1. Split Hem Flares
In recent years, popular denim styles typified by a true straight-leg, loose fit, and often lapel-boyfriend jeans are a simple departure from skinny blue jeans. But slim-fit styles are creeping back at a snail’s pace, though not with the same camouflage of elastane and ankle-hugging as before. In keeping with our love affair with natural denim, split hem flares are the best jeans style that allows for a fraction of body con without the stretchy fabric turning your legs into carrots and enabling you to rock your boots.
Thanks partly to Victoria Beckham, who championed the open flare at her Spring/Summer ’19 show, the available bottom style has since grown in popularity, and many big-name denim brands have adopted it as their signature. M.i.h., for example, has an excellent high-rise kicker with a front split, and Nasty Gal has a boyfriend cut with an open hem for lazy days.
How do you pair them? Part of the beauty of the open hem is that it’s a new concept and doesn’t close itself off to the “smart” or “casual” category. Pair it with a roll-neck or slouchy tee for a more stylish look or a blazer and heels for a more glamorous evening event.
2. Re-constructed denim
The new wave of denim has produced something very compelling – a “cult” denim that doesn’t require the production of any new denim at all. Also known as “Second Life Denim,” brands are taking advantage of our preference for custom styles and two-tone designs to create coveted denim styles from recycled denim. If Kendall Jenner can stitch two pairs of jeans together, so can the rest of us, right?
Many brands have jumped on the bandwagon. Eco-conscious brand E.L.V. Denim makes wholesale jeans out of old or discarded denim and can even create “made to measure” styles to ensure they take an absolute staple in your closet. They’ve created a pair of straight “contrast” jeans in a two-tone fabric that will be the following “it” style.
However, they’re not the only brand to do so. Spanish brand Desigual recently partnered with Ecoalf to produce a style made entirely from recycled denim. Los Angeles-based Re/Done has been doing something similar, taking vintage Levi’s apart at the seams and re-purposing the fabric to create one-of-a-kind jeans made better by the worn denim.
How do you pair them? Jeans make a statement, so don’t overthink the rest of your look. Keep the top half of your outfit reasonably relaxed. A t-shirt or hoodie will do the trick.
3. Green Denim
Nope, not the emerald jeans. We’re talking about eco-friendly jeans. Creating any new fabric from scratch is an evil practice for true eco-enthusiasts. Still, as the fashion industry evolves, brands that adopt more sustainable production processes are seen as part of the solution.
A whole host of denim brands have begun to commit to leading the way in denim innovation. For example, J Brand has pledged to be the only 100% sustainable denim brand by the end of this year. They claim to reduce water consumption by 99%, recycle hardware and scraps, and replace stonewashed denim with laser trim.
FRAME, based in Los Angeles and London, has similarly introduced more sustainable denim styles.
4. Wide Leg Selvedge
High-waisted jeans are everywhere and have been for a long time. This new denim style, however, is essentially the antithesis of skinny jeans, taking the tightness out of jeans and replacing it with a highly loose fit in non-stretch denim. Usually cut to an ankle-hanging length, high-waisted wide-legged jeans are an homage to the ’70s but don’t require platform boots to be worn. The cut allows you to show off your currently popular Western sterling heels.
This year’s update to a style that has been around for a few seasons is the wide leg in selvage jeans. Selvage denim was formed using an old-fashioned weaving technique done on looms, but the practice has been modernized, and this was before we bought machines that allowed mass production of denim.
Paying homage to “slow fashion,” the wide-legged denim trim style is a middle finger to disposable buying habits. The tough grain means this stubborn style is worth investing in and will be in your arsenal for much longer.
How do you style them? The focus is on the ankles, so pair these jeans with high-heeled patent leather boots or trophy shoes. Keep it neat with a short jacket on top.
5. Super Low Rise
Thanks to waist models like Bella Hadid, a denim style that is just as controversial as skinny jeans were when we first introduced them is on the rise. Just as skinny jeans dominated all other denim styles for years, so has the high-waist. After overexposing the pelvic-baring, low-rise look of the ’90s and ’00s, we welcomed the return of the belly-button hugging styles, which flew in the face of rebellion.
But now, after years of every denim style favoring the high waist, we can finally confirm that the rumors are true. Super super-low-rise jeans are making a comeback. Pubis skimming, g-string baring low-waist jeans (and cargo pants) are back.
How do you pair them with these? A naturally casual denim style that’s best paired with a plain white t-shirt and a loose (even denim) jacket.
1. Split Hem Flares