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The M Dash

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How to Wear MM.LaFleur with Denim: It Can Be Done!

June 21, 2018 | Filed in: Your Closet

It’s 2018, and wearing jeans has become the norm in many offices and industries, but there’s an art to wearing denim in a way that looks polished. In the MM office, stylist Nyjerah is known for creating looks that are sophisticated, but seemingly effortless. (We all take notes when she walks by.) Below, we challenged her to style three outfits featuring denim alongside pieces from Part 3 of our new creative-casual collection

As a stylist, part of my job is to show customers how they can get more value out of their clothes. When a customer leaves an appointment with a piece, I make it a rule to show her at least three ways to wear it. I’m always thinking about creative ways to mix and match MM pieces with other wardrobe basics, like a simple white tee or pair of jeans. This way, you get more mileage out of your wardrobe by thinking of it as a whole, instead of reserving certain items for Monday through Friday.

Maximizing the value of a garment is all about pushing the envelope and experimenting. I love the challenge of dressing down MM pieces so that you can wear them on casual days at work and outside of the office. In New York, where dress codes tend to be more formal, many of my customers are surprised when I suggest incorporating denim—some people think of it as super casual and even a bit ratty. But paired with the right pieces, denim can be work-appropriate. I always tell my customers: “Take risks, but wear them well.” These three looks are polished yet relaxed—ideal for days when you’ll be transitioning from the office to dinner or drinks.

Look 1: Polished & Creative

Nyjerah wears the Carson blazer in rust, the Florence top in white, the Turanna necklace, and her own jeans.

Why it works: The Carson blazer is a statement piece. Rather than try to tone it down, you want the rusty-red color to pop. I paired it with a basic white tee and pair of light-wash jeans to keep the emphasis on the jacket. I cuffed the sleeves of the blazer and wore it open to make it feel more casual, and tucked in the tee to highlight the tie on my jeans. Cuffing the pants creates a clean line that looks polished and shows off my high heels.

Where to wear it: Casual Friday at the office. Slip off the blazer when you leave work, and let the weekend officially begin.

Nyjerah wears the Carson blazer in rust, the Florence top in white, the Turanna necklace, and her own jeans.

Look 2: Fashion-Forward & Streamlined

wearing denim at work

Nyjerah wears the Nell top in thick stripe, the Zhou culotte in thin stripe, and her own denim jacket.

Why it works: Print-on-print is a bold move for work, but the solid denim jacket functions as a base layer that anchors and balances the look. When combining prints, a good rule of thumb is to wear the largest print on top rather than on bottom. Bottoms are usually the largest part of your outfit, so you want to keep the bolder piece on top, so it’s not overwhelming. I think this jacket is the best of both worlds: It has the silhouette and zipper of a leather motorcycle jacket (so it feels more elevated than your classic jean jacket) but in that easy denim fabric.

Where to wear it: This is a fashion-forward outfit, so I’d wear it on a day when I’m going from the office to an off-the-clock event with an edgier dress code. It’s perfect for a summer cocktail party or rooftop happy hour.

Look 3: Relaxed & Minimal

wearing denim at work

Nyjerah wears the Elks dress in navy and the Turanna necklace with her own denim clutch and sneakers.

Why it works: The Elks is a relaxed, easygoing dress, so I wanted to incorporate denim as a subtle accent. I paired it with a denim clutch that I use whenever I’m going out: It holds my cell phone, makeup, and keys. The Elks dress has a long, boxy silhouette that can be dressed up with a pair of heels and a blazer, or down with a pair of sneakers, like I’m wearing here.

Where to wear it: This is a great weekday (or weekend!) outfit when you’re on the go and don’t want to wear anything restrictive. Since the clutch elevates the look to be nighttime-appropriate, it’s also perfect for days when you don’t have time for a full wardrobe change—just swap out the sneakers for heels come evening.

Want to shop more creative-casual staples? Check out Part 3 of A Certain Ease.

Photographs by Lindsay Brown.