As a denim lover, I like my fabrics plain and simple; pared-back as opposed to pulverized, pre-worn or distressed. The best thing about denim is that it gets better with age. And we all know how we feel about that phenomenon.

I am chuffed to bits with these dark denim jeans from Autograph – they’re a classic straight-leg style, look like Japanese selvedge and have that all-important Lycra content. In my younger days I could handle rugged, unwashed denim but now it’s all about comfort, ease and a little stretch. Though, having said that, I’m not ready for jeggings just yet…

Photos: Penny Wincer

And I have to say M&S’ Denim Studio is worth a visit, I tried on several styles and the quality and fit were surprisingly good. Who knew? These dark denim jeans could definitely pass for a more expensive pair and right now I’m going full-on Beatnik with a cashmere roll neck and corduroy jacket. When I mentioned my new Autograph acquisition to a friend, she revealed that she’d had it on good authority that M&S jeans have become a fashion insider’s failsafe tip. Seems like the Denim Studio is not such a secret after all.

(Unfortunately the dark denim jeans are so good they’ve sold out. But I have asked M&S to let me know when they are back in stock).

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35 thoughts on “What to wear right now: dark denim jeans

  1. Denim could be my middle name! I just love jeans but have terrible trouble finding any with slim enough legs, jeggings notwithstanding (maybe a tad too mature!). Thank goodness for trips Stateside, but even then the search isn’t always fruitful. I’m now holding my breath until M&S come up trumps with the dark denims – please be sure to let us know when it lets you know. You’ll have made an old lady very happy!

  2. I’ve just bought some M&S jeans (a first for me as far as I can remember) because they look good, are made
    of sustainable cotton, and are an amazing price. I was wondering if it’s a sign of age, though, so thanks for making me feel like I’m a fashion insider, Alyson 🙂

  3. I love this look, and the jeans do look like good quality denim.
    The turn up over the Pistol boot is so perfect too. It has quite a late sixties-ish retro vibe for me – Ali McGraw in Love Story maybe.

  4. I am 6 feet 1 inches tall and long in the body.Jeans are a nightmare ,Long Tall Sally ones are not a great denim .I recently discovered M&Co have stretch dark denim in long for £20 .They may not last long but an excellent fit in both the leg and body .Black also available .I find Marks jeans too short in the body and the long sadly not long enough in the leg but they look good.

  5. I wouldn’t think to try M & S jeans but will Check them out if they return to stock soon. My secret source of jeans is Gap. They do a straight leg style in a dark denim with a bit of stretch. Under £30. So good in shape and comfort that I returned for second pair during a promotion when they cost £20 a pair. It must be said I bought them over a year ago. So maybe this style not available. I also got some discounted boot cuts from there which I lopped off with dressmaker shears. I’m not that tall so it worked well. I have an old expensive pair of dark Armani jeans again classic straight leg. But I wear the cheaper chain store ones far more. Like Alyson in the picture I wear them rolled up with trainers or ankle boots.
    Charming casual outfit. And the hair, every time I see yours worn with confidence it encourages me to keep on going. Long overdue snip this coming week, too chilly to contemplate sooner while snuggled still in down coats.

    1. I have a couple of pairs of Gap jeans, they’re reasonably priced and last for years. This Autograph pair are very similar to one of my favourite Gap styles…

  6. I love this look. On the lookout for a cord jacket already….we are still summer downunder!!! But this will be my winter look this year. Don’t have M&S here but sure to find great jeans somewhere in Melbourne!!

  7. Now that we have the TNMA sartorial seal of approval for M&S denim I shall wear mine with pride! I love my ancient Autograph straight legs and they now have a lovely softness but have retained most of their colour. They fit my bum properly and are perfectly straight with no sticky out bits anywhere. I don’t feel such an old crow now!

  8. I have some M&S mid calf flares from last year, they were such a bargain and a great fit. Also bought the khaki cargoes with sequins you featured before Xmas, but got them in the January sale for £18. Bargain! I always look at the Limited range as they update it often and it follows current trends. Fabrics and general quality are good. People often write off M&S clothes without ever looking – ladies, wise up, you’re missing some gems!

  9. It’s all well and good showing tall slim ladies in lovely jeans but M&S along with most other shops have completely foggoton about the smaller ladies. No petite ranges with any style or colour in the shops. Oh but you can get them on line.. not feel the fabrics and have the pleasure of trying things on then having to return them. You can get plus size fashion nearly every where. Even the size 35+ shoes are to big In M&S. No more 27ins jeans..get them shortened. It would be great to find stylish clothes to try, fit and purchase in the shops just like everyone else. It’s a nightmare for ladies in their late 50s and 60s. Is anyone ready to help us?

