For far too long, this country has had a bad rap for spawning one of the most heinous fashion faux pas of our time. But those days are gone—for now, anyway. That’s because the Canadian Tuxedo is one of the hottest trends this fall. Yep, denim on denim is no longer an international embarrassment; it’s an international catwalk craze. No, really, we mean it. All over the world, style-savvy sisters are tapping into their inner denim diva and looking hot as hell while doing it. Now you can too.
“My number one rule is be confident,” says Mavi Jeans Canada P.R. and marketing manager Eryne Ordel, speaking to the Straight by phone from her Hogtown office. “You’ve got to commit to it and just go for it, because there’s no need to be scared anymore.”
True, owning it is a big part of rocking denim on denim. But there is one other big rule to keep in mind.
“Definitely don’t match your denim,” says Jennifer Campbell, manager of dutil. denim shop (303 West Cordova Street). “So make sure your shirt is not the same colour as your pants.
“Do you remember Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears in those head-to-toe denim outfits?” continues Campbell, referring to the then-couple’s infamous jean-clad entrance at the 2001 American Music Awards. “He was wearing this really baggy, matching denim suit that was like a mid-stonewash, and she was wearing a strapless ball gown in full-on light-wash denim. It was just wrong.”
Right: the greater the contrast between the washes, the better. Of course, the safest way to ease into this trend is to start with black skinny jeans—preferably with a little motocross-inspired hardware, which, incidentally, is also very hot this season. And, love ’em or hate ’em, those saucer-eyed Olsen twins nailed this trend with their Textile by Elizabeth and James cropped cuties ($308). The somewhat oversized exposed zipper and double snap fastener will add just the right off-road edge to almost any outfit.
Once you have the right jean, it’s just a matter of pairing it with a white tank underneath a slightly oversized denim button-down (which you can tie in front), like the beautiful Kendall by Rails ($145). You can find this softy at LYNNsteven Boutique (225 Carrall Street), which also carries the Tencel Charlie tunic by Rails ($170). To give this one some shape, leave it undone and cinch it in with a belt as you would an oversized cardi.
Around the corner, One of a Few (354 Water Street) is stocking some great denim pieces, like the Rachel Comey midi pencil Agenda Skirt ($295). As well, there’s the Rachel Comey Sentinel Top, a long-sleeved denim pullover with a deep V-neckline and hidden front pockets ($283).
For a more fitted denim top, Mavi (2112 West 4th Avenue and 333 Helmcken Street) has the Isabel, in a variety of shades and finishings, including grey, light wash, dark wash, and studded, as well as coated colours ($88 to $118). You can rock this top as a cover-up over a T during the warmer part of fall, and when it starts to cool off, you can funk it up with chambray bell-bottoms, platforms, and a floppy J-Lo hat.
As for jackets, dutil. has a great BLK DNM mid-wash baby that’s a little longer, with a slightly straighter cut ($278) than we’re used to—perfect for fall, because there’s some layering room. As well, dutil. has a classic Levi’s Red Tab trucker-style jacket ($98)—and we all know you can’t go wrong with this tried-and-tested design.
For a really fashion-forward look, something more badass may be in order. You may want to start your search at F as in Frank (2425 Main Street); no one does reworked vintage biker-bitch pieces quite like the FAIF crew.
So does it surprise fashionistas like Ordel and Campbell that the Canadian Tuxedo is definitely back?
“No, it had to come back,” says Ordel with a laugh. “Everything comes back eventually.”
Or to quote Timberlake (aka 2001’s biggest walking denim don’t), what “goes around…comes all the way back around.”