Jeans: /dʒiːnz/ |noun| hard-wearing casual trousers made of denim or other cotton fabric.
Denim jeans are a true wardrobe staple – no matter the season or time of day we all reach for “jeans and a nice top”! They’re an everyday essential for women, men and children that can be easily dressed up or down, depending on your needs. Jeans have been around for more than a century after being invented in 1873 by Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis and there have been many of iterations of the bottoms since then, some more divisive than others. Having first come into mainstream prominence during the birth of teenage culture in the 1950s, denim soon skyrocketed in popularity and has remained a faithful piece in every wardrobe since.
Each era has had its defining denim jean trend – the ‘70s were all about ultra-wide bell-bottoms whilst the ‘80s favoured acid-wash finishes and high-waisted mom jean cuts. The rise of grunge in the ‘90s saw baggy, skater-style jeans take over and as a result, the noughties were a stark contrast, with skin-tight skinny jeans becoming de rigueur. Nowadays, it seems as though the denim trend cycle has been accelerated as instead of decade-long trends, the go-to jean silhouettes shift seasonally and in 2021 it’s all about a more relaxed fit.
If you’re like many of my clients, you’ve probably lost count of the number of pairs of jeans you have in your wardrobe, and yet you’re the first to add a new style even when said wardrobe is bursting at the seams – sound familiar? With that being said, now is a perfect time for a little wardrobe weeding as we emerge out of lockdown and away from our sweats. Once you have that full bag of past season’s trends ready for donation, you’ll finally have room for a few new pieces. This time, make a deal with yourself: whatever enters your wardrobe now should be an investment – that perfect something you’ll reach for again and again, the ones that’ll never go out of style.
When buying denim, you want to focus on longevity; investing as much as you can afford and choosing pieces that carefully consider fit, wear and quality. Premium denim is worth every single penny and is definitetly a worthwhile investment in my book. Shopping for denim online or instore comes with its own unique set of challenges: it’s a garment that’s notoriously tricky to get just right when it comes to fit, and then there’s all the confusing terminology – flare, rise, cut, inseam – what does it all mean? Here’s how to decode the different types of jeans on the market, so you can find the perfect pair. I’ve also shared my favourites of each fit which you can shop by clicking the links under the images.
Love them or loathe them, they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Skinny jeans (also known as cigarette jeans) are cut to be tight-fitting throughout the leg, from the thigh down to the ankle. They’re usually made with stretch denim so that the wearer can get them on and off easily. They are often skin-tight like leggings. Take care as they can create the dreaded ‘carrot leg’ on many body shapes, a look that is not very flattering.
SHOP FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: 1. SKINNY HIGH-RISE STRETCH JEANS £135, 2. SKINNY HIGH-RISE STRETCH WASHED BLACK DENIM JEANS £140 (SIZE INCLUSIVE), 3. MID WASH SKINNY HIGH-RISE STRETCH DENIM JEANS £220
Slim fit jeans are generally not as tight as skinnies, but still rather form-fitting as they skim the hips and thighs. These jeans have larger leg openings than skinny jeans and do not cling around ankles. Some models have a tapered leg design, others are straight. Slim fit jeans are usually made of stretch denim, with a little amount of lycra. They do not have to be as stretchy as skinnies, but still should be able to provide comfortable wear. Perfect for all body shapes, the slim jean flatters the hips and thighs, with a straight fit through leg for extra comfort.
Straight leg jeans are the more laid-back, less body-conscious cousin of the skinny jean. If you’re not totally down with skin-tight jeans, try a straight jean instead. Straight-cut jeans have a straight up-and-down fit through the entire leg and can be on the baggy side, like boyfriend or relaxed-fit jeans, or the fitted side, like slim-fit jeans.
SHOP FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: 1. HIGH-WAISTED PREMIUM DENIM STRAIGHT LEG CROSSOVER JEANS £180 (SIZE INCLUSIVE), 2. ORGANIC COTTON SEAM DETAIL STRAIGHT LEG JEANS £99, 3. ORGANIC COTTON HIGH-WAISTED PLEAT DETAIL JEANS £99
High-waisted and cut with a refreshingly easy fit, it can be easy to confuse the mom jean with its relation, the boyfriend jean. The difference, though, is in the waistline (which tends to sit higher, just below the navel) and the slightly tapered legs, often rolled up to hit just above the ankle.
