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The Skinny Jean Is Dead: The 5 Denim Styles You Need Now


I’ve vivid reminiscences of my mum sporting basic Levi’s denims (501s, particularly) – stonewashed, high-waisted with a button-fly and unfastened tapered legs in signature thick denim – all through my childhood to do the gardening or take the canine on a muddy stroll. These have been the ‘mother denims’ earlier than mother denims turned a factor.

As I hit adolescence, when replicating Kate Moss and Sienna Miller of their super-skinny Sass & Bide ‘Misfits’ (bear in mind these?) turned my final objective, I’d tease her about how ‘dated’ her pale Levi’s denims have been. ‘They’ll come again round someday,’ she’d say, like all mums do.

She was proper: they did. Now her single pair of life-worn Levi’s make me appear to be the dated one. I personal 24 pairs of denims – and each single one among them is skinny.

denim jeans trends 2021 Christian VierigGetty Images

After years of driving excessive, this model is now the bedridden former rock star of denim, clinging on for expensive life because it watches its youthful, peppier counterparts steal the limelight. Sure, Kate Moss remains to be sporting them sometimes, however she’s Kate Moss and I, sadly, am not.

What was once my fail-safe outfit, the staple that shaped the idea of each single look I wore, now makes me really feel lumpy and overexposed. No matter what I pair them with, the proportions one way or the other really feel all incorrect.

Jean Styles That Aren’t Skinny

The Comeback Boot Cut Jeans Boot Cut Jeans Tu es mon Tresor £325.00 SHOP NOW

Yes, boot reduce denims are again, however do not be afraid. Worn in a Seventies-style, in a darkish wash, these may be probably the most flattering model..

The Unexpected Winner Barrel Leg Jeans Barrel Leg Jeans Totême £230.00 SHOP NOW

When choosing a minimal look, sporting staples with a twist, like these barrel leg denims from Totême, can actually elevate the outfit.

The Risk Taker Asymmetric Jeans Asymmetric Jeans AGOLDE £178.00 SHOP NOW

A fantastic was to tick off the saggy jean development, you may both purchase a pair of uneven denims like these from AGOLDE, or dimension up a few sizes in a straight-leg, cropped pair, and transfer your jean button additional alongside your self.

The Multitasker Cropped Jeans Cropped Jeans & Other Stories £65.00 SHOP NOW

The neatest thing about cropped denims is you may crop one other pair you’re keen on, both with scissors or a razor, or, if in case you have some darkish wash, Japanese denim, make a giant flip up, with a big cuff seen.

The Staple Straight-Leg Jeans Straight-Leg Jeans FRAME £255.00 SHOP NOW

Straight-leg denims are a staple merchandise, and whereas they work each cropped or mid-height, this yr, we’re seeing the rise of the super-lengthening denims, with each a excessive waist, and lengthy leg.

I’m not the one one who feels this manner, both. ‘As I grow old, it isn’t about exhibiting off skinny legs, or figure-hugging clothes – feeling snug in my garments and in myself is extra essential,’ says vogue editor and The Frugality blogger Alexandra Stedman.

denim jeans trends 2021 Matthew SperzelGetty Images

‘Plus, the denim kinds in the mean time are transferring away from slick silhouettes to extra relaxed and voluminous – and I really like that.’

Parisian author and inventive marketing consultant Camille Charrière, agrees. ‘It was very arduous to get out of skinnies, particularly being French, however now I discover it arduous to get again into them. I feel it comes with being a sure age – you look extra rock’n’roll in skinny denims, however extra elegant in boyfriend denims,’ she says, including that she finds the most effective denims courtesy of Levi’s, Monki and H&M.

But the place did all of it go incorrect for skinny denims? ‘Jeggings ruined them,’ says Donna Wallace, ELLE’s former Accessories Editor, who favours a pair of Lee straight-leg males’s denims that she’s reduce off on the hems. ‘As quickly as they began bastardising the denim and placing in an excessive amount of stretch, it turned trashy.’

Not to say, that the elastane you discover in your typical pair of thin denims or jeggings is unrecyclable and deeply dangerous for the planet.

