I'm going to do the red denim look ... just like Miranda Kerr ... only very different

How to wear coloured jeans

Nikki Parkinson Fashion, How to 114 Comments

My one hot tip for updating your wardrobe this year is to buy a pair of coloured jeans.

They are to your new-season wardrobe like a new lip colour is to your makeup bag. With one easy purchase you have instantly added a little zing to your look. And that will make you feel all zingy too. Zingy is good.

I'm going to do the red denim look ... just like Miranda Kerr ... only very different

I’m going to do the red denim look … just like Miranda Kerr … only very different. Photo: denimblog.com

The extra zingy news is that there are coloured jeans out there for EVERY jean budget.

From $19 at Emerson for Big W through to chain stores like Dotti and Country Road and designer labels such as Not Your Daughters’s Jeans, Mavi and J Brand. There is a colour to illuminate your winter wardrobe.

In a good way.

If you’re game.

And really, you should be.

Now, if you’re shivering in your fashion boots right now and remembering back to those pastel lemon jeans you saved up for and bought from Just Jeans in 1982, then never fear, I’m doing enough shivering for both of us. What goes around, comes around and I, for one, am determined to do better with this trend this time round.

Before we begin on this path to coloured jean glory, you are going to have to refresh yourself with my rules of jeggings post. Not because coloured jeans are necessarily jeggings, more because coloured jeans are mostly styled in a skinny leg style.

Work your way through these steps on how to wear coloured jeans and you won’t want to wear anything else!

How you approach wearing a skinny leg style will depend on one of several things:

1. You’re down with skinny, it’s the only style of jean you ever wear … good on you. You’re already very cool about wearing just about anything with your skinnys.

2. You have skinny leg styles in your wardrobe but you wear them so that the bits around the belly cannot be seen … ummm, yes, that would be me.

3. You’re never going to be caught dead wearing a skinny leg style … repeat after me: I think, I can; I think, I can.

The think-I-cans need to come on over and join me at number 2. Think of your coloured jeans more like coloured tights – but with a tough attitude – and style them accordingly. And always add a jacket or cardi to layer and create shape. If you really don’t want to go there, Big W’s Avella range (size 18-26) has a bootleg style in a number of seasonal colours.

What colour you choose will come down to your personality:

1. Like to put yourself out there? Go for bright red, cobalt blue, hot pink or emerald green.

2. Like your look on the more feminine side? Pretty pastels are your friend.

3. Want to just dip your big toe (or leg) into this trend? Go for a an aubergine or mallard green.

Or, why not have a pair in all three colour intensities? Yes, why not?

Colours to wear with your coloured jeans:

1. The more adventurous can certainly try their hand at a bit of autumn colour blocking. Think mustard yellow and hot pink; turquoise and vibrant red. But even in this look, I would bring the outfit back to earth with a neutral accessory or two.

2. For most of us, white or tan neutrals (and I include animal print here) are our coloured jeans friend. Let the coloured jeans BE the statement.

3. Black also has impact when worn with coloured jeans in winter – this is a tougher look that the white or tan neutrals but is pretty damn striking. Add in grey marle to tone it down.

If the coloured jean look is a new one for you then stick to no.2 and 3. It will be easier for you to pull off without wondering if you are auditioning for Playschool or a Howard stunt double in The Big Bang Theory.

Shoes to wear with coloured jeans?

1. Ballet flats

2. Loafers (this season’s hottest flat shoe look)

3. Ankle boots

4. Platform heels – closed in our sandal style – for dressing up

Definitely work back with loafers or ballet flats for super casual – my pick would be a nude or black pair depending on your jean hue of choice. Why not add leopard print for a little surprise?

If you’re looking for more coloured jeans style inspiration, head on over to my coloured jeans board on Pinterest. I’ll be adding more styles to this board as I find them.

Outfit posts featuring coloured jeans

UPDATE: Head on over to check out this post about how to wear coloured jeans for spring-summer. And this post includes a gallery showing coloured jeans worn by everyday Styling You readers.

  • MrsDSJ

    Hello Doll and Happy Holidays to you! I purchased some phlox colored jeggings and was wondering what top or shoes would compliment the jeggings?

  • lily..

    which color suits with red jean..????

    • So many – black and white, tan … heaps on ideas on my Pinterest board

  • reena dulfon

    well when i saw all the colors in stores i thought it was the latest trend for teenagers. i’m glad to see that adults are wearing them too (i’m 26, personally). i am going to give this a try. i found some really affordable colored jeans today at Walmart!

