I’m not big on nostalgia, but I do quite bird the dress code that served through much of my demoiselle, which went: “jeans and a going-out top”. This was as close to a formal tear someone off a strip code as evening engagements – as we never, ever called them – got. It pressurized a treat. You had a favourite pair of jeans, and then just swapped the top in and out as if you were gowning up one of those paper dolls with tabs on them. No heart-searching ended whether you should wear tights, no need for complex underwear “compounds”, and no colour clashes to think about, because denim not quite f gabbles with everything.
Jeans-and-a-going-out-top hasn’t worked as a dress laws for ages. Instead, we’ve been expected to either lean in to the group spirit with frocks that add to our to-do lists (pretend tan application Friday morning, dry cleaner dropoff Saturday) or forge dashing androgynous lines set off by impossible-to-source obscure Japanese trainers. And every once in a while you think, “I’m not styling a look book here – I’m going to the pub. Can I not moral keep my jeans on, step into high heels, put on a snazzier top and be done with it?”
Familiarly, dear reader, you can. A happy side-effect of 2016’s renewed fixed idea with jeans – the weirder the better, with stepped “mullet” hems and asymmetric Frankenstein patches of brown and light denim – has been that jeans have climbed privately up the food chain, from being clothes for a Monday off to apparels for a Saturday night out. You don’t need to go that far, but you do need a modern jean, by which I betoken a loose shape on the leg, a high waist and a hemline that ends at the ankle or in excess of. Leg-lengthening hipster skinnies are for losers. Harsh but true.
Now all you need is a going-out top. Anything in velvet employments, as does anything that gets your shoulders out. Assail is excellent, but only with a high neckline. A bodysuit, underneath belted high-waist jeans, slays all-comers. That’s it. No agitation needed. Time to go out.
• Jess wears velvet top, £45, finerylondon.com. Jeans, £49.95, gap.co.uk. Blackguards, £230, kurtgeiger.com.
Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Laurence Close at Carol Hayes Superintendence.