How Do You Do Denim? Four of Our Friends Tell Us

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With the variety of fits and rises available, choosing a pair of jeans—and deciding how to wear it—is truly unique to each person. So we asked our denim-loving friends (and Madewell models) about the denim style rules they follow in their “off-duty” wardrobes. Here, Imaan, Michele, Mijo and Jihye share a few jeans memories, their denim icons and the style tricks and tweaks they live by.

Imaan

My love for denim began when…
I found a pair of boyfriend jeans at my favorite vintage store in Amsterdam. They have become a permanent wardrobe staple and most perfectly define my style.

My style icon is…
My mom. We share the same passion for denim.

My favorite way to wear jeans is…
Loose, long and uncuffed. They look sexy when you’re wearing heels or casual with sneakers.

But my favorite thing to pair with denim is…
Bare feet…and a great playlist.

I wish I could borrow jeans from…
Nina Simone or James Brown.

Imaan is wearing The Jean Jacket, Slim Boyshirt in ChambrayThe Slim Boyjean in Hatfield Wash and The Jess Oxford.

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Michele

My approach to wearing denim is…
To really live in your jeans. I’m hard on mine. Some great ones can last forever and get better with age, but when they’re a little worse for the wear, I like to recycle them at Madewell. [Editor’s note: A completely unprompted endorsement of our denim recycling program.*]

When I can’t figure out what to wear, I…
End up in high-waisted jeans, a half-tucked T-shirt, a leather jacket and at least one shiny fun extra.

My friends would describe my style as…
Subtle and chic, with a little razzle-dazzle.

But I’d describe my style as…
Casual, a little silly and inspired by teenagers from the ’70s.

I’d trade closets with…
Robert Plant. His whole look with the tight jeans and short-sleeve shrunken shirts—yes! He could even rock a pair of flares. I’m obsessed with the rock ’n’ roll attitude.

My style rule is…
Keep the shoes comfortable and the handbags tiny, and be ready to dance the night away.

Michele is wearing our Oversized Boyshirt in Edina Plaid, Modern Linen Tee9” High Riser Skinny Skinny Jeans in Dayton Wash and Puma® Match Lo Sneakers.

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Mijo

My first pair of jeans was…
Slightly high waisted and flared. I wore them every single day when I was 11 and 12 years old because they made my legs look so long.

My style is…
Changing every day, sometimes more than once a day. I’m a Gemini, so I’m pre-dispositioned to love change, especially when it comes to style. I dress according to who I’m with and where I’m going.

My style rule is…
Try anything: tomboy, ladylike, downtown New Yorker, chic Parisian…

But if I had to pick a uniform, it would be…
Dark skinny jeans, a black long-sleeve turtleneck and high heels.

I start building an outfit with…
Shoes. Jeans and shoes need to complement each other. It’s funny, but if I’m shopping I’ll probably pick jeans depending on what shoes I’m wearing that day.

I love the look of…
Iggy Pop’s stage style. He only performed in jeans.

Mijo is wearing our Oversized BoyshirtSkinny Skinny Jean in Edmonton Wash and Vans® High-Top Sneakers.

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Jihye

My favorite jeans came from…
A tiny vintage shop in London. At the time, I thought all jeans were either skinny, bootcut or flared. I saw a pair of overalls and fell in love.

The first thing I consider when buying jeans is…
Fit. If they don’t fit, no matter how much I love the wash, they won’t work.

Every outfit needs…
A point of style—one statement piece that stands out, like a great bag or interesting shoe.

Peanut butter and jelly. Rock and roll. Denim and…
A leather jacket. I’d say that’s my signature look.

Right now, I can’t stop wearing…
One-pieces.

I get inspired by…
People who show their personality through denim. Kate Moss always looks so free, and Alexa Chung has so much charisma.

Jihye is wearing our Denim Overall Dress and Oversized Button-Down Shirt.

Shop our entire assortment of denim here.

*Did you know you can recycle your old jeans in our stores? You’ll get $20 off a new pair as our way of saying thanks.

*Terms and conditions: Offer valid on purchases made in Madewell stores from August 12, 2014, through December 31, 2015, when you contribute one pair of jeans to the Blue Jeans Go Green™ denim recycling program and purchase at least one new pair of full-price jeans. Limit one discount per customer per day. Offer not valid at madewell.com or on phone orders. Offer cannot be applied to previous purchases or the purchase of gift cards and cannot be redeemed for cash or used in combination with any other offer. Offer not valid on third-party branded items. Terms of offer are subject to change. Blue Jeans Go Green™ is a trademark of Cotton Incorporated.

Photography by Thomas Neal.