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Denim: always a good fit for fall

Women wear denim year-round, of course. But there is something about wearing denim in the fall – and what it can be paired with – that makes accessorizing a favorite pair of jeans just plain fun.

Come cooler weather, perhaps you’ll add a printed loop scarf and a long-sleeve shirt. Or a lightweight blazer with the sleeves shoved up to show off chunky bracelets. Or ankle boots and an animal-print vest.

Maybe you’ll even start with a new pair of jeans – and go from there.

Jeans come in a head-spinning array of silhouettes: skinny; fit and flare; straight leg; slouchy; slim leg; low, medium and high rise; ankle crop, and many retro looks. Legging jeans and denim overalls continue into fall as well.

The “boyfriend” jean is especially popular.

“The boyfriend jean is slightly slouchy in a nicely worn fabric. This does not mean oversized and sloppy. Hems rolled and cuffed to ankle length look great with flats,” said local image consultant Marybeth Hallmark. has this to say about denim trends for fall: “It’s time to trade in those low-rise skinnies. The news in blues this season is high-waisted, embroidered, and, more often than not, oversized.”

Adding to the selection process, many styles also come in a choice of washes. American Eagle’s stretch skinny jeans are available in the following: light wash, light destroy wash, clean rinse, medium indigo, dark wash and black. You’ll also find white, gray, colored and patterned jeans in plenty of brands.

But denim – and chambray fabrics that look like denim – can be found far beyond jeans and even beyond clothing. Denim blue spreads itself across home decor, too.

“I’m seeing dresses belted and skirts booted and denim backpacks and totes. For the home, there are rugs in shades of indigo, if you want to perk up a room with something new,” Hallmark said.

Gap, Lands’ End and Merona at Target offer denim shirtdresses. (In the September issue of Better Homes and Gardens, Andrea Schroder, wife of actor/film producer Ricky Schroder, said soft denim tunics are her weekend uniform. She wore a lightly colored denim belted tunic dress for the photo shoot at the family’s Southern California cottage.)

J. Jill offers its smooth-fit denim skirt hemmed just above the knee as well as a shirttail denim jacket and chambray kimono. The Adam Levine collection at Kmart includes a high-waisted chambray skirt with matching suspenders, as well as a chambray skater skirt, denim skirt with high-low hemline and jeans in several styles.

Denim vests show up in collections as well. And highlights these trendy pieces for fall: A-line denim skirts, denim trench coats and oversize trucker jackets.

Other trends Hallmark noted:

• Patchwork and other pieced looks. Mixed shades of denim, or even different fabrics, are pieced together before making the garment. (Gap calls its 1969 jean with large patches with distressed accents “patch & repair.”) The juxtaposition of feminine lace with denim is an interesting way to play with jeans and jackets, Hallmark said.

• Stretch denim and denim dyes. Polyester and Lycra spandex add stretch and comfort. We’re also seeing soft rayon tops and knit sweaters dyed to look like denim, Hallmark said.

“If indigo blue is a shade that complements your coloring, you can choose an oversize rayon shirt and wear it over knit leggings,” she suggested.

Coated denim is another trend. Ralph Lauren has a “coated” denim skirt that has a leather look, she noted.

• Jeggings – or legging jeans – are still strong. One tip: Pay attention to proportion of the tops worn with them; jeggings paired with a thigh-length sweater looks put-together for weekend, Hallmark said. Footwear should be either flats or boots.

Looking for further inspiration?

Here are some of the ways denim is being shown this season.

• Chico’s pairs a slim-leg jean, shown above, with a white blouse with embellished collar and a “boyfriend duster,” which extends below the thighs. Bracelets and crystal earrings echo the bling of the collar.

• Lands’ End takes the season’s popular shirtdress and shows it layered over a striped long-sleeve T-shirt and cinched at the waist with a belt. The sleeves on this all-cotton denim dress are shoved up to better reveal the model’s statement watch.

• Like other retailers and designers, Gap rolls and cuffs slouchy jeans to show off shoes, including its funky Chelsea booties.

• Denim and leather are a classic combination, of course. On the cover of this month’s ELLE magazine, Canandaigua-born actress/screenwriter/comedian Kristen Wiig wears a pair of unembellished jeans by J. Brand, a black leather biker jacket by Balenciaga, a gray V-neck tank and an eye-catching pendant necklace – a denim-based look that can be duplicated in any price range with a few timeless pieces.

As Hallmark put it: “Although jeans are worn all year round, it seems fall is the best season to assess what we own and what we need to add to our wardrobes to freshen it up.”