We’ve discussed the trendy big seven, colour and pattern, theme and silhouette, and footwear. Next up is jeans, and we’re absolutely spoiled for choice in style, wash, length, bells and whistles, colour and pattern. The assortment is extensive, and my suggestion is to milk it this season if you enjoy wearing jeans.
Generally, trendy fits and widths are wider, and rises are higher. Lengths are cropped, ankle, the new shorter full length, and floor-skimming full length. Mid-rise jeans are present, but harder to find. Skinny jeans — tailored or super body-con — are a classic. High-rise super skinnies, which were more recently trendy, look classic too. Note that I said classic and not dated. Please continue wearing skinnies if you feel great in them. The do your own thing trend means wearing a trend until you are done with it, and not when fashion tells you it’s done. Retailers continue to offer busloads of skinnies because they sell. That means people enjoy wearing them despite the shift in trends, and that’s fab.
These are the most important new on-trend jeans silhouettes to my eye, which are great in any wash of blue denim, another neutral, or a colour. Some of the silhouettes are “new”, some have been fringe trending for a while, and others have gone mainstream. Flies are zip-through, button-through, or exposed. You’ll see a lot of ‘80s and ‘90s revival here, which is why some of the styles are referred to as vintage jeans.
1. High-Rise Relaxed Straight
The ‘90s throwback could be a new go-to wardrobe essential. It’s the Mom jean – (I loathe that description) – and mainstream. It’s cut high on the rise and is straight through the leg. It is NOT skinny like the cropped straights of five years ago. It’s relaxed on the leg, wider on the hem, and higher in the rise. Lengths are usually short, although full-lengths are coming through.
2. Wide Crops
The ‘70s throwback could be another new go-to wardrobe essential. Wide crops are WIDER than relaxed straight legs, and wide all the way down to the hem. They are mainstream. Their widths and lengths can vary. Some pairs are streamlined and what I call a “slim wide crop”, and others are dramatically wide like culottes. Some are cut like sailor pants with three pairs of buttons down the front. Lengths can finish at the calf or a couple of inches above the ankle. These can make you feel and look wider, and are an acquired taste. It’s about wearing them with the right fluid top untucked if you’re not a tucker. Remember that you don’t need to feel and look streamlined and narrow in something to be fabulous. Turn the “long over lean” look on its head and wear “short over wide” to change things up.
3. Broad Cuff
Jeans with broad cuffs at the hem are relatively new and fringe, especially in relaxed, flared and slouchy cuts. Some of the lengths are cropped, while others graze the top of the foot or the ankle bone. The dark washes create a high-contrast cuff, while the low-contrast cuffs on light washes are more subtle. The versions with the high-contrast cuff can shorten the leg line unless you wear a shorter top, so you have to be okay with that.
4. High-Rise Bootcut and Mega Flare
Bootcuts that are twenty years old are low rise, which is not today’s trend. The trendy version is with a high rise or relatively high mid-rise, and it’s just gone mainstream. Leg fits for bootcuts and bell-bottoms are streamlined till the knee and flare out to the hem. Hem widths can be subtle or more flared. Mega flares are high rise and wide or extremely wide from thigh to ankle.
The lengths of bootcuts and flares can skim the surface of the ground in heels, sneakers, flatforms and flats. Or they can be sported at the new shorter full length with the same types of shoes. Most of my clients who have bought bootcuts and flares recently are wearing them with fashion sneakers, low-heeled boots, and flatforms.
5. Paperbag and Pleated Waist
A mega ‘80s flashback if ever there was one. The fringe trend is gaining momentum which means that more and more people are into the look. These jeans are high or very high in the rise, and often pleated on the midsection. Sometimes, the paperbag waist and belt is sans pleats, and the tie is quite subtle. Sometimes the style can be worn without the tie. Leg silhouettes vary from straight and balloon, to wide in the leg. The point is to tuck a top into the waist.
6. Carpenter and Cargo
Jeans with carpenter, seam and cargo detailing have been fringe trending for a couple of seasons, and are still very fringe. Silhouettes range from the relaxed straight, balloon, wide crop and bootcut, to jogger and boyfriend cuts. Lengths vary from cropped to full length.
7. Slim Boyfriend and Girlfriend
These are different to the versions of ten years ago that were slouchy, lower rise, and you wore the waistband low on the hips. Today’s boyfriend and girlfriend jeans trend is higher in the rise, fitted on the seat, tapered at the hem, and relaxed on the leg. Hems can be gently cuffed. They are still quite fringe.
8. Ribbon and Tuxedo Stripe
Jeans with tuxedo stripes and ribbon detailing on the side seams have been around for a while but did not go mainstream. Silhouettes are usually high-rise cropped straights, high-rise relaxed straights, wide legs or cropped flares.
Jeans with track pant design detailing are very fringe, and likely to stay that way. Some have structured waistbands, but most have elastic waists. Hems are tapered and ribbed or elasticated too. It can be fun to pull up the hems to create textured scrunch. They could be great for plane travel.
10. Cropped Flare
Cropped flares are mainstream and have been around for at least six seasons. They’re also known as cropped bootcuts or demi legs. They are mid or high-rise, streamlined on the leg, and flare out on the hem like a short pair of bootcuts. They are still going strong, and not a classic yet.
Printed skinny jeans are mainstream, but the roomier versions are still quite fringe. There’s a wider assortment of patterns each year, so take your pick. Vertical striped jeans have made quite the comeback and take me back to the ‘80s. Patterned jeans are a good way to break up the monotony of a long Winter.
12. Balloon and Lantern
The late ‘80s and early ‘90s silhouette is having its fringe fashion moment. The jeans are high in the rise, fitted on the seat, wide on the leg, but taper back to the lower leg on the hem thereby creating a “balloon effect”. Lantern pants balloon out and taper back at the hem in a similar way, but have a couple of darts on the leg to create a notched angle in the silhouette. Lengths are usually cropped or on the ankle.
Jeans with side seams that twist from back to front are very fringe. The seam detailing creates an interesting diagonal line down the fronts and backs of the legs which is quite streamlining. I’ve only seem them in relaxed straights, regular straight and balloon silhouettes.
I LOVE the jeans trends. Jeans are the trendier part of my style, so I like to be an early adopter of new silhouettes that tickle my fancy. I steadily add trendy jeans to my capsule to balance out the modern classic components of my style.
My current jeans collection is in the collection below. Apart from a red and white pair of regular cropped straights that fit like cigarette pants, I’ve moved away from skinny jeans. I’ve got high-rise relaxed straights, wide crops, sailor crops, high-rise bootcuts, high-rise wide legs, broad cuffs, carpenters, patterns, tuxedo stripes, and cropped flares covered. Next up is some sort of pleated jean with or without a tie belt, balloon jeans, striped jeans, and perhaps a pair of twisted jeans. I also want to refresh my white jeans capsule with roomier silhouettes since I wore the white wide crops the most last year.
Over to you. Which denim trends tickle your fancy?