  • shezz

    I purchased the Emerson jeggings from Big W earlier this year, but have been told they are discontinued . I am size 16 and havent been able to find anything that comfortable or similar in cut, other than TEMT which only cater to size 12, got any suggestions, though i dont want anything to pastel , due to the chunky bits 🙁

    • Shezz, I’m going to do an updated post on this for spring this week. Stay tuned. Don’t write off pastels though. It depends on the fabric used. I’m loving my orange NYDJs.

  • After being very basic & plain with my colours. I thought I would be brave. I bought a pair of killer white skinny jeans from Temt & paired it with a bright blue tank, an orange jacket & black ankle boots . It looked great!
    I can always dress others but get really shy for myself but after reading this, you gave me a lot of ideas & now can’t wait to continue playing with colour.

  • MrsDSJ

    I recently purchased some cobalt blue jeggings and I wanted to know: Will a white ruffled tank top blouse go great with it and some nude colored flats? I wanted the pants to get all the attention.

    • Sounds like a perfect combination to me!

    • MrsDSJ

      Hey Nikki! I got some nude colored flats, but I had a thought: Why not put on zebra printed flats with the outfit? ( Adding some flair to the feet)

  • Hi,
    I just got the tango orange (they’re pretty fluro!) & poison ivy green jeans from Just Jeans. I have a navy long sleeve top that I think will go with both and also a lemon coloured top (same style as navy). Will the lemon go with the green and what other coloured top suggestions do you have? How about shoes as well? I picked up some cute mint green ballet flats from Big W ($9.84), will they go with either or should I consider something else?

    I should probably mention that I am not ‘out there’ when it comes to fashion, am 34 this year and a mother of two young boys so I am really stepping out of my comfort zone with these jeans. Am even considering trying to get my hands on the blue ones and swapping the orange ones?

    Any thoughts/suggestions you have would be MOST appreciated LOL Don’t want to look like, as you said, I’m auditioning for Playschool 🙂

    • Hi Aimee – great purchases! I’d do the lemon yellow with the green but bring the rest of the outfit “back” with neutral/taupe/tan coloured shoes and perhaps a scarf. Also, I’m a big fan of letting the coloured jeans do the talking – so have them do the pop of colour then wear white/tan/black/grey tops and shoes back with them.

  • mai

    Is it okay to wear a cobalt blue skinny jeans with a coral colored top?

  • a white or navy blue top with flats.For more information about fashion visit at smccloset website

  • farah

    so what would you wear with pink jeans to look casual?

  • gab8y

    do the emerson big w jeans shrink at all or stretch??

    • No experience with shrinkage but like all denim they stretch with wearing, returning to original shape after washing. Buy firm to prevent over stretching.

  • Amanda

    Nikki do you do wardrobe makeovers or ‘shopping trips to suit your size’? I need you to help me get some zing.

  • Mdavidson226

    i love the coloured jeans look, i’m 15 and i was thinking that i’d wear vans with the look and i’m not sure if they’d go, probably just plain black vans. But any opinions? and i also have pale skin and really dark brown hair, just womdering what colour would suit me.

  • Melanie_2474

    Thank you for mentioning the Avella coloured jeans – I had gone to Big W to try the Emerson jeans, but upon finding they are skinnies I was disheartened.  Even in a size 16 they were like squeezing into tights and with my hips (which I’m proud to flaunt!) skinny just isn’t the way to go. 

    Will be off to try the Avella line this week, hopefully in cobalt as I already have a red pair from Katies that I have been sporting with red canvas trainers and a white T, black ankle boots and black long sleeve T, and a white shirt and leopard print heels 🙂

    • Good luck with finding some Avella jeans … they’re not as cheap as emerson but still under $25. Love the sound of those from Katies!

      • Melanie_2474

        Well Nikki, I have to admit you have changed my fashion life!!  I looked for some bright Avella jeans while on a mission to get some more of Big W’s great $5 Emerson long sleeve tees (success, btw!) and was disappointed to find they were only in dark colours 🙁  But the Emerson cobalt skinnies were there, in my previous size 16… so I thought ‘what the hell’ and gave them a shot. 

