Dark denim trend rises as weather cools down

Victoria Novotny, junior in marketing, is seen here with a grey sweater, black ripped jeans and a pair of boots.

Hannah Scott

Whether you’re ready or not, the most wonderful time of the year is upon us: winter in Iowa. The air is cooling and students are finally starting to bundle up. With the shifting of the temperature comes the shifting of wardrobes as well. 

“Largely I think it’s to match the environment around us, when you look outside at the color changing leaves and dark brown trees, I think we like to dress according to the seasons,” said Emma Hassemer, former Trend magazine editor-in-chief.  “It’s common that people will associate different colors with the different seasons, so I think it’s very normal that when fall and winter hit, you see a lot of people’s color palette changing.”

One of the most popular ways to spice up an outfit in the wintertime is to incorporate darker-wash denim, often grey or black, into an outfit. The style is definitely picking up steam as the weather cools down, and with the arrival of something new often comes the question many ask themselves: Can I pull that off?

“I love to add elements of myself into the fashion trends I follow,” Hassemer said. “Whenever I need inspiration or don’t know what to wear I open up Pinterest, flip through my Vogue books or hop on Instagram to see how my favorite bloggers are styling the latest trends. If you don’t think you could pull off a certain trend, try a smaller approach and start with accessories.”

While darker denim may seem hard to work with, one only needs a few simple tactics to work this new trend into a multitude of outfits.

Warm it up 

One of the first and most obvious ways to throw together a look is simple — make it cozy! With winter coming, nothing is more classic than a big chunky sweater, some booties and a pair of dark jeans to really feel the season. 

For an even more classic look, go with a neutral sweater, or if you’re feeling funky, throw on a brighter color for a bold statement.

Grunge it up

Black ripped jeans definitely bring a certain rocker vibe, so play it up! Throw on an oversized jean jacket, beanie, converse or choker with the denim to bring back a ’90s-inspired look that is fun for the cooler months and for dressing according to the decades. 

Dress it up

While one may see dark denim and instantly think edgy, every look can be softened with the right additions. To add a more feminine flair to the look, pair the denim with a flowy, floral or light top to offset the weight of the pants, and throw on some sandals or small heels in order to pull the whole feel together.

Classic it Up 

While some may overlook basics, sometimes the simplest pieces can pull an outfit together. For a simple styling, pair the jeans with a basic tee and slip ons for a timeless style. The simplicity allows the denim to be the statement, and besides, you can never go wrong with a basic white or graphic tee. 

Graphic tees showing off your favorite band, television show or celebrities make any outfit fun.

French tuck it up

Popularized by Queer Eye’s Tan France, the French tuck is a style trick that can elevate any look, not excluding dark denim. For the French tuck look, simply tuck the front quarter of any tee, sweater or sweatshirt into the front of your jeans and let it fall. The tuck instantly gives you length and a slimming effect, while also allowing the dark jeans to be shown off even more.

Layer it up

Another simple way to add flair to an outfit is simple — the more, the merrier. Layering gives a fun and unique vibe to any outfit and allows for warmth and style to combine.

Throw on any jacket, cardigan or sweater to add a different flair and play around with different outerwear styles. Lots of people are afraid of pairing denim with denim, in fear of recreating a Britney and Justin remake, but simply make sure the tones in denim are different in order to avoid doing so. 

Prep It Up

With any trend comes the opportunity to throw in a classy spin, so add some elegance and prep to dark denim with a stylish professional twist. Throw on a sweater over a button up, a blazer or nice blouse to offset the denim and finish with some jewelry to create a look worthy for any interview or business casual event. 

With any trend or new style it can often be easy to question whether you can pull it off. However, it’s important to remember that fashion is nothing more than an expression of yourself and if you feel like trying something, give it your best shot. 

“Black on black will always be a staple outfit for me — you just can’t go wrong,” Hassemer said.  “My favorite jeans are a dark wash pair from Levis and I love to pair it with a lighter denim shirt on top. Creating contrast between different apparel pieces in an outfit is instantly a head turner.”

While dark denim may seem like an intense trend for somebody afraid of trying something new, it could be a first step into more experimentation with their personal style. Trying trends, big or small, takes confidence, and if you show others that confidence, nobody will even once question your style choices. After all, it’s all about making sure you wear the clothes and not the other way around.