Four Types of Jeans You Need for the Perfect Denim Wardrobe

All photos courtesy of Talley Denim

I like all kinds of fashion — give me embellished dresses, gauze-y skirts, a cool le smoking jacket… Perhaps it’s my inner patriot coming out to pay fashion homage to a very American-feeling staple, but at the end of the day, I’d trade any trend for classic denim, time and time again.

As such, I am constantly curious about what might emerge next, shape, color, or brand wise. So, when we find a new label that combines the resume of a denim expert with the innovation and excitement of a new brand, we want to know everything. Benjamin Talley Smith, a seasoned denim vet, (he worked on Alexander Wang‘s denim launch, Rag & Bone, Evisu, and more) gives us the scoop on his own new line TALLEY, and the pieces required for the ideal denim wardrobe.


The Boyfriend
Fit might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of this baggy, borrowed-from-the-boys cut, but Talley Smith tells us it matters more than you think.

“In my opinion fit is what separates a great jean from the rest. At TALLEY we spend most of our time perfecting the fit so it hugs your body perfectly–when it comes to the boyfriend style, that means getting the draping right. Of course an amazing wash helps but without the perfect fit it’s just an ill-fitting jean.”

The Skinny
While we’ve had a number of office debates about what will become of our standby stacks of skinny jeans as the style tides turn to more relaxed fits, Talley Smith urges cautious hesitation before donating all of your skinnies.

“A great skinny is a given. And most girls have a mountain of them now.”


The High-Rise Slim
The high rise slim is kinda like a “mom jean” but…reclaimed, and we’re all about it. Once you embrace the intentional frumpiness of this style, it’s more versatile than you might have thought. Sneakers, flats, heels, boots: all are game. This jean is the new skinny–even if we’re not trashing those just yet either.

“…You want a great vintage wash in an updated fit rather than an ill-fitting vintage jean.”

The 70s Flare
The right wash is just as crucial as finding the right fit, especially if you’re opting for one of these vintage silhouettes. When it comes to this look, we always think of that occasion jean. That sort of glam, professional look that gives a little dressier, tailored vibe and looks great with a statement heel, regardless of your height.

And, if you’re not in the market to restock your wardrobe but want to modernize the denim you’ve got–Talley Smith shares this simple styling trick to keep things casual:

“I personally think the use of running shoes with denim now is interesting. A good Nike with an ankle skinny or even a boyfriend is fun. It makes it less serious.”

Denim dilemma solved. (For a look at how it’s done, check out this story styled by our senior style editor Alyssa Shapiro!)


Evisu Makes A Comeback

When I think of Evisu I immediately envision baggy, dark wash denim on dudes in high-tops and tees two sizes too big, the loud, yellow insignia on the back pocket giving away the brand. But a lot has changed over at the Japanese company that launched back in 1991. First off, the brand just hired the former founder of Earnest Sewn and Paper Denim & Cloth, Scott Morrison. If there are two things Morrison knows, it’s denim and good branding. Just six months into his stint at Evisu, Morrison has already turned things around and one of the best moves he’s made is hiring Catherine Holstein as designer director of women’s wear.

Holstein has been overseeing her own, relatively small namesake brand (a hit with downtown, dive bar loving ladies) for some time, so the jump is definitely no minute transition. But with images of Holstein’s looks for the retailer having just been released, it appears as though she’s acclimating just fine. There’s a Rag and Bone-meets-Ralph Lauren vibe to the collection: it has touches of Americana as well as rock ‘n roll but doesn’t reach too far in either direction. I for one will be very eager to see the price points once these looks drop for FW 2010. If they match Evisu’s current prices they’ll likely range in the $100-$400 ballpark, which isn’t too shabby for styles that look this good.