Thread's brand manager talks about wash, style and why you can afford to pay $150 or more for jeans.

Thread's brand manager talks about wash, style and why you can afford to pay $150 or more for jeans.

Nationwide Insurance is the latestCentral Ohio company to loosen constraints on wearing jeans in the workplace. Driving through Nationwide's campus between 8 and 9 a.m. on a workday illustrates how this is a fashion space in which millennials seem to be perfectly comfortable. Meanwhile, those older generations-unless they're employed by Abercrombie & Fitch or another fashion retailer-may struggle with this newfound freedom.

Given this fresh fashion quandary, we went to Christina McKenna, the brand manager for Thread, and asked her for help on choosing jeans for work. After all, the way a person dresses in the workplace may influence how they are perceived by others. Being seen as a decade outdated usually is not a good thing no matter what your profession.

When you consider a person's professional brand, what would be important about the jeans they wear to work or to play in?The "play" part is easy-wear what you like. Your professional brand incorporates all kinds of choices that you make regarding how you want to present yourself at work, and how you want to be perceived. Clothing plays a big part in that. If you've not put a lot of conscious thought into that, consider the image that your particular position, company or industry conveys. Relaxed-fit jeans tend to be more casual, wide-legged jeans are dressier and straight and skinny cuts can be dressed up or down.

What's the most important thing to know regarding fit when shopping for jeans for work?Fit matters. Just as you would get a pair of suit pants tailored to fit, you should do the same with jeans. Men, if the bottoms of your jeans are torn up because you're walking on them, they're too long. Women, try them on with the heels you'll be wearing and have them hemmed to the right length. (Editor's note: Various retailers, including Thread, provide complimentary tailoring for customers.)

Keeping style fluctuations in mind, is it ever appropriate to wear jeans that are more than four or five years old?Part of the appeal of jeans is their durability- they're the original workers' uniform-so a good quality pairshouldlast you four or five years. If they have a classic cut (sorry guys, no carpenter jeans) and wash (sorry, no acid wash) and are still in good condition, you can definitely wear them.

What type of shoes work for jeans if you're wearing them to a professional job? For men, you can't go wrong with Oxfords or loafers. For women, it can depend on the cut. A wide-legged jean looks best with a heel. Pumps are going to be dressier than wedges. Skinnier styles can be paired with a range of heel heights. You can never go wrong with a classic black heel.

OK, now let's talk about jean shorts since it's June. Tell us what you think of jean cutoffs for women and for men. Are they ever appropriate for the professional world, such as a team-building retreat or picnic?We love all kinds of denim, but for men and women in the professional world, frayed or ripped cutoffs are seldom going to be work-appropriate, even at a retreat or picnic.

Finally, if we think of jeans as a professional investment, tell us the price range that we should be willing to pay to get the best look possible in a pair of jeans we intend to wear to the office.Denim is a classic staple in your wardrobe and should be a price-per-wear piece. The more you wear an item, the less the investment cost per wear. You should expect to pay anywhere from $150 and higher depending on the details, type of denim and wash involved.