This simple yet effective style formula works whatever your age

The versatile 'nice top' can be worn over and over again

The “jeans and a nice top” formula is simple yet effective – it’s an ageless style favourite with truly universal appeal.

So why do so many of us treat it as a sartorial fall back option, so often landing on this pairing in a frenzy to get a nice outfit together and leave the house all within 10 minutes?

The look that was once a back-up is now taking centre stage. The French singer and model Vanessa Paradis wore blue slim jeans and a statement sequined floral top as she sat on the front row at the Chanel show this month. Cate Blanchett reworked a teal velvet top she had previously worn at the Oscars, this time wearing it with leather trousers instead of the formal skirt. Blanchett’s stylist, Elizabeth Stewart, rightly claimed it was “too good to not wear again”.

Vanessa Paradis at the Chanel Autumn Winter 2024 show
Vanessa Paradis at the Chanel Autumn Winter 2024 show - getty
Cate Blanchett attends the Louis Vuitton Autumn Winter 2024 show
Cate Blanchett at the Louis Vuitton Autumn Winter 2024 show - getty

That’s the thing about a “nice top” – you really can redo it over and over again. With wide leg jeans, or leather cigarette trousers, cargo pants or cord flares, the effect can feel different every time.

“I love embracing the ‘relaxed glamour’ trend and styling a sequin fringed cape top simply with a pair of denim jeans,” says the fashion influencer Grece Ghanem, explaining how you can really experiment with clashing pieces that are supposed to be smart or casual. “So fabulous.”

So, you’ve got the jeans, but which nice top to buy? Here are three styles to perfect the formula.

The draped jersey

Givenchy Spring Summer 2024 - getty

Directional draping was a hit on the catwalk at Givenchy and Christian Dior, and was used to create romantic, ethereal silhouettes or defined body-con tops. Paired with jeans, it’s a technique that makes any casual outfit look elevated. You can opt for a bold patterned or colourplay piece, or simply let the structure of the top speak for itself. Victoria Beckham has several flattering styles in her spring collection, as does Reiss on the high street.


Wrap front blouse, £690, Victoria Beckham; Simkhai One shoulder blouse, £162, Net-a-Porter; Asymmetric draped top, £38, Reiss

The floral blouse

What would a spring wardrobe be without its staple floral pieces? Whether it’s printed, embellished or embroidered, there are myriad ways to make this fashion perennial feel fresh. Small and busy prints are out, and larger, bolder motifs are trending now – as seen in the latest, flower-infused Loewe show. Kitri’s new illustrated leaf print comes on a flowing blouse top and matching skirt, should you wish to dress it up for a wedding, then down with jeans the next day.


Irene top, £125, Kitri; La Double J Scarf silk top, £550, Net-a-Porter; Jaeger Silk blouse, £99, Marks & Spencer

The waistcoat

The versatile yet understated waistcoat is back – now best worn as a top. Layered under another jacket and with the matching trousers, it can form a new suiting look – but when paired with jeans it changes the feel completely. Rag & Bone’s pinstripe style nods to a smart aesthetic, while COS and Mint Velvet have more experimental cuts, which could be layered over a silk camisole, or dress up a T-shirt underneath.


Rag & Bone Pin-Stripe woven waistcoat, £260, Selfridges; Linen-blend waistcoat, £85, Cos; Asymmetric waistcoat, £99, Mint Velvet

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