In theory, the best staples in our wardrobe are those that can be worn in different ways. In practice, though, you might justifiably ask yourself how different can the same thing actually look, even if it’s styled with a fresh combination of things? Ketchup still tastes and looks like ketchup whether putting it on a hot dog or dipping a french fry in it, right?
I’m willing to concede on the ketchup point, but the versatility of certain garments might surprise you. I speak from experience, as I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how I can truly maximize the clothes I already have, not just in terms of styling but also in terms of manipulating the appearance of specific items. To demonstrate what I’m talking about, I’ll use my favorite pair of jeans as an example. Below, I’ve attempted to showcase four genuinely different ways of wearing–or rather, transforming–them.
The Waistband Flip
With a semi-fitted top like this cropped cardigan, leave the top button or two of your jeans undone and cinch with a belt, ribbon, or shoe lace (my preferred material as pictured here). The jeans instantly transform from a classic high-rise silhouette into a more casual, “undone” look. It’s an especially good styling trick when you’re going out for a multi-course dinner–instead of having to surreptitiously unbutton your jeans under the table before dessert, you’ll already be swimming in comfort–and in the name of fashion, no less.
The Boot Tuck
It’s not always easy to stuff a denim leg into high boots, but if you have a pair with an accommodating circumference, the endeavor is worth your while. Note that there will and should be a little bit of bunching at the knees–it’s part of the aesthetic! (Just ask Bella Hadid). This approach gives the jeans more of a sweatpants vibe, and takes them in a solidly distinct direction from the usual loafer or ankle boot pairing (inevitably tucked under) I find myself falling back on when I wear jeans for the umpteenth time in the same week.
The Giant Cuff
A small cuff can look expected or even sloppy–often a forced product of an inseam that is slightly too long. An extra-big cuff, however, is riddled with intentionality. As a bonus, it also converts your jeans into temporary capris, easily rendered winter-appropriate with a high sock or narrow boots. I don’t know what it is about a temporary denim capri, but these made me want to go full Canadian tuxedo with my boyfriend’s oversized shirt.
Did you know your jeans look this fantastic on the inside? I love every detail, from the contrast stitching to the pocket flaps (but you can also eliminate the pocket flaps by pulling them inside out if you don’t share my affection). I tamed down the deconstructed vibes with a put-together knit polo and shiny flats, but if you want to go full “opposite day” and wear an inside-out shirt too, I salute you.
Are there any other wardrobe staples you’d like to see transformed multiple ways? Let me know in the comments.
Photos by Beth Sacca.