From groovy flared denim to the rise and fall of skinny jeans to the resurgence of low-rise hipster styles, past denim trends have been synonymous with the times and a much-heated topic of debate when discussing which silhouettes, washes, and rises should be the jeans du jour. But while these trends come and go, consult an expert, and they’ll tell you why denim will always be a winning bet. “It’s hard to name a more versatile base for any outfit,” says Rickie De Sole, Women’s Fashion Director at Nordstrom. “They’re the perfect wardrobe transition piece and can be dressed up or down for any occasion with the simple swap of a top or shoe,” she says.
“Denim jeans are a closet staple, period,” says Diego Abba, CEO of Italist. “Not only are they universally wearable, but “you’ll get more mileage from denim than anything else in your closet.”
But, like all things, there are always variations on the classics. The 2023 denim trends are no exception. While denim is rooted in functionality, there’s no harm in also having a bit of fun. Diego foresees oversized styles that swept the runways at designers like Khaite and Chloé taking center stage, while De Sole calls for long denim skirts and a more polished take on warm-weather denim pieces.
Here are six of the most enticing denim trends to invest in.
Long and Loose
If classic jeans are your usual tried-and-trues, try a long and loose silhouette for this year, which De Sole says will be one of the season's most sought-after styles. She encourages everyone to try a slightly retro, wide-leg pair similar to those seen on the runways at Jacquemus and Veronica Beard. "For maximum impact, keep [the look] clean by pairing them with a simple knit or tee and accessorize with gold jewelry," she advises.
Fit to Print
Some of Diego's favorite denim styles for SS23 are anything but wallflowers. They're all about the standout prints. "Look for unique finishing touches like logo-clad denim à la Versace to groovy star prints from designers like Collina Strada," says Diego. You can go for something subtle, like a feminine floral motif that pairs with breezy white blouses for summer, or go all out with an embossed stripe or paisley design.
"Regardless of the trends, a staple pair of well-fitting denim should always be at the core of your wardrobe," says Sarah Ahmed, Creative Director and CEO of DL1961. That rule of thumb doubles when you're talking head-to-toe denim. An early aught throwback, the complete denim look is reigning king on the SS23 runways, but with a fresh, polished point-of-view. Rest assured, designers like Alaia, Luar, and Stella McCartney's full denim ensembles are worlds away from the Canadian tuxedos of our favorite heyday popstars.
Jeans often equate to casual, but De Sole is about denim's elegant debut. "I love the idea of elevated denim," she says, explaining that a slightly more polished take can seamlessly transition your wardrobe from the weekend to the work week (say hello to your new streamlined wardrobe!) To accomplish that sophisticated look we're all striving for, opt for one of the season's subtle flared denim styles that seamlessly pair alongside a trench coat and slingbacks for office wear and a tank top and sneakers for your off-duty closet.
To The Maxi (Skirt)
Denim is one of the most versatile fabrics, which means it does wonders in silhouettes that span far beyond your run-of-the-mill jeans. This season, swap in a denim skirt that can transition between warm and cold weather. It's also the denim silhouette that De Sole says "is on the top of her shopping list." If an elongated piece is a new addition to your wardrobe, the fashion vet suggests styling your denim skirt as seen on the SS23 Altuzarra runways— alongside a button-down and a cropped knit.
There's no right answer when it comes to which rise point is right for you. "Wear what feels good," says Ahmed. (We couldn't agree more). But she notes that low-to-mid-rise styles will continue to gain momentum as the year continues. "Low-rise jeans are here to stay through the warmer season in relaxed fits that make the style more palatable," she explains.