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A touch of jeanius

The 'must have' item in most wardrobes is surely skinny jeans. They are our desert-island denims and without several trusty pairs on hand to take the thought/panic out of what to wear in the morning, some of us just wouldn't get dressed at all.

However, the enquiring fashion mind should take nothing for granted, and at the dawn of a new decade -- not to mention a new fashion season -- perhaps it's time for a rethink.

After all, skinnies were the silhouette of the Noughties. Once we had collectively parted from boot-cuts, we embraced the lean leg, which became progressively narrower as the decade progressed. It's as if we all sat in a giant cold bath until our jeans shrank to hitherto unimaginable clinginess.

While the cold weather persists, a narrow ankle is still just the ticket for tucking into boots -- flares trailing along damp pavements are hardly chic or practical -- but a selection of new silhouettes are cropping up on the fashion horizon to tempt us to experimenting.

Colour

80s-inspired coloured jeans are big for spring/summer, with pastels particularly popular. It's a difficult look to carry for daywear, though, so pair with simple tees in muted shades or black, white and grey. Always wash inside out to avoid colour transfer. Bleached pink skinny jeans by Killah, €100 @ BT2.

Pleat Front

The pleated front is the latest twist to the skinny jean. This look is best for boyish figures and the very, very thin as the design highlights rather than hides the hips. Pair with a waist-grazing top or tuck a sheer vest in to bring the focus to the waistline. Pleat-front jeans (left) by Silence and Noise, €80 @ Urban Outfitters.

Ultra Slouchy

THE COMMON misconception with ultra slouchy jeans is that they hide all sins. Not the case: bottoms would look better in a pair of painter's overalls and harem-styles shorten the legs. However, for leisure, comfort and easy, breezy Sundays, this style is ideal. Always pair ultra slouchy jeans with fitted tops and tailored jackets and accessorise with flat shoes which show a little bit of bare ankle. Box springs (above), €85 @ Quiksilver, Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, Dublin 2.

Boyfriend

A more wearable version of slouchy jeans, boyfriend jeans should look loose and lived in, and preferably sit down on the hips. Pair with an oversized belt and roll up at the bottom to feminise the look. Again, always pair with fitted tops and flat shoes. Cropped fitted cardigans look particularly good. Boyfriend jeans (left) by St George by Duffer, €56 @ Debenhams.

Kick Flare

The shape that dominated the 90s is making a comeback. Kick flares are a balancing act: the perfect flare should neaten the shape of the bottom and elongate the calf. Kick flares look best with wedges and heeled boots. Kick flare (right), €47 @ River Island.

Cropped Jeans

A deceptively flatteringly style which is perfect for spring evenings. The trick is to find a pair which just grazes the bottom of the knee. Pair them with flat shoes for daywear or chunky strappy sandals for a night-time look. Those looking for ankle-grazing rather than cropped styles should try buying skinny jeans that are two inches shorter than their usual size. Cropped jeans (far right), €19 @ New Look.

High Waist

This is one of the more difficult looks to pull off. While high-waist jeans give the illusion of a neater waist, they also give the appearance of double the amount of bottom. The most flattering way to wear high-waist jeans is by tucking a fitted top into the waistline and pairing with a bottom-covering tuxedo jacket or boyfriend blazer. You may have to master the art of walking backwards should the jacket ever have to come off! High waist, from Topshop (left), €61.

Jeggings

Love them or loathe them, jeggings will be sticking around for a few more seasons to come. The trick is never to expose the waist unless you're an international supermodel . . . and even then . . . Pair them with loose tops and jackets that cover the hips. Curvier ladies should look to Beyoncé for inspiration. Jeggings don't have the usual denim contouring around the posterior, so always look for low-rise or structured waistbands that flatter the bottom. Jeggings look as good with ballet flats as they do with killer heels. Jeggings (left), €45 @ Topshop.

Body Contouring

We have fallen for the charms of the new Salsa range at BT2. The Portuguese jeanswear company is the denim equivalent of six sessions of Pilates. The indigo blues slim the abdominal area, shape the waist, accentuate curves and push up the posterior. What more could you want from a pair of jeans? Salsa jeans (main picture), €90 @ BT2.


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