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Artsy Cousin Shows Us How To Wear Boyfriend Jeans – With Enough Color To Perk Up The Winter Grays

Remember Artsy in Boulder? She who brightened these pages back in March of 2013? Well, this Artsy Cousin is really Debbie in Colorado, and she’s returned, on request.

Right as much of the world has descended deep, deep into winter grays, (really, why do we call them the “blues?” What did blues ever do to us? Clearly grays are the culprit.) she’s back to show us another way to wear boyfriend jeans. With color, unsurprisingly. Happy, imaginative, carefree color.

Bring on dreams of spring. Reminding us that it’s summer in Australia, and trade winds blow in Jamaica. Lights, and, sandals.



Note that in every shot she’s wearing GAP Sexy Boyfriend Jeans. Almost all these outfits rely on a very moderate budget. In the first photos, the focus is on black, aqua and warm light reds. Also a smile.


Here she wears blue, in diamond geometries on shirt, scarf and shoes. Painting in the background for bonus points. Let us all seek out flame red today, and stand before it in our glories.


Below, more blue, but channeling here the Grande Dame. Elizabeth Locke earrings, a Chanel necklace, and Hermes scarf. Which reminds me both that I love Locke’s work, and that, while I could never manage a scarf and necklace together, it’s possible for the skilled.

Hermes, Locke, Artsy Grand Dame

One more version, in jaunty red. With an even jauntier hat and statement necklace.


As Debbie says herself, context is all. Even when it’s imaginary.

 “An entertaining aspect of ensemble arrangement was, “Where would I wear this?” I’d choose the black floral-print outfit to meet Pseu, Tish, and Duchesse at a downtown cafe for a beverage; I’d change into the blue print mix to meet the Class Factotum for a good laugh over Sheldonesque husbands; I’d throw on the pink shirt/floral bag to meet you at a nursery to drool over hydrangeas (though, really, I’d switch out the sandals for some colorful Converses); and I’d swan along with good posture in the eau-de-Grande Dame outfit to meet Reggie for a “Do tell!” about outrageous characters who made our childhood homes more…unusual and colorful. Oh, and I’d wear the J Crew high-wattage Liberty-print outfit (but the Defcon 1 version, with an additional print or two) to a consignment/thrift store with Sally, where we’d extol the joys of pattern mixing and color play.”

Damn, girl.


Thank you Debbie. May the winter, and the world for that matter, return you the gift of good cheer.

All photo credit to Celia Bockhoff.

The GAP jeans are these, and here’s a link to Elizabeth Locke for the curious. No affiliate links are included.

30 Responses

  1. I have several pairs of these exact jeans. They make me think I could ever be sexy…and have a boyfriend.

    1. Oh I should make clear. She is “Cousin” in as much as she comes from an extremely similar family. In fact, after we met here, we realized our fathers had been at boarding school together. My father remembered hers as a very nice guy. So our looking alike is cultural, and probably based on some Scottish or English family connections a really long ways back;).

  2. Debbie looks fabulous in the Gap Boyfriend jeans (my fave) and makes wearing patterns look effortless, so naturally artsy.
    I highly approve of the Hermes and Locke combination…a look I aim to copy, though with a more modest necklace!
    I hope we will see more of Debbie in future posts.

  3. Love the post, love the patterns, especially love the part where various clothes are (so perfectly) matched to the wonderful women who write other style blogs!

  4. Beautiful selection. I thought of you this morning, Lisa, as I was shoveling snow in my driveway. I was wondering what was proper attire for a sturdy gal for shoveling snow. Then I realized that since you live in California, snow shoveling isn’t something you would do!

  5. Wow, that’s some talented outfit making going on! I don’t know which I love more, the blue diamond top or the Liberty print…Debbie, I’d be thrilled to meet you at a cafe for a beverage. :-)

  6. Wow — what gorgeous color & pattern mixing!

    What’s especially interesting to me is that although I never mix patterns like this, I not only really like the look of these outfits, but I’d actually like to wear most of them as well.

    To both Lisa and Debbie in Colorado: thank you so much for sharing these photos with us.

