A Stylist’s Guide To Denim Trends In 2023
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Denim is the ultimate wardrobe staple. Never out of fashion, it’s practical, wears well and works with pretty much everything. If you're into that high-low look, a pair of jeans is one of the easiest ways to do it. I also love the history of denim – what was originally a workman's sturdy fabric is now deeply intertwined with American style, and has been reinterpreted a million times. More than that, it’s an essential component in designer collections, too. Monogrammed by Louis Vuitton and Gucci, sculpted by Dolce & Gabbana & Alexander McQueen, quilted by Chanel and blinged up by Balmain – it really feels like we’re at peak denim.
The start of the year is the perfect time to reimagine how you plan to wear your denim. I haven't worn super tight, skinny jeans for a while, even though I've kept a few favourites in my wardrobe; like all trends, they’re bound to make a comeback. For the past few years, flares, paper bag or boyfriend styles have felt more relevant and I’m tempted to crank up the volume even further. I'm not really a 90s girl – you'll never see me in combat trousers – but I'm all for trying slouchy denim in a chic and polished way.
I’m clearly not alone. Margiela's high-rise, wide-leg jeans are a big seller at NET-A-PORTER and Raey has a similar style with cool waistband folds. For something a little more affordable, Levi's Flood Flare jeans will give you the same look. I love the idea of putting a belt with them and creating a Chanel moment on top – think ruffled blouses and tailored tweed jackets. You could also take this in a nautical direction with fine knit breton and loafers. It's all about playing with the proportions to elevate a relaxed bottom half. I also love that these jeans work so well with flats.
A denim dress, without doubt, is one of the most useful additions you can make to your wardrobe. I'm a chambray lover but denser denim in feminine forms look seriously expensive. SEA has a pretty midi with striking lace-up puff sleeves, and frankly, the brand’s denim is strong across the board this season. If mid-tone denim and all-round elegance is more your thing, check out Giuliva Heritage. Simple, impactful and perfectly formed, this midi shirt dress will look great with tan leather boots. On the high street, Warehouse always delivers. Button down, 70s in style and with puffed sleeves, this is a real steal. If you want to avoid blue, BA&SH has a great washed black denim dress – team it with a belt, cowboy boots and long drop earrings to nail several trends at once. Meanwhile, if you're more of a minidress girl, Ted Baker has a really wearable grey one with a curved hem and ruched sleeves. Wear it with tights, long black boots and throw a shearling coat over your shoulders before finishing with a black fedora. Finally, Weekend Maxmara has a simple round neck minidress with a great vintage quality to it – I love the demi-mandarin collar detailing. Put a roll-neck underneath now, before adding socks and loafers in the spring.
Gabriela Hearst’s Chloé trench – long, languid and luxurious – proves that denim outerwear has never felt more relevant. For me, denim jackets can feel lazy, so a longer, sophisticated take feels fresher this season. It just needs to look luxe – read, cut well from a fabric that hangs beautifully. The Chloé original is slightly oversized, has elegant sloping shoulders and beautiful belted cuffs and double stitched hem detailing. Cos also has a fantastic affordable alternative. With oversized lapels, simple detailing and an elegant, fluid form, this is an online exclusive worth investing in. Finally, Remain has a collarless version with strong shoulder pads that looks super smart – great for the office.
Replacing your existing wardrobe staples with elevated, designer versions is a savvy way to shop. Tried and tested pieces bought inexpensively are always worth trading up and now is a great time to do that. If you are looking for a shirt, you'd be hard pressed to find a better one than this Isabel Marant piece. Puffed sleeves give this western classic more ladylike appeal and it will also look great with a knitted gilet. I've got so much wear out of an old Warehouse denim midi skirt and have spotted a similar version from SEA with cord panelling – it's that point of difference that always puts a twist on the classics. Lastly, if you're a fan of jumpsuits, the best one I've seen lately is by Jas – available via The Frankie Shop. It has the look of a jacket, but it’s about as stylish as denim gets.
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