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Denim Trends Over The Years

Denim Trends Over The Years

I was recently perusing an article on Vogue which talked about some the haute couture denim trends seen in 2023 so far and it got me thinking. We all know that bell bottom jeans were big in the 70's and that in the early 2000's it was the era of the bootcut jean, but what about some of the other denim trends that have come and gone over the years?

Read on to explore some denim trends from the last few decades, did you (or do you) wear any of them?

Ripped jeans trend

Heavily Ripped Jeans

The wearing of heavily ripped, frayed and otherwise distressed jeans is a trend that never really goes away and always seems to be popular, particularly with a younger generation, perhaps discovering the trend for the first time.

Ripped jeans have always been seen as a symbol of rebellion and have been embraced by numerous countercultures for the edgy look and the knowledge that wearing ripped jeans is likely to elicit strong opinions from some people.

Patched Denim Jeans

Not to be confused with fully patchwork denim, patched jeans are those that have patches added to them either for practical reasons (for example to cover a tear or rip) or for purely aesthetic reasons.

Patching jeans is a really easy way to breathe a new lease of life into a pair of jeans that has developed holes or rips over tip. Not only does patching extend the life of a pair of jeans, but it also makes it easy to upcycle denim and create one-of-a-kind jeans.

Embellished Denim

Many of us want to give our denim jeans an individual look which means as well as patches, embellishments like embroidery, sequins, studs, and appliqués can all be used to similar effect.

Think of a subtle row of diamante crystals around the pockets, a look that was popular in the 2000's, or the modern beautiful embroidery work down the legs that's increasingly popular and can be seen all over Etsy and even at places like Lucy & Yak.

Acid Washed Jeans

In the mid 80's it was acid wash jeans that were all the rage. The style at the time was jeans with a wide fit on the thigh, slightly tapered, giving a boxy fit, akin to what is now called a 'mom jean' fit.

Denim in this era was patchy and often a very light blue colour, with some jeans given an almost tie dye effect. Often designed with a natural, high waist, the acid wash jeans of the 80's might also have pleated fronts. Nice.

Patchwork Denim

Patchwork denim has been another popular trend, where different denim pieces are sewn together to create a unique and eclectic look often associated with hippies and grungy types. One pair of jeans will often combine various washes, colours, and patterns of denim to create something completely unique.

Frayed Hems

Frayed hems have been popular since the 70's giving denim a distressed and lived-in aesthetic. Jeans with uneven or raw hems have been seen everywhere and were particularly prevalent in the 90's when all the boy bands of the time seemed to be wearing big wide baggy denim jeans with inevitably frayed hems.

Two-Tone Denim

Mixing different shades of denim within a single garment has been a trend. This can involve contrasting panels, colour-blocking, or even different shades of denim on the front and back of a pair of jeans or applied to just the back pockets that might be a different dye or style of denim.

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