  10. Sorry cannot beat Levi’s men’s jeans for wear and comfort buy vintage at a flea market in Florence where my brother lives also wear his hand me downs.

    1. I also wear my brother’s hand me downs Irene, and have done since we were little – very handy when it’s a sheepskin flying jacket that would cost hundreds today.

  11. Particularly like that second photo of you at The Festival Hall. You look truly lovely as well as deeply chic. Well done as ever Alyson.

  12. M&S 5 pocket jeggings which are basically thin jeans and perfect for munchkins like me (5’2″) who get swamped by heavy denim. They wear in soft, don’t cling too much and are great value. I buy the black skinnies by the bucket load but they also do indigo, and different leg lengths. You can even wear them with a top tucked in if you have a mind as they have a proper waistband. A step too far for me.

  13. I feel completely left out and must seek out Autograph jeans immediately! I have had success with Gap and sometimes with a brand called Tribal – for when I want something with a bit more vintage feel. Thanks for sharing as always!

  14. Ive been buying m and s jeans for a long time – they do a ‘short’ leg which fits me well – plus I don’t have to have them taken up. But most stores get very few small sizes for stock. Especially in the straight leg versions and those suitable for um us oldsters. Plenty of choice in the skinnies and jogging so. Every time I am in a store and looking at jeans I hear the same complaints from others shopping – why isn’t there more choice outside of the skinnies range. I am talking about stores like Richmond by the way.

  15. I love jeans but can not wear them to go to work and sometimes during the weekend I can’t wear them either because the temperatures in my home town are so hot…. enjoy them for me ladies.

  16. I have trouble finding jeans that fit, as most are too tight around the thighs – and often the calf. I’m 65, like to look stylish, but started out with a muscular build and have thickened over the past years…so hard. A couple of years ago I found the M & S relaxed fit jeans and these, in Short, work for me. I have them in two blues, two greys and charcoal…alas, no true black. And I can’t seem to find them online now. Come on, M $ S, there are many of us out there without skinny thighs!

  17. I don’t wear jeans a lot but bought M&S MOM Jeans. They are a perfect fit with Lycra and so comfortable. I also wear them with a cashmere polo neck sweater in navy and I feel so good in them. I am 73 and getting younger by the day.

  18. I liked Uniglo cigarette jeans last time I was in London. Nice fit but strange shorter leg however I was told “ankles” are in! And the other styles they now do free altering I believe. Do check!

  19. I second the comments above about tight jeans and not having skinny thighs. Mine are thinner than before but muscular due to swimming and yoga. Calves definitely more muscular from regular exercise. No plans to change that since I need to keep moving for health and enjoyment. Gap straight legs fit me but waist a bit gapping for correct thigh comfort. I hike them up with a belt. Gap also do chinos. I’ve bought them on sale going up a size to make them slouchier. In the past bought some jeans and linen trousers from John Rocha range in Debenhams. Might be worth trying some on there. My old so-called designer jeans Armani dark denim with great fit and stretch and a pair of Trussardi black ones are ten years old but have lasted because I wash rarely and line dry. Legs for both are straight pre skinny jean look. But still look good.
    As for the wide leg look with a high waist I got two pairs very discounted in Gap last spring. Still looking pretty radical. But high waist not very comfortable. May wear this spring or lop off hems to convert to culottes. Before they went bankrupt and closed down I bought a wonderful pair of dark denim culottes from Jaeger. Perfect fit for me and so modern looking. With chunky sandals or Birkenstocks in mild weather or recently with opaque heavy denier burgundy tights with similar colour poloneck. This showed me what a good length they can be and now tightness in thigh or calf.

  20. Echo the problem of overly skinny jeans – I like mine to be straight legged. Ihave long legs but have never ever been thin legs even when the rest of me as skinny – so skinny jeans – if I can pull them on – just look ridiculous. Please M&S, please have a range of straight legs that do not destroy my morale, ruin my self-esteem, make my bum look big. Just normal straight jeans, not high waisted, just one line in non skinny – please

  21. Do you have any good recommendations on where to find a camel corduroy jacket like that? I’m a US reader! Love this look!

  22. JonnyQ jeans are good, but not easy to find everywhere (we have a local small stockist). Very on trend, good cut, quality denim. But I’ve just bought some girlfriend jeans that are even darker from Hiut, a newish brand, made in Wales from Japanese denim. Not cheap sadly but if they wear as well as promised, I shall be a happy budgie. Since New Year, I have bought and returned multiple pairs of jeans… but after reading this, I’m sorry I didn’t think to look in Marks.

  23. Got a pair! I’m delighted, they too remind me of a Gap pair I had years ago. Thank you Alyson for the tip! I also bought the denim culottes. I’ve shortened them slightly as I’m not 5’8″ and love these too.

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