        Long story short TODAY I’M WEARING COBALT BLUE SKINNY JEANS!!  OMG, I swore I would never go ‘skinny’ – being short, hippy/curvy and pushing 40 – but I was wrong and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  You pushed me to get outside my comfort zone and I thank you 🙂

  • I picked up a pair of red jeans today from SES at Westfield – bargain at only $14!
    I’m going to try them out with a slate/navy tee, under a hip-length beige cable knit vest, plus matching beige wedge ankle boots for weekend play.
    Not sure how to dress them up though… I have animal print wedge sandals, but nothing for the top half!

    • Oh, I like the sound of that outfit. I do! For dressing up, I’d bring it back with black and neutrals or leopard print.

  • Ive been on the look out for hot pink jeans but haven’t come across any. Why? Considering everyone seems to already have a pair. Sorry I couldn’t access the NYDJ link as it seems not compatible with an iPad. I’m only 5″ and last pair of jeans I purchased were from Jeans West petite range size 6. So please where would I find a pair that would fit me without having to make huge adjustments? This is my problem – petite this is what “keeping it real” is for me.

    • As I mentioned on the Facebook wall, look for a cropped skinny style to minimize those alterations – do try sites like Asos.com too.

  • I love colored jeans! Sooo excited that they are back. I have several pairs of colored jean capris, now I want some pants that are just above the ankle and brightly colored.

  • Humpf. I went into my local Big W today and there was not a pair of coloured jeans in sight – one pair on a mannequin but otherwise – nothing. Nada. Nil. Zip. Zilch. So they must be popular!

    I did try on their jeggings though and am thinking seriously about getting them. The look of jeans, just comfier! Just got make sure I have some long tunic tops to go over them …

    • I know Janet – they were surprised how quick they sold. More are on their way though. And you’ve read my jeggings post 😉

  • Mhorag Griffin

    Nikki check out our great red and green coloured jeans at Suzanne Grae great for all shapes and light denim nice and stretchy

  • Kerri

    I’m in!

  • Traci

    I’m a curvy 5’1″ and have ample thigh so I’ve always been wary of the coloured jean. I do wear a fitted denim straight leg but I always lean towards super dark denim so it’s slimming.

    Also I try to stay away from billowy big tops because I find it add unnecessary bulk to my frame (which is what I imagine I’d team with leggings).

    Any solutions? Cause I’d love to rock this look, and I’m heading to the States in a few weeks which would give me the perfect opportunity to stock up!

    • Traci, without actually seeing you in the change room, I’d look for a cropped style, which will give you a full-length but coming in at ankle.
      You can add a flowy (not billowy) top to skim over the bits you want to skim but then add a jacket to give you shape – even a sleeveless vest will do that.
      Worth a play when you’re in the States.

  • I love coloured jeans but I haven’t bought any yet. You have convinced me. I would love yellow, but they would get so dirty in my world. Maybe orange? I am excited now.

  • I LOVE bright colors especially, when it comes to having them on the bottom half of my body. Cobalt blue, red, orange, green. Very fun to work with and makes you stand out from the sea of denim blue, black, grey… Thanks for this article!

  • Annie

    Thank you, thank you.
    My kids hate my favourite jeans because they’re pink, like the pink in the photo with the mustard top.
    I love them.
    Guess who is getting a link to this page?

  • I picked up the mallard green ones from Emerson yesterday. As all my Winter stuff is still packed away for the next couple of months at least, I have no idea what I will put on top, or on my feet for that matter! I may have to keep my eye out for some suede loafers and some things to cover the caboose.

    • Thea, I love that colour – and I’m all for a bit of caboose covering!

  • Darn! I’m still working up the courage to wear jeans fullstop. I gotta go rainbow now?

    Very cute, though. I actually still have my purple jeans from 1992 and I reckon I could probably do them up very nicely if I’m not in them.


    • Bring them out to play!

      • What, on my left calf? They are minute! x

      • What, on my left calf? They are about three sizes too small!

        Don’t worry, Nikki. I think I’ll be okay without a coloured jean in my life this Autumn. I will focus on the mullet dress, I think! (JK) x

  • you read my mind and was going to ask you to do a post on coloured jeans. i want to get some badly – have been eyeing them last year overseas. my only issue is how short autumn/winter is in Queensland so i don’t want to buy several or spend heaps of cash if i will only get to wear them for 2 months before it gets warm again – which brand woudl be the best balance between appropriate for a 40 yr old + not expensive?

  • Kate

    Hey Nikki, I bought some candy pink colored ones today-and a matching pair for my miss4. What colour would you match a candy pink with for a 30 yr ol mumma?

