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How to Wear Denim to a Fancy Holiday Party

In partnership with AG.

Unpopular opinion: Denim is the fabric of holiday-party dressing.

Fun test to prove said opinion wrong: Style three looks on three different members of the Man Repeller team that incorporate denim as the hero piece. Establish that said outfits that are so holiday-party themed, we may as well change our names to “Etta James Holiday Pandora Station.”

Am I the only one who still listens to Pandora Radio?

I know I’ve said that jeans are dead, but I take it back. I’ve ultimately surmised that jeans can’t die. What has probably died is how I feel about myself in jeans. How the ones I own make me look, how they pair with T-shirts, and heels, and big sweaters. The solution, perhaps, is to investigate how to wear denim like I have never worn it before. How to turn it into the centerpiece of a look that does not say off-duty but instead shouts, “I’m here to party.”


Which, by the way, I totally am. On the last Friday before Thanksgiving, our social media editor, Harling, our integrated marketing strategist, Jasmin, and I went to Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side. This place is a mainstay of the neighborhood and the unofficial center for ~holiday vibez~, what with its moody, golden light, piano and the sound of clinking champagne glasses, which you can hear even when it’s closed.


AG jumpsuit (styled with Prada shoes, Isa Arfen shirt, Lelet NY crown, Roxanne Assoulin choker and hoop earrings, Judith Leiber bag)

Harling — dressed for a holiday party whereby you must think quickly on your toes after a full day of laborious work — wore a jumpsuit by AG, punctuated by a metallic, long-sleeve crew-neck shirt and gold sandals. Not especially practical when it is cold, but you do what you have to do to remain in spirit. A headpiece, uneven hoops and choker were icing on the cake that is a comfortable outfit destined to support you through the long hours of a hazy, if not magical, evening.


AG jeans (styled with Alix bodysuit, Rachel Comey skirt, Manolo Blahnik shoes, Gucci glasses, Jennifer Fisher and Lizzie Fortunato gold cuffs)

Jasmin, our resident left-brain thinker, wore a velvet turtleneck bodysuit with a pair of jeans as though it were any other day at the office, but added a sequined skirt and swapped loafers for satin, bedazzled pumps when she remembered that she had agreed to attend a holiday party that called for “festive attire” that evening. Thank heavens she does not have 20/20 vision, right?


AG shirt and shorts (styled with Racil jacket, Miu Miu shoes, Jennifer Behr earrings and headband as choker, Lelet NY crown, Roxanne Assoulin bracelets)

And finally, here I am in what I call a new age, Palm Beach tuxedo. Did I anticipate I might want to wear khaki shorts to inaugurate the holiday season? Not really. Did I think I could wear said shorts with a denim work shirt and still feel comfortable in the context of gold and glitter, sequins and balloons? Not necessarily. But with the addition of a metallic blazer, shoes that confirm women are certainly the superior sex and a bunch of accessories that don’t know how to whisper, anything is possible.

Which is always the bottom line, and perhaps the real meaning of this story. Anything is possible, people. You can prove this by doing a number of things. If you’re not convinced, a good place to start small is in your closet.

Now, we wish you a merry everything.

Styled by Leandra Medine; photos by Krista Anna Lewis.

Special thanks to Bemelmans Bar for hosting our party!

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  • This year, I am thinking corset … Obviously, I will need to cover up a bit. So a denim work shirt gets involved, too. Good. Jeans? … Err, no. Dark red velvet pants, I think. Funny socks and highest heels I own.

    • Krista Anna Lewis

      SAME. But where do we get cool corsets other than Prada (too expensive)?!

      • Well … this time …. (whispers: amazon). But only because I really need to skimp. As soon as this phase is over though … 🙂

    • Natty

      wait, i am also thinking corset. but i don’t know how…? I like where you are headed though. may follow suit.

      • I (very sneakily) linked the word corset in my first comment above to some pics – that was what I had in mind, though not black. Or maybe some steam punk (linked).

  • Jackie

    These outfits made me so happy. You three are gorgeous! Inspired for this season now.

  • Imaiya Ravichandran

    Jasmine looks sooooo good. Red is your colour!

    • Jasmin Aujla

      Thank you Imaiya!

  • Amelia Diamond

    you guys look aamazing

  • Perla

    Jasmin you make jeans and a skirt look so good together! And Red is definitely your color!

    • Jasmin Aujla

      Thank you <3

  • Alanis

    Nice photos! This makes me so excited for holiday dressing, love the ice cream bag!

    • Harling Ross

      the ice cream bag!!!!! i know.

  • J

    Where’s the velvety bow from?

  • Samantha Lee

    Denim all day, e’ry day. Seriously, I was a naysayer before, but once I found jeans with the perfect fit (thank you, Madewell!), and wore denim in other forms (jumpsuits! dresses! jackets!), my love has blossomed.
    The other day I shared an all denim look that might not be right for a fancy holiday party (OR IS IT?), but here it is anyway. 😉

  • Irene Laura

    Omg genius!!
    love all your looks and the pictures are amazing

  • Mari

    Leandra’s eyebrows are a dream.

    • Leandra Medine

      I comb hairspray through them (not kidding)

      • Same! Although, I’ve been getting a lot of pimples in my eyebrows… I think this might be the cause, but maybe not.

  • Harling and the ballooooooooon

  • Aydan

    Harling you are my serious jumpsuit inspo for my work holiday party!!! Totally gonna rock it

  • I know this is about the denim but the TIARAS 🙂

  • Hani Namirra

    Leandraaaaa! I love your make up! Im basically new to make up but what bronzer are you wearing? I love that colour

  • Sinestezic

    Great photos!

    Madalina from Sinestezic

  • fifiwereking

    those outfits are absolutely hideous… very appropriate for something titled “man repeller”… if you HAVE to wear denim to a holiday party, get it in black or a dark wash, pair it with a silk cami, velvet jacket, and/or sequined t-shirt, and finish it off with metallic or velvet shoes… KISS – keep it simple stupid…