This year I’m going to share my comprehensive overview of the trends earlier in the year than I normally do. I’m kicking off the series with jeans, because it’s a denim year. If denim is your thing, milk it and enjoy the large assortment of jeans and denim items year round. 

First, some general points:

  • Lengths: The lengths of jeans vary greatly and a variety of lengths are on-trend. There are floor-sweeping lengths with mega scrunch that are a potential tripping hazard, so please be careful! There are shorter and safer versions that are full length. There is the new shorter full length that skims the vamp of the shoe and doesn’t have a breakline. The point is to showcase footwear. And many versions of cropped lengths that range from one to six inches above the ankle bone. Two inches above the ankle bone tends to be a sweet spot.

  • Rises: Low rises are back, but aren’t mainstream yet. Mid and high rises are mainstream and here to stay. For the first time I can remember, three rise lengths are on-trend and available. Low rises can be achieved by wearing a fitted front low rise of about 8 inches or so. Or they can be achieved by wearing the waistbands of higher rise slouchy silhouettes on the hips. High rises with very dropped crotch points like harem pants silhouettes are there too.
  • Washes: You’ll see every wash of blue denim, with an emphasis on light washes. There’s a smattering of acid wash. Dark washes are there, but taking a backseat. Of course, there is black, grey, and white denim too.
  • Distressing: Denim with ample distressing, shredding, holes, and extensive sandblasting takes a backseat. Denim is light and faded, but you’ll seldom see hectic intentional distressing. Raw-edged hems are still there.
  • Fits: Fits range from tailored and fluidly tailored shapes, to fluid and slouchy oversized silhouettes. Generally denim fits are more relaxed than they’ve been in decades. If you want to update your jeans with a more on-trend pair, choose a silhouette that has a bit or a lot of width somewhere on the hips and legs, or in both areas.

On to to the top denim trends, as I see them. Some are mainstream, and others are still fringe.

1. All Things Denim

Blue denim is having its fashion moment, and we’re talking more than jeans and shorts. There are denim tops, jackets, coats, skirts, dresses, suits, jumpsuits, corsets, bustiers, vests, hats, shoes and handbags across all sorts of silhouettes. Wearing denim on denim is big, and in the same blue wash. Almost every retailer is showing some sort of matching blue denim-on-denim look. The thickness of denim varies too.

COS
Waisted Denim Blazer
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5
COS
Structured Denim Shirt
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2
Mango
Pocketed Denim Jacket
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1
Mango
Strass Denim Jacket
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1
Shopbop
AMO Welder Skirt
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1
Shopbop
Ash Isac Jacket
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1
Shopbop
Khaite Combly Jacket
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2
Shopbop
ASKK NY Denim Shirt
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3
Shopbop
Ash Caly Jacket
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3
Zara
Zw The Denim Skirt
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4

2. Colours and Patterns

Most denim items are a form of blue wash, with neutral black and white denim firmly in the mix. Non-neutral denim is back, and so is patterned denim. Interestingly, a lot of the patterned denim is a form of self-colour blue, or blue and white. There is patched and embellished denim too. All lengths, fits, rises and silhouettes are represented.

Eloquii
Straight Leg Jeans
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1

3. Cargo

Jeans with cargo pockets and utility detailing are the newest and most fringe trend of all. Some cargo pockets are huge and three dimensional, and others flat and more subtle. The cargo pockets can be placed anywhere along the leg. I don’t expect this trend to go mainstream.

Mango
Pocket Cargo Jeans
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6
Eloquii
Wide Leg Cargo
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2

4. Relaxed Straights

These are THE on-trend mainstream jeans silhouette, a ‘90s throwback, and still going strong. These have been called “Mom Jeans” in the past ( I loathe that name). The cut is relaxed on the leg, straight down to the hem, and low, mid or high in the rise. Mid and high rises are more available. The fit is fluidly tailored or fluid, and NOT tight. The style is fitted on the seat and hips, so they aren’t boyfriend jeans either. Lengths vary so take your pick.

Zara
Z1975 Mom Fit Jeans
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4
Zara
Z1975 Mom Fit Jeans
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1

5. Wide Legs and Wide Crops

This ‘70s inspired silhouette is mid or high in the rise, fitted on the seat, and wide from hips to ankle (or above the ankle when lengths are cropped). They are much wider than bootcuts, which are fitted from hip and thigh to knee. They are wider than relaxed straights too. Lengths vary from floor-sweeping and skimming, to a version of cropped. They are dramatic, a lot of denim, and mainstream.

