When we were in the very beginning stages of planning Jean Stories, we sat on Jane’s deck at her house in Brooklyn and scoured Google Images for beautiful people in denim to put on a mood board (as one does). One of our favorite pics? A Bruce Weber shot of Aerin Lauder lounging on a Campana stuffed-animal settee. In the photo, she’s wearing a denim shirt, looking classic and chic and, well, perfectly like herself – something we put a lot of emphasis on when it comes to this site.

So, we were obviously very excited to do our own portraits of Aerin at her East Hampton home, wearing what else but a chambray shirt (okay, denimheads, we know chambray isn’t technically denim; but it’s in the denim family!)…and J. Crew jeans, and another of her favorites, white jeans (hers are DL1961). The founder and creative director of AERIN reopens her Southampton store this weekend. It will carry a selection of AERIN clothing and accessories (like the Lagos sandals she wears here), plus home items, and other beach-ready must-haves such as Jo de Mer swim. Stop by and there’s a good chance you’ll bump into Aerin herself. And she’ll probably be wearing…denim! Happy summer.

What’s the story behind the Bruce Weber photo? How did you end up in that denim shirt?

I have always loved denim shirts and have a large and wonderful collection of them – from Lanvin to Gap. Bruce Weber defines and embraces American style, and when he came to the shoot, I was actually already wearing the shirt. He suggested I keep it on for the photo and that is the picture that ended up running.

Tell us about these blue jeans you are wearing in your Jean Stories shoot… What do you love most about them?

These are a pair of J.Crew denims. J.Crew has that quintessential American ease and I have always loved the fit of their jeans. They really define casual style, and even though I just bought them they look like they’ve been in my closet forever.

What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think about these jeans?


What shoe do you like wearing the most with them?

I pair them with the AERIN Lagos or something very classic like a ballet slipper.

What’s the chicest place these J.Crews have been?

These are really my go-to pair of jeans, so they’ve been everywhere! I recently took them to Aspen for a ski trip with my family and paired them with a Moncler ski sweater and fur boots.

What’s the strangest place these jeans have been?

My sons’ lacrosse camp in New Hampshire.

Click on an image to see the slideshow

Has anyone else ever worn them?

No. Denim is not something that I normally share. A good pair of jeans will fit you just right, and you wouldn’t want that to change by having someone else wear them.

What do people say when they see you in these jeans?

Probably something along the lines of the look being classic American style.

We hear Mario Testino had some advice about tailoring a pair of vintage Levi’s you have…

Yes – Mario saw me in a pair of old Levi’s I’d owned for years and suggested I have the leg altered to a slimmer fit. It had never occurred me to me tailor a pair of jeans before, but he turned out to be right. It’s a great trick that I definitely use once in a while.

What’s the silliest jean you’ve ever worn?

I had a hot-pink pair of jeans on once when we were heading to a family dinner and my 11 year-old son did not approve. He ended up making me take them off before we left.

Was there ever a jean that you probably should have broken up with sooner than you did?

Probably a pair of bell-bottom jeans. I could have done without those.

Click on an image to see the slideshow

What’s the most versatile denim piece you own? How do you dress it up? Dress it down?

I live in white jeans for most of the year. They are just so versatile. I’ve been known to pair them with anything from a bright blazer to a contrasting denim shirt. These DL1961 jeans work really well for me. I always find myself coming back to them.

Who do you think has the best denim style?

Kate Moss. Everything she wears seems effortless but denim just looks perfect on her.

What denim trend are you willing to try right now?

I prefer to stick with the classics, although I do enjoy a colored jean once in a while.

If these jeans could talk, what would they say about you?

“Prefers to be barefoot.”

AERIN  83 Main Street  Southampton, NY  631-353-3773.