Denim is comfortable, durable, and a style chameleon -- it can be relaxed, grungy, rebellious, or classy. It can even fit in at the workplace on business casual days. It is well traveled with has fans in many countries. For all its versatility, though, denim rarely gets any special wardrobe recognition. This is just a pair of blue jeans. That’s only a denim jacket. But here's how to make your denim stand out this summer.

These pieces have become the “gold standard” of casual clothing in so many of our closets, yet they can easily be taken for granted. So here’s some fresh inspiration for wearing and styling denim, straight from the Asian city streets and a couple of recent media photo shoots.

Lizzy (below) from the K-pop group After School, poses in a black printed T-shirt and faded, distressed jeans for a photo shoot for the June 2014 issue of Nylon Magazine. Cotton patches make her jeans unique. Pick up a patch or two at a consignment shop or online fan store and sew them on. From that moment on, no one else will have a pair exactly like them.

Photo credit: Kmagazinelovers on Tumbler

HyeRi of the K-pop group Girl’s Day stands at the curb front and center, hat in hand, in a long sleeved printed shirt, sleeveless biker jacket, distressed faded skinny jeans and sneakers. She has combined these separate pieces in such a unique way that others on both sides can’t help but steal glances.

Photo credit: Street Style on Tumbler

Korean actress Go Ah Ra (You Are All Surrounded) looks at ease below in a white long-sleeved blouse, narrow scarf, and faded jeans embellished with rhinestones on the pockets. Actor, model and singer Jung Il Woo (The Moon That Embraces the Sun, 49 Days) goes with a similar crisp white-against-denim look. No need to tuck in a shirt or even wear a belt. These “denim minimalist” looks work well as is.

Photo credits: Left: DramaFever Right: Stardust Creator on Pinterest

Below left, Krystal Jung of K-pop group f(x) poses in a denim jumper and matching jacket for the June 2014 issue of W Magazine. Bold red sunglasses make this look anything but typical.

Below right, CL from K-Pop group 2NE1 just did a photo shoot for the May 2014 issue of Harper’s Bazaar Magazine. This look, featuring carefree long-sleeved printed shirt and denim separates, with high glamour hair and makeup, fits so well with her popstar persona.

Photo credits: Left:">Kmagzinelovers on Tumbler Right: Beautiful Korean

Next, Doo Joon of the popular K-pop group BEAST poses for an InStyle photo shoot. He sports patched, faded jeans cuffed at the ankle. His denim shirt is a mismatched shade of blue, with cuffed sleeves. Brown leather sandals and belt are all that he needs for a relaxed, no-hurry look.

Photo credit: Kmagazinelovers on Tumbler

Below left, Korean model Park Sora wears a denim jacket with lettering on back. At right, Lizzy stands at attention in a white printed T-shirt, cutoffs, and colorful matching jacket and cap in a lively print pattern.

Photo credits: Left:"> Right: Kmagazinelovers on Tumbler

Lee Seung Gi, well known Korean singer and actor (Gu Family Book, You Are All Surrounded), reveals the preppy, put together side of denim. He wears boot cut faded denim jeans, checked shirt, white cable cotton sweater and unusual denim-colored bow tie.

Photo credit: DramaFever

The Korean model below left wears a fun, apron-styled denim sundress. She pairs it with a shear black blouse and carries a black handbag. White leather flats complete this unexpected, creative and fun look.

The Japanese model on the right smiles in a casual but polished weekend outfit. She wears ultra-distressed skinny jeans, white top, black tailored jacket, a white sun hat, and casual black sandals.

Photo credits: Left: JinYongKim on Tumbler Right: Dholic Japan

This Hong Kong-based model wears fairly typical long cutoffs. He picks a black statement T-shirt, black cap, and sneakers. The leather backpack and Louis Vuitton case send a signal that he might not be a mere passive bystander at this shopping complex.

Photo credit:

The models below offer more ideas for making denim pieces stand out. At left, she wears skinny jeans with just a couple of slits at the knee with a white blouse, white jacket, cap and white platform lace up boots. It’s casual but is really different from anyone else’s look on the street. At right, she wears denim cutoffs, white high collared blouse and a surprising cobalt blue double-lapelled, short-waisted jacket. Dark stockings, flats and attention-getting sunglasses finalized the outfit.The key to these successful looks? Adding unexpected elements that might not occur to anyone else! This is creative thinking at its finest, and is at the heart of most street fashion.

Photo credits: Left: Itsmestyle Right: JinYongKim on Tumbler

Friends and shopping and denim. What could be better?!

Photo credits: Left: Alex Finch Right: JinYongKim on Tumbler

Hong Kong model and fashion blogger Mayo Wo has found a way to stand out -- she's wearing ombre skinny jeans. The pale pink clutch and pumps are a nice addition.

Photo credit: Mello Mayo

The model below shows a preference for straight leg blue jeans, white sneakers, and a smartphone that matches the shoes -- and can take pictures of the shoes.

Photo credit:

Cotton denim isn’t always blue, by the way. Sunny from Korean K-pop group SNSD looks ready for a casual evening out. She wears distressed white denim jeans, chain belt and off the shoulder top. Contrasting black and white separates are pretty much certain attention-getters, and this well-known singer wears them well!

Photo credit: Kmagazinelovers on Tumbler

What's your favorite denim look? Will you be trying out any of these ideas this summer? Comment below!

LilySuzuki is an American who lived in Japan for 6 years and considers Tokyo like a second home. She also worked in Bali, Indonesia for 2 years. A blogger on Asian cultures and trends, she’s an major fan of Kpop, Jpop, anime and Korean dramas.

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