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From Runway to IRL: 3 Essential Denim Trends for Summer 2022

After a decade of skinny jeans, yoga pants and loungewear, 2022 is shaping up to be a period for consumers to rebuild their wardrobes. For many, jeans are the first place to start. Looser and wider fits continue to build momentum, but other runway-born themes are sweeping across the women’s denim category.

Here’s a look at how rural settings, workwear and nostalgia will influence denim this summer.

Country chic

Western fashion cycles in and out of style, each time emphasizing a different flourish like fringe, statement accessories or suede. For Spring/Summer 2022, look no further than denim. The pandemic push toward dark (stain-hiding) washes and durable constructions delivers a functional element to the trend, while straight-leg and bootcut fits underscore the shift to non-skinny silhouettes.

Styling, however, veers toward a quiet and elegant country aesthetic (think Kate Middleton’s 2016 British Vogue story) instead of country music star.

Contrast stitching, patch pockets and pearl snap buttons on denim shirting elevate the practical pieces. Taking a cue from cottagecore, look for denim shirting and jackets with cropped feminine silhouettes or puffed sleeves. Break up double-denim ensembles with menswear shirting, or by incorporating mixed media denim pieces, like jean jackets spliced with tweed or gabardine fabrics.

Looser and wider fits continue to build momentum, but there are other runway-born themes sweeping across the women’s denim category.
Luisa Spagnoli WWD

Y2K redo

With “Y2K” one of 2021’s most-searched Google terms, consumers and designers are putting in the homework to revive this early-aughts trend.

Jeans are the foundation to most Y2K looks in this revival, thanks in part to several Italian labels. Blumarine, Miu Miu and MGSM are among the youth-oriented brand that featured the era’s polarizing low rises on their runways, and despite millennial resistance, Gen Z is welcoming the styles with open arms. Lyst reported that searches for low-rise jeans are up 58 percent year-over-year.

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Looser and wider fits continue to build momentum, but there are other runway-born themes sweeping across the women’s denim category.
GCDS WWD

But midriff-baring jeans are just part of a story rooted in glitz and kitsch. With brands like GCDS, which incorporated ice-like crystals, Swarovski chains, ornamental rings and cut, ripped and shredded denim jeans, skirts and shorts, and Diesel pairing deconstructed pieces with denim bra tops and popcorn-textured microskirts, this pop-star-inspired trend is made to be seen. Expect to see novelty denim tops (i.e. Blumarine’s butterfly top and MSGM’s crop tops), crystal trim and fringe on jeans and a strong return of destroyed and bleached jeans hit the mainstream.

Denim business

Though new covid variants and outbreaks continue to force companies to postpone the reopening of their offices, designers are preparing for a new mode of work attire, one that blends comfort with polish.

Enter the denim trouser, blazer, vest, and in the case of Saint Laurent, jumpsuit.

Looser and wider fits continue to build momentum, but there are other runway-born themes sweeping across the women’s denim category.
Genny WWD

With the future of traditional office attire in question, designers like Saint Laurent and Genny are introducing powerful denim versions of these tailored wardrobe staples. These pieces, punctuated with smooth surfaces, minimal pockets and fabrications that have a touch of shine, deliver a fuss-free and versatile approach to dressing for on-duty and off-duty or whatever hybrid situation you may find yourself in during 2022.

Dark washes, center creases and flare fits add a ’70s vibe, which can be emphasized by the addition of platform footwear and bold jewelry.