A new reality, a newly found lifestyle. And yet, some things never change. Quite the contrary. You experience a new, deeper appreciation for the simplest of things. And the words “style is a reflection of your lifestyle” (more country living, less city walks, social gatherings or conventional office work for the foreseeable future) ring truer than ever before.
For someone who has always found inspiration in books, magazines and movies, the book A Denim Story*, by Emily Current, Meritt Elliott and Hilary Walsh, makes for one of the best style references, especially these days. More than anything else, it reveals how jeans, and denim, used to stand for more than a fashion item, taking the role of a symbol – of a lifestyle, of moral convictions, of individual expression, of adventurous dispositions. But, most of all, that of an active participant to one’s work and life. They were made for working, for living, carrying a nostalgic sensibility to things well made and still retaining the robust, authentic appeal and individual rebellion that they have always possessed. The book insists on an aesthetic inspired by boyish silhouettes, on simplicity over polish, creating visual stories that seem depicted from real-life, not fashion editorial-ready. A farmer on the field, a child at play, an actor on the set, an artist at work, in their jeans – therein lies the endless fascination with denim. It is part of life, of the everyday man, woman and child.
And if you have a look at my style conversations with my guests here on the site, as shown in the following paragraphs, whenever jeans come into discussion, they are not taken out of the context of their lives and works and worldviews – these are real people leading real lives, having more interesting stories to tell than the clothes they put on in the morning. And that’s why those same clothes, namely jeans, so viscerally familiar, so youthful and practical and relevant, end up being part of the story.
Taylor Foster photographed by wearedore.com
“Most days I’m in the studio just wearing a tee and jean shorts in the summer or a tee and jeans in the winter. I think personal style is a lot like a fingerprint, it’s different for every person. As we become more accepting of who we are, we know what works for our bodies and lifestyle and what doesn’t. I’ve always loved looking at old photos of stylish people, especially writers, musicians and artists. Indigenous cultures, ancient sculpture, recurring symbols throughout time and the concept of ancestral lineage are also my inspiration. And nature. Nobody does color better than Mother Nature.” Mary Jo Matsumoto, sculptor and painter
“When I’m not in a tunic or a caftan, you can find me in boyfriend jeans and tee. I only buy pieces I know I will really wear. I also find a simple wardrobe frees up my creative energy to channel into my passions like ocean + main.” Mary Price, founder and designer ocean + main
James Dean in the set of “Giant” (1956), George Stevens Productions
James Dean on the set of “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955), Warner Brothers
“I do love classic pieces with some special detail or little twist, even if it’s hidden. I’m also a big fan of mixing masculine and feminine, like wearing a pair of slouchy TOMBOY jeans with lipstick and heels.” Kelly Urban, co-founder AMO Denim
“I can not live without a white shirt, jeans, and blazers. I am lucky because I never had to change my style too much for work. I don’t have a “professional style”. Of course, I adopt a different attitude depending on the circumstances but, as a writer, and particularly a travel writer, I can wear what I want. It’s a question of common sense and education, I suppose. In fact, my style matches the kind of people I work with, and we work together because we have the same attitude towards life (and that includes style).” Francisca Mattéoli, travel writer
Jane Birkin photographed by Mike Daines, Rex/Shutterstock | Katharine Hepburn on the set
“As I live in a country with six months of winter, am a mother of three young boys, as well as an illustrator that works in a messy, drippy way, I wear a lot of jeans with second hand tops and blouses and boots.” Stina Persson, illustrator
“My go-to daily outfit is a pair of AMO’s, a shrunken white tee, flats, and vintage jewelry. Style is an expression of your individuality and feeling comfortable in your own skin no matter what you are wearing.” Misty Zollars, co-founder AMO Denim
Margaux Hemingway photographed by Jean Claude Deutsch in France, 1980 | Getty Images
“Jeans, boring, I know. David would so much prefer it if I woke up each morning and dressed as Grace Kelly. Style is about being yourself and no one else.” India Hicks, designer, author, entrepreneur
Photographer Hilary Walsh in her Echo Park studio
* For an easily accessible, official synopsis of the book, I have linked to the publishing house. However, in these trying times, our intention is to support artists and small businesses of any kind, especially bookstores, therefore we will not link to global online book chains or corporations, leaving you to make the choice of helping your favourite independent bookshop and placing your order with them. If you don’t have a favourite indie bookstore, here is how to find one you can support.
More stories: On Craftsmanship and the Modern Woman, with Sue Stemp of St. Roche / Denim on Film: Little Fauss and Big Halsy / Interview with Fashion Designer and Humanitarian Treana Peake