How to Shop & Style: Colored Denim

February 16, 2012

Colored denim is ALL over the place right now – believe me, I tried on my fair share of pairs in the quest to find one I liked (and I finally found a pair – more on that later).  Colored denim comes in a variety of, ahem, colors, and at all price points.  For example, Forever 21 is carrying colored denim for about $15 and on the other end of the spectrum, even high end denim designers like Joe’s Jeans are getting in on the fun.  Whatever your budget, if you pick of a pair of these babies, you’ve got to know how to style them so that you look grown-up-yet-fun rather than like a 15 year old girl on her way to study hall.  Here are my tips for seamlessly incorporating colored denim into your life:

This is huge!  If you’re a classic dresser and you don’t stray much from neutrals, don’t go and buy yourself a pair of bubblegum pink jeans.  You’re not going to know how to wear them and you won’t feel quite right in them, then they’ll probably end up hanging in your closet with the tags on. If you’re a more adventurous or eclectic dresser, take a look at your closet and think about what colors would pair well with a big section of your tops, and what colors you are normally drawn to.  For me, Kelly Green ended up being the winner!

I had to try on about 15 pairs of colored jeans before I found a winner.  I tried Forever 21 (not the right material, too tight in my thighs and baggy in my crotch), H&M (also not the material I was looking for, but a good fit), GAP (not quite the color selection I was looking for), and finally landed on the winner, Urban Outfitters.  They fit me just right, were the *perfect* length at 30″, and they were a sturdy, more denim-like feel (and they came in so many colors!).  Ladies – nothing is worse than an ill-fitting pair of jeans.  When you put on your pants, your sides should not protrude (even the tiniest bit) over the top of the jeans; also, you don’t want your jeans to be so tight that they show off any problem areas of your butt or thighs.  Make sure the pockets cover a good portion of your behind (too high and you’ve got the “mom jean”/wedgie look).  Lastly, make sure there isn’t any stretching or pulling across the front.

Once you’ve found a color and fit that you’re comfortable with, bring those babies home and start brainstorming in your closet.  The key to styling your colored jeans is to pair with complementary colors.  As long as the colors are complementary, you can have a little fun with patterns without looking over the top.  For example, with a pair of purple jeans, I might consider wearing them with a yellow striped top because purple and yellow are naturally harmonious colors.  If I purchased a pair of royal blue jeans, I might have my eye on some orange tones as a natural pairing (see the color wheel for more ideas!).  If you’re totally stumped – do what any gal would do – head to Pinterest for some inspiration!

My last tip is to add some neutral accessories, but don’t go too over the top.  When you’re packing a punch into your shoes and shirt, you don’t need to do much in the way of accessories.  A neutral shoe (read: beige, black, brown, grey) and some simple gold or silver jewelry will go a long way.  Cameron below did a good job (although it is bordering on almost TOO neutral for me) by allowing her salmon jeans to take center stage and adding neutral shoes, top, and a blazer.

image via (People)

Hope this helps those of you who were lusting after some colored jeans but just weren’t quite ready to take the plunge!  Please feel free to ask questions in the comments section!


  • Neris

    Awesome tips :) I’m definitely on a search for colored jeans to wear during the spring!


    Fashion Fractions

  • Alison H

    I saw some great colors at Target this week. Now I have a reason to go back and try them on :-) Thanks!!

    • Lauren {Stylized Existence}

      Except for the fact that you’re preggo!

      • Alison H

        That’s what the rubber band around the button hole it for 😀

  • Jules

    I understand about the fit being right, I tried Target (not enough like denim), Urban (didn’t like the high waist), Forever (not quite the right fit)….etc. So much so that I felt like goldie locks once I tried on the Rose colored jeans at the Gap. They were perfect and I had to buy them even though I wasn’t planning on getting a pastel color. What colors would you say compliment the rose? Thanks for the tips!

    • Lauren {Stylized Existence}

      I like your tenacity, Jules! To pair with rose, you could stick in the same color family with a light blush or pink color, and then a champagne-type of color would look nice as well. If you want to stay a bit form like-colors, try a navy blouse! You could also do a chambray shirt!

  • Miranda {onestylishdayatatime}

    Cameron Diaz’s outfit is so well done! I definitely need to invest in a pair of blush colored denim for this spring. Timeless!

  • Sarah

    Love this! My quest continues…as of now, NY&Co. is OUT.

  • Tiffany Elam

    Currently, I”m hunting for green & cobalt blue pairs. I got my red pair from Old Navy, but I may decide to get every color from Forever 21 since they’re so inexpensive & I’ll probably only wear them a few times.


    • Lauren {Stylized Existence}

      Look at Urban for green, Tiffany. I got a pair there that I love!

  • Carly {a simple affair}

    Such fabulous advice! It took me forever to finally find a pair, and I couldn’t be happier with the color & fit. Mine were an investment piece though so I’d love to find some at a cheaper price but feel just as great in them! xo

    • Lauren {Stylized Existence}

      Where were yours from, Carly?? What color did you choose??

  • April

    Great post! I’ve really been into colored pants! I have a red pair of greens, but I think I’m going to be grabbing a green pair like you.

    • Lauren {Stylized Existence}

      April – the green is so clutch. It goes with tons of tops.

  • Shannan

    I generally stick to neutrals; I have a fairly classic, chic style (think Jennifer Aniston). So, when I saw the colored jean trends, I immediately said, “No, not for me!” But your post has inspired me to at least give them a try. Maybe if I stick to the more neutral like colors. I really like the pic with Cameron Diaz, and while you stated that it was too “neutral” for you, it is totally up my alley and really inspired me.

    I enjoyed your post about using the blogs as inspiration. I just recently found you thru the Jessica Quirk’s Wardrobe Challenge. I LOVE that you shop in stores that I go into regularly. It’s nice to have a blogger who does that.

    Looking forward to reading more from you. Keep it coming.

    P.S. Love your hair in a bun. It really suits you!

    • Lauren {Stylized Existence}

      Shannan – such a thoughtful post. i think you could definitely pull off a pastel shade that a punch of stores/designers are making for the spring (think mint, peach, light blue, etc) if you are more comfortable in neutral tones! Thanks for your comment about the inspiration post, I am glad to see that others enjoy seeing “real-budget” clothing. Maybe some day I will be able to afford big-name designers, but not right now!

  • Mae

    love love love this guide! perfect tips that no doubt will be very helpful!
    I’m still on the hunt for just the right pair of colored pants!

    • Lauren {Stylized Existence}

      Hope you find a pair, Mae! I feel like red would look great on you!

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