Baggy and blue? Pale and old? Or just plain winter white?
No, I’m not flicking through the latest paint colour chart from Farrow & Ball, but reporting a rare glimpse of real world fashion from none other than the front row itself.
Forget bare legs in winter or oversized sunglasses indoors. For once, the fashionistas are out in force on the side of us mere mortals. In jeans — glorious jeans. And in every cut under the sun.
The sheer number of styles on parade at the couture shows in Paris last week was proof that my favourite maxim is very much in vogue: life is too short for compromises or ill-fitting jeans.
Or indeed any jeans you don’t feel instantly comfortable in.
For if this season’s look has a single theme, it’s the fact that for the first time in living memory, every style of denim is in.
Baggies, high-rise, flares, ‘mom’ cut, straight, skinny, ripped, boyfriend — even that staple of the Nineties, the bootleg, is back.
With the possible exception of the low-rise jean (which should still be worn with extreme caution and generally only by the under-30s), anything goes.
Spoilt for style: Marina Fogle rocks a pair of wide leg jeans at her her home in London
Smart, slouchy or wildly sexy, the joy of jeans is that they cater for every stage of a woman’s life, no matter her shape.
There’s also a pair for every budget. You can spend £11 at H&M or splash out £2,700 at Net-a-Porter. You won’t find fashion more democratic than denim.
This is music to my ears. I’ve loved jeans since I became interested in fashion as a teen.
The first denim to get my heart racing was a pair of green Levi 501s. Acquired on a shopping trip with my mother on London’s King’s Road in the early-1990s, the stitched arch on the back pocket instantly symbolised my status as cool.
I loved them so much, I bought a second pair, in of-the-moment burgundy, and restricted their wear because they were so perfect I was convinced I would be wearing them for my whole life.
I even remember their waist size — a 28. I made a promise to myself that I’d always fit into my first loves.
While I’m still a size 28, those jeans are long gone, relegated to the charity shop. But denim never left my wardrobe.
When I look back at my life, I can separate it into eras according to the style of jeans I was wearing.
Marina Fogle in her bootcut jeans, a new purchase for this winter
Cropped jeans are still in, whether they be skinny (seen in the mom cut style, left) or more flared (right)
The Nineties heralded the rise of the designer jean.
While the once humble blue cotton twill, originally beloved of Californian gold miners and cowboys, had, in the hands of Levi Strauss and Lee Mercantile, become more than just a utilitarian staple, it was Versace, Dior and Dolce & Gabbana who introduced them to the catwalk.
Suddenly, a budget of £40 was no longer enough. It was on a trip to New York in the late Nineties that I returned with a pair of Ernest Sewn jeans, picked up from a store in the Meatpacking District and tailored for me while I waited.
I can’t even recall what style they were, only that they were the most precious item of clothing I had.
As the Noughties dawned — and my decade of non-stop socialising began — my growing collection of jeans became the most crucial items in my wardrobe.
As a mostly single girl about town, I went out five nights a week, to the chicest of London bars, clubs and restaurants, always in jeans.
During the day they’d be paired with boots; in the evening, I’d don a pair of killer high heels, just like my style icons in TV’s Sex And The City.
Then, when I was dating my husband, TV adventurer Ben Fogle, I’d go to film premieres, clubs, parties and dinners, always in jeans. From red carpet to swanky restaurants, I seldom saw the need to wear anything else.
This was undoubtedly helped by the fact that the Noughties also heralded the innovative game-changer in denim: Lycra.
MARINA FOGLE: Baggies, high-rise, flares, ‘mom’ cut, straight, skinny, ripped, boyfriend — even that staple of the Nineties, the bootleg, is back. (Pictured: Marina in a pair of ripped jeans)
Gone were the days of having the blood supply to your legs cut off when you sat down in a tight pair, or of performing an awkward lunge to loosen up the newly washed.
With new stretch came an even more skin- tight look, with ‘spray-on’ becoming de rigueur.
But this was also the era of the low-rise, hip-skimming waistline that looked fabulous on Kate Moss but gave everyone else a muffin top; a time when your underwear mattered as much as your outerwear, as the top of your thong peeped over a receding waistband when you sat down.
Apparently, we have the late designer Alexander McQueen to thank for this trend, a style that gave us the so-called ‘whale tail’.
It’s testament to the power of the trend that the style I vividly remember being so flattering fills me with horror today.
I may have seen the light with that particular cut, but my love of jeans has remained otherwise undimmed. It certainly didn’t waver after I married Ben.
I may not have worn denim as I walked down the aisle, but when we had our portrait done (a wedding gift from Ben’s parents) both of us are wearing jeans — a world away from the silk shirt and pearls in which my mother had been painted 30 years earlier.
MARINA FOGLE: Today, my wardrobe is full of myriad styles (Pictured: Marina in a pair of skinny jeans)
Of course, wearing denim during pregnancy wasn’t easy. My waist quickly disappeared as my babies started to grow and, even before I’d got through the first trimester, I was casting my beloved jeans aside in despair.
Thankfully, my exasperation was short-lived. Jeans designers had realised there was a gap in the market and, capitalising on the new trend to show off your burgeoning bump rather than conceal it, maternity jeans were born.
I splurged on two £150 pairs of Paige jeans that allowed my relationship with denim to continue, despite no longer having a 28 in waist. They made me feel fabulous.
Today, my wardrobe is full of myriad styles. I’ve embraced the trend for high waists — my back is now warm and my underwear no longer needs to be on show — but I also have long, cropped, straight, flared, baggy and even, new for this winter, a pair of bootcuts.
My biggest denim investment was a few years ago when I was talked into wearing a pair of Alexander McQueen’s for a magazine photo shoot.
A world away from the low-slung monstrosities of the Nineties, they were loose fitting, ankle-grazing beauties — nothing like the jeans I thought suited me. They were a revelation.
They made my bottom look pert, my legs look long. I simply had to have them.
MARINA FOGLE: I’ve embraced the trend for high waists — my back is now warm and my underwear no longer needs to be on show — but I also have long, cropped, straight, flared (pictured), baggy and even, new for this winter, a pair of bootcuts
MARINA FOGLE: I love that jeans are the ultimate in low maintenance. Their blue hue means dirt, stains, everyday grime is well concealed. (Pictured: Marina rocks a denim jumpsuit at her home in London)
I can’t even remember how much they cost now. Maybe I consciously blanked the sum out of my mind. But, my goodness have I worn them! Cost per wear, they’re probably on a par with many of my High Street acquisitions.
And when I went to greet my husband at Heathrow airport on his triumphant return from his six-week expedition scaling Mount Everest, I knew no other outfit would do.
I love that jeans are the ultimate in low maintenance. Their blue hue means dirt, stains, everyday grime is well concealed. They’re easy to spot clean and when they need a wash, you can just chuck them in the machine.
As we’re more aware than ever of the impact of washing and dry cleaning on our planet, I’m done with clothes that need to be professionally laundered.
Good, honest cotton that washes well, and can be sustainably produced, ticks all my eco boxes.
So pull out your favourite pair or invest in a new one — and encase your curves or skim your skinnies.
Ladies, it’s time to fall back in love with the greatest wardrobe leveller of them all.
If in doubt, wear denim.
Time to fall back in love with jeans! Smart, slouchy or sexy, suddenly EVERY style is in fashion appeared first on maserietv.com.