Discover more from Jane on Jeans
Suddenly, it seems jean skirts are everywhere. Here are two I recommend. Plus, Becky Malinsky's summer Polo RL's.
There’s more to jeans than jeans. As my dad, someone who has worked with jeans for most of his life, would say: Jeans – the category of fashion, but also the way of life – go way beyond classic 5-pockets. Skirts, jackets, overalls…these are all jeans. I’d say, jeans (singular) is an attitude that can be achieved by wearing jeans (plural). Denim is fabric. Jeans is style.
Reformation Jayde High-Rise Denim Midi skirt; Hommesgirls shirt; New Balance sneakers.
So, skirts. When I started looking for jeans for this letter (No. 2), all I saw were skirts – there’s Kate Bosworth in one at the launch of her new collaboration with Roxy; there’s a floor-sweeping version in Rag & Bone’s latest Resort ‘24 collection; Chioma Nnadi, the editor of Vogue.com and host of The Run-Through (my new favorite podcast), was out in NYC in one with a broad, ruffled hem by Junya Watanabe. “I’m so into jean skirts,” Chioma told me. “I’ve been collecting the vintage Junya ones. Also, I have a fishtail Balenciaga one that I wear for parties, it’s really fun.”
From left: Jean skirts in the Fall 2023 collections from 10 Crosby by Derek Lam, Tory Burch, and Coach.
It’s been a long time since I’ve worn a jean skirt (I’ve been busy wearing jumpsuits!). And really, jean skirts are not an easy sell for a mom with kids under the age of 5 (mine are 2 and 4). How am I to get on and off the floor in a jean skirt? What about the high-speed toddler chasing I do? If I am going to succeed at skirts, I need to be really honest with myself about two things: First, that longer options, like those made from jeans that have had the legs opened and re-sewn in a skirt form (the coolest), or like those shown at Coach (above right) are out for me (sigh. I do love that look). And second, that mobility has to be as carefully considered as fit and wash.
For those who may be new here, I’m 5’4” and a size 25 in most jeans. I am petite, and I am not a model or representation of all body types. Both skirts I selected for this letter hit below the knee – they are long-ish; they are definitely not short. I believe this length works well on women who are curvier and taller than me, too.
If daily life looked a little bit different and I could have any jean skirt in the world, regardless of price, I would probably buy this one from Alexander McQueen. OK, I said it. Now, back to reality.
A lean silhouette and 90s-blue fade makes this stretch pencil skirt a no-brainer. Something I learned trying on too many jean skirts: A back slit is much easier to wear than a skirt with the slit in the front, which is just an opportunity for over-exposure. (Imagine kneeling down to talk to a small child in a skirt that splits open above the knee.) Pairing my Reformation skirt with socks and sneakers neutralizes the office-y vibe. A knee-high boot in the fall would successfully clock trend (see Tory Burch, above). And the price ($148) is exactly what I want to pay for a blue jean I’m probably not going to wear as often as I wear my jean-jeans.
Reformation Jayde High-Rise Denim Midi skirt; Hommesgirls shirt. I like tucking my shirt into this midi because the waist is high and the tuck segments the body in a flattering way. I also really like the dad-jean wash…and the price.
Now, here’s a skirt with no slit. Khaite designer Catherine Holstein added panels in the front and back in order to expand this skirt’s generous A-line. Two oversized, dropped back pockets make the fit read cool and slouchy, even though the waist sits firmly on the waist. I gave this skirt a good, long walk and was delighted by how easy it was to move. Side note: Maybe you recognize the black loafers from my last letter? I wear them a lot with this skirt and so many other legged jeans (Manolos really do make ankles look so pretty). They’ve been a good investment.
Khaite Caroline skirt; Manolo Blahnik loafers. No slit, and look how long my stride is.
In white, jean skirts advance to dressier occasions – they are still made of denim, but they don’t feel as casual as blue jeans. I wore my Khaite skirt to a dinner party at a friends’ home recently and it was just right: Grown up; not too fancy. I also wore it on Mother’s Day – where I continued to do the same amount of getting on and off the floor I always do – and loved every minute.
Jean of the Week: Becky Malinsky
Becky Malinsky, who was once the deputy fashion director at The Wall Street Journal, has turned her keen eye for what’s next towards executive styling in recent years. Her Substack, 5 Things You Should Buy, is a fierce, informed edit of trends (sheer clothing, for example) and items (see: chic, schleppy tote bags), broken down and built back up into looks that anyone can understand (Becky makes this look easy; it’s not). Maybe you already know this and follow her? I recommend becoming a paid subscriber to 5 Things for her post on how to properly hem jeans, alone.
Becky Malinsky in her Polo Ralph Lauren High-Rise Wide-Leg Cropped jeans, paired with Chanel flats, a white tee, and a nubby, cotton sweater from APC.
When I asked Becky which jeans she’s wearing now, she sent me a selfie from the dressing room at the Polo Ralph Lauren store in New York. “I was so excited when I stumbled on these at RalphLauren.com, I went to the store to try them on. Who even does that anymore!?,” she joked. A few days later, she sent me the above photo with detailed notes: “I am a sucker for a sailor jean in the summertime, though I rarely find a wearable version. They're usually too tight, or too long, or have teensy little patch pockets that make me feel wide. These were perfect.”
“I most recently wore them to a fitting at a client's home with black Chanel t-strap flats. I love the contrast of black with pale denim,” she wrote. How did they do? “Easy breezy on the subway, comfortable while digging in the back of said client's closet, and then effortless on the scoot back uptown to hug my kid after school.” As for the essentials (fit and care): “They are slightly loose in my regular size (2; Becky is typically a 26 in jeans). I will wash on cold and tumble dry, but might press them to get that center crease back. I really have been enjoying it.” Dear Becky, I can see why.
Tell me, I would love to hear about the jeans you’re wearing right now (there’s no wrong answer!). Thank you for shopping, sharing, and subscribing at any level. Your support, as always, is everything.