    • Bring it back with mustard for more daring – tans, neutrals and white for more subdued.

  • LOVE them. Those blue ones look just like mine. The pink pair with the orange cardi is fab!

  • *sigh* One more reason to continue at the gym. Comparison to my 15 year old, size 10 self wearing this stuff. 😉

    Skinnies? On a Size 14-16 ( depending on the store ), 5’2, strong curvy legged boot cut jean, mid rise is my indented waist friend wearing Skinny jeans?

    How? I have big calves.

    I despair of finding a pair that flatters without turning to many Mojitos and Tim Tams and sobbing in changerooms with Security pounding on the door. 😉

    • I’m your size just a couple of inches taller. I refuse to sob!

      • So, yes, once again your enthusiasm has convinced me.

        I took red and wine coloured, Target short length skinnies in 3 different sizes into the change room today and worked my way down from a Size 18 – 14 to reduce the sobbing and need for Mojitos 😉

        The 16 wine colour was a winner – the reds just made me look stumpy but I’m now curious about a blue pair just need to find the size – and not being brave enough to wear the 14s yet I bought them anyway 🙂

        So I have had a “Skinny Jeans please introduce yourself to my bazillion shoes” afternoon and a few of them hit if off – some ballet flats, my skinny ankle boots, my blue Therapy wedges, black cutout wedges/boots.

        Thanks Nikki. I’m not sure how much I rock them in my curves and muscular legs but I’m not going to scare small children anyway 😉

        • You will rock them – and great work taking the time to find the best ones for you!

  • B

    I am going to need some convincing. I once had a pair of heritage green jeans… I am still haunted by the memories…

    • I’m haunted by my ghosts of coloured jeans past but I’m going there!

  • Kim-Marie

    I have red ones from Ezibuy, cobalt and orange from Country Road and I’d love some mustard ones, if I can find them. Fab with wooden platform sandals, leopard loafers, Chelsea boots and glamour high heels. Love them!

    • Such a style queen Kim-Marie!

      • Kim-Marie

        Oh, thanks so much, Nikki! You’ve made my day x

        • SensibleSpice

          If you don’t mind me asking…which ezibuy style did you get and what is your shape/frame/size? Are they flattering? So nervous buying jeans without trying on first.

          • Kim-Marie

            I am 165cm. I’m quite curvy with narrow hips. Ie, I’d be an hourglass except I don’t go out enough at the hips. According to Trinny & Susannah, I think I’m a vase. I wear all sizes from 8 to 14, depending on the brand, the cut and how I want to wear the item. I would probably try on a 10-12 first in a shop.

            My red Ezibuy jeans are classed as jeggings, but they are reasonably thick cotton denim with pockets and a button waist. I think they were about $40. I bought a size too big for me, ie a 14, as I wanted them to look more like cotton skinny trousers than super skinny tubes. I had the waist taken in by my alterationist.

            The trick with Ezibuy (and other mail order places like Maxshop, etc) is to order several different styles in several different colours and sizes, trying them on with your own stuff and post back the excess in a postpak for a refund.

            Good luck! I decided to go with Ezibuy $40 and Country Road $99 styles because I didn’t want to spend too much money on a trend. Definitely going to check out Emerson though! 🙂

            • Kim-Marie

              PS wearing them a size too big cancels camel toe for me. 😉

  • I’m trying to find the right red or pink jeans actually. Any recommendations? I finally found the perfect pair of DARK black skinny jeans from Gap the other day. Now my mission – these two colours.

  • Tam

    Oh, THANK YOU, Nikki! I’m dying to get a pair of coloured jeans but was lacking a bit of confidence. Also, the one and only pair I tried on (in a ‘young person’s’ store – LOL) didn’t do much for my 30+ year old, has-birthed-three-children body so I got discouraged. Time to search for a pair that look HOT on me!

  • Ooh… I don’t know… coloured jeans are just far too 80s for my liking. And don’t they say “if you wore it the first time around you’re too old to go there again”?… Or maybe I’m just not that brave!

    • THEY do say that … Whoever THEY are. I’ve been there and I’m going back for a little fun!

  • Great tips here Nikki! I’m a fan, having picked up a couple of pairs recently while o/s. I agree, Pinterest is a great place to get ideas of how to wear them. I created a board of red jeans to get inspiration for how to wear mine – easy peasy!

