By Kate Davidson Hudson
Like most perennially-chic staples in your wardrobe, the everyday jean is the quintessential French invention: one part high fashion, one part laid-back luxury. Since their advent in Nimes, France in the 1800s, jeans have been sartorial symbols of everyone from the working class miner to the American West cowboy to the anti-establishment youth. Until, of course, they became indisposable tokens of high-design when the fashion set embraced them toward the end of the 21st century. As Yves Saint Laurent put it to New York Magazine in 1983:
“I have often said that I wish I had invented blue jeans. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity — all that I hope for in my clothes.”
As many of us have been largely relegated to our homes over this last year; and, by extension, ushered into a rotating wardrobe of stretchy pants and sweats, the new 2021 jean silhouettes will help you wipe the slate clean in the new year with seriously sophisticated updates on classic shapes that will have you excited to get dressed again. And, bonus, each cut makes a nod to the #comfycozy mood that’s informing most of the new season designer collections. So, easy, breezy, and elevated are the name of the denim game this 2021.
Here are the top 4 new jean trends to invest in by the most in-demand labels, along with the key ways to style them to flawlessly fashionable effect.
One part retro, two-parts modern, the new slim bootcut jean is a season favorite. Pair this leg-elongating style with a pointy-toe heel to up the proportion play. We love the high-cut waist version of this silhouette styled with a cropped sweater and neutral belt for a no-fail look that you can pull together in a cinch.
The high-rise ankle cut is a no-brainer when tapping an effortlessly elegant look on the go. This universally-flattering silhouette is versatile enough to wear with bare feet in a #WFH setting, or, up-style with a chic new pair of trainers or statement flats for a daily walk. They’re a staple silhouette with timeless appeal that will be a key cut for 2021.
One of the easiest silhouettes to tap as we transition out of our daily sweatpant rotation is the deconstruction of jean’s look. A loose, sinuous fit is equal parts sexy androgyny and cool-girl subversion. Some of the best new iterations of this trend materialize in designer versions that impart a look of extra wear-and-tear. This will also be the go-to silhouette to style the new season’s guard of chic oxford and pillowy flats that are trending with top designer collections from Prada to Chanel.
Drink [and wear] your greens this season to be in lockstep with the hottest new trends and labels. From Stella McCartney to French label, Acne, a new focus on sustainable denim is the most exciting new conversation percolating around the 2021 jean trends. By upcycling deadstock and using organic cotton, these directional new styles and fabrications are not only healthier to wear [less chemicals], they’re healthier for the environment as most reduce environmental waste during the production process or are compostable post-use.