SHOP FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: 1. HIGH WAISTED PREMIUM MOM JEANS £189 (SIZE INCLUSIVE), 2. LIGHT WASH MOM JEANS £27.99, 3. GREY WASHED MOM JEANS £39.99
What on earth are they? Well, to sum it up, this trendy take on straight jeans feature a high waist and wider cut cropped legs that are tapered at the ankle. One fit that I always love introducing my clients to!
As oversized silhouettes have continued their reign in fashion, the baggy boyfriend jean or ’90s fit has returned to our wardrobes. This time, the slouchy jeans have come back in various designs that can work for both Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter wardrobes.
Flared jeans are a style of jeans that are wider from the knees down, forming a sort of “bell-like” shape of the lower leg. They were popular in the 1960’s and were even rumored to be first worn by sailors in 1917. If you want to make a statement, rock a big bell that’s usually 10” or more across the bottom hem that hits the floor. You need height to make this style work unless you petite gals can find an inseam that works for you.
Designed to elongate the leg, the bootcut jean is fitted through the hips and thigh with a subtle kick at the lower leg. This fit is a sort-of cousin to the flare, and look great with a boot heel that’s anywhere from 1.5-3”. Bootcut jeans entered the mainstream consciousness when the eternal style icon, Brigitte Bardot, sported them in the mid ‘60s. For most of us however, the style perhaps is most associated with the early noughties.
Another iteration of the oversized denim jean trend is the wide-leg jean. This statement style is fitted around the hips then cut wide throughout the leg, beginning to flare around the mid-thigh and then continuing down to a wide leg opening. The difference between wide-leg and bell-bottom jeans is that bell-bottom jeans have more of an hourglass shape since they’re tight around the thighs and knees, whereas wide-leg jeans have more of a triangle shape since the flare is more gradual.
SHOP FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: 1. HIGH-RISE WIDE LEG PREMIUM DENIM JEANS £220, WIDE LEG CROPPED JEANS £75, PALAZZO HIGH-RISE WIDE LEG JEANS (SIZE INCLUSIVE) £180
LET’S TALK RISE:
High-rise jeans, also known as high-waist jeans, sit at your natural waist, around your navel or slightly above. High-rise, straight-leg jeans were a popular style in the ’80s and ’90s, which led to them being called “mom jeans” in the 2000s. The once-retro look has come back in style since high-rise jeans pair well with crop tops or a tucked-in T-shirt. The popularity of high-rise means it’s now available in many fits and is universally flattering for any body shape with a narrower waist to hip ratio – hello all you pear and hourglass body shapes. The can also work well on athletic body types as ehn apired with the correct fit they can create the illusion of curves.
Mid-rise jeans sit between your waist and your hips. Mid-rise jeans typically hit about an inch below your navel. Mid-rise jeans are also really compatible with just about any top length, which makes them a great go-to all around.
Low rise jeans hit a few inches below your belly button at your hips. This style of jeans was very popular in the 2000s. If you want to show off your curvy hips, low-rise jeans are a great option as the rise draws attention to where it sits on the body. Just make sure they fit snugly at your hips to avoid the dreaded waist-gap problem. Athletic body types can also rock a low rise but because you may not have the curve in your hips, the jeans may hang a little lower so make sure to choose a fitted style with stretch.
For all you petites…
If you are petite the main obstacle when finding the perfect jean is the length. In order to find the perfect pair of jeans you just have to keep two very important factors in mind…
Firstly, it’s important to choose jeans that are form fitting and high waisted. This way you’ll be able to add inches to your height and elongate your figure. Another thing to be on the lookout for is the ankle crop jeans, which are cut off just above the ankle. Showing this little bit of skin will create the illusion of longer legs. If you add in some heels you will elongate your figure even more. However, if you rather wear flat shoes, don’t worry, combine your look with tucked in shirt and voila! Tucking in creates the correct body proportions, elongating your legs and shortening your torso – this is for all, not just petites.
And finally, DOUBLE DENIM…
When we think of double denim it gives most of us a sudden flashback to the early noughties! During this iconic time in denim style, Madonna released her album, ‘Music’, which saw the legendary musician revel in an “American cowgirl” aesthetic. It was also the era that gave birth to what was one of the most notable denim moments in pop culture – Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake’s denim-on-denim ensembles at the 2001 American Music Awards. Whatever your thoughts about DD, it’s definitely back for 2021 AND I LOVE IT!
If you’re interested in finding out how my styling services could work for you, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch, my diary is open for Spring 2022 and it’s filling fast.