The trends of denim have been changing for years. From bell bottoms in the 1960s to extreme ripped jeans in 2018, denim has certainly been through a lot since the release of the blue jean 145 years ago. So, which were the trends that really took off? And, what can we expect from denim in the future?

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A throwback

Upon its invention in 1873, the blue jean was designed to be durable workwear for labourers. But how did denim trends change through the decades?

When the 1950s arrived, denim jeans exploded onto the fashion scene — seen as a rebellious statement. In the 1950s, the straight-legged jean was predominantly worn by males; actors and singers were the ones leading the rugged-look trend.

Then, the denim jean entered its hippie phase in 1960. Women were now embracing the versatile trouser — it was all about casual styles, bell bottom flares and low-rise fits. The relaxed fit represented the culture at the time and jeans became a staple wardrobe item for everyone.

This was when denim jackets also came on the scene — double denim was more than acceptable. Stone washes and bright embroidery were also popular around this time — encouraging DIY denim and personalisation of jean pockets and jackets!

During these period, denim jeans weren’t known for being very feminine. In 1980, interest in designer denim started to increase and premium brands began to emerge. Leg cuts became skinnier and more fitted, creating a Straight Jean for Women feminine silhouette and a more tailored look for females. It was also around the 1980s when ripped jeans came into fashion and acid wash became popular — a trend that’s toned down since then.

New trends came along in the 1990s too. The rise of hip hop encouraged men and women to wear baggy jeans, often revealing their underwear beneath. Thankfully, this trend didn’t stay mainstream for long but denim overalls and ‘shortalls’ have remained at the forefront of fashion, even today.

Ultra low-rise jeans came along in the early 2000s. Flared trousers also made a comeback, accompanied by a subtler version with the bootcut. Innovations, such as denim stretch technology, meant that skinny jeans were now skinnier than ever and sales from premium brands such as Citizens of Humanity soared.

Between then and now, it’s skinny jeans that have been the most popular style — available in a range of washes and fits, they can be dressed up or down for men and women.

What’s in this season?

As summer gets underway and garden parties become more frequent, we’re seeing more people rocking light coloured washes. From lilacs to pastel yellow, denim has certainly transformed from its classic indigo blue colour.

What about cuts? It’s all about denim culottes and cropped legs. Paired with classic summer sandals and a cross-body bag, this look is all about smart casual with a hint of flare inspired by the 1960s.

Take notice of hems this season too. It’s these small details that really stand out. Split hems have been popular, adding an edge to a traditional skinny jean. We’ve also seen some lace embroidered hems that add a girly twist to the classic jean.

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Remember that denim jackets are every year’s must-have. They’re classic yet contemporary and complement the ‘layering’ trend of recent seasons. Pair with casual culottes and a printed tee, or a floaty summery dress for a stylish summer look.

In male fashion, it’s all about straight legs and turn up hems. Styled with on-trend checked patterns, it’s a contemporary twist on a classic look.

What can we expect from future denim trends?

We’ve seen plenty of developments in terms of improving the wear and tear of the denim material. This could encourage even longer-lasting denim and therefore one type of jean being fashionable across more than one era. There is also a focus on sustainable denim, as manufacturers try to use recyclable materials and create new blends and standalone fibers.

What about upcoming styles? They’re hard to predict. But, we’ve seen the revival of the 1960s and the 1980s this season through a range of trends, so who knows what next season holds. Could it be the return of rhinestone pockets and bell bottom flares?

* This is a collaborative post


  1. […] via Denim trends: The past, present & future * — Jenny in Neverland […]

  2. I have never been a fashion follower, so I prefer going the opposite way where trends are concerned. I love wearing flared, wide bottomed jeans, not a fan of skinny jeans at all 🙂 (been overtly expressive about my grudge in my posts :-|)
    Your article was a very interesting read about the changes a functional pair of work pants has gone through. Yes, its a style statement now. Thanks for the share!

  3. I recently bought my favorite pair of denim pants from Joes Jeans. Omg I love them. The legs are unfinished and frayed and they hit at just the correct length on my ankle/ calf. LOVE! Thanks for posting… Maybe I will delve into culottes again!

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