#6 is a total throwback.
Jeans are a hot-button issue in the current fashion ecosystem. Ever since the great skinny jean debate of 2020 (i.e. when a single Gen Zer pronounced skinny jeans dead on TikTok), the masses have gone into a denim frenzy, overhauling their wardrobes and replacing skinny styles with jeans that meet the moment. Now, we’re certainly not saying that you should retire the tapered pants in your rotation (French girl chic sorely relies on the silhouette, so how could we ever?)—but we are glad to offer up a few trending denim styles that should be on your radar and in your shopping cart.
Descending from the runway, the robust assortment of styles our editors are eyeing run the gamut from ’70s throwbacks (floor-grazing wide-leg jeans) to ’00s favorites (low-rise everything), all of which have cycled in and out of favorability over the years. Their modern-day return proves that you’ll continue to default to these silhouettes time and time again. Of course, that’s not to say that there aren’t a few contemporary disruptors—our audit also includes the Agoldes of the world. (You know the ones, criss cross waist and all.) Whether you have an aversion to skinny jeans or you’re simply looking for some waist-down newness after a year of above-the-keyboard dressing, there’s tons in store for you.
From Khaite’s low rise jeans to Ksubi’s straight leg pairs, browse the best trending jeans of 2021 ahead—and be sure to glean inspiration from our favorite denim-clad street style moments along the way.
Over the past five years, jeans on the runway have gotten wider and wider (thank you, Ulla Johnson)—a shift that trendsetters have embraced with gusto. It’s with good reason that this ’70s-worthy silhouette has drummed up so many fans: they’re roomy, comfortable, and easy to pull off. Wondering how to wear them? Start by tucking a chunky knit into your wide-leg trousers for a look that will keep giving all winter long. That’s not to say that you can’t wear the trend through transitional weather months—come spring and fall, style it with a white tank and an easy Mackintosh coat.
Popularized by ’90s denim label Agolde, which relaunched in 2014 after several years on hiatus, the criss-cross waistband detail has become a micro-trend unto itself—one that labels from R13 to Pistola have adopted into their lineups. For a casual look, tuck a white button-down into your pair of choice. From there, let the occasion dictate your footwear—add in heels for a night out, or tie in a pair of leather loafers for a casual afternoon of shopping.
Call them carrot jeans, balloon jeans, barrel jeans, or whatever you want—this rounded denim silhouette is destined for those who aren’t afraid to be a little bit daring. With tapered hemlines and puffed-out side seams, this pant pairs well with pieces that also have some dimension, like balloon-sleeved blouses or dramatic cape-coats. Wear with ballet flats or tuck into your favorite tall boots for a high-impact look.
As a low-fuss coda to the skinny jean, straight-leg denim is our personal favorite, offering limitless styling potential and a heaping dose of ’90s nostalgia. Straight-leg jeans can be casual, they can be polished, they can be anything, really—their relaxed fit and hip-hugging rise will take on the tone of your outfit and add a distinct coolness to it. Pair yours with a white T-shirt, a boyfriend blazer, and Converse sneakers.
Beloved by the model set, baggy jeans come with the edginess of ’90s street style and the comfortability of your favorite sweatpants. From GRLFRND to Balenciaga, these billowy trousers are surprisingly simple to dress up—just add a tweed blazer and a pair of heeled mules and your look is complete. (Bonus points if you can secure Chanel’s mini-bag-slash-belt.)
Last but not least, the moment you haven’t been waiting for, but have been willing out of existence since its rumored comeback first surfaced: low-rise jeans. (Sorry, we don’t make the rules.) In step with the Y2K style revival, the hip-baring trend loved by models and Gen Zers is back with a vengeance. The good news? 2021’s low-rise jeans are much easier to wear, thanks to their newfound baggy silhouette. The rule of thumb: size up in any high- or mid-rise pair so that they sit lower on your hips, thus yielding that *perfect* comfy-slouchy look.