  • How funny Nikki, this post! I was thinking of you yesterday when I was in big w. I grabbed a pair of Aubergine. I really like the emerson range. Its nice on the pocket.

    Have the red already 🙂 … Now if I can find a pair of emerald green! That would make my wardrobe complete!! …. Then a pair of brown/tan boots….. Waiting patiently for boots to hit the shops. And for the weather to cool down as well…

    Love your tips!! Makes me adventurous 🙂

    • Very impressed Vicki! It’s fun to step out of our wardrobe comfort zone a bit!

  • I love coloured jeans and will definately be grabbing some for Autumn/winter. Over summer I have had an electric blue 3/4 jean which I loved and am now loving some of the autumn colours around. Love the rusty/orangy color on your pinterest board (not official colour name)and the greens and aubergines. Uuummm too many to choose!

  • It’s the skinny jean thing. Big hips, small waist and a dislike of flat shoes. Am I just making excuses??

    • Maybe … I’ve got big hips, wide flat bum and some kind of waist and I make them work with a jacket over a longer top.

  • Oh I went into Big W a couple of weeks ago and bought 3 pairs of coloured jeans to go with my red ones. Sneaky, I know but I bought a few of the girls ones in size 14 as the colours were great also, pastel pink like Cameron is wearing.

    Can’t wait to bring a bit of colour to my winter wardrobe, seriously over the depressing black that has been saturating my wardrobe!

    • Go Karla – I love that – and yes you will light up the room in them!

  • Yes, I have hot pink ones. I do think pastels are for the stick thin people. Cameron Diaz can pull off the nude look! I ‘may’ venture into the mustard colour for this season. We’ll see! LOL!

  • Jo

    I tried on some in Sussan yesterday, but the waist was far too high.

    I don’t want hipsters (too much muffin top, and just too uncomfortable on my ahem 40+ body), but do you have any suggestions Nikki, for a brand with a mid rise cut that’s more slim cut than skinny?

    • I’d give the Big W ones or NYDJ a try. The rise is a very personal thing – one person’s high-rise is another’s mid – all depends on your torso length. I’m short waisted and muffin topped so mid rises work best on me.

      • Check out the curve embracers at Jeanswest, I tried them and bought 2 pairs already… they’re a really nice mid rise and have more of a straight leg… they’re seriously impressive but apparently Jeanswest aren’t making all colours available in them… but they have a blue, a purple, black and another colour I can’t remember, maybe red (like a hot pepper colour I think)… I needed purple and black… I DESPERATELY wanted the green but they’re not doing it in curve embracer and I’m curvy enough to appreciate the embrace and mummy enough to not wear low rise!

        • Thanks for the tip Majah … my jeans wardrobe is pretty full at the moment but these sound great!

  • I picked up a pair of red super skinnies from Zara at the end of last season and LOVE them! Am not a jeans girl as it is, but you are right, if you wear them almost as a legging they work!

    Also in reply to Caz re extra-long? I’m 5ft11 and I am wearing my coloured jeans almost as a cigarette pant so it doesn’t matter that they aren’t as long as a normal jean on me, in fact I like my Zara ones because they cut at the skinniest part of my ankle, so flattering! Always an option if you can’t find an extra-long 🙂

    • Thanks Caitlin you gorgeous long-legged creature! Love your style. X

  • Caz

    I’m loving the look especially the cobalt and emerald green and really would like to give it a go. Nikki do you know if anyone is doing them in an extra long leg?

    • Very good question. Not off the top of my head but will investigate. How tall are you?

      • Caz

        I’m 188cm/6’2″ I know in skinny jeans I can sometimes get away with slightly shorter leg but think around a 35″ leg length would be good 🙂

        • Jo

          Hi Caz. JBrand by Kristopher Kane are doing a very long leg in bright pink, orange and other colors. They are not skinny jeans – they are flared with fraying around the bottom. Very hip very 70’s and really only suited to our long legged girlfriends like you! Cactus Jam in Melbourne stock them. They look amazing and if you follow Nikki’s guidelines you will have a real winner in your wardrobe. Good luck.

  • I love this look – used to wear it when I was waaaaay younger…

    Thought those days were gone for me – except when I was in London at xmas it was not so much winter darks as beautiful colour everywhere.

    So I splashed out on a pair of Gucci kelly Green ones and a cheaper pair of Zara mustard. I do not have thin pins, but as you mention the right top can work a treat. Expecially a silk blouse that floats.

    My plain jeans seem so blah in comparison…x