This season saw denim break out of its all-selvedge, all-the-time rut with a glut of new cuts, washes and distressing hitting first runways, now stores. But more options means increased odds you might forget our bootcut rule (remember kids, just say no). Here’s how to add something new to your something blue.
Well, perhaps denim hasn’t moved totally out of the selvedge rut. For versatility, unwashed indigo still rules strong. But for a seasonal update you need to bulk up. Summer denim won’t cut it on frozen mornings, so stick to fabrics above 12oz, like the new hook-up between Whistles and Japanese jean genies Edwin.
The Brit brand has tweaked the ED80 with white selvedge thread, for a minimalist twist to your turn-ups, and a leaf print lining in the pockets. And because they’re cut slim and have enjoyed seven dips in the indigo bath, they’re wearable anywhere. “At work, try wearing them with a crisp white shirt and Derbies,” says Rosamund Ward, Menswear Designer at Whistles. “On weekends, wearing them cuffed with low-top sneakers and a jumper is an easy, timeless look.”
If you feel the chill readily, look to Nudie’s hook-up with Cone Denim. The Lean Dean is cut in the US mill’s 14.75oz selvedge (£185), which should keep you toasty even when there’s snow on the ground. Chafed knees are a small price to pay.
Whistles x Edwin Raw ED80 Jean, available at Whistles, priced £140.
The time has come to rid yourself of your spray-on favourites. “Skinny jeans have had a hold over our wardrobes, and our legs, for long enough,” says Anika Islam, founder of denim label Wåven. “We’re not turning our backs on them completely, but we need more options and variation.”
This season, tack hard in the opposite direction with a silhouette ported from the streets of Tokyo: a wider leg, cropped just above the ankle. Intimidating as it may seem, they slot easily alongside what’s already in your wardrobe.
“For everyday and weekends, a cropped wide-leg jean looks great paired with trainers and a bomber jacket,” says Islam. “It’s very current, but is also comfortable and unfussy.” Still not convinced? Topman has the affordable way to dip a toe.
Black Wide Leg Crop Jeans, available at Topman, priced £38.
It’s one of fashion’s great ironies that a fabric heralded for its hardiness by gold miners now has grown men rushing for cover at the first drops of rain, petrified that the water might ruin their hard-earned fades. But modern lives call for modern design, especially when it comes to clothing.
Which is where the OG steps in to set things right. Levi’s ‘Commuter’ range caters to the perils of contemporary work, which means bike grease rather than cave-ins. These jeans are built from a durable, stretchy and water-resistant fabric, complete with reflective cuffs and a high back for added coverage when riding.
But practical needn’t mean nerdy. “Avoid Converse or trainers as this can make the jean look bulky,” says Kate Eccles, founder of denim label Ruby London. “Opt for a brogue, which will smarten up this functional style.” Instead of bespoke John Lobb’s, look to brands with some rough-and-ready heritage, like Clarks and Tricker’s, which will match the tone of your denim. Whether you’re in or out of the saddle.
Levi’s® Commuter™ 522™ Slim Taper Jeans, available at Levi’s, priced £85.
It’s fitting that now your selvedge is starting to show its age, holes are back. The summer saw sliced knees re-enter the realms of acceptability, but autumn’s frays are a cut above.
Realising that bare skin + winter = goosebumps, Cheap Monday has reinforced the style with a contrasting lining, so you can achieve that rugged look without feeling the breeze. Alternatively, opt for patches over slices with Levi’s Vintage Clothing’s recreations of real wear-and-tear from its archive. A touch more authentic than a designer armed with a scalpel.
Probably not one for any office not furnished with ‘visualisation pods’, but rips are an easy way to reinvigorate the tried and tested T-shirt and jeans combo. Just be sure to balance your colours.
“If it’s a light wash denim, match with a fresh pair of white trainers and then go dark on the top layer,” says Tom Scherdel, buyer at The Idle Man. “A black jumper and navy bomber, for instance, will normalise the look.” If you’re dark below, flip your shades. Just make sure that the rest of your outfit is hole free. ‘Derelicte’ was meant to be satirical.
Cheap Monday Tight Innocence Black Jeans, available at The Idle Man, priced £59.