Welcome to our first preview guide of the year: 2022 denim trends that you will love (and potentially hate). But don’t worry, that’s the great thing about fashion. If you love something, wear it; if not, don’t. Today, we’re gonna take a look at 5 denim styles that are in this year. They are:
For each style of jeans, I put together an outfit you can shop, similar to our new Daily Looks. In addition, I’ve gone through the archives and found different ways you can style each pair.
Like any fashion trend: the 2022 ones will come and they may go. But what remains constant is how to shop denim. That doesn’t change. In case you missed it, we’ve put together a definitive denim guide over here on the blog. Below I pulled out, and am reprinting some useful tips that always apply when shopping jeans.
Nothing is more important than the fit and feel of a pair of jeans. And you’re never going to know how something fits or feels without a) trying it on and b) having several points of reference. I can’t recommend enough carving out an afternoon, physically going to a store like Gap or Nordstrom, and working with one of their stylists to try on a full range of jeans. They’re there to help! They’ll walk you through the full spectrum of what’s available to give you that reference point.
When you’re trying on jeans, focus on how they fit on your waist. Always ask yourself the question, “Does the jean sit on the waist where it is supposed to sit?” Also, focus on the length of the jeans. Ask yourself the question, “Are these jeans going to drag given the shoes you currently have in your closet?” And remember this one crucial fact worth pointing out again and again: just because you’re a size 6 in brand X does not mean you’re a size 6 in brand Y.
All well and good. But what about those of us who are shopping exclusively online? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Below, I’ve linked to some of my favorite denim retailers, including their online denim guide.
Roughly speaking, the “wash” of a jean refers to the extent to which a pair of denim has undergone a washing and treatment process prior to sale. The washing and treatment process affects the color and softness of denim.
Below, I’ve put together a scale of various washes beginning with “raw denim” and ending with “bleach wash.” Raw denim is very stiff, dark and has not been washed to soften and remove dye, whereas bleach-washed denim is very soft and light, as most of the dye has been stripped away. Most of us are probably going to stick in the rinse-to-light wash region of the below scale, but some of us may deviate to either end of the spectrum.
raw denim < rinse wash < mid-wash < light wash < bleach wash
Jeans don’t exist in isolation. You’re going to pair them with what you currently have in your wardrobe. It’s pointless to buy a pair of jeans that don’t work with a single top or single pair of shoes you currently own. Always have a game plan. When you are looking to buy a pair of denim, a good rule of thumb is this: have at least two tops and two pairs of shoes that the jeans you’re eyeing actually go with. That will give you the flexibility and versatility to successfully integrate a new pair of denim into your closet.
If you have ten pairs of jeans, it usually doesn’t make sense for 8 of them to be white if you only wear white jeans one month out of the year. Are your go-to jeans boot cut, but of your five pairs of jeans, only 1 of them is actually boot cut? Seems obvious, but it’s worth pointing out: a) know what denim you love, b) know what denim you actually wear in practice, and c) base the proportionality of your denim on (a) and (b). a + b = c.
Just when you got used to high-rise jeans, low-rise jeans are back in a big way. I featured them heavily between 2016-17 and have begun reincorporating them into my wardrobe this winter. Low-rise jeans or “low-cut jeans” sit low on the hips and a few inches above the navel.
Blouse (Halogen) | Low Rise Denim (Frame) | Cap Toe Flats (Rothy’s) | Earrings | Cuff Bracelet
Patchwork jeans were definitely a DIY, 70s thing. Take a couple of pairs of denim (or any garment) and patchwork a new pair of jeans. I featured patchwork jeans heavily back in 2018—even on my 60th birthday!
Patchwork Jeans (Ralph Lauren, old similar here, here and here) | Sweater (Ann Taylor) | Sneakers
True-blue baggy—or barrel—jeans are in this year. (Not quite the same as sizing up Levis 501s to get that 90s Seattle look.) If you’re not into that look, you can certainly stick with boyfriend or girlfriend-style jeans. But I’ve been having a lot of fun styling my barrel-fit ones.
