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From bell bottoms to skinnies: the coolest denim trends

A woman wearing balloon jeans. PA Photo/iStock.

By Prudence Wade

Few things are as universal as denim. Almost everyone has a favourite pair of jeans; the ones you always turn to on days you just don’t know what to wear.

However, it’s easy to fall into a denim rut. As great as it is to have a go-to pair that fits you just right, what about all the other styles, cuts and colours out there?

A new season is the perfect time to experiment with a new type of denim. What’s great about jeans is they goes with everything – dress them down for the daytime with a pair of sneakers and a jumper, or transform them into a formal outfit by adding heels and a crisp shirt.

Runway shows are traditionally seen as fancy places with ballgowns galore, but they can actually be full of wearable ideas too. This is particularly true when it comes to different styles of denim – and this season there were a few specific cuts which came up time and time again on the catwalks.

Fancy mixing up your jeans? These are the coolest denim trends right now…

 

Bell bottoms

The Seventies are back, and this style-savvy decade shows no sign of going anywhere. This season’s catwalks were full of modern takes on vintage, hippy styles, from loose waistcoats to flower-power prints. The biggest thing we saw from the Seventies? Bootcut jeans.

Big names like Celine, Marc Jacobs and Gucci all championed this Seventies denim favourite, with style stars like Harry Styles and Gigi Hadid following suit.

If you want a more grown-up, fashion-forward approach to denim, the bell bottom silhouette – where the jeans are high-waisted and flared at the bottom – are the perfect option. They’re almost universally flattering, and can be dressed up with a silk blouse, or made more casual with a simple knitted jumper.

Try pairing your bootcut jeans with heeled boots underneath, which will make your legs look like they go on forever.

 

Cropped

Cropped jeans are the perfect new style to try out as we come into warmer weather. These are the kind of jeans that will see you right through the spring and summer – ready for those days when it’s a bit cooler but wearing a full-on pair of skinny jeans feels a bit much.

Petite women tend to shy away from cropped styles – but they really shouldn’t. Slightly shorter jeans suit every height. Commit as much as you want to the crop, either having your jeans just grazing your ankle, or showing a fair bit of your lower calf.

Cropped styles are definitely on the relaxed side of the denim spectrum though, and look particularly good paired with trainers and a slouchy T-shirt. For extra cool factor, choose a pair of jeans with a raw edge, making it look like you’ve taken a pair of scissors to them yourself (and done a pretty good job of it as well).

 

Balloon

This is definitely a trickier style to pull off but it’s one of the most eye-catching styles of the moment. Balloon jeans essentially mean the denim cinches in at your waist, ‘balloons’ out on the leg, and then tightens back in at the hem.

It’s a level up from the ‘mom’ jean, making for more of a stand-out silhouette. This style is best worn with a slinky T-shirt or top tucked in so the jeans are the star of the show. This is another casual style of denim, so particularly suits being worn with trainers for a daytime look. Although some strappy sandals and a smart, fitted top work just as well.

 

a woman wearing high waisted skinny jeans. PA Photo/iStock.

High-waisted skinny jeans

There seemed a time when the only real style of jeans anyone wore was the skinny. Skinnies have reigned supreme for so long – but over the past few years there’s been much more diversity in the denim industry, as people experiment with different styles again.

While we’re absolutely pro trying out new things, we’re glad the classic skinny hasn’t completely gone out of fashion. This season, it was American designer Brandon Maxwell making a strong case for tight-fitting denim. His style is very much the new wave of heritage American fashion – like a 2020 Ralph Lauren or Tommy Hilfiger – and denim will always be at the centre of this. For SS20, he produced plenty of skinny, high-waisted jeans for models whose legs truly went on for days.

Wear your skinnies with a pair of heels and a shirt for an elegant take on jeans. Luckily, denim has come a long way since the Eighties, and wearing tight jeans doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable – these days a lot of jeans are actually, dare we say it, comfortable.

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