Denim Trends

Fashion trends: love them or hate them, they permeate every part of menswear. Even something as historic and steadfast as denim isn’t immune to the passing of time and the changing of tastes. In fact, men’s denim trends are some of the most fast-changing and diverse to be found.

In recent years we’ve witnessed skinny silhouettes toppled by loose cuts and wide legs. We’ve seen distressed denim get so holey it disappeared entirely. Whether these are pluses or negatives, well, we’ll leave that to you to decide. Either way, denim is constantly on the move.

From the evergreen mainstays to some of the more questionable seasonal variations, these are the denim trends you need to know about right now.

men's denim trends
From left to right: double denim, slim cuts (right and featured) and stonewash are all on trend this year

Stonewash

They say fashion works in cycles of 20 years. And if you’ve been paying any attention to the 1990s revival that has been sweeping the globe for the past few seasons, you’ll know it to be true.

Washed-out denim is one of the more palatable throwback styles to have emerged from fashion’s obsession with all things nineties. As is the case with any men’s style movement, you have to be selective about which trends you pick up and which ones you drop. And a pair of lightly coloured jeans is always going to be favourable to curtains and a Coogi jumper.

How To Wear

A.P.C. Petit Standard Skinny-Fit Selvedge Denim Jeans, £155 >

The key to nailing lighter shades of denim is to keep it casual. Slim, raw denim jeans can be dressed up to a certain extent – think sports jacket, roll neck and smart shoes – stonewash, on the other hand, is best at home as part of a relaxed outfit. Try wearing a pair cuffed with suede desert boots, a plain tee and an overshirt.

Workwear Inspired

Menswear’s love for manual labour is nothing new. Alongside sports and the military, it’s one of the most common places from which designers delight in taking inspiration.

Jeans, and denim in general, for that matter, have their roots in practical applications. It was a fabric favoured by blue-collar workers for its heavy construction and robustness. But it’s not just the material we’re talking about this season. Workwear-inspired detailing such as hammer loops and patch pockets have been making an unexpected comeback too.

Meanwhile, denim chore jackets are also enjoying a resurgence. And thankfully, they’re a little easier to style.

How To Wear

Visvim Distressed Denim Chore Jacket, £940 >

Carpenter jeans are never going to be an easy garment to get right, but your best bet is as part of a workwear-style outfit, if you want to avoid looking like a 13-year-old skateboarder from 2002. For less divisive option, stick to that denim chore coat, teamed with either contrasting jeans or trousers and topped off with a sturdy pair of winter boots.

Slim Cuts

While skintight silhouettes have all but disappeared from menswear, slim cuts are still alive and well. It’s a timeless fit that’s flattering and versatile, making it well worth adding to your rotation (if it’s not already a cornerstone of it).

It may not be a trend so to speak, but slim-fit jeans are always going to look good, regardless of year or season. Think of this style as one of the fundamental building blocks of your wardrobe. It’s simple, modest and – perhaps most importantly – won’t leave you cringing when you stumble upon photographs of yourself 10 years from now.

How To Wear It

A.P.C. Petit New Standard slim-leg jeans, £125 >

Slim-fit denim is best worn with other fitted clothing. Other than that, it can be worn in any way you choose. Take a smart casual approach by opting for black and combining with black leather Derby shoes and an Oxford shirt. Or dress it right down with a crew-neck sweatshirt and some trainers.

Double Up

It was once the case that wearing double denim was a cardinal style sin reserved for only the most heinous of dressers. To attempt it was to commit style suicide, but times have changed and done right, you can make it work.

It’s still far from easy to pull off – a menswear move only the pros can get away with – but it is possible.

How To Wear

Edwin ED-80 Slim Tapered Jean in Mineral Power Black Denim, £89 >
The Worker’s Club Selvedge Denim Jacket, £265 >

The most important thing to remember when pairing denim with denim is to keep your shades different. Instead of matching your top and bottom half, you should be aiming for contrast. We’re talking cream denim jackets, black jeans, raw denim overshirts. In short, it’s all about mixing it up. Get this right and you’re halfway there.

Wild West

From denim jackets to cowboy shirts, western style has been galloping into the world of menswear for a season or two now. It’s a trend built around denim and while an entire outfit composed of it may be a little much, incorporating certain elements into your wardrobe is a stylish move to make.

Key items include trucker jackets, oversized belt buckles and western-style denim shirts. Just be sure to keep it low key unless you want to end up like you’re en route to a Toy Story-themed fancy-dress party.

How To Wear

Brunello Cucinelli Washed-Denim Western Shirt, £560 >

Western-style clothing is pretty bold. Therefore it’s best just to wear one piece per outfit. Try layering a dark denim trucker jacket over a roll neck in place of a blazer. Or simply swap your chambray shirt out for a similar style with western detailing such as a reinforced yoke and pointed chest-pocket flaps.

Dad Jeans

Dad’s, on the whole, aren’t famous for their fashion credentials. It’s odd then that every other emerging trend in menswear at present seems to have the prefix “dad” connected to it.

Jeans are no different. And this latest trend for loose-fitting, washed denim just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Dad jeans are the new baggy denim paradigm and while they may not be for everyone, there’s certainly no escaping them.

How To Wear

Tommy Jeans 6.0 Crest Dad Jean M17 in Light Blue, £89 >

Keeping it casual is key to getting dad jeans right. Team them with other loose-fitting garments like oversized knitwear, hoodies and overshirts. And, if you’re going to wear denim up top too, just make sure its a different shade.

Mid-Wash

If you don’t quite feel like committing entirely to raw or stonewash denim, a mid-wash is the comfortable middle ground you seek.

This subtle option has been getting more and more popular of late – and we’re all for it. It’s a great pared-back alternative to harsher colours that have the potential to detract from other elements of your outfit.

How To Wear

Polo Ralph Lauren Washed Denim Jacket in Indigo Blue, £175 >

Mid-wash works great in both jeans and jacket form. If you’re opting for the former, you should keep things very casual – mid-wash jeans aren’t a great choice when it comes to pairing with a blazer and smart footwear, unless you want to get mistaken for Jeremy Clarkson. Try wearing with a classic flannel shirt and canvas high-tops instead.

Raw On Top

Why let your legs have all the raw denim fun? Give your torso a little action too. Raw denim is nothing new, but wearing it in jacket form is becoming increasingly popular.

A good raw denim jacket is a real investment piece. Wear it often and look after it, and you’ll be rewarded with a garment that ages and weathers with you, making it completely personalised and unique.

How To Wear

Nudie Kenny Dry Orange Selvage Jacket, £230 >

Again, when wearing denim on top it’s important to ensure it doesn’t match too closely with whatever you’re wearing on your legs. Generally, black jeans or even white/cream jeans will work well here. Or, better still, opt for green or beige chinos instead. Then stick on a pair of black Chelsea boots and you’re good to go.

Relaxed

There was an unfortunate period in menswear not long ago during which sausage-casing-style denim went mainstream. Thankfully, these days are behind us, with relaxed, loose-fitting styles currently trending.

In fact, relaxed fits are fast becoming the new normal. As minimalism and body-hugging cuts give way to maximalism and laid-back silhouettes, these type of jeans have becoming an increasingly common sight. And that’s no bad thing – relaxed denim is comfortable, easy to wear and can look great when styled right.

How To Wear

Acne Studios River Denim Jeans, £230 >

It’s all about keeping things loose. Don’t attempt to pair relaxed-fitting jeans with a skin-tight top; it won’t work. Instead, combined them with similarly laid-back pieces: a loose flannel shirt, a raglan sleeve sweatshirt, or even an unstructured blazer.