Barrel Jeans (Banana Republic) | Top (old similar here) | Shoes (Jeffrey Campbel) | Earrings | Cuff Bracelet
Flared and bootcut are back to the point where I’m regularly seeing bellbottoms on the streets of Athens. What I love about this particular style is that there is a spectrum of flare. Simple bootcut all the way to flower power, it’s easy to find and style a jean you’re comfortable with.
Bootcut/Flare Denim (Ann Taylor) | Button-up (Theory) | Oversized Cardigan (Theory) | Suede Pumps | Coin Necklace (old similar here and here)
Ahh, the denim skirt. It never really goes out of style, does it? It’s certainly one of my all-time favorites, and I’ve featured it heavily on the blog since its inception.
Denim Skirt (Everlane, limited sizes similar here, here, and here) | Striped Sweater (Ann Taylor) | Bomber Jacket (old, Ralph Lauren) | Suede Sandals
We continue to be excited about the launch of our new blog feature Daily Looks. Every day, I’m featuring a new, directly shoppable OOTD. So head on over and see today’s daily look.
is the Founder and CEO of Style at a Certain Age. She writes Sundays-Fridays on all topics ranging from fashion, health, wellness, home design and more.
She’s 63, 5’8, and size 8.
Could you advise on laundering denim? My favorites are bootcut Ralph Lauren dark wash. I want to keep them from looking worn. I have several pairs of other jeans that take lots of wear and tear, but I want to keep these for several years, as I am not sure I could find this fit again. It amazes me that the same jean in the same serial number or lot number will fit differently. I did spend about three hours to find three pair that fit well. Thanks Beth for your expertise.
here is the definite guide to denim: https://www.styleatacertainage.com/featured/definitive-womens-denim-jean-guide/
Wow! Thank you for giving me so many ideas about jeans. I live in the northwoods and I wear jeans all the time. Even if no one will see me I still like to look cute. I love seeing your blog every day. Heading to my closet to “shop”!
EEK! Not sure why anyone would let their pants (or full length skirts or dresses) drag on the ground? Never got that!
Your hem of the dark denim skirt hits just at your knee, and looks great with the sneakers and sandals. I have a similar skirt (petite length) that hits me in the same place. But when I pair that skirt with tights or leggings and booties for winter, the proportion looks wonky. Am I seeing a problem that’s not really a problem? Or should a denim skirt worn with leggings be a little shorter? Thanks!
Fun pictorial jeans style review. You look good in all. Straights and Skinnies remain my favorites, and at 68 I’ve worn them all. No lowrise, as I’m long-waisted, and flares and boot cuts don’t appeal. Have really enjoyed adding relaxed/baggy jeans to my wardrobe – so darling and comfy. Patched and embellished jeans darling too. The barrel jeans are cute on you – make me think of beautiful Barbara Eden. LOVE having choices of cuts and styles – hope we never lose that.
I love all the jeans including the barrel which are generally not my favorite. Great styling Beth and fashion forethought. Love your blog.
Wow! This is great! I just had a “try-on” session last night of all my jeans. I’m struggling with the correct length. It’s cold up here in the NE so I’m wearing socks everyday and discovered that most of my jeans are too short to wear with socks and flats.
So… now I am very conscious of the inseam measurement on any future jean purchases. I hate to get things hemmed, so the adventure is to find the perfect jean without having to hem. This post is helpful in my quest! Thanks!
I’m so glad to hear that low rise jeans are coming back – I love low or medium rise pants. I’m 5’1″ tall and the have long legs and a really short waist so the high rise have been a real problem for me to wear – both due to lack of comfort and style. Tucking in a top just makes me look so out of proportion. High rise are great for tall women or those who have a long waist & shorter legs.
You’re doing a great job on your blog – love the new layout and information. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think of you as my own personal shopper. You do all the legwork by providing us ladies with what’s in, retailers, sizing guides and where to get it. You save us so much time!
I’m grateful that you love to share your styling tips and tricks. Keep up the great work!
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