How in the World to Style Colorful Jeans: A Trial & Error Post

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Colorful jeans. They’re everywhere right now and every spring, it seems. I’ve loved them from afar for years but haven’t successfully added them into my wardrobe yet. They’re always tricky to style in my style (aka. not overly preppy) but I keep going back to them. Every. Year.

I fell in love with this lavender pair this year and thought I’d give styling them another shot. Come along this journey with me…ha. It’s a fun one…

Sporty-Not-Preppy Look

This was my initial goal when I set out on this challenge. I wanted to make colorful jeans sporty instead of preppy, for a change. And of course, though I’m trying lavender jeans on here, I have an on-going relationship with black clothing and shoes forever amen. I’m liking the contrast of this combo. I think this is one of two stylings I’d actually wear.

Sweatshirt (similar – same brand) Poler – I adore this Portland brand. I’m wearing a men’s small in my sweatshirt.

Jeans –  Gap Mid-rise True Skinny Ankle Jeans in Lavender – Cute and love the length. Maybe size up but fit TTS. Not sure if they’ll stretch but if they do a tiny bit they’d be more comfortable. Wearing my normal size 27.

Sneakers New Balance 574 – My favorites ever. Mine are sold out but the ones I linked to are way rad. I sized up 1/2 a size.

Channeling my Inner Grease Character

Here I unintentionally represented BOTH Danny and Sandy from Grease in one outfit! I’m kinda loving it but it does feel kinda costumey.

Jacket – AllSaints Bales Leather Jacket – Best purchase in a long time. AllSaints has restocked it recently, too! Wearing US 6.

Tee – Mine is last year’s J.Crew but I’m loving this Cool To Be Kind tee with a similar vibe.

Jeans –  Gap Mid-rise True Skinny Ankle Jeans in Lavender – Cute and love the length. Maybe size up but fit TTS. Not sure if they’ll stretch but if they do a tiny bit they’d be more comfortable. Wearing my normal size 27.

Heels (similar) Everlane Mule or D’Orsay Pump

Hello Kelly Kapowski

If it were 1986 I’d be ROCKING it.

Jacket – Madison Kane Denim Jacket – My new favorite jacket for spring. It’s a little oversized for that updated fit, but not too much to be overwhelming. Wearing a Small.

Tee – Mine is last year’s J.Crew but I’m loving this Cool To Be Kind tee with a similar vibe.

Jeans –  Gap Mid-rise True Skinny Ankle Jeans in Lavender – Cute and love the length. Maybe size up but fit TTS. Not sure if they’ll stretch but if they do a tiny bit they’d be more comfortable. Wearing my normal size 27.

Heels (similar) Everlane Mule or D’Orsay Pump

On-Trend Easter Egg

So I LOVE the yellow heels with the lavender jeans, but while I’m thinking over here I’ve gone total Easter egg, In Style totally has a whole page layout with these three exact colors for Spring…so I’m TOTALLY on-trend. Ha! I didn’t know until Shana showed me the other day. I will say this isn’t totally me, but the colors are GOOD. If you wear this much color on the reg then ROCK THIS, mama. Maybe without the duck face though #facepalm

Sweater – Gap Crew Neck Pullover Merino Sweater – Wearing size Small.

Jeans –  Gap Mid-rise True Skinny Ankle Jeans in Lavender – Cute and love the length. Maybe size up but fit TTS. Not sure if they’ll stretch but if they do a tiny bit they’d be more comfortable. Wearing my normal size 27.

Heels (similar) Everlane Mule or D’Orsay Pump

Jacket, Less Matchy Graphic Tee and White Sneaks

This one is…fine. It’s fine. I don’t mind it. It’s hard to find a super white top to match these super white sneaks though.

Tee – The Future Is Female Graphic Tee – There have been many knock offs but this is the original shop that started the trend!

Jacket – Madison Kane Denim Jacket – My new favorite jacket for spring. It’s a little oversized for that updated fit, but not too much to be overwhelming. Wearing a Small.

Jeans –  Gap Mid-rise True Skinny Ankle Jeans in Lavender – Cute and love the length. Maybe size up but fit TTS. Not sure if they’ll stretch but if they do a tiny bit they’d be more comfortable. Wearing my normal size 27.

Sneakers – Reebok Club Gum Sole Sneaker – Doing a round-up of this style soon. My absolute favorite style of white sneaker. More flattering.

Summery Rocker Vibe

This is probably my favorite besides the black sweatshirt outfit. I thought I’d try a summery look and apparently for me summery means rocker tee. These Tevas are AMAZING by the way and will be my summer version of flip-flops because…I just can’t do those anymore. These are tan leather and look more elevated to me for still such a sporty shoe.

Tee – Dang, just got this at H&M but it’s sold out. Loving this inside out black graphic tee here though. 

Jeans –  Gap Mid-rise True Skinny Ankle Jeans in Lavender – Cute and love the length. Maybe size up but fit TTS. Not sure if they’ll stretch but if they do a tiny bit they’d be more comfortable. Wearing my normal size 27.

Sandals – Teva Universal Slide Leather Sandal – They just slide on and there’s no back strap, but the second strap sits nicely back on your foot keep the shoes on. Love these. TTS.

Colorful Jeans to Try Out

The Conclusion

The conclusion is…the jury is still out for me. I’m not sure. I LOVE the color of these but I just don’t know if I’d wear them?

