We’re in a transitional time for jeans, so many of us are (understandably) confused.
A major change in denim has been evolving slowly ever since the younger generation drew a line in the sand on skinny jeans and side-parted hairstyles. This invited denim designers to market new cuts to these shoppers, while many others debated their jeans in a mid-life denim crisis.
Here are some factors to consider when daring to try new denim: cut, stretch, rise, footwear.
Take heart, because everything old is new again. The new cuts are simply rebranded favorites from the past 40 years.
First came the “mom jean”– the ‘80s reborn to a new generation. This cut is fitted at the waist, loose through the thigh, tapered at the ankle. Next, the “dad jean” was the wrecking ball swing away from skinnies. Their wide leg cut is opposite in every way from the skinny, yet nothing new for grunge-loving ‘90s shoppers. (We called them “straight leg.”) Flares are the bell bottoms of the ‘70s, and we’re seeing them in a variety of cuts from boot cut to soft flare to full bell. Boyfriends are a quick throwback from only a decade ago, yet returning in a slimmer cut.
We recommend trying a variety of cuts to find the one that suits you best. The key here is to break out of your comfort zone.
The easiest step out of a skinny is the mom-jean. The classic mom-fit can be styled with a roll-up of the hem and paired with slide loafers or booties. When you’re daring enough to try a flare or a straight leg, remember that lift is key, so opt for heels or wedges.
The straight leg can be the hardest cut to adopt. Consider a straight slim for a step away from that super wide leg, and bring up the hemlines of your tops to balance wide legs with a tighter or more tailored top.
Next, look for denim with high stretch and read the care tag for fabric content. Look for elastin, also known as spandex or lycra. The minimum elastin necessary for comfort is 1-2%; the higher the elastin, the more comfortable to wear. Denim that’s 100% cotton will be stiff, hard to bend down or sit in, and require time to wear in.
Rayon and polyester are the next most important factors. This content ranges from 10%-30%. When high in content, the denim is soft and stretchy without bagging out if it also has the high content of elastin. The ideal blends are in these ranges: 65-70% cotton, 20-30% rayon/polyester, 2% spandex/elastin.
The rise of your denim is how high on the waist they fit. While low rise had its ‘90s moment, we are still seeing mid rise and high rise preferred in the new cuts. High rise is generally more flattering on the tummy and creates a beautiful curve in the hips. A true high rise zipper is approximately 10 inches in length. While most people don’t shop with a measuring tape, simply make a hang loose sign with your hand– if the bottom of the zipper extends through to the top button of the waist, then it’s high rise. A high-rise jean will generally sit at your belly button while the mid-rise sits below.
Footwear is a key concern for all these new hemlines, particularly going into the fall rainy season. Skinnies have a practicality as they tuck into a boot– yet don’t get discouraged with your new cuts as shoe designers have pivoted in response to denim trends.
Wedges are the obvious answer to straight and flare leg jeans; wedge sneakers, booties, espadrilles, and of course platforms work well to lift hems off the ground and flatter the leg.
Mom jeans pair well with sneakers, booties, and wedges yet the key is to roll the hem to adjust to the shoe. Investing in a new pair of shoes can make this denim transition much easier.
Embracing new styles can be overwhelming yet liberating. Bringing on a new style of denim can refresh your entire wardrobe, and you’ll love the variety of looks you can create with these new bottoms. It’s fun falling in love with denim again… be bold and own the new blues!
Betty Be Good Boutique has locations in Lynden, Birch Bay, and now Fairhaven. Visit them in stores or online at shopbettybegood.com.