Fashion Daily


Home & Leisure

Answer Angel: Style upgrades for women in jeans

By Ellen Warren, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I am middle-aged, average height, a slightly above average weight and I'm fit. I am a "T-shirts and jeans" kind of person most of the time. I am comfortable with my look but believe it may be a bit dated. Can you suggest a few pieces I can add to my fall/winter wardrobe to have a more updated look? Pieces that will pair well with and/or substitute for jeans and T-shirts and are still comfortable?

- Peggy S.

Dear Peggy: A lot of us opt for comfort and believe that jeans are the only way to go. Top them off with a T-shirt that is loose enough that it doesn't bind or require a tuck-in and we go about our day. But you're right. You don't have to give up ease or style to look a little more put together - or, as you put it, "updated." Start with some black pants in a fabric with some stretch, and I'm not talking about skintight leggings. For starters, LEGGINGS AREN'T PANTS! Think Audrey Hepburn in pants to the ankle in boot cut or a slimmer straight leg (not skinny).

Fortunately, manufacturers have finally caught on to the idea that low-rise pants aren't flattering and give almost every woman a muffin top, so you'll find more pants that hit at your waistline in stores when you go shopping. Thank goodness. I'm usually not a big fan of Chico's (although many of you are), but I found the perfect comfortable, black, washable pants there that could be worn on any day. They're pull-on with an elastic waist that doesn't look elastic and were worth the sale price of around $50.

There's no way around it: You're going to have to try on a lot of pants to find what you're looking for, but you can upgrade your look and not sacrifice comfort. The Gap, Old Navy, Athleta and Nordstrom are a few places to try. You can't beat a white button front shirt for an easy update, and today's fabrics really can be no-iron if you hang them to dry. Leopard print is everywhere and a top that fits like a T-shirt in a rayon or silk look can really perk up an outfit. Check out thrift stores for leopard print bargains. Even a leopard scarf, belt or shoe - tennis, flat, bootie, low heel - can amp up your style.

Jackets to the waist in pleather, knit or a heavier weight are a big style booster, and blazers are back in all price ranges. Try a bright color. Wear a fresh white T-shirt under your jacket and you'll be right in style - casual but put together. For more ideas to freshen your look, check out


And what about the guys and their blue jeans...?

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: My girlfriend insists that I can't wear dress shoes with blue jeans. I say they're fine for work at my casual workspace? Who is right?

- Michael J.

Dear Michael: You are. Tell your girlfriend that the jean-and-dress-shoes train has left the station and it's filled with guys like you who wear nice shoes (usually brown, often laced) with their jeans. I took a stroll down a major business street and jeans and brown dress shoes - often with a suit coat, jacket or blazer - was virtually the uniform of the groups of guys I saw. And, yes, tell your girlfriend that many of them were not wearing socks with their nice shoes.


swipe to next page
(c)2019 Chicago Tribune, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus