We know Tiktok says skinny jeans are out. And in a post-pandemic world, as many Australians transition back into hard pants, we’re making a case for ample leg room. Calves are calling for liberty, so wide legs, ’70s-style flares and bootcut jeans are the answer. But finding the perfect pair of on-trend jeans is a battle – one that many denim diehards are yet to conquer. So, we’ve rounded up our favourite styles to make seeking that off-duty denim look a little easier, with a few skinny-jean suggestions for those who prefer a more streamlined pant bottom.
Like Farrah Fawcett on her skateboard in Charlie’s Angels, the ’70s silhouette is whizzing into wardrobes the world over. Melbourne-made Peachay Jeans are designed to fit small waists and juicier hips, butts and thighs. This summer, get its signature style in white. The label doesn’t use traditional sizing, but instead opts for names like Sunflower, Tulip and Lily. Arnhem’s Savannah flares in sage hug in all the right places, and Assembly Label’s high-waisted flare jeans are slightly cropped, making them the perfect pair to transition from brunch to afternoon drinks. Byron Bay label Thrills has introduced a more comfy, stretchy option in its best-selling high-waisted, wide-leg jean, the Belle. It’ll fit snug across your hips and is available in six colours.
Bootcut jeans – so called because you can conceivably fit a pair of boots under them – are subtler than flares. And their return comfortably coincides with the resurgence of platform boots. Local label Neuw Denim’s Debbie bootcut is high-waisted with a relaxed knee. Brisbane-based label Outland Denim is dedicated to sustainable practices, with a mission to give work to victims of human trafficking. The Mirage jean in indigo wash has a high-rise, wide-leg cut. And, of course, there’s Levi’s classic bootcut for week-round wear.
Mum’s the word
The ’70s aren’t the only denim decade having a resurgence. Channel style icon Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy with these ’90s-inspired mum jeans, a typically high-waisted, relaxed cut that tapers to the ankle. Nudie’s Breezy Britts, Nobody’s Frankies and Zara’s mum jeans are some of our favourite styles. The latter are available in seven colours – and go for $59.95.
If I was your boyfriend
Copenhagen fashion house Ganni’s new denim range boasts seven core styles in a variety of washes. The double-fly detail on the Figni jeans means they can be worn as a low-rise fit or cinched higher on the waist. LA label Boyish took its signature Ziggy style and added carpenter details for a workwear feel. And Bassike’s unisex fit was designed in Australia, made in Japan.
Nobody Denim has been worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Miranda Kerr and Emma Stone. But the brand’s local success suggests there’s no need for international expansion. Its denim is still washed, dyed, distressed and turned into wearable garments from its Fitzroy denim factory in Melbourne. And despite Tiktok’s command, the label’s cult Skinny Ankle remains a signature style. Other favourites include these ultra-high-rise jeans with detachable belt from Reformation and this white pair from Re/done. And for denim to see you through the warmer weather, we recommend the bike-short style from Viktoria & Woods.
Greg Lauren is an artist, designer and the nephew of fashion designer Ralph Lauren. He makes deconstructed garments with combined tailoring, patchwork and vintage fabrics. Make a statement in the pinstripe denim blazer. Or rock the Canadian tuxedo with Denimsmith’s cropped shawl jacket, with beautiful edge detailing, paired with this belted skirt. Deadly Denim was founded by Rebecca Rickard, a Ballardong, Whadjuk woman from the Noongar nation living and working on Country in Perth. The upcycled denim label features designs by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists in its one-off pieces. Customise your own denim jacket with Cungelella’s Marapai design.
Pops of colour
You can count on Byron Bay label Afends to add a playful flair to your serious denim armoire. Find us living in these hemp-washed vintage pink overalls this summer. And these wide-leg jeans by Rollas will soften with wear.
While denim – made from a strong cotton fabric – is one of the most used materials in the world, it also has devastating effects on the environment. But there are many local and international makers looking to reduce their impact. Keeper Denim, founded in Perth by former architect and financial analyst Kate Bartuccio, is one of them. The label was born after Bartuccio watched the True Cost documentary, which helped her see the dark side of the fast-fashion industry and its impact on garment workers and the environment. Her range is limited to skinny jeans – and this light indigo pair has the perfect amount of stretch. Meanwhile, ELV Denim takes unwanted jeans destined for landfill and turns them into modern pieces. Any scraps are given to the renowned artist Ian Berry, who creates painterly works using denim. The ELV team, based in East London, cuts every piece by hand. Its longline dress is made from 46 pieces of denim.
Back in Australia, First Principles is one of just a few custom-denim labels in the country, offering made-to-order jeans where you can choose the style, material, wash, cut, thread and buttons. Order your sample pack here or shop pieces from its ready-to-wear collection online – the straight leg with fringe detailing is our pick. Hera Denim is another local label designed to fit women with a smaller waist and fuller hips, thighs and bum. Pre-orders for its first style – a wider-leg cut made with 100 per cent Japanese denim – launched on October 1. Elk collaborated with sustainable denim maker Saitex to produce a five-pocket jean with a flattering wide-leg silhouette. Made with 91 per cent cotton, seven per cent lycra and two per cent spandex, it's super comfortable. If cords are more your thing, try these.
And the trick to make your jeans last longer? Find tips on caring for your denim here.
Sometimes the items Broadsheet editors select sell out quickly – but they may be restocked. If you miss out on something you’ve seen here, we recommend checking in with stockists again in a few weeks.