There are rare items in our closet that exist without the confines of a trend cycle, and denim is one of them. Denim is personal—the kind of jeans you like is often based on the style, cut, and wash, and this varies from person to person. No particular style or wash is “better” than the next (yes, even skinny jeans apply here). Because of this, jeans are an irreplaceable asset in our closets that help us cultivate our personal style. Some styles can act as the statement piece of a look, whereas others are the kind of effortless bottoms you throw on with a sweatshirt on a day off. You can build an entire outfit based on a pair of jeans, and by simply adding a sweater, T-shirt, or button-down, you have a complete look that doesn’t feel like it needs anything else. Jeans make dressing that easy.
That isn’t to say that denim can’t be trendy. While a no-fuss pair of straight jeans will always outlast the trend cycle, the barrel-leg versions of 2024 scream “I live-stream Fashion Week.” This year’s denim styles are here to grace your lower half, with deep, luxe washes, exaggerated, maximalist styles, and polished, refined classics lining up to join your arsenal.
Christine Chung, President of Sales and Marketing at Just Black Denim, agrees that low-rise styles will be a big trend throughout the year, especially in the “baggy, flare, and straight silhouettes.” Chung also notes that she expects “vintage” styles (think: Levi’s ’90s 501s) to be dominant throughout the year. These are the styles you should expect to run rampant throughout 2024 and that are 100 percent worth your coin.
Jeans that feel like sweatpants? Sign us up. Oversized, baggy denim has proven to be a Gen-Z favorite for its comfort, as the relaxed styles were present at the Spring/Summer 2024 shows of Loewe and Gucci. These styles “puddle” out at the leg, which creates an effortlessly relaxed feel that can be polished up with a pointed-toe heel or worn with sneakers for casual wear. Chung recommends styling them with a neutral baby tee and sneakers.
Deep indigo washes add a richness of color (no pun intended), which is why this wash is a favorite amongst those who are fond of the quiet luxury aesthetic. While light-wash jeans can appear more casual, indigo washes are primed for the workplace and occasions that require put-togetherness. This season, try your hand at styling darker-wash denim with a cozy knit or camel coat. You’d be surprised how the deep hue can be extremely versatile but a bit more sophisticated than your mid-wash options.
Minimalist ‘90s styles are back for a reason: They’re incredibly chic. Muses like Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Cindy Crawford frequented straight-leg styles that fit the leg throughout and cinch the waist without feeling too tight. These silhouettes were prominent on Spring/Summer 2024 runways at Proenza Schouler, Ganni, and more. Although the fit is a current trend, ‘90s straight-leg jeans will never go out of style thanks to their versatility and effortless styling options.
The hottest jean trend of 2024 just might be the barrel leg. Seen at Bottega and Alaïa, the barrel jean (also known as the horseshoe jean) has a high waist and exaggerated leg that adds an exaggerated, circular shape to the leg that resembles—you guessed it—the shape of a horseshoe. It’s an interesting shape that’ll undoubtedly make you do a double-take. While the style feels on the experimental side, they’re a statement piece that can add intrigue to even a simple jeans and T-shirt look.
Just as exaggerated and relaxed baggy jeans are having their moment, long, baggy denim shorts will have their day in the sun this year as well. Longer, hit-just-above-the-knee-length shorts might be hard to swallow at first glance, but they have a comfort-first approach that shorter pairs couldn’t dream of. They also give an elevated, chic essence to a look that actually makes jean shorts feel worth wearing.