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How to pull off: the printed jean

Chris Young/The Globe and Mail

The practice of wearing denim to work has come a long way since the dot-com-bubble days, when Silicon Valley popularized the idea of business casual in the form of schlubby jeans and a polo shirt. Today, office-appropriate denim is far more tailored, refined and indeed ever-evolving: Witness the ubiquitous printed jean. Whether floral-patterned, leopard-print, tie-dye or covered in abstract geometrics, the options for summer (and the workplace) are as endless as the World Wide Web itself. Here's how to narrow them down.

1. Neon tie-dye animal prints might be appropriate for teenagers (or Dina Lohan),but not for the office-bound woman. Instead, opt for a restrained, sophisticated graphic pattern such as the one shown here.

2. On the runway this spring, Alexander Wang paired printed jeans with a top in the same flamboyant fabric. For a less extreme approach to pattern clashing, try a subdued polka-dot button-down or blouse. As a rule, keep the colour scheme consistent for top and pants.

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3. Make sure the jean is tailored like a trouser – slim and structured – and avoid cuts that are too tight or baggy, especially in a professional setting. Choose a dressier flat or structured heel– not sneakers – to complete the look.

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