STRAIGHT, WIDE, FLARED, LOW-RISE? FALL'S BEST DENIM TRENDS DECODED
Produced by Vogue in Partnership with Nordstrom
From mom jeans to cropped styles, model Mia Kang explores the coolest denim trends for fall 2022 from Nordstrom.
"We are back outside, and we are not wearing sweatpants anymore," states model and Muay Thai fighter Mia Kang. And she's right. Behind us are the days of elastic-waist bottoms that only your cat might see. Good riddance! Now we're back in a world where real pants are once again a thing—you know, pants with buttons, zippers and specific types of fits. The coolest of them all are made from a special kind of cotton twill called denim. You may remember them by their more colloquial name: jeans.
Ah yes, jeans. But what kind? There's been some recent debate about the styles that feel right for right now. Wide leg? High waist? And the biggest question of all: should you forgo the ubiquitous skinny styles of yesteryear? You don't have to—but you could be tempted. This fall, there are plenty of fresh styles to try, all of which are certain to breathe new life into the bottom half of whatever outfit you choose. "We have the straight leg, the wide leg, the flare, the mom jean," Kang lists. And for those who are feeling especially nostalgic for another long-gone era—or just want to try something new altogether—we're also seeing "the return of the low-rise." Exposed belly buttons are back, so it seems.
But if this all seems like a lot to clock, never fear: with a selection of the latest denim styles from tried-and-true brands like Levi's, Madewell and rag & bone, as well as a trove of options from newcomers like Wit & Wisdom and Good American, Nordstrom has every kind of jean you need. And there's not a moment to waste. As Kang says, "Let's get back outside, and let's look cute doing it." Below, some of the most promising styles to try.
For those who aren't quite ready to ditch their favorite fitted denim silhouette, the straight leg might just be the bridge. This classic blue-washed version from California-based cult favorite MOTHER comes in a curve-hugging stretch denim and slim, ankle-cropped length with an unfinished hem. And the mid-rise sits just below the belly button—also perfect for those who aren't ready to try the resurgent low-rise trend, but still want to branch out from the high-rise look.
There's something about a slouchy wide leg that feels so coolly cavalier right now—especially when paired with a fitted top and chunky sandals. Madewell has nailed the vibe with its Perfect Vintage wide-leg jeans, which mix the brand's signature high-waist style with a new, wider leg. This light-wash version comes in a rigid denim with just a touch of stretch, so it maintains its structure while remaining supercomfy.
The mom jean has become a classic for good reason: the high-waist fit and semirelaxed leg combine to create the ultimate curve-flatterer. Levi's Wedgie Icon Fit may just be the ultimate version of the style, with a vintage-inspired silhouette that looks great with everything from breezy button-downs to slinky crop tops.
Low-rise jeans may conjure not-so-fond memories of the early aughts. Luckily, the resurgent trend has gotten a bit of a makeover. Case in point: rag & bone's Dre Low Rise in white, which features a slim (but still roomy) boyfriend fit and a not-too-revealing 8 3/4" rise. This style is surprisingly easy to wear, especially with a fitted T-shirt or crisp linen top.