I love jeans, I truly do; but there are few things I find more overwhelming than trying to shop for denim. Faced with racks upon racks of stretch skinnies, indigo flares, boyfriend jeans, and distressed cropped denim, my standard reaction is to turn right around and hightail it to a part of the store that’s more … comprehensible. Like shoes!
I think my problem is that, faced with too many options, I don’t know where to start. Little details—the length of an inseam, the placement of a pocket, the degree of fading—can be the difference between jeans you love and jeans you want to rip off before you’ve even zipped them up, and who wants to try on 50 different pairs? (I mean, I’m sure there are some of you out there, but it’s certainly not me.)
So, to help me edit down the vast selection of styles out there right now to something that doesn’t inspire anxiety, I asked six of my favorite denim brands—Levi’s, Citizens of Humanity, AG, Rachel Comey, Hudson Jeans, and Baldwin—to select their favorite styles from their collections right now—the ones they’re sure customers are going to love. Read on for their top picks.
Brand new for Spring/Summer '16, the It–indie label's Tolleson jeans were inspired by Thai fisherman pants. With their wide legs, adjustable belted waist, and cropped inseam, we could picture ourselves living in these babies on weekends.
Tolleson Pant, $380; at Rachel Comey
"Another style we love is our classic Bishop Pant, which we updated this season with a reverse-bleached tie-dye accent and raw hem—very casual and cool," says Comey. Style with the label's new Sola open-toe pumps or Kinzey woven slingbacks, and presto: outfit made.
Bishop Pant, $437; at Rachel Comey
“There's a definite trend that is moving away from skinny denim to a more relaxed and classic fit," says AG’s VP of Global Communications, Johnathan Crocker. To that end, the brand introduced the Phoebe jean for spring—its take on the "'90s supermodel jean" that fashion girls are loving right now. "When you have Alexa and Daria asking for a jean, you know you’re on to something,” he says. If there's a better endorsement than that, we'd love to hear it.
The Phoebe Jean, $245; at AG
Citizens of Humanity
Not down to spend hours scouring eBay for that elusive pair of perfect vintage jeans? No problem. Citizens' new Liya style "embodies the effortlessly worn-in look" of vintage denim, according to the brand's women's creative director, Catherine Ryu. Plus, she adds, in a nonstretch denim, they "feel like you've lived in the jeans forever."
Citizens of Humanity Liya High-Rise Distressed Classic Fit Jean, $330; at Moda Operandi
The company's Wedgie jean earned rave reviews from editors this season, and for summer, Levi's has introduced a cutoff version. Reasoning that "vintage Levi’s cutoffs are a festival staple"—very true, seeing the Coachella fashion this year—the brand predicts that the high-waist, vintage-inspired style will be a summertime hit.
Wedgie Fit Shorts, $58–$98; at Levi's
While the brand is exploring forward-thinking unisex collections in its ready-to-wear categories, in denim, they're taking inspiration from the past with '70s-style flares.
Jodi High-Waist Flare in Slater, $225; at Hudson Jeans
For spring, the brand has focused on the details to give classic styles a special touch. "We added exposed buttons, cutoff waistbands, and raw hems that pay homage to authentic vintage denim," says Creative/Design Director Ben Taverniti.
Tyler Flare in Altair, $215; at Hudson Jeans
Designer Matt Baldwin’s line is a favorite of in-the-know denim fans, and the Andi boyfriend jean is one of its signatures. "It's flattering, comfortable, and loose in the spots where a boyfriend fit should be loose," he says, adding that for spring, the distressed Korakia wash has the ideal vintage vibe.
The Andi in Korakia, $275; at Baldwin
Designed at the request of Anna Wintour, the Kendall skirt was worn by (who else?) Kendall Jenner in Vogue’s spread of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists (of which Baldwin was one of ten). "We are seeing great success with the medium indigo wash and the long flattering length of the skirt," says the designer, confirming that yes, indeed, denim skirts are on the way back in.
The Kendall in Sky Valley, $198; at Baldwin
The cropped length is ideal for spring, and the pale gray wash is unexpected in a sea of blue denim. These are the in-house favorite in Baldwin's Kansas-based HQ.
The Rivington Jean in Canyon, $198; at Baldwin