The jean joint is jumping this spring with more demands on denim than ever before. From relaxed and friendly to skintight and scandalous, the newest takes on blue jeans are transforming the ways we think of this classic wardrobe staple.
So if you've still only got one or two pairs of those tried-and-true blue jeans in your closet that you've worn for years (hopefully we're all past the "mom" jean thing), it's time to move beyond the blue and step out in one of these trendy denim styles this spring. Take your pick from 2013's newest crop:
—The Boyfriend Jean — OK, so now we can relax ... a little. Slouchy jeans are back, but a word of caution — don't use this as an excuse to give up the gym class. These looser pants, often with rolled cuffs, are great for casual weekends when jeans and T-shirts are the uniform du jour. Belting them is a must.
—The Super Skinny Jean — They're still a favorite this spring and summer. These slim jeans fit like a glove and go from long and lean to cropped and ankle-length. Stick to jeans with stretch, and make sure they hug your curves in all the right places. Zippers at the hem are extra details that will update skinny jeans this year.
—The Jegging. The jean that fits like a legging can be a great alternative to shorts. Paired with longer tunic tops or lightweight sweaters, or even worn under sheer dresses, jeggings are probably the hardest denim trend to pull off. Experiment with these skin-tight pants to get the right fit.
—The Cut-offs. Reminiscent of those "Daisy Dukes" of years gone by, jean shorts have grown up. Trimmed with lace, patchwork, embroidery and metal studs, these shorts are making a comeback. The newest way to wear these "tough-girl" shorts is to team them with lace tops and jackets.
—The Bootcut Jean — This is probably the most figure-flattering silhouette for most women, balancing out hips and thighs with its fit and flare trouser shape. In dark denim, the bootcut is also still a favorite for workdays when it is paired with a feminine blouse, a tailored jacket and heels.
—The Colored Jean — Denim in bright colors were all the rage last year, and these bold colors will still perk up your wardrobe dramatically. But this spring and summer, you'll see even more washed pastels turning up on the denim scene. Think Easter egg hues — mint green, lemon yellow, lavender and pink.
—The Patterned Jean — Florals. Stripes. Abstract graphics. The printed jean is a fresh way to add a new twist to your wardrobe. Since these jeans are sure to make a statement, remember it's best to keep what's on top simple and clean.
—The Distressed Denim — From jeans to jackets to shorts, the denim that is slashed and dashed this spring is showing some skin this spring and summer. Definitely a more casual look, distressed and faded denim can be a fun way to update your "dressed-down" days and nights. Just make sure they're ripped in all the right places!
—Denim on Denim - What traditionally used to be a huge fashion faux pas — wearing denim from head-to-toe — is now a big style trend. Runway designers started the latest look using "colorblocking" on denim pieces, pairing button-front chambray shirts with swingy short skirts or worn denim jackets with distressed jeans. Add in all the rompers, shirtdresses and vests, and you've got plenty of ways to wear denim all mixed up — together. Go for it!
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association. To find out more about Sharon Mosley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.