads of fun leaning into the laidback vibes with my Damson Madder gilet.

Denim Dresses

This denim dress from River Island, which I got secondhand from Vinted, is one of my absolute favourite ways to wear denim right now because it’s just so versatile. Not only can I wear it with heels and an evening bag for date night, but it looks so cool with a gilet thrown over the top with some cowboy boots, too. And because of its shorter length, you can actually get away with styling it over trousers, too, for more of an oversized top illusion. Plus the oversized collar of this piece is giving me serious Damson Madder vibes and if you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a bit addicted to their aesthetic at the moment.

Denim Jackets

A classic for a reason. A denim jacket is an absolute wardrobe staple that adds an extra layer of style (and warmth) to any outfit. It’s perfect for transitioning between seasons when it’s a little chilly, those summer evenings in the pub beer garden, or for shading your shoulders on a summer’s day. This one from Joanie Clothing has a bit of a vintage workman overshirt vibe about it which I love. Not only does it look great over dresses, but I also really enjoy doing up a few of the top buttons and wearing it a bit more like a shirt over some funky trousers, too. 

Denim Waistcoats

If in doubt, add a waistcoat. A denim vest like this one from Michelle Keegan’s collection with Very is perfect for layering and adding dimension to an outfit that feels like it’s missing something. I’ve previously written about my favourite ways to wear a denim waistcoat, including over band tees and dresses for something more casual, but worn with nothing underneath with some wide leg trousers, it transforms into a really sophisticated and feminine fit. 

Denim Gilets

Denim gilets sit somewhere in between a denim jacket and a waistcoat. This one from Damson Madder has a more oversized feel and feels like the edgier cousin to the above denim vest. They can be worn over long-sleeve shirts, turtlenecks, or even dresses to just give a look that bit of extra interest and texture. One of my favourite ways to wear it is with this white cotton skirt and top to give it the illusion of a dress without having to buy one.

Denim is incredibly versatile and offers numerous stylish alternatives to jeans. Whether you choose a jumpsuit, maxi skirt, dress, jacket, waistcoat, or gilet, you can create a variety of looks that showcase your personal style without having to default to jeans – so, how will you be wearing it this summer?

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