Blue Jean Baby
Street-style star and fashion stylist Rachael Wang on refreshing your denim for the new year.
By Britt Burritt
With a résumé that includes being Edward Enninful's assistant, fashion market director at Nylon and fashion director at Allure, Rachael Wang already had an enviable career. But she left behind her 9-to-5 to freelance as an independent stylist after protesting at Standing Rock in 2016. Wang wanted a schedule she controlled, with more flexibility to participate in the activities she cared about.
That kind of meaningful perspective and approach to her career translates to her down-to-earth editorial styling projects and has made the Cali girl an icon for her laid-back, realistic looks, which often include denim.
What denim pieces do you wear most often?
An oversized trucker jacket with a faux-fur collar and a sherpa lining. I think it's really easy to style in a more feminine way because of the glamorous faux fur. You can wear it with heels. You can also style it with boots or with sneakers, and it can be really casual. Because it's oversized, you can layer it, which makes it great for transitional weather: you can wear it with a T-shirt or, in winter, put a hoodie under it.
What else do I love? Levi's Wedgie fit jean continues. It's been around for a couple seasons now, but it's like a new classic. The fit is so amazing. It looks great on so many body types: I think that it's really flattering for girls who don't have much of a bum—it kind of perks it up—and for women who are curvier, it's just so, so flattering. The Wedgie is one of those great cuts because of its high waist, which I find to be the most flattering on bodies, when it kind of hits right above the belly button.
The Wedgie also has some technical components that create that great fit. Can you tell us about those?
Traditionally [on Levi's], like the 501, the pockets are more vertical. With the Wedgie jean, [the designers] actually rotated the pockets so that they're tilting to the outside, so that the space in between the pockets is bigger than what it would be, and that focuses your attention on the triangle in between the pockets.
And then the back seam they shortened by two inches, so there's going to be tension from the front to the back that's lifting, like physically lifting, your bum.
How do you style the Wedgie?
I pair them with a fashion top and a heel, and I'm ready for Fashion Week. I love that I can basically pack two or three pairs of jeans if I'm going on a weeklong trip and rotate them in and out. Because of the tapered leg, you can pair it with a heel and it doesn't feel too bulky. But you can also pair it with sneakers or boots, and it has the right length that it doesn't swallow you up because you're drowning in fabric. It's a day-to-night jean. You can wear it casually. And you can wear it to work if you pair it with a blazer and a pump.
You have quite a collection of denim yourself.
I definitely consider myself a collector. I can't help myself but go into a thrift store when I'm traveling to see if I can find a great pair that fits me. And if I find a pair that's better than another pair that I have that's similar, I try to put the other pair back into the universe for someone else to find and be really excited about. I kind of keep a rotation going.
What's your favorite denim find?
I found the most amazing pair of jeans. I think that they were a 1970-specific bell-bottom shape, but they had been taken in by hand and they're all patched up. The knees have navy corduroy and then, like, a lighter denim patch. And then the back has this beautiful embroidered rose patch that is on the bum, and it has this really cute piece of white lace, like a doily or something, that was hand-stitched on.
And you can tell that they're such a labor of love and someone had them for so long. And they fit me perfectly. It's so special to be able to find something that not only looks amazing but fits perfectly and is really one of a kind.