We love denim, and the industry has been whipping up more ways for us to wear it with style and comfort.
Denim dresses, skirts, jackets, rompers, shoes and handbags are trending for spring and summer – often tricked up with embroidery, zippers and other details. Come fall, classic denim jackets are key layering pieces for both men and women.
Washes run the gamut from dark saturated indigo to stone-washed varieties with faded areas and retro cornflower blues that recall the 1970s.
“Denim is seeing a major comeback,” WWD reported in April, citing manufacturers’ emphasis on performance and comfort inspired by the explosion of yoga and active wear.
Jeans, of course, are our favorite way to wear denim. The latest styles sport high rises and wide, straight or boyfriend silhouettes with uneven, frayed and/or cropped hems, extreme distressing (read: ragged holes) and patches. Fear not, skinny jeans remain popular and have been updated with cropped lengths.
Fifties-style rigid denim is on the leading edge for women, and the industry has been working to make fabrics that look old school but still satisfy the overwhelming demand for comfort.
Last September, Levi Strauss introduced its iconic 501 jean in a proprietary vertical stretch denim that took the company over a year to develop.
“If you pick up a pair, you won’t see that they are stretch, you just see a pair of 501’s,” noted Levi’s senior vice president of global design Jonathan Cheung. “That’s important. We wanted to make the technology invisible. But the minute you try them on, you’ll feel the difference. It’s subtle, but you’ll feel it.”
The new version retains the shrink-to-fit characteristic of the original, he says.
Both DL 1961 and Amo are offering thicker denim fabrics with 2 percent spandex for stretch, while Citizens of Humanity took a different approach, using laser technology and washing to break rigid 100 percent cotton denim down so it’s not so stiff, WWD reported.
Americans may have popularized the blue jean, but the durable pants are now a staple worldwide. In most countries outside South Asia and China, about half the population wears denim on any given day, according to “Blue Jeans: The Art of the Ordinary” by Daniel Miller and Sophie Woodward.
“It was not a coincidence,” the authors concluded, “that people not only regard jeans as having a greater capacity than other garments to become intimate and personal as they soften and mold to a particular body but also see wearing this global garment as the best means to present themselves as citizens of the world.”
Kinda gives denim a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?