This is always a scary question to ask on the internet, but how do you weigh in on colorful jeans? What’s your favorite way to rock them? I’d love to hear your ideas (please be kind though). I think in the right situations the Kelly Kapowski and the Grease looks could work? I keep going back to them. But maybe it’s just the colors work well together but not on a human. Haha.

xo

L

Be sure to follow me on Instagram @elletrain to see daily outfits, what I’m currently whipping up in the kitchen, and of course, Sienna’s dance moves.

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Meet Laura! She's a reader turned contributor and we couldn't be happier to have her as part of the team. Her fun, creative style is, as she says, "somewhere between Madewell and Joan Jett" (YES.) and she delivers some mean dressing room selfies so keep an eye out for those. Fun fact? She loves getting her haircut and we love to see what she has up her sleeve.  

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25 Comments

  1. I applaud your efforts! I think we have to be open to different looks in the event they become the outfit of our dreams. (And yet at the same time know ourselves well enough to let a trend pass if it doesn’t feel right.)

    That being said, pastel denim is not for me either. Reminds me of that cute character Sue on ‘The Middle’. Just missing a kitty sweatshirt and pink Reebox 🙂

  2. I once randomly bought a pair of aqua blue-green jeans from a sale site (heavily marked down to $20 to get me the extra $10 I needed for free shipping, figuring i’d take them to a charity shop if they didn’t work since the return shipping would cost more) – I loved them and got so much wear out of them!! Favourite outfit combos included: Breton striped tee with a denim jacket and metallic flats or sandals; crisp white button up or chambray shirt with nude flats or heels and chunky necklace or big hoops; logo tee with a coloured cardigan; embroidered folk art jacket with a solid/neutral tee underneath (gray worked well with the aqua). I need to go out and find another pair to recreate these outfits again!!

  3. Love this post! I always like them on others but have never bought a pair myself. I always like the mint colored ones. Maybe I’ll try this year!? My style is similar to yours and I’m just not sure what I’d pair hem with besides a white or gray tee.

  4. I have a pair of pink jeans (made by universal threads at target) and they are easily my favorite right now. One surprising pairing has been a dark floral windbreaker that picks up the pink (also looks great with grey jeans) and makes my pink legs look intentional/ moody/romantic.

  5. I love colored jeans with a striped, polka dot or flower shirt or sometimes a gray T. I’ll have to try a concert T. Thanks for your inspiration!

  6. Love love love the summer look! I am not a big fan of color denim, for some reason it reads older/preppy in my mind. Super cute for my mom, but maybe not my jam. But I do love the summer look. I’d probably replicate with white denim.

  7. Jennifer Chaparro on

    Good work here, for real. But I’m hesitant to get on this train too. Colored denim OK, pastel denim not so sure. But you have some solid options. Good research – it can’t all work out well, thanks for sharing all of it – because let’s face it, we don’t usually selfie the looks that we’re not sure about, right?!? I like the black and lavender and the white sneaks too. 🙂

  8. Elizabeth Rafter on

    I’m not sure how I personally feel about the colored denim, but you have put together some great looks! I had to comment on your comment about flip flops. I thought it was just me, because I had to give them up last year! I just couldn’t wear them as a legitimate footwear choice anymore! I need something a little more substantial and now I find myself wearing leopard print or iridescent snake skin Birkenstocks. I don’t even know who I am anymore!😂 It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who had to quit flip flops, though!

  9. With you on the colored denim. I was at Gap yesterday and was tempted by the coral colored ones which would go with a lot of my tops, but I’m nearly 6 feet tall and so that’s a LOT of color in an outfit (I don’t wear black or white tops) and aren’t skinny jeans supposed to be over any second now anyway? I think I am a blue denim girl at heart. Even white and grey are a stretch for me

  10. I love colored denim and love your styling… I just wear them in place of regular jeans, everything else the same! I guess it helps that I have lots of black, white, and gray tops, in solids and prints. It’s a no-brainer way to make a plain jeans outfit more fun in my case. Also nice with chambray and denim, as Lori mentions, although I don’t do light chambray with my pink jeans, because that feels a little too Little Twin Stars.

  11. Colored jeans read a bit more formal than regular blue jeans. I’ve had coral pink and red pairs that I loved- they are a great way to punch up neutrals and basics. Your first instinct to pair them with a sweatshirt is perfect- the purple pants make it look like you tried!

  12. Love the rocker tank look! I almost bought pastel pink skinnies at Uniqlo but they weren’t a flattering cut. I love love love the muscle tank graphic tee look… Especially with skinnies. I think the proportions work out nicely. Esp with booties or cute flats. 💖 Thanks for sharing!!! Did you try grey or chambray or navy for the top??

    • Yay! I am loving this rocker tee, too. I think it balances them out. I had tried some of those tops before so I wanted to mix it up here, but I think gray for sure would be good with this lavender.

  13. Thanks for doing this! I’m always drawn to the colored pants (particularly the green Gap pants you featured above) but never bite because I fear I’ll look like I’M WEARING GREEN PANTS …Even though, really, I know no one is paying that much attention, haha.

    My take away comes from the Easter Egg outfit, actually: The brighter color on top made the colored pants look relatively ‘neutral.’ I also like the almost-tonal quality of the lighter purple and brighter pink.

    I may take the green pant plunge.

  14. You know, I think it’s not the color it’s the cut. This shade in a wide leg, cropped style maybe would read less preppy or accidentally retro.

  15. I bought a pair of light lavender ones from WHBM. I’ve worn them w/graphic T’s from J Crew and fitted blazers, but I am a fan of preppy. If you don’t love them, don’t keep them!

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