Canadian tux or American Luxe?

The return of double denim

By Mallory Passuite

J Crew in double denim

After acid-wash reappeared on runways and in stores not long ago, I knew anything was possible. And so, I have warmingly warmly welcomed the return of double-denim, which began popping up in during fashion week and in magazines this September, with an American trend in international markets that included overalls and layers of denim.

From Levi Strauss in the 1800s to The Gap today, denim is classic Americana. But a single outfit that contains two (or more) denim items becomes Canadian: we call it the Canadian Tuxedo. Absurd.

Neither I, nor my Canadian insider can determine how the term arose. It just may be an American term intended to make fun of Canadians, a rather popular American pastime, jokes Justin O’Neill, a Toronto native and Newhouse grad student, in an email. O’Neill can’t recall ever seeing the look in its “alleged natural habitat.” And many Canadians actually refer to the denim-on-denim look as a Texas Tuxedo, O’Neill confirms.

The double-denim look, popular in the ‘90s, became a big no-no by the end of the decade (maybe that’s when Americans decided to blame Canada). But it was actually a hot look long before Saved by the Bell and even the Britney and Justin’s denim disaster. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, stars of the music scene like Mick Jagger, Marvin Gaye, John Lennon, and Debbie Harry all rocked double denim.

This year, Ralph Lauren, Chloe, and D&G were the first to bring it back in the Spring 2010 runways. It has now trickled down to familiar brands like J.Crew, The Gap, and Levis, and onto every celebrity, musician, and model from Jared Leto to Dave Leno, to Kate Moss, Kanye and his lady friend (Amber Rose), Alexa Chung, Rihanna, David Beckham (with crutches), and Alessandra Ambrosio.

It’s made every magazine from the cover of American Vogue, to editorials in Nylon, and Harper’s Bazaar to the French, German, British, and Chinese editions of Vogue; the Italian and Swedish Elle; and Jalouse, to name a few.

The fool-free way to get the look: a lighter denim button-up on top (oversized for girls, normal fit for guys), with a darker, fitted jean on bottom.

The Good

Warning: Double denim can be a tough look to pull off. Remember, wash is key. Mix up your denim colors, and avoid anything acid-wash or tie-dyed.

The Bad

Maybe you think the return of denim-on-denim is to die for. Maybe you’re thinking “kill me know.” Either way, there’s no denying – it’s , it’s back.

The EditorsComment