It’s been a while since we’ve witnessed a bonafide denim trend in fashion. I would probably peg the last one to around 2014, when vintage Levi’s were all the rage, buoyed by the normcore phenomenon and the seemingly infinite number of cool women who paired them with Patagonia fleeces and redefined the meaning of “effortless” style. For the past few seasons, though, a certain denim mood has emerged. I’m calling it a mood and not a trend, because the infinite denim options that exist now (cut, wash, rise, you name it) are such that I’m fairly sure we are living in a post-denim trend world. That said, there’s definitely an identifiable movement afoot: jeans that aren’t quite straight leg in the same sense that the trendiest vintage Levi’s were, but also aren’t quite skinny. High-waisted and not cropped. Finished edges. There’s something almost tailored about them, like a fitted trouser, rendered in denim.
The aforementioned mood is almost certainly a product of what Leandra described in her recent story about the streamlining of fashion. We have brands Bottega Veneta, Khaite, and Eve Denim, and WARDROBE.NYC to thank for the association between this particular denim silhouette and the simplified aesthetic people are gravitating toward these days, because you know what looks really good with brown suede loafers and a navy crewneck sweater? Streamlined jeans. (Please note I’m not wed to that terminology, but the perfect name for what I’m describing eludes me.)
Since I identify this particular silhouette as part of a pendulum swing in fashion away from flimsy, social media-friendly one-hit wonders and towards non-boring, structured, solid basics that will stand the test of time, it should come as no surprise that its predecessor was circulated in perhaps the most classically iconic denim advertisement in history: 15-year-old Brooke Shields in Calvin Klein:
View this post on Instagram
Not quite traditionally straight or skinny, high-waisted, with finished edges. There’s something reassuring about these characteristics, which I’m sure is part of the resulting silhouette’s appeal. It doesn’t assume anything about who you are or what you want to look like (items that do are often what render your style a caricature of itself). Instead, it is the perfect blank canvas, quiet enough to let you seamlessly evolve instead of constantly shedding misaligned selves like a soul-searching reptile.
If that sounds as refreshing as it felt to type, scroll down for a roundup of streamlined denim options at various price points for your perusing pleasure.
+These appear to have just the right amount of knee baggage
+If you’re into a frayed hem as an anti-streamlined rebellion, try these
+This pair comes in the perfect shade of cream
+Zara is on a roll with fitted trouser jeans! These are a really unique color–blue so light it almost looks white.
+These go up to a size 20 and are LINED WITH FLANNEL I repeat LINED WITH FLANNEL
+These have just the right amount of whiskering
+The wash on this plus-size pair is super dark blue and the fabric type is literally called “butter denim,” which sounds very promising
+A black option, if that’s your jam
+Bless J.Crew for this classic pair that looks like something a polished school boy would wear (a.k.a. IDEAL)
+I’m picturing these with cowboy-esque boots and a big gray sweater
+A plus-size white pair that verges every so slightly into bootcut-adjacent realm
How do you feel about this denim style? Have you already bought into it? Let’s talk.
Feature photos via Eve Denim and WARDROBE.NYC.