Denim has been a wardrobe staple for decades. As trends come and go, a good pair of jeans or a denim jacket is always in style. But denim is not just denim, it is always being updated and turned on its ear.
Story by Kennedy Williams
As the spring semester comes to a close, it is often easiest to throw on a good pair of jeans and your favorite t-shirt and start the day. These denim trends will help you navigate through the hot weather in style. No matter the weather, this straightforward guide will answer all of your questions about confusing denim terminology.
Even though there is no such thing as “summer body,” some people inevitably work all winter to shed some pounds in preparation for hotter months. Whether or not you are in the mood to show off some skin, baggy denim is a must-have. It makes the wearer seem unquestionably cool and a ‘90s reference never hurt anyone.
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While lighter washed denim has been covetable for the past few seasons, darker denim is making its comeback. Indigo, named for the plants from which the color was originally extracted, is the color of denim that will elevate your wardrobe since it helps create a more polished look.
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Frayed hems are everywhere. Wearing a pair of raw hem jeans adds a more casual element to every outfit. The best part of this trend is that it looks good on everyone because it works with every style of jean. While altering clothes might be difficult for some, it is not hard to grab a pair of scissors and chop off the ends of shorts or jeans.
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Everything inspired by a racetrack is in right now, from jackets to sweatpants. Denim is no exception. Side stripes add a whimsical, sporty touch to jeans. They are the perfect combination between simple jeans and sweatpants with logo accents on the side.
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Contrast stitching is not just a trend for denim but also for pants in general. This trend is all about outlining the seams of jeans to add a subtle, unexpected and half-finished component.
Photos courtesy of Vogue and Visual Therapy
Before exploring these trends, here are five common denim terms that you should know.
Rivets are the silver or copper studs that are often on the pockets of jeans. They are meant to reinforce areas of high tension in jeans.
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A selvage, or “self-edge,” is the tightly-woven natural end of a roll of fabric that prevents the material from unravelling. Jeans made from this section of the fabric are often more expensive due to the more nuanced, tighter weave that creates a higher quality denim. Japanese denim is heralded for its high quality, most of which comes from it being selvedge.
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You know those faded creases that forms at the back of the knee of jeans? They're called honeycombs because of their resemblance to the patterns of honeycombs made by bees. While some jeans already come with honeycombs, most are made from manipulation and wear-and-tear on specific areas.
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The terms “denim” and “chambray” are often used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same. Denim and chambray are made from cotton, but that’s where the similarities stop. The difference is in how the fabrics are woven. Chambray is made from what’s called a “plain weave,” which involves single strands of blue and white thread being woven together. Denim, on the other hand, uses a “twill weave,” in which double strands of thread are woven in a diagonal pattern. As such, denim is often thicker than chambray.
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An inseam is the length of the seam that runs from the crotch of a pair of pants to the hem. When buying jeans with a numeric size, this is often the second number. So if a pair of jeans is a 28x30, the 28 describes the measurement of one’s waist and the 30 indicates the inseam length.
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