Our notion of what seems cool has shifted, and although I’m just a little miffed to understand that the thin jean is not, as I had beforehand thought, my denim life associate, it is a signal of a higher shift in vogue, and that’s all the time thrilling.

denim jeans trends 2021 Matthew SperzelGetty Images

Brands comparable to Vêtements, the Parisian underground collective turned game-changing vogue powerhouse, and London-based Marques’Almeida, heralded the return of true denim again in 2014. And they reminded us of a pre-skinny golden age when it was thick, stretch-free and extra of a press release than simply an off-duty staple. Think Farrah Fawcett on that skateboard, Thelma and Louise mid-road journey, Jane Birkin in her spliced and re-stitched flares.

The method we store has modified since then, too. ‘It was once {that a} buyer would possibly discover one model or match they most popular and keep on with that,’ says Topshop’s former Buying Director Emma Fox, ‘however now they’re increase their denims wardrobe with totally different shapes, cuts, washes and finishes in keeping with what they wish to put on that day’.

denim jeans trends 2021 Christian VierigGetty Images

Proof? From excessive avenue to excessive finish, manufacturers are increasing their denims providing (for instance Ganni launching a Levi’s collaboration final summer season) as a result of we’re merely shopping for an increasing number of (Net-a-Porter reported a 25% enhance in denim gross sales year-on-year in 2020) and they’re not skinny (Levi’s best-selling model is the 501).

denim jeans trends 2021 Matthew SperzelGetty Images

‘The affect of avenue model on that is plain and the result’s that we’re seeing developments rising upwards from the road to affect designers, slightly than the opposite method round,’ says Lisa Aiken, Net-a-Porter’s former Fashion Director.

‘The street-style phenomenon, made doable by the expansion of digital and social media over the previous decade, signifies that we now have limitless inspiration at our fingertips. We can see how actual individuals make developments work for them in actual life, slightly than solely via the artistic filter of a serious vogue home.

‘This has undeniably made us extra adventurous, extra assured and way more attuned to our personal private model. In flip, we’re now extra various in our denim selections, choosing items that work in our personal lives, and never Kate Moss.’

denim jeans trends 2021

Celine, APC and Victoria Beckham

Street (or Instagram) model, with a watch on sustainability, has reigned supreme during the last yr. And, since we have barely modified from sweatpants for some time, it is maybe unsurprising that the ladies of social media and vogue week alike have turned to saggy ‘dad-style’ and classic ‘mom-style’ model denims for SS21 and AW21.

denim jeans trends 2021

Kelly Harrington
Kirstin SinclairGetty Images

Plenty of elaborations, loopy kinds and uncomfortable shapes are out of the door, with a premium being positioned on basic shapes, with out elastic, and maybe with a small twist.

Barrel leg, straight leg, boot leg, uneven and saggy denims are all massive winners this yr, as seen at Victoria Beckham, Celine and Gucci. And whereas low-rise denims have been threatening a return for a while now, we’re grateful mid and high-rise denims are right here to remain for some time longer.

To discover out precisely what the most important denim developments of 2021 are, we spoke to denim professional Kelly Harrington and Libby Page, Senior Market Editor at NET-A-PORTER, to study extra.

1. Upcycled Jeans

denim trends 2021 Christian VierigGetty Images

‘With the continued rise of environmental consciousness, give attention to round vogue and sustainability, the upcycled and refurbished jean is a should have for 2021.’ Harrington tells ELLE UK.

‘Resourcefulness and frugality goes hand-in-hand with craft and DIY aesthetics: upcycle deadstock denim, patch up classic denims and get artistic. Or, spend money on a round design with Ganni x Levi’s, B Side Jeans, Basscoutur, Children of Discordance, Ksenia Schnaider or ELV denim.’

How to model them? You have two selections: let the denims do the speaking and pair again all the pieces else or, like vogue star Susie Lau, sample and texture conflict to your coronary heart’s content material.

2. Super Baggy Jeans

denim trends 2021 Edward BerthelotGetty Images

‘As a outcome of the present local weather we discover ourselves in, our houses have develop into the brand new workplace, so we’re now prioritising looser matches for consolation and wearability,’ Harrington explains.

‘A relaxed silhouette may be pleated on the waist or cinched with a belt. Opt for saggy extensive matches just like the WEEKDAY Ace High Jeans, RAEY Fold Dad Baggy Boyfriend Jeans or CLOSED Glow Up Soft Stretch Jeans.’

‘There has been an enormous shift in our strategy to denim since final yr as we adopted a extra relaxed sense of favor,’ Page agrees.

‘Unexpected designers comparable to The Row, Peter Do and Loewe are excitingly utilizing denim extra incessantly of their collections, providing easy and relaxed 1990’s shapes throughout denims, shorts and jackets. I really like the cool dressed-down denim vibe consisting of pale washes, extensive leg shapes and low-slung waistlines.’

How to model them? Like Jeanette Madsen, we predict you need to go full Nineteen Nineties grunge with Vans kicks.

3. Light Jeans

denim trends 2021 Christian VierigGetty Images

‘Easy, layerable and trans-seasonal. The impartial jean is of course dyed or undyed and may be paired as a co-ord with matching gadgets as a head to toe tonal look,’ Harrington says.

‘It’s a staple piece, and a straightforward method to elevate your denim assortment. My favourites are from Bottega Veneta, Isabel Marant, The Row and Closed.’

‘There’s one thing ultra-chic about white denim – it’s a terrific various on the times you want a refresh and excellent for any minimalist that prefers their denim just a little extra paired again,’ Page tells ELLE UK.

‘It’s all within the styling right here – Totême’s off-white pair look beautiful mixed with a easy nude vest, and Agolde’s barely cropped model styled with leather-based sliders may help full your ‘off-duty’ daytime look.’

How to model them? While Harrington is correct – pure and white denim seems nice as a head-to-toe ensemble – we’re additionally trying to Kat Collings’ look which mixes a pair with darker prints and textiles for the final word winter-appropriate outfit.

4. Straight Leg Jeans

denim jeans trends 2021 Edward BerthelotGetty Images

‘This go-to match and staple in each ladies’s wardrobe is not set to go anyplace,’ Harrington notes of straight leg denims.

‘Look for brand spanking new manufacturers that target sustainable and planet-friendly washes and materials like BOYISH and I AND ME.’

‘From cropped and longer-seamed kinds, one factor all of us love about denim is its eternal high quality,’ Page says of straight-leg denims.

‘It’s a sensible on a regular basis wardrobe staple and continues to be a basic that may be worn for each event while providing most consolation. Some of our heroes come from the likes of Citizens of Humanity, FRAME, Mother and Rag & Bone to call a couple of, and we’re loving them now greater than ever.’

How to model them? We love how Camille Charrière rocks her further lengthy straight leg denims with an identical denim jacket, white vest and black boots.

5. Flared Jeans

denim jeans trends 2021 Christian VierigGetty Images

‘The development for nostalgic denim continues to realize traction,’ Harrington tells us.

‘Think low waisted Nineteen Nineties flares and high-waisted Seventies boot cuts with matching crop tops. Take inspiration from Charlotte Knowles’ trouser shapes and store Mother’s The Weekender, Eckhaus Latta’s acid wash flare denims or Wynn Hamlyn’s stone wash Denim flares.’

How to model them? Thanks to Gucci, you may actually take flared denims to the following degree. Just like María Bernad, you may layer up your flares with clothes and platforms are a should.

The Denim Revolution – Jeans You Need To Invest In

Embroidered frayed high-rise flared jeans Embroidered frayed high-rise flared denims Versace £510.00 SHOP NOW Ace High Wide Jeans Ace High Wide Jeans Weekday makeupclass.web SHOP NOW


+ NET SUSTAIN + NET SUSTAIN ’90s cropped natural high-rise straight-leg denims AGOLDE £240.00 SHOP NOW Barrel Leg Jeans Barrel Leg Jeans Whistles SHOP NOW


High-rise straight-leg jeans High-rise straight-leg denims Maison Margiela £450.00 SHOP NOW + NET SUSTAIN Ryan paneled organic high-rise straight-leg jeans + NET SUSTAIN Ryan paneled natural high-rise straight-leg denims Reformation £200.00 SHOP NOW Related Story The Denim Trends That Defined Every Decade Related Story Where The ELLE Fashion Team Buy Their Denim Bibby Sowray Digital News & Features Editor Bibby is ELLE’s Digital News & Features Editor, overseeing and contributing content material to the web site, with a selected give attention to vogue. Daisy Murray Digital Writer Daisy Murray is the Digital Writer at ELLE UK, writing articles on classic purchasing to Melania Trump and all the pieces in between.

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