Don’t Ditch Denim This Summer

Written by: Sondra Wolfer

Love for denim runs deep, and for good reason: a classic, cool look is yours the moment you don denim, whether it’s a jacket or your favourite pair of jeans. It is the quintessential casual look that dresses up nicely for nights out. It’s also among the most comfortable of fabrics. Denim manages to be rugged and soft simultaneously. And when a bit of stretch is added, the fabric gains a sleek silhouette without sacrificing comfort.

It’d be the perfect fabric except for the bad rap it gets in summertime. Denim often stays in the chest of drawers when temperatures rise because the material is considered too dense for warm or humid weather. But wearing denim in summer doesn’t have to doom you to being a hot mess. You can still wear denim and keep your cool.

A Brief History of Denim

Denim was first manufactured in 18th century Nimes, France, as an attempt to recreate an Italian twill known as ‘serge.’ The attempt was a near miss and instead they created ‘serge de Nimes,’ a name that eventually evolved into today’s word for the fabric—denim.

The tough textile’s modern evolution famously occurred in the late 1800’s in the Western U.S., where a tailor named Jacob Davis used metal rivets on a type of canvas called ‘duck cloth’ to create sturdy trousers for miners. To patent his idea and fund a production expansion, Davis partnered with Levi Strauss. The iconic look of jeans was created when they switched from duck cloth to blue denim. The fabric remained associated with work until tinseltown put denim in the limelight. James Dean wore blue jeans in the original angsty teen movie, Rebel Without A Cause, and Marilyn Monroe wore them in The Misfits. Denim entered the popular culture through rebellious youth in America at first, but soon enough the fabric was fully embraced around the world from the corner café to the catwalk.

How to Style Denim for Summer

Whilst it’s true heavy denim should probably be put on hiatus for the summer months, lighter-weight denim won’t leave you roasting. Try pairing your favourite skinny jeans with lightweight cotton tanks or linen tops that help regulate your body temperature. You’ll stay even cooler if you style them with breezy sandals instead of closed shoes and socks.

Another option is to reach for your boyfriend jeans. The roomier nature of this style allows for a bit more air circulation than slim-fit jeans. The same holds true for jeans that you’ve worn thin or even completely through in spots, offering you trendy air conditioning. At a certain point they’ll be so holey and worn it’ll be time to turn them into summer-ready shorts.

If you love denim’s archetypal indigo blue but can’t find denim lightweight enough for you, you’ve got options. Choose denim-coloured shirts, skirts, and trousers in a different material, such as chambray or a cotton jersey. Linen clothing is as summery a fabric as exists, and is easily found in the familiar blue.

Exceptionally hot days call for your lightest blue or white jeans, which won’t absorb sunlight as dark blue or black jeans will. Remember there’s also the option to roll those cuffs to channel your inner rebel. Finally, cuff them high enough and you’ll achieve a laid-back, cropped trousers look, perfect for dipping your feet into the surf at the beach before enjoying a 99. Perhaps denim—and life—at its best.


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