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Denim Forever

Because (really cool) jeans are at the heart of Austin's easy style, we salute the Canadian tuxedo—and three locals who love to have the blues.

Liz Kweller

Mom, Real Estate Agent, Design Consultant

  • What’s your favorite denim memory?
  • Buying my first Levi’s jean jacket in 1985. I was 10 years old and ready to have a canvas for all my buttons. I was tiny and even the Small was huge on me, but I didn’t care.
  • Do you have a denim muse?
  • Definitely Farrah Fawcett circa ’77! I love high-waisted jeans, and she rocked them like no other.
  • Favorite brand/cut/wash?
  • AG always fits me like a glove. I also like J Brand, Joe’s Jeans, and vintage denim, of course. I tend to stay away from fancy modern washes. I’m a purist and want to start off with an even tone and let them wear in naturally. I can go boot cut, cigarette, straight leg, wide leg, flair, skinny, you name it. I have at least one of each of these in my closet right now.
  • Canadian Tuxedo: Just wrong, or oh-so-right?
  • Oh-so-right! I’m married to a guy who’s been wearing that uniform for years.
  • What’s your approach to dressing up denim?
  • What I love about denim is that you can take just about any pair of jeans and build out whatever look you’re going for. Add heels and a blazer and you’re dressy, add Converse and a T-shirt and you’re casual. I think that’s why it’s stood the test of time—denim is the ultimate blank slate in fashion.
  • Do you have a jeans confession?
  • High-waisted harem jeans by Z. Cavaricci . . . I was never fortunate enough to have my own in the eighties. I always had to borrow them from my friends and their sisters. I predict they will make a huge comeback.
  • Anything else?
  • Whether I’m getting down and dirty in a renovation project or showing properties to a client, running around with my kids or working on a design concept for my husband, Ben Kweller, no matter what hat I’m wearing, denim is my friend.
  • Liz: Tank by Me & Arrow, $78, available at Olive; Hat by Rag & Bone, $175, Blouse by Elizabeth & James, $295, Jeans by Closed, $250, all available at By George; Shoes by Lucky Brand, $109, available at Stella Says Go.
  • Judah (left): Tshirt, $9.95, Pearl Snap Shirt, $17.95, Jeans, $29.95, Sneakers, $12.95, all available at H&M
  • Dorian (right): Sweatshirt, $9.95, Jeans, $29.95, both available at H&M; Shoes and Vest, Dorian’s own.
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Gary Massey

Road Manager, Merch Guy, Occasional Hayes Carll Body Double, Bon Vivant

  • What’s your favorite denim memory?
  • Robert Plant in The Song Remains the Same.
  • What’s the last pair of jeans that you purchased, and where did you buy them?
  • A pair of used Levi’s 511’s from Buffalo Exchange (2904 Guadalupe St, buffaloexchange.com) to cut down into jorts.
  • Do you have a denim muse?
  • I’m not going to throw this one away on a witty quip. Back in July we lost drummer Tommy Ramone, the sole surviving original member of the Ramones. I don’t think any article on denim attire in popular culture can be complete without a nod to the punk pioneers from Forest Hills. Also an honorable mention to Austin’s own Bad Lovers, for repping the cut-off jean jackets.
  • Canadian Tuxedo: Just wrong, or oh-so-right?
  • Are you kidding me? The Can-Tux is like sex, or pizza, or the Thursday Night Social Ride: even when it’s bad it’s good!
  • What’s your approach to dressing up denim?
  • A roll of quarters in the pocket.
  • Do you have a jeans confession?
  • I never wash my jeans—just put ‘em in the freezer overnight to get the stank out.
  • A great pair of jeans is like . . .
  • catnip to the ladies.

Thermal Shirt by RRL, $185, Jean Jacket by Imogen and Willie, $345, Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering, $150, Watch by Triwa, $288, all available at STAG; Vest by Save Khaki United, $230, Jeans by Fabric Brand, $400, both available at By George; Boots and Hat Gary’s own.

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Elizabeth Aubrey

Real Estate Agent

  • What’s your favorite denim memory?
  • I was living in New York City in the late nineties and tried on my first pair of jeans with that touch of stretch, that special Lycra quotient. Most important discovery since penicillin in my book.
  • What’s the last pair of jeans that you purchased, and where did you buy them?
  • Crazy about my kind of slouchy, kind of skinny jeans by Won Hundred (brand) from Kick Pleat (918 W 12th St, kickpleat.com).
  • Do you have a denim muse?
  • YES! Lauren Phillips, who is a stylist at Sabia (1213 W 5th St), is definitely a denim goddess. She hard-rocked some modern white overalls with a brass front zipper the other day, and she does that kind of thing all the time.
  • What’s so important about having the perfect pair of jeans?
  • The perfect pair of jeans will never let you down and will always get you out the door like a strong cup of coffee. I am a fan of uniform dressing, having a few really special pieces that you feel great in and can modify with shoes and accessories.
  • Canadian Tuxedo: Just wrong, or oh-so-right?
  • This is a deep topic with variables ranging from cloth weight to wash juxtaposition, and while it can be done right, it can also be disastrous. So, I say Cuidado! Proceed with caution! If you look in the mirror and your “uh-oh” button goes off, you need to rethink the outfit.
  • What’s your approach to dressing up denim?
  • Strappy Jimmy Choo high heels.

Scarf by Officine, $340, Tank by Helmut Lang, $115, both available at By George; Booties by Loeffler Randall, $395, available at Valentines Too; Earrings by Fail Jewelry, $90, Bracelet by Seville, $84, both available at Eliza Page; Jacket and Jeans Elizabeth’s own.

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