  7. Thank you for the guest post, Artsy Cousin.

    Am I missing a link to a source for the blue diamond print shirt? I love it! (My luck it will be one she’s had for eons…)

    I’m finding as I get older (not a new “discovery,” I’m sure) that I like and look better in brighter colors than when I was younger. Or at least I think so…


    PS: It was fun to see the bumper stickers reappear the other day. I still smile every time I see mine (“A simple… will suffice”).

    1. Hi, Pen

      The blue diamond-print shirt came from Anthropologie’s sale rack last October.

      I’m envious that you scored one of those bumper stickers!

  8. Hi Lisa! I especially love the shot of Debbie. On the step, as if she’s all ready to walk out the door to go shopping at the outdoor market in. Mexico (continuing with the dream sequence, here…).

    Is Debbie tall! I love the jeans, but I tend to like mine a little longer. I’m 5’10”, so do you think the longs would work better for me? Plus, do you know if there is any stretch in these? I’m being lazy ! I’ll look it up. Thx :-)

    Interesting side story about your dads!

    1. Hi, Mamavalveeta

      I too am 5’10” (after Pilates, anyway), and my flat-shoe inseam is 33.5.” I’m considering buying a pair of the longs myself (in my feverish delight at finding boyfriends that didn’t look awful on me, I failed to ask whether talls were available). But I tend to cuff higher to accommodate gladiators (sandals!) and ankle straps. The boyfriends are 100% cotton, so they will forgive a nice square of fine dark chocolate, but not the entire slice of chocolate lava cake.

  9. I cannot successfully mix patterns on my 5’8 frame to save my life, but both examples here are so well done. And yes, I cannot do necklace and scarf together either. It’s one or the other depending on the temperature.

  10. Nice outfits there and a nice reminder that summer will come again… sometime. I love the blue sandals, particularly.

    By the way, she really, really does look like you. It’s funny, that.

  11. Lisa,

    I know, I know, “A simple thank you will suffice,” but as a lax/lapsed HW, I’ll throw caution to the wind here and send you “a simple-yet-latently-effusive” thank you instead for this fun opportunity.

    And a big hug to my talented friend Celia Bockhoff for the photographs.

  12. She looks great in her colors and patterns, both of which I admit to shying away from, but like on others. Gorgeous necklace, I too love Elizabeth Locke.

  13. I especially love the blue diamond look and the Liberty look, which is odd because I rarely wear patterns….time for a re-think? Thanks to all concerned for such an inspirational and colourful post in the middle of this endless winter.

  14. LOVE color; love prints. So great to see them looking fabulous and fashionable. May I ask where that great black floral patterned shirt in the first photograph was found?

    Debbie has amazing style. The outfit she modeled for you last year was off the charts.

    “Context is all…even when it’s imaginary” is now my newest favorite quotable. :)

    1. Hi, Alex
      The black floral shirt is another Anthropologie find, this one from about a month ago. Keep your eyes peeled: in our local store, it has been relegated from prime display space to those easy-to-miss, under-tabletop shelves where good shirts go to ponder their sins before migrating to the sale rack.

  15. I love all these outfits! I have similar coloring, but have lately stayed away from bright colors and prints, thinking they would overwhelm my paleness. But obviously, I should rethink this!

  16. Thank you, Debbie, for the lead on your marvelous black floral shirt! Ah, Anthropologie, whose offerings range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Anyone over 25 must take ample amounts of discernment into that place. But it is so wonderful to browse through — and what you found was a find, indeed. At risk of poaching a great idea, I’m going to see if I can find it myself. Cheers to you! ~Alex.

  17. It was great fun doing this “photo shoot” with you Debbie! I’m so glad the light cooperated and gave us some great shots. Of course it doesn’t hurt that your are beautiful and tres photogenic!
    I was also amazed at how you threw your colorful outfits together with such mirth and grace. No wonder you are my “go to girl” for all things color and fashion!

  18. I have always loved Artsy-in-Boulder’s style in commenting/writing/thinking/dressing, and I still do! What a wonderful post….thank you to all involved.

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