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These Are the Best-Performing Jeans So Far in 2020

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Major denim retailers may currently be closed due to COVID-19, but prior to the outbreak, consumers were replenishing their denim wardrobes with styles that would roll into spring.

A new report by retail data analytics firm Edited takes a look at the denim that has been selling so far in Q1. While comfort and stretch—qualities that suit consumers’ new work-from-home lifestyle—are ones to watch, the first few months of 2020 revealed a newfound appreciation for wider fits, lighter washes and denim novelties.

Here’s a look at what’s selling.

Fits matter

Retailers are pulling back on skinny jeans. In 2018, skinny jeans made up 35 percent of men’s assortments in the U.S. and U.K. That number has dropped to 29 percent in 2020, as roomier fits like straight and slim gain traction. The story is the same in women’s, which has seen skinny jeans drop from making up 48 percent of retailers’ assortments in 2018, to 38 percent in 2020.

“Compared to 2018, relaxed styles continue to flourish with the number of wide -eg styles in stock increasing by 108 percent, straight legs by 55 percent and flares by 80 percent,” Edited reported.

Straight-leg jeans are proving to be reliable at retail. The style saw 30 percent growth compared to last quarter with sell-outs outpacing newness, meaning there is still room for growth, Edited stated. And the silhouette works well with other fashion trends, like jeans with an asymmetrical fly or frayed hems.

The first few months of 2020 revealed a newfound appreciation for wider fits, lighter washes and denim novelties, according to Edited.

Wide-leg jeans spotted in New York.

Wide-leg jeans are also gaining momentum across high street retailers and luxury players like Net-a-Porter, Edited reported. Sell-outs for the style increased 88 percent year-over-year, with culotte versions being the brightest spot in the category.

Cropped jeans and Mom jeans remain popular, while assortments of boyfriend jeans are shrinking. The style dropped five percent since 2018, Edited noted.

With nostalgia continuing to influence fashion, flare jeans have become a key component in retailers’ ’70s stories. New arrivals of this style lifted 9 percent compared to Q1 2019, Edited reported, with high-rise flares in darker tones seeing particular success.

The first few months of 2020 revealed a newfound appreciation for wider fits, lighter washes and denim novelties, according to Edited.

Flare jeans adds a retro flavor to collections.

And the higher the rise, the greater appeal. Edited found in almost every cut of jean, higher waists and rises were one of the “most coveted shapes of the quarter to date.” Ones to watch have elasticated or paper-bag waists, Edited noted, as the comfy styles lend themselves to the work-from-home style.

Leg appeal

A mild winter led consumers to think about their spring wardrobes. Mass brands saw early interest in men’s shorts. Styles with longer leg lengths and raw hems performed well for men at Levi’s, while shorts with distressing and whisker details trended at Bershka and Hollister, Edited wrote.

Denim mini-skirts offered the women’s category a break from the midi lengths that have dominated skirts and dresses for several seasons. Solid indigo and black denim saw particular success with A-Line and high waists as the leading silhouettes, Edited reported.

Lighten up

After a holiday season that saw black and dark denim trend up, the start of the year welcomed a rush of lighter-wash denim.

The first few months of 2020 revealed a newfound appreciation for wider fits, lighter washes and denim novelties, according to Edited.

Lily Taieb wears light denim to Chanel.

“Softer blues were prominent throughout many brand’s collections with lighter washes seeing particular success in men’s wear,” Edited wrote. The versatile wash performed well across a variety of cuts, including relaxed, skinny and straight leg.

White and ecru denim, too, had a solid Q1. “A mainstay in spring ranges, white and ecru denim appeared on the best-seller list for both luxury and fast fashion brands alike,” Edited stated.

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