Denim update: how to give up your skinny jeans
After extensive fieldwork, we have found the current trends that your wardrobe needs
Published 12/02/2016 | 02:30
In 2014 the denim market was estimated by Euromonitor to be worth $108 billion, with skinny styles taking up a 76pc market share. Yet, for most women, buying jeans is usually the result of a compromise: the purchased pair being somewhere between the ones you fell in love with in a picture, and the reality of the ones which go on over your thighs and do up. So it is with caution that we bring up the latest consensus from the fashion world: skinny jeans are dead.
The most fashionable jeans now are a classic rigid style - i.e. pure cotton, no stretch (think the original 1950s Lady Levi's). The idea of losing that essential pliability may chill some of you to your flexible waistbands: millions of us have become accustomed not only to the comfort that 2pc worth of Lycra or elastane brings, but the fit. Stretch allows women who have previously failed to pull up a pair of denims over their thighs to close that button fly. But too much stretch - as seen in the increasingly skinnier cuts - evokes sausage cases. The new looser-in-the-legs jeans don't need stretch.
We're not suggesting an all out blanket ban on skinnies, but we are offering some 2016 caveats. Top line: the silhouette has shifted. Fashion is championing a looser, more relaxed silhouette - see the rise of culottes, and dubiously monikered 'troulotte' (a cropped wide leg trouser). This means that whole jegging, stretchy and tight all the way down to your ankles is passé.
The brand Vetements are currently making fashion victims salivate with their frayed step hem, high rise straight leg pairs (yours for £880), but if you simply take a pair of kitchen scissors to your old Levi's you can ape these quite easily. Given that jeans are the most subjective item out there, we recommend using department store personal shoppers or heading to specialist denim boutiques. Deep breathe and make them bring you every pair in your size. Meanwhile, we've rounded up 2016's newest styles and pinned down some stylish denim fans for their tips.
The dos and don'ts of denim
• Avoid overly treated pairs. If they're ripped, worn in and already faded down, they'll wear through before you're bored of them.
• Whiskers: those ugly white lines across your thighs that are meant to contour, look cheap and don't fool anyone.
• Skinny jeans should never be lighter than a mid-blue.
• Aim for mid or high rise. Low rise is very late 90s. And unflattering.
• If you're going to spend high, stick to pure denim brands.
• Watch out for the length - as with all trousers circa now - a little ankle on show is a great thing.
• With footwear think opposites: A slim leg benefits from a chunkier shoe (like a brogue or loafer), a stiletto only really looks modern with a boyfriend or looser cut. Skinny heels and skinny jeans is very mid-Noughties Wag. Avoid.
Straight leg Jeans
Straight-leg is the new rigid. Hark back to 50's shapes with good strong denim - think traditional brands like Levi's, Lee and Wrangler. A high waist allows you to tuck in a graphic tee, or if you're feeling body confident, a crop top as seen on Kendall Jenner works just as well.
Wedgie fit jeans, Levi's, €110
Boyfriend jeans, Topshop, €55
Wear these cropped with a 2-inch turn-up. Watch out for pairs which are curiously stretchy, clingy affairs. Make like Olivia Palermo and pair with a blazer for a smart-casual look.
To be worn high-waisted. Pair with a heel for a sleeker nighttime outfit, or take a leaf from trendsetter blogger Chiara Ferragni and work them into your street style with a laid-back bomber. Play with patchwork and stripes for a 2016 edge.
Blank NYC patchwork mom jeans, €84.50, available from ASOS
Cropped flare jeans
Wear these to shape your thighs and lift your bum. Best worn with a sock boot and an oversized pea coat with a 70s nod, a la Alexa Chung at fashion week.
Cropped kick flare jeans, H&M, €24.99