Doing Denim

Denim Trends for Spring & Summer 2020

May 2020 Issue
Fashion By Sharon MosleyFashion0520 1
Be the girl with the pearls.
If there’s one fashion favorite that most of us buy new every year, it’s denim. This year, designers go way beyond the basics, reinventing denim in not-so-basic ways to give this tried-and-true wardrobe staple a new lease on the stylish life. Take a look at the new blues on the denim horizon for the season:

The straight and narrow: Skinny jean lovers are in luck. This year, the body-hugging jeans are back in force. For some of us, they never went out of style, but with knee-high boots stepping out in a major way this year—even in the heat—the skinny jean tucked in and worn with a longer top is the silhouette of the season. The major update? A higher waist. Yes, it’s the key fashion trend no matter what style jean you’re wearing. See below!

The big flares: Wide legs are getting bigger and better. Think vintage Farrah Fawcett and the ‘70s when bell-bottoms were the iconic silhouette of the decade. If the wide flares are a little too much for you, try a more moderate boot cut—a flattering option. The higher waists give these wider cuts a trendy touch. Pair flares with sporty sneakers or chunky platforms to amp up the style factor. High-heeled sandals are a dressier option for spring and summer.

The latest denim trends include
wide-legged flared jeans
with a high waist.
Shown: The Ali Tie Wide Leg Triple Waist
Tie from FRAME.

The culottes: Another wide-leg option, culotte jeans (inspired by what were often referred to as “gauchos”) are a great way to refresh your denim basics with a shape that is a little bit skirt, a little bit pant. High-waisted and cropped mid-calf or at the ankle, these jeans can easily be styled for a day off or a night on the town. Pair them with flat sandals or wedge shooties.

Distressed and frayed: Knees are the new erogenous zone in jeans. They’re slit, frayed, ripped and undone. Ditto for hemlines. Visual seams are also a new detail on denim. Pick your favorite pair of distressed jeans, and just go natural. Let those threads hang out and unravel. Wear these with laid-back flats and pool slides. Or dress them up with blazers and heels for a fun, carefree approach to denim dressing.

Colorful choices. Denim comes in all shapes, sizes...and shades. From acid-bleached to faded to saturated, there’s a wash and color to fit every mood. The newest washes for spring and summer are light neutrals. Lighten up with denim in shades of white, ivory or earthy tans. If you don’t have a pair of white denim jeans, pick up a pair or two or three. White denim is a spring and summer winner. Pastel candy colors are other favorite hues. And, of course, the dark-blues and blacks never go out of style. Can’t decide? Do a two-tone color-blocked jean.

Short Cuts. Of course, spring and summer are the perfect times to wear shorts, and if you only buy one pair, make it denim. They go with everything in your wardrobe, and there’s a length for everyone. From barely there Daisy Duke cutoffs to slouchy tomboy styles to mid-thigh midis to longer Bermudas, denim shorts are one of the most versatile ways to add a cool touch of style when the weather starts warming up. Ditto for short denim skirts -- another go-with-everything winner that comes in all lengths. Wear them with peep-toe ankle boots for even more of a fashion update.

More denim to do: Denim gets a makeover in even more ways this spring and summer. Check out jumpsuits and dresses as well as that all-time classic the denim jacket, revived in cropped versions embellished with patches galore. And if you just want a touch of denim, do accessories: backpacks, handbags and shoes.

Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association.

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