Shopping with experts: Sue Barrett’s denim style

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Sue Barrett, wearing her Lee dungaree-type playsuit in denim worn with a Topshop lace layered bolero (this season), we totally want the fabulous dungarees but she wont part with them

Buying denim as you get a wee bit older can be a terrifying business (jeggings, anyone?) Jeans ceased to be just jeans about a decade ago when there was an invasion of uber cult brands/cuts/washes/waist heights that freaked us out a bit. We stuck to what we knew, but now think that it might be fun to try a new shape.

We have been inspired to do this by another mate of The Women’s Room, WGSN's global denim trend expert and all round cool chic Sue Barrett, who has just turned 40 and does casual dressing like no one else we know We want pretty much everything she wears.

Sue admits to having over 200 items of denim, bought for inspiration and research (she admits to 25 pairs of jeans). Whatever, she knows what she’s talking about. We asked her advice on how to buy denim.

What’s a good shape for us? “Boyfriend jeans are such a good look because they are looser in the thigh and seat and feel like denim used to (before it went bonkers-tight), they are sometimes known as Sunday jeans for their easy fit and comfort. The brand PRPS, which you can get at Liberty are great if you are not price sensitive. Don’t stop at just the jeans, try a loose fit ‘boyfriend’ denim shirt you could pull on over everything or a boxy 80s style denim blazer. If I had to recommend one thing in denim for the coming season, it would be a denim boxy jacket which would work over everything."

What brand do you wear? “ Recently I’ve bought American Apparel's four way stretch coloured jeans (£59), they are really comfortable because of the stretch fabric (don't be put off by the scary web picture!). They are slightly higher waisted so act as a gentle corset and are curvaceously skinny so good for all shapes, I’m quite big boned but they work well on me and come in loads of colours, you can wear them under dresses, long baggy tops, they are a good basic. Don’t be afraid of the skinny look, just play around with wearing clever stuff on top.

Where else do you buy your jeans? For denim I’ll shop everywhere from H+M to Portobello market. Sometimes you’re shopping for  a particular ‘must-have’ fit and sometimes you want the reassuring quality of a particular brand.  For checking out what fits are around, Denimology is a good site for taking the blisters out of shopping.  You can see what’s available and then find out where to buy it. Donna Ida in Knightsbridge and Questionaire in Notting Hill are both very helpful with information. But for me you can't beat the thrill of vintage and thrift store treasures!  For that, I go to Beyond Retro, Absolute Vintage or Portobello.."

Any new trends we should know about? “Power stretch fabrics are going to really change denim, with supersoft almost velvety feel, jeans made from this are being called yoga jeans because they are comfortable enough to do yoga in. Adriana Goldschmidts new lable Goldsign, has this fabric in a skinny jean, Questionaire carry the range."

How do you get dressed? "Easy best sums up my style. For me clothing is playful, I try not to take it too seriously and treat my wardrobe a bit like a dressing up box."

ps.Amanda bought the American Apparel coloured jeans ( for research purposes obviously) and they are absolutely fab…super comfy.

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