In 1873, Levi's 501 jeans, the first-ever denim style, started as humble workwear trousers. Almost 150 years later, denim has expanded its reach with a revolving door of statement-making denim trends—from edgy raw hems to '70s-inspired high-waisted and wide-leg silhouettes to earthy neutral tones.
The following women-led denim brand founders and experts will agree; denim, once a modest workman's uniform, is today anything but simple. A cultural symbol, worn in the Wild West and on the silver screen, and a beloved closet staple worn worldwide, denim can be personal and emotional. "Investing in the right pair of jeans can make a woman look and feel incredible," explains Tara Rudes Dann, Fashion Director and Partner at New York City-based denim brand, L'Agence. "Sometimes all you need is that perfect pair for everything else in your wardrobe to make sense," agrees Brigette Deshais, AYR's Vice President of Women's Design.
Investing in a great pair of jeans will ensure they last you a lifetime, explains Aimi Sahara, founder of denim brand Tu Es Mon Tresor. Sonia Mosseri, Creative Director and Co-Founder of denim brand Still Here, agrees. Ahead, we've broken down six of the most-covetable denim trends of 2022, all with our denim insiders' seals of approval.
High-Rise, Wide-Leg Denim
"High-rise, wide-leg denim styles bring together the best of comfort and sophistication," says Aimi Sahara, founder of denim brand Tu Es Mon Tresor. This type of jeans provides coverage for colder months but offers breathability for the warmer weather. Sahara suggests styling your high-rise, wide-leg jeans with a shorter top or a V-neck tee to juxtapose the elongated hemline.
Denim Maxi Skirts
Still Here's Sonia Mosseri loves pairing the season's maxi skirts—which have vintage '90s appeal—with a simple tank or cropped white tee. Playing with different silhouettes, like skirting and incorporating embellishments, appliqué, and embroideries, offer a novel take on staples denim pieces. "Denim is a great investment because it's a fabric people can wear every day," Mosseri explains.
Vintage and retro-leaning styles, like carpenter jeans, were historically constructed with function in mind—built with pockets and hammer loops to store tools. Today, they've been re-upped as a fashion statement on the runways of designers like Valentino, Balenciaga, and Bottega Veneta. "It's a person's instinct and personal style that makes an older style relevant again," explains Sahara of Tu Es Mon Tresor.
Neutral Tone Denim
"Natural sandstone and off-white denim pieces are the grown-up versions of my '90s jeans," explains Brigette Deshais, AYR's Vice President of Women's Design. While you might like the appealing look of rigid jeans, Deshais notes the importance of feeling great in your denim of choice. "Opt for something with stretch— nobody wants to be in heavy denim jeans that aren't breathable and pinch in all the wrong places. A good pair of denim jeans instantly makes all your other clothing feel fresh again," she says.
Relaxed Denim Jackets
Swap your casual blazers for a slightly oversized denim jacket. It's even better if it achieves a "coveted worn-in look," explains Sahara— an aesthetic achieved through sustainably-minded recycling and upcycling practices. Color-blocking and vintage sourced patches can also add a unique twist to your relaxed denim styles, says Tara Rudes Dann, Fashion Director and Partner at New York City-based denim brand, L'Agence.
Raw Hem Jeans
Jeans with raw or exposed hemlines are also some of Dann's favorite all-time denim varieties. She recommends pairing raw hem jeans with polished staples like a cardigan, blazer, classic belt, and mules. "When you love a style, it's seasonless," says Dunn.