Forget double denim – Rita Ora brings us double denim squared

The pop star Rita Ora is not afraid of a strong look. This is a woman who has worn a Spongebob Squarepants dress with accompanying yellow stilettos to meet fans in London, arrived at a concert in head-to-toe neon leopard mesh and has walked the red carpet in fishnet cycling shorts. Matching pieces are her thing: on low-key days, you will find Ora in a tracksuit. So it is natural that she is a longstanding cheerleader for a much-maligned trend – double denim. But now Ora has taken it further. All hail the dawn of quadruple denim, or double denim squared.

Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake in 2001.

Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake in 2001. Photograph: AP

Ora was spotted in New York this week wearing a long denim coat, thigh-high denim boots that look like tiny pairs of jeans shrugged to the wearer’s knees, a denim skirt and a denim shirt, all made by Diesel.

Ora’s full look.

Ora’s full look. Photograph: Startraks Photo/Rex/Shutterstock

The look has been compared to Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake’s double-denim moment on the red carpet at the American Music awards in 2001, in which Spears wore a denim ballgown, accompanied by Timberlake in jeans and a denim blazer. His was a smart version of the “Canadian tuxedo” – a denim jacket and jeans. This is only one key moment on the long timeline of double denim. It is a sartorial idea that has been touted as the height of fashion , on the catwalk at Chloe in 2010, for example, and the height of naffness – see Shakin’ Stevens in the 80s and Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear. And, of course, 90s Irish girlband B*witched, who essentially built their entire career on the novelty of a denim uniform. Long before that, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley were both blue-chip style icons (pun intended) in favour of the western look, taken from the miners, farmers and railroad workers who picked jeans and jean jackets for reasons of durability as far back as the 1800s.

Elvis in double denim in Roustabout.

Elvis in double denim in Roustabout. Photograph: Lynn Goldsmith/Rex

Let’s be honest, Ora probably wasn’t poring over images of Monroe on the set of The Misfits when she pulled on this outfit. Because in 2019, it’s not about the western look. With Ora and friends in charge, think more is more is more. Where next? Octuple denim? Or double denim to the power of four? It is only a matter of time.


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