When it comes to fashion, nothing defines us as a culture better than denim. It’s not an overstatement to say that no other material can single-handedly conjure up visions of America and its storied factions more: Greasers, cowboys, hippies, rappers, rockers, punks—they all put their own unique stamp on the same staple. And today, we’re still just as connected to our own interpretations of denim.
Considering the sheer prevalence of styles available to us right now, it’s no wonder that throughout the last decade or so jeans have emerged as wear-anywhere essentials rather the basic, casual, antiestablishment option they once were. From shorts and skirts to colored and artfully printed pants—not to mention broken-in jackets, vests, and dresses—denim has moved to a whole new, staggeringly broad level.
However, it’s occasionally worth going back to our roots to revisit the tried-and-true blue jean—the piece that started it all. And while we’ll never, ever tire of our beloved blue skinnies or basic boyfriend styles, it’s worth testing out the new blue jean silhouettes that have emerged for Fall 2015, both on the runway and on the street. Thanks to kicky cropped flares, unflattering-on-purpose “mom” cuts, and a serious bell bottom redux, we have lots to work with.
Here, the six denim trends that are making waves this season—and the best options to snag yourself.
Whether you blame it on the normcore movement, a fascination with all things ’90s, or simply the fact that we’re all getting a little sick of shimmying into skin-tight denim, there’s no denying that a new wave of “mom jeans”—the purposefully not-so-flattering, high-waisted, tapered denim that got its own SNL skit—is sweeping the fashion crowd.
Whether paired with crop tops, vintage tees, tucked-in blouses, or bomber jackets, there's an undeniable cool-factor about this cut. Plus, thanks to the ankle-grazing hem, this denim style also works well with just about any kind of shoe, from white sneakers to high heels.
Talley Lola High-Rise Slim Ankle Jean, $278; at Talley
Classic Blue Mom Jeans, $49.95; at Garage
Topshop Moto Dark Blue Mom Jeans, $70; at Topshop
Thanks to a strong ’70s movement on recent runways, one hallmark of the decade—crazy-flared denim—has made a modern comeback. Characterized by a tight fit through the leg and a distinct volume toward the bottom, flared jeans are both flattering and versatile. They'll look ridiculously cool whether you dress them up with pointy pumps and a structured blazer or throw them on with a faded gray sweatshirt and Converse.
ACNE Studios Mello Flared Jeans, $152; at My Theresa
Dr Denim Saige Flare Jean, $90; at ASOS
MiH The Principle Petite Super Flare Jeans, $255; at Shopbop
Ripped jeans aren’t exactly new—they’ve fallen in and out of favor since the 1980s—but it seems that lately, they’re more popular than ever. And not just any ripped jeans, but those with huge, shredded, gaping holes.
Forte Couture Embellished Ripped Jeans, $417; at Farfetch
BLANKNYC 'Good Vibes' Distressed Skinny Jeans, $88; at Nordstrom
Riot Ripped Distressed Jeans, $51; at Misguided
One of fall's coolest trends? The kick flare silhouette. Designers and fashion girls can't get enough of this cropped style with a small flare at the ankle, and we suggest pairing them with a blazer and platforms, a stretchy mock turtleneck, or an oversize sweater and great boots.
Kick Flare Ankle Jean, $49.99; at H&M
J Brand Selena Cropped Boot Cut Jean, $218; at Shopbop
Cropped Flares, $69.90; at Zara
Hemming your jeans the old-fashioned way—with a needle and thread, preferably with the original bottoms attached—is so yesterday. At least, according to designers and street-style stars who knock a few unneeded inches off denim by cutting ’em with a pair of scissors (or buy jeans that look like they did). The rougher the fray, the cooler the jean.
3X1 Denim Cropped Jeans with Frayed Fringed Hems, $295; at Moda Operandi
Seafarer Lord Jim Cropped Jeans with Frayed Cuffs, $275; at Moda Operandi
MOTHER 'Looker Ankle Fray' Skinny Jeans, $196; at Farfetch
Vale Run Free Fray Trousers, $220; at Shopbop
Unlike flares, which billow out toward the bottom, wide-leg jeans have the same width the whole way through. If you're feeling adventurous, go for a cropped pair inspired by '90s skater culture, and if you're seeking something more polished, look for a wide trouser style.
Citizens Of Humanity Melanie Wide Leg Jeans, $238; at Need Supply
ASOS High Waist Wide Leg Jeans in Indigo, $69; at ASOS