THE JEANS TO INVEST IN THIS SEASON

Our fashion editor unpicks the cuts, washes and rises to shop now

Words: Thea Bichard. Image: Clark Franklyn.

After a lockdown-induced hiatus, denim is back in a big way – flares, wide legs, low cuts, pristine indigos and scuffed-up blues are all jostling for our attention. But how to choose the right pair for you in the big, blue-jean sea? Read on to find the SS22 style to suit your shape and lifestyle all year round.

 

Shop now

THE JEANS TO INVEST IN THIS SEASON

Our fashion editor unpicks the cuts, washes and rises to shop now

Words: Thea Bichard. Images: Clark Franklyn

After a lockdown-induced hiatus, denim is back in a big way – flares, wide legs, low cuts, pristine indigos and scuffed-up blues are all jostling for our attention. But how to choose the right pair for you in the big, blue-jean sea? Read on to find the SS22 style to suit your shape and lifestyle all year round.

 

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1) EMBRACE A LOW RISE:

All the rumours are true: the Y2K revival has brought low-rise jeans with it. I know the temptation is to run in the opposite direction, but hip-skimming denim need not be a nightmare. The likes of PAIGE and Frame have created pairs that sit a little higher than their Noughties predecessors once you’ve broken them in (which should take around three days’ wear). Worn loose with a vest or crewneck T-shirt, low-slung jeans such as the Frame Le Slouch (above) embody that borrowed-from-the-boys cliché that, like most clichés, is well-trodden for good reason.

2) GO LONG:

First, tailoring began to soften and supersize, now denim has followed suit with hems hitting the floor and straighter, wider cuts usurping skinnies. A high rise works well with this cut to maximise the elongated effect. A prime example, GRLFRND cuts its waist-high Brooklyn pair (above) from a summery soft, lightweight denim that makes the straight legs look fluid rather than rigid. Go for a pair that pools at the floor for a more relaxed look or a style that just skims it for something a touch smarter.

3) GET THE BOOT(CUT):

Again, anyone who remembers the 90s may shudder at the word ‘bootcut’, but this season’s versions owe more to 70s flares – think Farrah Fawcett skateboarding in a half-zip top, blue jeans and Nike Cortez. Citizens of Humanity’s rigid denim and roomier cut make the Libby jeans (above) looks ultra-relaxed. For a more dramatic look, I’ve found that the stretchy, deep-blue 70s High Flare from Levi’s are perfect with mules or chunky-heeled boots, and PAIGE’s Sloane styles (which have a literal uplifting effect) work great for daytime or dinner.

4) DO DRESSED-UP DENIM:

One Noughties styling trick that I have fully embraced, no questions asked, is the return of ‘jeans and a nice top’ – particularly as the likes of Y/Project and Mugler (above) are designing perfect pairs for the evening. Mugler’s Creative Director Casey Cadwallader applies his sculpted spiral seams to straight-cut jeans to amp up the relaxed fit and add some subtle embellishment. Rihanna in her bejewelled maternity outfits is currently my muse here – for similarly dazzling styling, try a sparkly Benedetta Bruzziches shoulder bag or some vintage Chanel bangles.

5) PLAY WITH THE CLASSICS:

If you’re after a pair that’s smart enough for work or a dinner date and fits with flats or trainers at the weekend – basically, the Swiss Army knife of jeans – darker denim and a classic straight cut are a perfect versatile combination. The length is more of a personal preference: the Ribcage Ankle style by Levi’s (above) hits at the ankle so you can show off boots or strappy sandals, and the ultra-high rise tempers the leg-shortening effect that often accompanies an abbreviated cut. Alternatively, jeans with a full-length leg work well with ballet flats or dressier heels.

6) ENJOY MORE STYLING ADVICE:

If you’re still not convinced by the above – or if, like me, you’d like your hard-and-fast denim beliefs challenged – then book a complimentary 90-minute session with our denim experts. During my appointment with Brand Consultant and Stylist Alfie Hayley – a walking encyclopaedia on everything from pocket angles to leg openings – he guided me through the 10 pairs he curated following a pre-appointment consultation. I left armed with clarity on how jeans should fit (a little too snug when you first try them on, as they’ll always loosen up), which styles best flatter my 5’9” frame (cropped is a no-go), and a pair of RE/DONE’s 90s Comfy jeans (above).

7) SWITCH TO DIESEL:

Glenn Martens played on the “clichés of denim” for SS22, which just arrived online and in Selfridges London’s Designer Street room in Menswear on 1. The launch follows a Martens-dominated fashion month (alongside the Diesel and Y/Project shows, he also guest-designed Jean Paul Gaultier couture). Diesel has always been synonymous with inventive denim, so for distinctive washes, spliced seams and out-of-the-ordinary embellishment, Diesel is the way to go.

8) CHOOSE WISELY:

Choosing jeans from our Project Earth For Nature and RESELLFRIDGES edits is a way to reduce the environmental impact of buying denim. We’ve recently added laid-back Californian brands Rails to our edits – it joins upcycled denim from the likes of Sami Miro Vintage and EB Denim, jeans cut from recycled or organic cotton, and fully recyclable pairs from Frame, which is currently hosting an earth-conscious pop-up in the Denim Studio at Selfridges London on 3. 

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