This fall, ditch your skinny jeans and take a new silhouette out for a spin. “What started out as a fashion trend, the skinny jean, is now in its 12th year. So it is no longer the fashion trend—it is the basic in your wardrobe,” explains Thomas George, owner of Highland Park’s E Street Denim Co. and a 40-year veteran of the denim business. That means it’s time to try another of the many chic denim styles available, from high-rise flares to relaxed boyfriend jeans. Pros at four of Chicago’s top boutiques reveal the season’s top denim trends and how to pull them off.
“70's flared denim is still going strong. For fall, I like this style in a crisp blue denim. I would always pair these with a pointed toe heel, chunky wedge, or platform. Steer clear of flats. I think flares are cute with a slightly cropped top or something that hits at the waistband, or you could tuck in your favorite tee shirt or blouse.
Another trend I like is high-waisted skinnies. These look good with most shoes. You could tuck them into boots [or] wear them with booties or cute flats. They should hit around the ankle. Skinnies are also optimal for layering with items like a poncho or a long vest with a tee underneath.”
-Brinton Coxe, owner of Handle With Care (1706 N. Wells St., 312-751-2929)
“There are a lot of great options in denim this fall—so much more than just basic skinny jeans. Interest in high-waisted denim has been growing the last few seasons and this fall is especially strong. Younger fashion girls and 40-something moms alike are embracing the trend. High-waisted styles pair especially well with cropped tops and tops that hit the waist.
We are also seeing a lot of love for relaxed silhouettes. Rag & Bone's Dre style is a Krista K favorite. It's a slim boyfriend. Basically not too oversized, not too tight—just cool and comfortable. Our favorite relaxed style from Mother denim is the Drop Out and from Paige it's the Jimmy Jimmy. Relaxed, rolled up denim looks great with slip-on sneakers or ankle booties.”
-Krista Kaur Meyers, owner of Krista K (3458 N. Southport Ave., 773-248-1967)
“From a fashion standpoint, what is evolving is an opening up of the bottom [of the pant leg]. You have somewhat of a higher rise coming into effect and a more open bottom. That bottom can be anything from a boot-cut to a flare. It's not a wide jean because the bottom is open—they're still calling them a skinny flare, a skinny boot, and sometimes a skinny boyfriend. It is still a clean, narrow silhouette.”
“I think what you're going to also see into spring is a lot more of a true boyfriend. It's going to sit on your hip. It's going to be a little bit more relaxed all the way through the body. It's not going to pin close to your leg all the way down. You are still going to know that the person inside has a great shape, but it's just going to be a little easier fitting. When you wear a boyfriend jean, you should tuck something in because the bottom is bigger, so you make the top smaller.”
-Thomas George, owner of E Street Denim Co. (1876 First St., Highland Park, 847-433-0050)
“We encourage people to try something [other] than skinnies, like a straight leg or skinny boyfriend [jeans] that are a little more relaxed. Don’t be afraid to wear flares in the fall. Wear them with a cropped sweater [but] nothing long.
We always tell our clients the most important thing is to find a great tailor. I see so many bad tailoring jobs on denim. If you’re going to spend $200 [on a pair of jeans], make sure you find a good tailor. Also, we always advise our customers to wear [jeans] as many times as possible and then wash them inside out and line dry them.”
-David Shelist, owner of the Denim Lounge (2039 W. Roscoe St., 773-935-2820)