How to Dress Up Jeans

While jeans are traditionally considered casual wear, the right pair can easily be dressed up for your next casual Friday, romantic date, or night out with friends. Jeans are a tremendously versatile wardrobe basic. As long as you start with the right jeans, you can create nearly any look by knowing how and what to match them with.


Choose the Right Jeans

The most important part of dressing up your jeans is knowing which jeans to dress up.

  1. Stick with dark jeans for a traditionally dressy jean. You can still dress up light to medium wash jeans, but darker shades look nicer and more formal than lighter shades. Dark wash jeans are also the most appropriate for casual business occasions.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%201.jpg
  2. Go with a classic cut, such as a boot or straight, for the most versatility. A skinny jean may work under some circumstances, but a boot-cut or straight-leg jean will work for nearly anything, from a fun night out with friends to a casual meeting with a new client.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%202.jpg
  3. Consider a colored jean. Black or white denim can be dressed up with relative ease. Try to avoid funky, bold colors, however, since these may be more difficult to dress up and will likely go out of style after a season.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%203.jpg
  4. Make sure your jeans fit properly. The simplest, most important aspect of dressing up your jeans is to start with a pair that flatters your figure and fits your body right. Avoid jeans that are too snug in all the wrong places, as well as jeans that are loose and baggy.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%204.jpg
  5. Avoid jeans with holes or tears. While some fashion chic styles can be accomplished with ratty-looking jeans, most dressy styles will be difficult to accomplish if your jeans have holes or stains.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%205.jpg

Choose the Right Top

The simplest way to dress up your jeans is to add a dressy top. If you opt for a simpler top, be aware that you may need to adorn yourself with more accessories in order to achieve the level of dressiness you want.

  1. Choose a plain, fitted t-shirt or tank top. On its own, a plain shirt and jeans may still look casual, but the combination makes a perfect blank canvas for tailored jackets, sparkly shoes, and rich accessories. Stick with solid colors over graphic tees, and gravitate toward neutral colors like white, black, and brown for the greatest versatility.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%206.jpg
  2. Wear a classic button-down shirt for more professional occasions, like casual Fridays. A fitted button-down shirt looks crisp, clean, and business-like, especially when matched with dark jeans. Look for one in a plain color or one with vertical pinstripes.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%207.jpg
  3. Consider a blouse made of an elegant material, like silk or chiffon. Look for a bold color that suits your skin tone. The sophistication of your top will likely prove more than enough to counteract the casual nature of your jeans.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%208.jpg
  4. Try a nice sweater. Shy away from bulky sweaters and stick with stylish cuts. Consider one with an interesting neckline, such as a boat neck, v-neck, or crew neck.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%209.jpg
  5. Choose a daring print. Bold, bright prints, like geometric designs, often create a sophisticated look.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2010.jpg
  6. Choose a subdued print. Less daring prints, such as floral print, may create a softer, more delicate look.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2011.jpg
  7. Throw a dress over your jeans. Pick out a playful, flowing spring or summer sundress to throw over a pair of skinny jeans. Gravitate toward knee-length dresses. Also stick with dresses that are a little more casual in nature, rather than formal dresses or work dresses.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2012.jpg
  8. Look for feminine details, like lace. Lace and other similar embellishments automatically make a top look classier. This extra class will help your jeans to look dressier, as well.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2013.jpg

Layer Your Look

Jackets and other coverings add layers to your outfit. Layering is a great way to give your outfit more dimension, transforming your denim from simple to sophisticated.

  1. Add a blazer over top to create a more professional look. A classic blazer can easily dress up a simple shirt and jeans, transforming it from everyday casual to business-casual. Look for a fitted blazer in a traditional color, like black, navy, or deep gray.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2014.jpg
    • Alternatively, look for a blazer in a bright color to add a little spice and personality to your look.
  2. Try a belted jacket. A belted jacket adds structure to your outfit, easily dressing up even the simplest of shirt/jean combinations.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2015.jpg
  3. Consider a feminine, fitted cardigan sweater. When you want to play up your femininity, a fitted cardigan in cream or white is just the thing. Look for a cardigan with feminine details, like faux pearl buttons, in order to make your jeans look even dressier. Consider wearing it over a lacy camisole or another notably girly top.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2016.jpg

Add Dressy Shoes

Your footwear can make or break an entire outfit. Choose a sexy shoe to make your jeans look a little more feminine, or a conservative shoe to make them look a little more professional.

  1. Don your favorite heels. Stiletto heels work especially well, but kitten heels can also dress up your jeans. Go for black or another neutral to give your style class.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2017.jpg
  2. Wear a decorative pair of flats. Pick a pair with embellishments, like bows or gems, to add a bit more flair.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2018.jpg
  3. Choose a bold shoe to make your outfit pop. If you have dark jeans and a dressy top in a neutral color, consider a bright red pump or crocodile skin flat to add a chic twist to your outfit.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2019.jpg
  4. Try an ankle-high fashion boot. Leather boots have a naturally sophisticated look. Ankle-length boots work well with nearly any cut, from the classic boot-cut to the more modern skinny leg.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2020.jpg
  5. Pair a knee-high fashion boot with snug skinny jeans. Knee-high boots can also look trendy, and if paired with a dark jean and a nice blouse, they can make an outfit look city chic. Pair these boots with a snug skinny jean, however, and zip the boot up over your jean. Wearing these boots beneath your jeans defeats the purpose of having a boot with such a tall height.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2021.jpg
  6. Consider a conservative pair of loafers for the office. Instead of getting too casual with your shoes on casual Fridays, keep your footwear professional. Stick with high quality leather loafers to add structure and professionalism to your jeans.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2022.jpg
  7. Experiment with shoe clips. These look like barrettes for your shoes, and they provide a quick, easy way of dressing up an otherwise simple pair of flats.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2023.jpg

Accessorize to Your Heart's Desire

Accessories are often the key to dressing up your jeans, especially when you opt for t-shirts and other simple tops.

  1. Throw on a fashion scarf. A silk or satin fashion scarf in a bright, bold color dresses up your jeans for a number of occasions. You can wear one with a button-down shirt to dress up your jeans for the office, or you can wear one with a fitted t-shirt to dress up your jeans for the weekend.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2024.jpg
  2. Tie a belt or sash around your waist. A thin belt looks especially sophisticated, but any belt will help add the structure you need to bump up your ensemble from casual to chic.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2025.jpg
  3. Wear sparkly earrings. Dangling earrings with a bit of shimmer can really give your jeans an added boost of class.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2026.jpg
  4. Try a chunky, colorful necklace or bangle bracelets. These may not make your outfit look more professional, but a colorful piece of jewelry may help transform it for a night out with friends.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2027.jpg
  5. Opt for pearls to create a classic, conservative look. Pearls are the ultimate in timeless sophistication. A simple strand of pearls around your neck or subdued pearl post earrings can even make jeans look dressy.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2028.jpg
  6. Throw a colorful bag over your shoulder for a fun, playful look. Like colorful necklaces and bracelets, this style element can help transform your outfit into a semi-dressy ensemble for a night out with friends. It may not, however, work for the office or a more demanding occasion.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2029.jpg
  7. Choose a smaller, more subtle purse for dressier occasions. For a romantic date or an evening function, consider a clutch or other small purse that hangs off a delicate strap. Smaller purses naturally look a little dressier than larger purses, especially in a neutral color like black or brown.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2030.jpg
  8. Dress up your appearance using cosmetics. Focus on one feature and play it up. Wear a bold shade of lipstick or give yourself smoky eyes.Dress%20Up%20Jeans%20Step%2031.jpg


Things You’ll Need

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