After over a decade of skinny jeans as the standard, an old trend is making its way back, as old trends often do.
What’s happening: Our new pandemic lifestyle is making its way into our closets through styles that prioritize comfort. Generation Z is leading the way for looser, comfier jeans (and middle parts, but that’s another conversation).
- Plus, no matter how-fashion forward you are, jeans are a staple in most wardrobes, which means a denim style shift is a big deal.
How it works: There are varying levels to this trend. I spoke with two local stylists, Stacee Michelle and Erica Hanks, who’s also the co-founder of Showroom, to learn more about how the loose-jean trend translates in Charlotte.
- “I do think that this wider leg silhouette will continue for a while. I don’t think it will go away anytime soon,” Michelle says.
- People are looking for comfort, especially in 2020 and 2021,” Hanks says. “The loungewear influence has really been strong.”
For beginners: If you’re looking for a way to ease in, try a high-waist straight-leg (like mom jeans) or boyfriend jean paired with a crisp white button down and a heeled mule or sneaker.
Take it up a notch: To go for a more extreme version of this trend, try a baggy, high-waisted jean with a crop top, oversized jacket, and chunky sneakers.
A few other notes to keep in mind when shopping for looser jeans:
- Light to medium wash are most popular right now, especially with the looser fit.
- Distressing is still a popular option with looser fit jeans, especially at the hem, but a simpler look with fewer holes is most common.
- Loose-fit cropped jeans are yet another variation (think hems that end above the ankle).
- Asymmetrical waist bands are a fun detail that are also gaining popularity.
- Any shoe can pair with a loose fit jean. The most common options are chunky sneakers and heeled or flat sandals.
Yes, but: While it looks like looser fits are here to stay, skinny jeans aren’t totally out and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed leaving the house in them. Do you.
- Skinny jeans still account for 35% of women’s denim sales in the U.S., Bloomberg recently reported, citing NPD Group data. That’s a larger share than any other style jean.
Of note: Fashion in general is hard on the environment, and jeans are one of the worst offenders. Everlane, a sustainable denim brand, estimates that it takes about 396 gallons of water to produce a single pair.
Sustainable brands and local thrift stores are great options for shopping looser fit jeans, and you’re likely to have good luck since this is an older trend making its way back.
- Stacee Michelle does a Styled by Stacee pop-up for local Goodwill boutiques, and the most recent focuses on denim. Look for her picks while you thrift.
- Goodwill store managers tell us they’ve noticed an uptick in younger shoppers specifically looking for vintage denim.
- Goodwill stores in greater Charlotte saw a 10% increase in denim purchases during the first two months of 2021 compared to the same time period last year.
Here are a few more inspiration pictures to help you style your next loose-fit jean look.