Denim Trends Taking Over Summer 2022
Can denim indeed be “trendy?” The idea might seem counterintuitive. After all, few items are more tried-and-true, year after year and wash after wash, than a pair of jeans or women’s shorts. Still, it’s worth considering the sheer variety of denim on offer—everything from cargos and cutoffs to bombers, button-ups, minis, and maxis. Since they come in countless washes, cuts, and styles, it’s only natural that a select few emerge as especially of-the-moment each season.
What may have been a go-to in years past (think: skinny jeans) wouldn’t be considered incredibly covetable today. So, what are some of the most sought-after denim styles? We’ll break it down, including how to wear denim in warmer weather and spotlight what’s hottest for Summer 2022 and why.
Denim Trends in 2022
We just mentioned skinny jeans’ decline in popularity: it’s true—skinny’s out, baggy’s in. (Caveat: if you still love your slim-cut jeans and can’t imagine giving them up, then don’t. Continue what works for you!) It’s possible to trace the baggy trend back to fashion’s collective yen for everything ‘90s, an ongoing love affair that's only recently cooled in favor of more early 2000s-era looks. Looser-fitting styles, including denim shorts, also naturally tend to be more comfortable. And if the last two years have taught us anything fashion-wise, comfort remains a high priority.
What else is on our fashion radar this season? Cutoffs, aka jorts or jean shorts; denim on denim; high-rise and low-rise cuts. And cargo and wide-leg styles. We’ll dig in, but first, we’ll discuss what kind of denim is best suited to rising temperatures.
How to wear denim in summer
Too hot to even think about putting on a pair of pants? You’re not alone. We’re in the thick of summer, and that means higher temperatures and perhaps high humidity as well for many of us. Covering our legs may sound about as appealing as taking a hot bath. So, how do you wear denim in summer?
Beyond swapping jeans for shorts, ensure comfort and breathability with lighter-weight denim materials. While it's easy to stay cool in cutoffs, you might also want to grab a denim shirt. (Plus, they’re trendy now, especially when paired with denim shorts or bottoms.) Just make sure that your top is a button-up and fits relatively loosely (again, on-trend). This way, you can roll up the sleeves, unbutton them, tie them in a knot and crop it, or tie it around your waist.
Denim mini dresses and skirts are another summer-ready option. While maxis and minis have both received their fair share of runway love, only the latter is truly best suited to reality right now. Again, we’d advise keeping it simple with a cutout top or tank and a pair of sneakers or platforms.
Nothing says summer quite like a pair of cutoffs. For decades now, people have gravitated towards an abbreviated version of their favorite jeans once warm weather hits. While a slightly roomy, medium-length, lightly distressed pair of shorts isn’t in danger of going out of fashion anytime soon, other cuts have gained extreme traction lately.
Baggier cuts, specifically from a paper bag to Bermuda styles, have proven especially popular in denim and summer-weight materials like cotton and linen. And though lengthier Bermudas are prominent across the board, shorts with teeny-tiny inseams have also returned. These short shorts tend to have a higher rise and come cuffed, distressed, faded, or patchworked. Cropped tops and flat summer sandals are go-to pairings with either baggies or short shorts.
High-rise & low-rise denim
Higher rises, seen on both denim jeans and shorts, are often beloved for their ability to fit and flatter in equal measure. The year’s best waist-defining styles come in fluid and straight-leg silhouettes. Comfy yet chic, they offer coverage for cooler weather and breathability for summer, making them ideal for evening. Both high-rise and straight-leg styles were popular in the ‘90s and into the early 2000s (surprise!), hence their resurgence right now.
Speaking of: remember low-rise jeans? The kind that hovers below the hip bone and exposes mucho midriff? Well, those have made a significant comeback too. Granted, not everyone is embracing this trend, and it’s typically confined to pants and baggier, lengthier denim shorts. If you’re looking for an alternative to a high-rise, a straight-leg cut that sits just above the hip might be your best bet.
Denim jackets & shirts
For what felt like years, fitted denim jackets ruled. Well, the tide has turned. Once again, we have the ‘90s to thank for our new go-to, baggier silhouette. However, some of the best iterations have an easy, lived-in look and could exchange easily for a casual blazer. And while denim jackets may not top your list of warm-weather wearables, they do come in handy at night or for chilly AC-pumped offices.
That brings us to another closet staple, the denim shirt. “Canadian tuxedos,” aka denim on denim, is a big trend for 2022. It encompasses everything from pared-back button-ups and denim-like chambray shirts to embellished blouse styles. While often teaming denim tops with jeans, they also pair perfectly with cutoffs. (Think of this as a variation on the ultra-trendy shorts set.)
Cargo & wide-leg denim
By now, there's a good chance you either have a pair of cargos in rotation or have at least considered it. Arguably the pants of 2022, cargos are having a moment, and countless iterations of the utilitarian style have popped up. Think camo cargos, skinny cargos, cargo denim shorts, and low-rise cargos.
A classic, fuller cargo cut lends itself well to warmer weather, as would a pair of cargo shorts, naturally. Just as remarkable, and maybe almost as of the moment? Wide-leg denim can be summer-field in lightweight materials to move freely and stay chill. Team them with a fitted v-neck and sneakers for the ultimate summer ease, or make it as 2022 as it gets with a tube top and platform sandals. Either way, you’ve got this.