Charlie Byrne | Fashion Editor | Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Everyone's Wearing Dungarees (But Here's How Not To Look Like A Dick In Them)

The Debrief: Dungarees have entrenched themselves as a thing for this spring so here's how to embrace them

I have a pair of dungarees that I love and wear all the time. I am 5ft 5. Not exactly a hobbit, but not quite giraffe like either. Some of the most stylish fashion editors I know, in fact, are barely a smidgen over 5ft and yet they look awesome in dungas. So before you give me any of that ‘I’m not tall enough to wear dungarees’ nonsense, let’s be clear - it’s officially time to embrace your inner painter/decorator and find yourself a pair that looks brilliant. 

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The spring catwalks had some awesome inspo, from Just Cavalli's incredible zebra and butterly print monochrome pair to the pristine white style with a handy pocket on the bib in Richard Nicoll’s collection. The hero pair have got to be Ashish’s oversized, scraggy style with haphazard rips and metallic straps - although they’re probably not your every-day dungarees, and definitely not ideal if you’re scared of wearing dungarees in the first place.  

 

But honestly, dungarees shouldn't be daunting and they won’t make you look dumpy if you buy the right ones. Check out Cara Delevingne and Alexa Chung - they might be models, but they’re not especially tall. And you don’t have to be of their waify proportions either - ever seen Doris Day wear a pair of cut-off dungarees? Well she did, and she looked great, curves and all. It’s all about getting the correct sizing and proportions.

 

My advice is to go to the brands that are obsessive about proper fit and design, usually the denim brands, like Paige, MIH and Citizens of Humanity. They're not cheap, but buy one decent pair that hugs your hips, hits the right place just above your ankles and sits correctly on your shoulders and you will never have to buy another pair ever again. Promise. If you're not willing to drop a couple of hundred quid on denim, then head to Topshop - predictable, sure - but they're the next best thing to a specialist denim brand. Button down fronts are a bad idea unless you've got abs of steel (they can look a tad too maternity) while styles with a high rise, slim bib will suit petite bods. 

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Despite me joking about looking like you're about to whip out a paintbrush, dungarees also don't have to look dressed down and utilitarian. Cara wore a pale peach pair of cut-off dungarees after the spring Stella McCartney show and they looked minimalist and modern, while Olivia Palermo has been known to rock a sleek black pair with a billowy blouse and stilettos. Sure, a bleached denim pair will look great over a breton top with your Nikes, but they can go beyond that - think about wearing over a silk blouse from COS for work, or with an off the shoulder cropped top once summer hits.

 

If you're a trend whore and want the absolute latest pair on the block that are so right now that it's almost painful, then you should be buying a dark denim flared pair, with skinny legs that flare from the calves to look like a total 70s babe. They're so sexy, but not easy to pull off unless you're tall or a pro at wearing colossal heels. Check out Alexa's flared dungarees in her AG collaboration if you're after a quality pair.

 

If I can't convince you with a truck-load of catwalk inspo, cool girls wearing them, and Alexa designing her own, then think of them this way - they're basically a onesie that you can wear out of the house. To work. To a club. To your mate's house. To the pub. While still looking like you did something 'fashiony'. Enough said. 

Floral dungarees, £20, River Island, black dungarees, £48, Topshop, khaki dungarees, £45, Asos, plaid dungarees, £15, MissGuided.co.uk, white dungarees, £185, Paige Denim 

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Tags: Getting Ready, How To Wear...