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The Fashion Memo

The new denim rules

L-R: Julie Pelipas, Tang He, Magdalena Frackowiak

Update the hardest-working section of your closet with our denim 101 guide: the hottest colors, the latest shapes and the in-demand labels making them


The key cuts

If you haven’t embraced it already, then you’ll want to get involved with the high-rise, straight-leg jean, currently doing a good job of ruling the runway, front row and closets of pretty much every influencer you care to name. Not for you? The ’90s-style wide-leg jean, with its loose, airy fit, is popping up everywhere too, and looks brilliantly chic with block-heeled ankle boots. Make sure you go slightly cropped to keep the effect streamlined.

  • Isabel Marant Étoile
    Corsyj high-rise tapered jeans
    Bobbi cropped distressed high-rise bootcut jeans
  • Balenciaga
    Distressed high-rise straight-leg jeans
    Ren cropped high-rise wide-leg jeans

How to style your denim

The message this season? Don’t hold back: emerging and established labels alike are encouraging us to wear double denim in innovative new ways. Effortless yet high-impact, the key to nailing the look is getting the wash right. Our advice? Find a label that works for you in terms of fit and color, then invest in a few different pieces that you can mix and match. If you’re after a more directional look, go for patchwork or patterned jeans, like JW Anderson’s faded pair. Alternatively, give jeans a swerve altogether and slip on Current/Elliott’s ultra-cool jumpsuit.

    Distressed denim jacket
    Distressed denim mini skirt
    Distressed low-rise skinny jeans
    Tianna belted denim playsuit
Gabrielle Caunesil
Caroline Daur

The colors to wear now

When it comes to blue, you’re aiming for a slightly faded Californian shade for everyday denim, with less of a focus on rips and frayed hems than in previous seasons. If you want to take a more polished, work-appropriate approach, then take your cues from the likes of Altuzarra and Fendi and opt for crisp, clean-lined shapes in raw indigo denim. If you like your denim high impact, opt for Miu Miu or Mother, who have designs in colorful leopard print.

  • Mother
    The Cut Drifter distressed leopard-print denim jacket
  • Mother
    The Vagabond distressed leopard-print denim mini skirt
    Morgo cropped denim jacket
    W012 high-rise straight-leg jeans

The forward-thinking brands

Creating clothes as sustainably as possible is an ongoing battle, but some denim brands are leading the way. ELV Denim, for example, pieces its jeans together from carefully sourced vintage pairs, recycling and reducing waste in the process, while Re/Done tweaks the cut and fit of vintage Levi’s to give them a modern refresh. Labels like Maggie Marilyn and Mother of Pearl use responsibly sourced organic cotton that has been grown and processed with less water, without toxic chemicals, and in factories with fair working conditions. Good for the planet, good for your closet.

  • E.L.V. Denim
    + NET SUSTAIN The Twin Boyfriend high-rise straight-leg jeans
  • Mother of Pearl
    + NET SUSTAIN Kyra faux pearl-embellished high-rise tapered jeans
  • E.L.V. Denim
    + NET SUSTAIN The Twin denim shorts
    Originals Stove Pipe Comfort Stretch high-rise straight-leg jeans

The people featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown.