The Biggest Men’s Denim & Jeans Trends For 2022
The world’s best designers revisit denim season after season, looking to rework it in new ways. And while most denim trends are worth passing on, some demand attention. These are the only ones you need to know.
There are plenty of reasons to not bother with denim trends at all. The classic fabric is often at its best when kept as it left the mill: raw, unwashed and in classic cuts that can be worn year round.
Buy a pair of regular fit blue jeans and chances are you’ll wear them more than most things in your wardrobe. But what about when you want to mix things up a bit and switch up the status quo?
The world’s best designers revisit denim season after season, looking to rework it in new ways. And while most denim trends are worth passing on, some demand attention. From extra relaxed fits to workwear-inspired takes, these are the jeans trends worth considering this year.
Wide-legged trousers are nothing new. Ever since skinny fits went out of favour in the early 2010s, relaxed fits have been creeping their way into the menswear landscape, with old-school wide-legs and boxy cuts becoming the norm for those who’d previously only consider slim fits.
But with jeans it has never really taken off. Sure, straight/regular fits have never really gone away, and tapered designs have become as popular as the omnipresent slim-fit jean, but loose, wider-legged styles have remained the preserve of skaters and other niche subcultures.
However, slowly but surely, relaxed-legged jeans are entering the mainstream – and we think they’re here to stay. Aside from the fact they’re incredibly comfortable and forgiving, wide jeans are surprisingly easy to wear.
Inherently casual, try teaming them with a pair of chunky sneakers or Dr. Martens boots, which thanks to their bulky shape won’t get lost among all the excess fabric. Then, channel your own skate-inspired feel by throwing on a streetwear hoodie and T-shirt, or smarten the look slightly with a boxy chore jacket and logo tee.
(Subtly) Ripped jeans
There’s no two ways about it, ripped jeans are tricky to pull off. In fact, we’d go as far to say that it’s worth avoiding most pairs of ripped jeans. They’re too easy to get wrong, and more often than not make the wearer look like they’re trying too hard. What’s more, they often ruin the line of the silhouette, resulting in ungainly holes that show off hairy patches of leg that are best left unseen.
That said, there are times when (tastefully) ripped jeans work. They add a rugged edge to all-black looks, or an eccentric feel to layered spring outfits. We’re not talking completely destroyed, torn apart jeans here; rather, subtly ripped takes with the odd fabric tear or small hole. The more natural they look the better. If said rips have been caused from years of wear and tear then that brings an added level of authenticity to the outfit that can’t be replicated.
If wanting to try ripped jeans yourself then it’s best to keep the outfit as simple as possible. The jeans are a statement in themselves, so pare down the rest of the look to let them take centre stage.
Try a pair of black ripped jeans with a grey melange T-shirt and worker-style jacket, which complements the jean’s rugged feel without being overbearing. Then finish with a pair of canvas high-tops for a subtle nod to the rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic, where ripped jeans have plenty of heritage.
We’re huge advocates for raw denim. There’s just something about unwashed indigo in its natural state that keeps us coming back to it time and time again. It’s also denim at its most versatile: combing well with everything from weekend casualwear through to unstructured tailoring.
So, if you’re only going to buy one denim garment – whether in jacket or jeans form – raw denim is your best bet. But if you already have this covered, or want to dabble in more trend-led denim fabrics, consider stonewashed denim.
With its lighter shades and pre-faded patina, stonewashed denim is more popular than ever, with brands from high street to high end regularly offering a range of washes to suit all tastes. The term ‘stonewash’ refers to the old-school method of washing jeans with stones, which helped give the denim a rough texture and evenly distributed patina that would look as though it was achieved through decades of wear.
While stonewashed jeans aren’t finished in this way today, they still boast a lighter colour and fades which make them look like old favourites. You’ll often see such jeans labelled as having a ‘vintage wash’, as the look is similar to what you’d find on the denim rack in a thrift store.
Regardless of what they’re called, stonewashed jeans are bigger than ever right now, and might be the casual weekend wardrobe staple you didn’t know you needed. When it comes to wearing them, lean casual: tees, hoodies, polo shirts and sneakers all look great with stonewashed denim, while lighter washes often combine best with similarly pale colours and light neutrals such as white and ecru, rather than stark black.
Typically, jeans feature low to mid rises, which suit a wide range of physiques and offer a level of comfort most guys are happy with. Yet a growing number of brands are taking their inspirations from classic trousers when it comes to denim.
From high-wasted and wide-legged designs through to pleated pairs, these are jeans with a tailored difference. But it makes sense when you think about it. High-waisted trousers are incredibly flattering on many body shapes, as they sit higher above the hips and elongate the body, making the wearer’s legs seem longer and more athletic. And let’s face it, who wouldn’t want that? High-waisted jeans offer the same effect then, making the wearer appear taller than they are while injecting a vintage-inspired, preppy feel that works especially well with canvas sneakers and penny loafers.
Similarly, pleated jeans see the classic five-pocket style benefit from the addition of two folds of fabric from the waist, giving the jeans elegant lines down the trouser leg that reference classic Savile Row tailoring. Looking for a smarter pair of jeans? Pleated are invariably the answer. However, they arguably look their best dressed down. An interesting contrast, the pleats contradict the casual nature of the denim fabric, so work with the high/low aesthetic and combine them with a knitted polo shirt, baseball cap and retro running shoes.
Workwear has dominated every inch of menswear over the past few years. Yet denim jeans have largely been unaffected by this movement, even though their roots are in hands-on professions like mining and factory work.
But now, the classic five-pocket design has been uprooted somewhat, with new silhouettes threatening to take its crown. First, there’s denim carpenter pants – complete with their side loops, thigh pockets and relaxed silhouettes – arguably the more refined, easier-to-wear cousin of cargo pants. Then there’s the classic work-style denim fatigue pant with its wide legs and large front stitched pockets, which work just as well with leather boots as they do white sneakers.
The workwear trend doesn’t stop at your lower half though. Functional, utilitarian jackets crafted from denim have never been more popular. Take a stroll in your local town and you’ll likely find everything from minimal takes on trucker jackets to chore and field jackets which have been given the indigo treatment. Workwear has never been bigger, and denim is an essential part of that.
You could even go the double denim route with a workwear-inspired top and bottom half (just be sure to mix up the shades). If you’re new to double denim, try combining a blue pair of stonewashed jeans with an off-white denim jacket and you can’t go wrong.
Off white denim
Speaking of white, that might be the shade worth investing in when it comes to your next denim garment. While blue will always have a place in our wardrobe, and black is as versatile as it gets, off-white denim is criminally overlooked. It might not be as practical, and will undoubtedly need washing more regularly than its darker counterparts, but off-white jeans are surprisingly easy to style and complement a wide range of colours.
If you can secure a pair of off-white jeans in a lightweight denim, they may just become your favourite spring/summer trouser, as they’ll combine well with T-shirts, polos and lightweight jackets as well as sneakers, loafers and even espadrilles.
Forget the Labor Day trope, off-white denim can be worn in fall and winter too, as the shade works equally well with darker tones of grey, bottle green, navy and even black. Essentially, wear them in the same way you would a pair of indigo or black jeans; just be careful at that fancy dinner reservation.