After Alex Woodhall’s excellent article on the denim jacket as the perfect transitional piece, I wanted to follow up with a popular upcoming trend for SS13: the use of denim.

Of course, we are all familiar with denim leg wear – I challenge any man out there to admit they do not own a pair of jeans – but for this season we are seeing the sturdy, highly wearable fabric applied to a multitude of other pieces, an influx of denim detailing and a variety of new washes. As ShortList magazine recently wrote: “Patchwork, bleached effects and the use of raw selvedge for formal wear are among its exciting new reincarnations for SS13.”

With the popularity of chinos and tailored shorts only increasing, denim’s status within the industry has decreased over the last few years – especially during the warmer months. However, this doesn’t mean that denim should be abandoned altogether just because Mr Sun has decided to get his proverbial hat on, so take a look at some of the new and exciting ways you can look to integrate denim into your wardrobe this spring/summer…

Denim On The Runways
A Smarter Approach To Denim

One of the biggest designer proponents of denim for SS13 was Acne Studios. Although this may not come as a huge surprise, considering they are a brand renowned for their exceptional denim range, the designers at Acne really know their chambray from their selvedge.

Inspiration for the denim pieces in the collection was drawn from traditional workwear styles, with raw-edged, unfinished denim gilets and denim jackets taking centre stage.

However, the material was also used for the construction of formal wear, with a particular highlight coming in the form of a 4-piece indigo denim suit that featured a denim blazer, waistcoat, tunic and trousers.

The brand continued to push this smarter denim aesthetic by pairing a dark denim blazer with oversized dark denim shorts and silver, Oxford-style lace-ups:

Also embracing a smarter approach were Valentino, who showcased tailored suits in sharp Japanese denim paired with crisp white shirts and trainers, giving them a sports luxe feel:

The Denim Jacket

The designer collections featured several takes on the denim jacket. Nicole Farhi included a blouson-style version with zip fastening, which was paired with grey tailored trousers, a white patterned shirt and beige lace-ups.

Brands such as Valentino, Louis Vuitton and YMC featured more traditional takes on the classic denim jacket, whereas Acne and Richard Nicoll added a quirky twist through a round neck cropped denim jacket and a stone wash denim jacket with contrast navy pocket detailing respectively:

Going one step further were brands such as Dsquared2 and Versace, which both included sleeveless denim gilets that channelled a 1980s vibe.

The Dsquared2 pieces were particularly striking as they incorporated leopard-print collar detailing and were worn beneath tailored blazers for a multi-layered look. The brand also featured plain shirts with denim collar detailing and a plain shirt with a denim panel and accompanying floral denim brooch, demonstrating that small snippets of denim work just as well as embracing the fabric as a whole:

It seems that the denim jacket was classified as number one in Murray Clark’s recent article on the five SS13 menswear staples you need in your wardrobe for a very good reason.

One To Avoid: Calvin Klein Collection

We can’t discuss the use of denim at the SS13 fashion weeks without mentioning the Calvin Klein Collection, who were one of the brands that didn’t execute the denim trend in the most effective way.

The opening look from Calvin Klein was not double, but triple denim, and utilised a denim jacket, denim shirt and jeans in a standard wash. Although bold combinations of denim can work, the whole look was badly-fitted and almost too oversized – channelling the 1980s in very much the wrong way.

Perhaps worn as separates the looks would have been much more successful, but in my opinion the Calvin Klein looks were a prime example of how denim should not be done:

The Fashion Press

The fashion press have reinforced denim as the go-to fabric for SS13. GQ described denim as “the fabric of the season” and successfully argues that it works equally well above the waist. In a recent editorial shoot the magazine included various denim looks, such as pale denim shirts paired with tailored trousers and ties for a smarter aesthetic, a standard denim jacket with the collar popped and a denim jacket with a shearling-lined collar.

The recent cover star of GQ Style, British actor Charlie Hunnam, was also pictured embracing the double denim trend by wearing double Levi’s – one of the most well-loved and respected denim brands on the planet. Similarly, in the most recent issue of Esquire magazine, the cover star, actor Chris Pine, is seen wearing a Martin Margiela denim jacket with the collar popped for an effortlessly cool summer look.

Men’s Denim Lookbook

tesco ss13 drykorn ss13 drykorn ss13 comodo square ss13 topman denim ss13 Calliope ss13 guess spring 2013 topman denim ss13 river island holloway road ss13

Current Key Pieces

Simon Chilvers, assistant fashion editor for The Guardian, recently highlighted denim as an emerging, popular trend for SS13 and mentioned that “the high street is strongly backing denim”. This can be seen at River Island, who have recently developed various denim styles for the new season, along with ASOS who have recently expanded their range of denim washes.

Back in March, ASOS also published a SS13 denim lookbook that featured products as diverse as two-tone denim shirts, denim-panelled shirts, tie-dye, bleach-effect pieces and denim jackets in varying tones and washes.

Similarly, the current homepage feature on the Topman website is entitled ‘Denim’ and provides direct links to their denim options – from denim lookbooks to the types of jeans fits they have available. There are also pictures of bloggers wearing their favourite Topman jeans and links to more denim ideas and inspiration. This only reinforces the impact denim is likely to have on menswear this coming season, both above and below the waist.

  • Solid Sleeveless Denim Shirt
  • Edwin Nimes Short-sleeved Floral-print Denim Shirt
  • Vintage Denim Shirt With Dip-dye
  • Selected Denim Camo Shirt
  • Topman Blue Denim Wash Birds T-shirt
  • Jack & Jones Denim Shirt With Boat Print
  • Asos Denim Jacket With Acid Wash
  • Our Legacy Uniform Light Vintage Denim Jacket
  • Native Youth Nysh39 Denim Shirt
  • Topman Denim Dip Dye High Roller Shirt
  • Orlebar Brown Miller Lightweight Denim Jacket
  • Neighborhood Stockman Washed Denim Jacket
  • Levis Vintage Clothing Mens 1960s Sky Blue Denim Bomber Jacket
  • Topman Blue Denim Check Shorts
  • Topman Denim Floral Bow Tie
  • Kenzo Mens Embroidered Logo Denim Tote Bag
  • Rivieras Denim Slip-on Shoes
  • Topman Brigade Denim Boots
Final Word

So there we have it, not a ground-breaking or particularly surprising emerging trend but one that most men out there will already have the pieces for in their wardrobe.

Now we want to hear your thoughts and musings on denim as a trend for SS13. Is double, or even triple, denim (for the brave ones out there) something that you would consider? Or are denim separates more your thing?

As always, please leave your comments below…