The history and future of denim trends 

Denim has survived decades of trend changes. From the 60s rocking bell bottom jeans to 2018’s shredded trousers, denim has been restyled and remade throughout the decades. But which trends really lit up the fashion world? And where are those trusty denim jeans headed?

The origin of denim

In 1873, the blue jean was design to be durable workwear for labourers in America. But it wasn’t until the 1950s when denim jeans exploded onto the fashion scene — seen as a rebellious statement. In the 1950s, the straight-legged jean was predominantly worn by males; actors and singers were the ones leading the rugged-look trend.

In the peace-and-love vibe of the 1960s, denim jeans embraced the hippie look. Women were now embracing the versatile trouser — it was all about casual styles, bell bottom flares and low-rise fits. The relaxed fit represented the culture at the time and jeans became a staple wardrobe item for everyone.

Denim jackets appeared in this time too, bringing with it a double-denim look. Stone washes and bright embroidery were also popular around this time — encouraging DIY denim and personalisation of jean pockets and jackets.

Backed by hefty sales volumes, designers were keen to experiment with the material. Denim skirts and vest tops became big in the 1970s with the celebrities endorsing the style, too.

Denim jeans hadn’t, however, been particularly fitted or feminine before now. In 1980, interest in designer denim started to increase and premium brands began to emerge. Leg cuts became skinnier and more fitted, creating a feminine silhouette and a more tailored look for females. It was also around the 1980s when ripped jeans came into fashion and acid wash became popular — a trend that’s toned down since then.

The 1990s saw even more denim trends hit the stores. The rise of hip hop encouraged men and women to wear baggy jeans, often revealing their underwear beneath. Thankfully, this trend didn’t stay mainstream for long, but denim overalls and ‘shortalls’ have remained at the forefront of fashion, even today.

With the 2000s trend of showing your midriff came ultra low-rise jeans. Flared trousers also made a comeback, accompanied by a subtler version with the bootcut. Innovations, such as denim stretch technology, meant that skinny jeans were now skinnier than ever and sales from premium brands such as Citizens of Humanity soared.

Currently, skinny jeans are the most popular denim look, with an assortment of washes and fits available. Versatile, the skinny jean can be dressed up or down in male or female outfits.

This season’s jeans 

With the leaves turning red and orange around us, it looks like our jeans are following suit! This season sees women’s straight cut jeans trading in its staple blue for a range of other colours and prints — will you be daring enough to rock snakeskin-print jeans?

The hems of jeans have also been changing up, bringing new details to a classic favourite. Split hems have been popular, adding an edge to a traditional skinny jean. We’ve also seen some lace embroidered hems that add a girly twist to the classic jean.

You can’t go wrong with a denim jacket either. They’re classic yet contemporary and complement the ‘layering’ trend of recent seasons. Pair with casual culottes and a printed tee, or a floaty summery dress for a stylish summer look.

Straight legs and turned up hems are a great look for men too. Styled with on-trend checked patterns, it’s a contemporary twist on a classic look.

Fashion trends are always changing, so it is important to buy skirts you think will stay in style, or at least be in style frequently. One of the best choices is to buy denim skirts for several reasons. First, denim is very popular. You can also buy denim skirts in a variety of lengths and styles. They can be made to look appropriate for work by pairing them with dressy tops, but they are also great to wear when going out on the town. Another reason to keep denim skirts as part of your wardrobe is you do not have to pack them away at the end of a certain season. They are comfortable enough to wear at all times when paired with season-appropriate items like boots or jackets.

What’s next for denim?

So, what can we predict for the future of denim trends?

One of the main focuses of denim development is on the wear and tear of the garment. This could encourage even longer-lasting denim and therefore one type of jean being fashionable across more than one era. There is also a focus on sustainable denim, as manufacturers try to use recyclable materials and create new blends and standalone fibres.

Style-wise, with denim it can be difficult to predict. But, we’ve seen the revival of the 1960s and the 1980s this season through a range of trends, so who knows what next season holds. Could it be the return of rhinestone pockets and bell bottom flares?

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