Friday, November 04, 2016

PBW's Book of the Month

October was so busy for me I had time to read only a few books for pleasure, but the most enjoyable was 50 Ways to Wear Denim by Lauren Friedman, my latest ARC from Library Thing's Early Reviewer program.

As a teenager I loved jeans, especially the hip hugger style that was so popular when I was in high school. Wearing a pair of jeans with a pretty blouse or T-shirt was practically a school uniform for my generation -- but unfortunately my mother absolutely hated denim. She considered it something that farmers wore, and refused to buy anything made from it for me (she also made me wear dresses to school, for which I was suitably tortured by my peers.) That's why I got my first pair of jeans with some money I made babysitting, and since then have never stopped buying them.

Lauren Friedman's book is a crash course in how to wear denim jeans, shirts, jackets, vests and accessories to their best advantage. I had no idea there were so many different types of denim, or that you could pair them and wear them in such a wide variety of styles. With artfully drawn illustrations the author takes the reader through dozens of denim looks for every occasion, from dressy styles for work or formal events to the most casual of cutoffs and beach wear. She clearly identifies the types of washes and treatments designers give denim, something a fashion-challenged gal like me found very interesting, and offers several options on how to wear the particular cut or style.

In the back pages there is a short history/timeline of denim that I thought was delightful. I also appreciated the section on how to recycle denim, which provides some ideas on upcycling. Just as an aside, quilters often make heavy-duty quilts out of patchwork made from old denim, which I've always wanted to try -- only I'm too attached to my old jeans to cut them up just yet. My only criticism is the author's recommendation never (or rarely) to wash your denim. It may help preserve the fabric but I'm too much of a clean freak to do that. I also think that the more denim fades, the more attractive it becomes, so that may color my opinion here.

Since my daughter is young, hip and much more fashionable than I'll ever be, I asked her to take a look at the book and give me her take on it. Here's what she said:

She's not a huge fan of denim (she must get that from her grandmother) but it will always be timeless and popular.

The styles are well put together and very trendy.

It would have been nice to represent more diverse body types in the illustrations (her only criticism.)

50 Ways to Wear Denim is a fun read, and a great way to learn more about the fabric and how fashionably flexible it can be. I recommend this book for the jeans lovers or anyone who wants to get more mileage out of their denim garments.


  1. I started wearing denim long before they made jeans for women. When I started wearing jeans, we still had a wringer washer (vile tempered, angry thing!) and a clothesline. Needless to say, I didn't wash them as often as I would have liked and I had to plan two days in advance or they weren't dry. Now, they get washed after only a couple wearings and the more they fade, the softer they also get. Some of my favorite pairs are ones I've had for a few years now. And I have a closet of them! I might have to look into this...

  2. I'm not much of a fashionista but I have always appreciated denim. While usually worn in a shade of blue, denim is technically a neutral. Something my everyday wardrobe needs --- no fail color matching!!!

  3. Jeans are part of my 'uniform'. I hung on to my bell bottoms far longer than I should have though. :) I've heard that tip about not washing them too often too. I try not to wash them too often, but my work jeans get washed regularly. It's true. Washing does wear them out faster.


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