Stonewashed, acid-distressed, even bullet-riddled: over the years, jeans have taken a beating in the name of fashion. Now, with style-setters cottoning to the classic midnight-blue variety, denim is rediscovering its dark roots. "The only denim I wear is dark denim," says starlet Natasha Gregson Wagner (Two Girls and a Guy), who often sports boot-cut bottoms from Earl Jean, a new Los Angeles company. "It's just so cool."
Aficionados include everyone from actresses Neve Campbell and Jennifer Aniston (who favor Levi's new Hard Jeans) to rappers Dr. Dre and Immature (Karl Kani's Rugged Raw line). Money seems to be no object: Gucci's $425 dark-denim jacket is routinely sold out (Gap sells a close cousin for around $58).
Dry-cleaning dark jeans can delay the inevitable fading, but it also prolongs that unbroken-in feel. Indeed, a few manufacturers' vintage-looking denim-wear is so stiff it can stand up by itself. "Some people complain that the fabric isn't soft enough," says L.A. personal stylist Xavier Cabrera. "But, hey, if you want to follow the trend, deal with it."
Anne-Marie Otey in Los Angeles and Sue Miller in New York City
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