Their widths vary greatly. Some silhouettes are slimmer than others, and those are the ones I suggest trying first if you’re unsure about the silhouette. Some versions are sailor style, and some have elaborate pocket detailing.

H&M
Wide Ultra High Jeans
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2
Shopbop
Closet Glow-Up Jeans
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2

6. Bootcuts and Flares

Trendy ‘70s and ‘90s bootcuts and flares have high and mid rises, and are mainstream. The low-rise versions are fringe. The waist and seat is tailored. Leg fits are streamlined until the knee, and flare out to the hem. Hem widths can be subtle or more flared. Lengths can skim the surface of the ground in heels, boots, sneakers, flatforms and flats. They can also be worn at the new shorter full length where the hems skim the vamp of the shoes (no breakline.) They work well on most body types, and are a relatively easy way to update your denim capsule.

Nordstrom
BP Flare Jeans
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2
Eloquii
Flare Leg Jean
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1
Eloquii
Flare Leg Jean
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1
Eloquii
Flare Leg Jean
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2
Eloquii
Flare Leg Jean
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2

7. Barrel and Balloon

These jeans are higher in the rise, tailored on the seat and hips, and voluminous on the legs. Versions in lower rises are coming through too. The side seams ‘balloon’ away from the thighs and lower leg, which is how the style gets its name. The hems taper back to the leg. Some retailers call them barrel leg jeans. Some versions balloon out more than others. They are a more architectural version of what we wore in the early ‘80s. Lantern pants are a version of barrel or balloon jeans. The silhouette is fringe, and can work well for curvier thighs and longer rises.

8. Cuffed Hems

Jeans with broad and not so broad cuffs at the hem are 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. Sometimes you can create a cuffed look with a pair of relaxed straight legs, narrower, or wide crops if the hems are long enough.

9. Boyfriends and Girlfriends

Boyfriend and girlfriend jeans are higher in the rise, fitted on the seat, tapered at the hem, and very relaxed on the leg. Lower rise versions are coming through too. Hems can be gently cuffed or extremely long. Some versions are slimmer than others. Some of the waists are wide so that they can be reined in with a belt. Or they fall loosely on the hips which lowers the rise and crotch point to create slouch. The slimmer versions are mainstream. The very baggy and slouchy versions are fringe.

10. Slit Hems

And last, these jeans are tailored or relaxed in silhouette with slits or vents in the front, side, or back of the jeans. The slits and vents can be subtle or dramatic. Lengths are cropped or full-length. Most of the silhouettes are bootcut, relaxed straight, or wide leg,

Personally, I thoroughly enjoy wearing jeans, denim shirts, jackets and dresses, and will pay particular attention to how I refresh those items over the next few seasons. It’s handy how denim items dress down my dressier items making them wearable as everyday looks.

I am well covered in most of these trends because jeans – and bottoms in general – are the most on-trend component of my style. I am an early adopter of trendy jeans silhouettes, and often go for fringe looks. But enjoy mainstream trends as much. I have relaxed straights, wide legs, wide crops, sailor jeans, trouser jeans, slit hems, cuffed jeans, flared bootcuts, boyfriends, barrel legs, cropped flares, and patterns. Rises vary from low to mid and high. I have two denim shirts, many denim jackets, a denim boiler suit, and a denim dress. I have two pairs of long denim shorts in my beach and pool capsule, and a denim skirt too. Washes are mostly blue and white. Here’s my current denim collection:

Everlane
The Way-High Jean
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15
Everlane
The Arc Jean
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18
G-Star Raw
Workwear Shirt
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11

I wear my denim items for years, many are wardrobe essentials, and they’re worn often. Some of my denim jackets are fifteen years old, and some of the jeans are ten years old. This year I’m focussed on coloured denim, light blue denim, and white denim. These are to replace some styles I’ve demoted to wear on outdoorsy trails and to the beach with doggies only. I will keep fits fluidly tailored, fluid and relaxed, somewhat architectural, but not too slouchy. These styles have piqued my interest at the moment. Clean, crisp and roomy.

Over to you. Which denim trends tickle your fancy?