Denims on a clothesline



From structured blazers to sleek pencil skirts, learn about the latest denim makeovers.

The earliest denim type, Levi's 501 jeans, debuted as simple workplace trousers in 1873. Nearly 150 years later, denim has broadened its appeal with a constant stream of fashion-forward trends, from edgy raw hems to '70s-inspired high-waisted and wide-leg designs to earthy neutral tones.

The owners of the following women-owned denim companies and industry professionals all concur that denim, once a modest workmen's uniform, is now anything from basic. Denim is a treasured wardrobe essential worn all over the world, a cultural icon worn in the Wild West and on the silver screen, and it can be extremely personal.

This year’s jeans trends are pretty easy to pinpoint: high waisted, wide legged silhouettes, slouchy unstructured forms, patchwork and embellishments, and dark washes are all prevalent.

But denim is no longer confined to jeans. These predicted trends for denim in 2022 have a lot to do with style, but nothing to do with jeans.

Tailored denim

Denim is known for its informality, but this year, it’s being given a formal makeover. Blazers add polish to any look and, as Emporio Armani just proved, denim blazers are no exception. Dark washes in sharp and structured styles; nipped-in jackets; pencil skirts; and tailor-cut shirts will all add some (acceptable) edge to semi-formal occasions.

Denim maxi skirts

The season's maxi skirts, which have a retro '90s vibe, are a favorite of Sonia Mosseri, Creative Director and Co-Founder of denim brand Still Here. She loves wearing them with a plain tank or cropped white t-shirt. A fresh spin on classic denim pieces can be achieved by experimenting with different silhouettes, such as skirting, and adding decorations, appliqués, and embroideries. Because it's a material that individuals can wear every day, denim is a smart investment, according to Mosseri.

(Feminine) denim dresses

Denim dresses have always been a closet essential. But they’re taking on a seriously traditional feminine silhouette this year. Flattering puff sleeves (Kate Spade), delicate off-shoulder silhouettes, and fairytale frilly hems are adding elements of the rising cottage-core aesthetic to fashion’s most urban staple.

Neutral shades of denim

Natural sandstone and off-white denim pieces are the grown-up equivalents of our ‘90s denim collection, says Brigette Deshais, vice president of women’s design at AYR. Think cream-colored denim pencil skirts, structured wheat jackets, and neutral-toned denim bags.

Relaxed denim jackets

Replace your casual blazers with a denim jacket that is a little bit bigger. According to Sahara, it's even better if it reaches a "desired worn-in look," a style attained by recycling and upcycling methods that include sustainability. According to Tara Rudes Dann, Fashion Director and Partner of New York City-based denim designer L'Agence, color-blocking and patches made from antique materials can also give your casual denim looks a distinctive twist.

Denim sneakers

While denim pumps are becoming a popular accompaniment to summer dresses, we prefer the cool-without-trying vibes of denim sneakers. The best designs are made with different pieces of denim, playing heavily with different textures and more cautiously with color tones, although many of them have used colorful patchwork patterns to (often) great effect.