There is nothing like fresh denim to usher in autumn. Whether you are sliding into a pair of brand new jeans or testing out a completely of-the-moment interpretation of the closet-favorite fabric (here’s looking at you, Y2K-approved midi skirts and waistcoats), the denim trends of fall 2022 are a surefire way to fully embrace cooler weather.
“I honestly forget about denim all summer long, living in a blissful reality where fabric is purely for fashion and not survival, so it’s fun to completely rediscover the textile come the fall equinox,” Laura Reilly, founder and editor of fashion shopping newsletter Magasin, tells TZR. “Jeans are instantly grounding, even if you’re wearing some newfangled imagination of what jeans can be — and I think they can be confidence-building in their heft.”
Brigette Deshais, newly appointed vice president of women’s design at AYR, agrees. “A great fitting pair of jeans makes you feel cool, confident, and dare I say, sexy in a way no other piece of clothing does,” she says. “Buttoning into them and checking yourself out in the mirror is an instant self-esteem boost.” Deshais’ impressive resume includes design stints at Anthropologie, Theory, and Frame, and now she’s bringing a fresh perspective to AYR, a brand well known for their polished classics with a twist — which, of course, includes extraordinary denim. “The versatility of denim is obvious; there are countless references for how to dress jeans up or down,” she continues. “But I think the more interesting answer to the question of why you need it in your wardrobe, is how putting on a great pair of jeans makes you feel.”
Denim has a seemingly magical ability to pull together a look instantly. “I always find I feel a bit more ‘put together’ in the cooler seasons as I lean more on dark blue washes and black tones,” Sarah Gilsenan, head womenswear designer and co-founder of Rolla’s Jeans, notes. “Our higher rise slim fits and soft fabrics are cozy and comfortable for this time of year; it’s easy to tuck in a knit sweater and ‘outfit done,’ which I love.” Another major draw of denim? It looks pulled together without ever reading overdone. As Tiffany Hsu, vice president of fashion buying at online retailer Mytheresa, puts it, “It’s so versatile and conveniently goes with everything while remaining comfortable, which is key.”
And while comfort is still heavily dictating what consumers want to wear now, let’s not neglect the fun fashion factor of tried-and-true blues. “Denim as a couture-caliber textile was all over the runways this fashion month, especially of houses with new (or new-ish) creative directors, from Glenn Martens’ Diesel to Matthieu Blazy’s Bottega Veneta to Marco de Vincenzo’s Etro,” Reilly recalls. “But even before that, Julia Fox’s joot ensembles and JW Anderson’s cuff-boots for Loewe have been making themselves quite known.” Denim mania, both on the runway and street, have heavily dictated some of the season’s biggest trends.
“For fall/winter, we [MyTheresa] bought into a number of oversized and high-waisted styles that we are really excited about,” Hsu says. “A few of our favorite trends that the customer hopefully loves are: cargo denim by The Attico, high-waisted pleated denim pants by Magda Butrym, wide leg denim with oversized pockets by Frankie Shop, and oversized straight leg denim in medium blue by The Row.”
Hsu’s hit list really enveloped the major denim moods of the moment — which TZR has compiled below. Think of this as your starter shopping guide for all the key items every denim aficionado needs this season.
Keep scrolling to see all the must-have pieces and right-now ways to wear them.
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Supersized denim was the trend to invest in this season, but pleat-front trouser shapes feel particularly of-the-moment. (Perhaps it’s the antidote to last season’s micro minis?) “This season is all about the loose fit denim, so I suggest going a size bigger to get that effortlessly chic vibe,” Hsu says. And when it comes to styling, Hsu suggests doubling up. “I love a double denim look and don’t think people should be intimated to try it,” she says. “Now that the weather permits, I am really looking forward to wearing my Magda Butrym full denim suit. It’s quite unique and fun and can be paired with a bustier top for a night out.” Whether you dress these trousers up (think coordinating crop top or bustier) or stick to the good ol’ Canadian tuxedo jacket-and-jeans pairing, the look is entirely customizable to you and your mood.
We all know suit vests are trending, so why not test one out in denim? “Denim vests are a strong trend for fall and I wanted our denim Dallas Vest to be super versatile,” Gilsenan says of Rolla’s twist on the style. “We sourced premium recycled cotton denim and washed it in the perfect shade of worn-in blue.” For a polished effect, stick to medium to dark washes when choosing your style. Gilsenan adds, “Fall lends itself to a bit more layering as well, and I’m looking forward to wearing the Dallas Vest with my knits and under jackets. It can be worn layered over a slim knit or over a knit sweater — or alone as a top for a casual yet stylish night look.”
Relaxed Wide Legs
As Hsu mentioned above, a relaxed fit is key right now — and the oversized silhouette of a relaxed straight leg has mega-versatility. The Row’s Egli high-rise style is a favorite of Reilly. “The Row’s SS22 show really yanked the jeans trajectory onto its current path, with a belted low waist and long A-line legs,” she says. “I really do feel that’s how I want to live these days.” This effortless fit can be incorporated into your wardrobe seamlessly without feeling too pinned to one moment. “I think I’m past doing anything too wild or flash-in-the-pan trendy, but I am looking forward to getting more wears out of a new pair of Agolde Luna barrel-leg jeans I recently picked up,” Reilly tells us. “I went a size up so they’re extra loose, and they’re interesting enough on their own that I can fall back on simple pairings: white tee, little black D&G heels, APC bag, and I’m set.”
Elongated denim skirts ruled the runway for Fall/Winter 2022, from Acne’s floor-sweeping maxis to Khaite’s it girl-approved midis. So it was no surprise to see them taking the streets of New York Fashion Week by storm this past September. The secret to getting it right? Finding a length that works for you. Perhaps you gravitate toward something mid-calf... or a maxi moment might just be your thing. Whatever you choose, make sure to test a few out to find the one. Keep things clean when it comes to styling: Think knee-high leather boots, your favorite blazer, and a perfect white tee. “The Uniqlo U ones are so good and cost so little. Having that extra-clean set means you can fuss less with the add-ons and let the essentials sing,” Reilly says.
The ’00s trends keep hitting full force and cargo pants are no exception. But denim versions of the silhouette might just be the easiest to pull off. “Personally, I can’t wait to wear and style both oversized and cargo denim. They are perfect for the minimal or Y2K rave trends depending on how you style them,” Hsu says. A simple knit top will pair with this shape perfectly, for a look that doesn’t scream “I am trying too hard.” Let this statement piece do all the talking.
’90s Straight Legs
OK, so maybe these trends seem a bit too radical for you and you’re from the less-is-more camp. “During the great skinny jean ousting of last year, I literally had friends texting me in a panic as to what they were going to replace them with,” Deshais says. “Not because they weren’t willing to try a new jean fit, but they were scared of having to overhaul their whole wardrobe to accommodate the new denim trends.” If you, too, can’t get behind super trendy wear but are needing a bit of a wardrobe rethink, she suggests looking to a ’90s-inspired straight leg. “Enter: our LaLa fit. It’s not only a ’90s cool girl fit, but it also bridges the gap for our customer who used to wear skinny jeans,” Deshais says. “The LaLa works with all the same shoes, styling, and pieces of your wardrobe that skinnies did, it’s just a little bit more modern — and, I think, flattering!”