Top 10 Denim Trends for 2011

2010 has been a great year for denim. First off, can I say double denim? It might have seemed like a flash in the pan, but I don’t think we’re done quite yet.  This year had a lot of variety with denim silhouettes with the return of the boot cut jean and the return of the 70’s boho chic (did it ever really go?). We still love our skinny jeans as nothing is sexier and easier to wear with over the knee boots. So what came out of that was a lot of mixing of trends that really gave birth to a world of possibilities for denim.

For 2011, we’ll be seeing a continuation of mixing of different denim styles. While there will be a 70’s theme this coming year, the best way to keep your look updated is by integrating with modern elements. Besides, it’s more fun to mix it up. And with all the wonderful style blogs to read there’s a nice for everyone’s style.

So here it goes, my top ten trend picks for 2011!

10. Elastic cuffs

In 2010 we saw the introduction of the denim sweatpant. I mean why not? Sweats were hot this year, and while only a few ultra chic were able to really pull it off, I don’t think we’ve seen the end of it. Raven’s Wren Jean is a hybrid between a slouchy skinny jean and a sweatpant with an elastic cuff. I love these jeans, and didn’t put much thought into it, until I saw a slew of elastic cuffed jeans at Zara. I think these will be great for the spring and summer months because it’s a style that would look so great with espadrilles. Of course, what better way to show off your ankles?

9. Denim Leggings

If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you would know how much I love denim leggings. I love them. Every one I know who has bought a pair of good denim leggings loves them too. So, while they may not be new..they’ll be around this year just as well. One thing we’ll see more of is an evolution of the ‘denim legging’ they’re not truly denim leggings, because the of the style, but made with a similar fabric content, you’ll see more pull-on bell bottoms like Blank Denim Pull On Flare Jeans. This is a great development in denim. You bet I’m going to be getting a pair in 2011.

8. Rolled cuffs

Ok, Ok, I bet the people have been rolling their jeans since the California Gold Rush when jeans were first invented for the miners. But since Katie Holmes rolled her boyfriend jeans this trend has been on the map, we’ve seen a lot of jean rolling going on.  I also credit J. Crew’s styling for rolling everything that will bring the rolled jeans to the mainstream for 2011. Luckily there are lots of ways to roll your jeans!

7. Cargo Jeans

This year we experienced Houlihan madness. If there were a pair of jeans that signified 2010, it’s the J Brand Houlihan. Well, something that good can’t disappear overnight. Looking at some lookbooks for next season, the cargo jean will still be a big player for 2011, but there will be an evolution with the pockets, sleeker, with bigger front pockets, less flap and more relaxed cut. You’ll love the new cargo jeans just as much especially for the spring and summer.

6. Trouser style jeans


I have always loved the wide-legged trouser jean. Always. The classic cut can do no wrong with all the ease of denim. It’s the perfect combination, especially for those who have been denim shy, and for the girls who love dresses. There was an amazing pair of trouser jeans Celine’s SS11, and with Celine being so hot these past few years, I’m guessing that it’ll be an influencer for 2011 as well. I also loved the double denim in this collection, never has it looked so crisp and classic. Definitely for ladies who lunch.

5. The rise has risen….

When low-rise hit the scene ten years ago, it was a new era for denim. Who knew it would last so long. I gotta tell you, that the low rise had it pitfalls. Muffin top anyone? High Waisted & Midrise, is gaining momentum in 2011, especially since a few other trends that are going to be big next year will go perfectly with a high waisted rise. It’ll be the perfect fashion jean and dramatic look that will make an outfit. Besides it’s more flattering as it forms better to you hips. I never liked the plumber look anyway.

4. Minimal Washes

As much as distressing adds a bit more excitement to your jeans, I don’t think you’ll bee seeing a lot of heavy distressing in 2011. Already in 2010, a cleaner wash with significantly less distressing than in 2008/2009 (remember the Margiela ripped jeans?). Maybe it’s the 70’s influence back when you had to break in your jeans, or maybe we just wanted a more classic look. I’ve been a much bigger fan of a clean wash, and am glad to see it’s return.

3. Denim Shorts

I love denim shorts. They’re easy, they go with everything, and when it’s hotter then hell outside, they’re the perfect thing to wear. We’ll be seeing a lot of denim shorts this summer, with a higher rise…thank god. A low rise denim short is a bit too hoochie for me. A high waisted denim short looks more put together, more deliberate and has a lot character. It’ll be fun to see how they hit the streets this year.

2. Long Denim Skirts

When the Shopbop denim buyer, Alana Goldsmith Brown, said she had long denim skirts coming for next year… I automatically said YES! It makes perfect sense. Long skirts made their way back this year. That 70’s look is will be the big thing next year, and what perfect combination than to have a long denim skirt? I’m really excited to see how this manifests, who can pull it off and what kinds of washes are going to work the best for 2011. I kept thinking of the McQ AW10 long black denim skirt, that was so goth in a very good way. And Genetic Denim already launched their Chloe Open Front Long denim skirt…which is sexy on it’s own and can be layered with the sheerest of sheer as well. The long denim skirts will have a lot of versatility that way, and perfect for spring and fall.

1. Bell Bottoms

from What is Reality Anyway?

If you haven’t heard bell bottoms were going to come back, I have to ask, where have you been? Just kidding. Once someone was shocked, SHOCKED I hadn’t heard of Jonathan Franzen. So yeah, we all listen closely to different things. Anyway, back to bell bottoms. They’re going to be a hit this season. I’m not going to say big…because they’ll generally have a 18-22″ leg opening, that is tight right up to the knee. They’ll have modern elements, but most of all they’ll be crisp, classic and very chic. I can already see how I’m going to wear my bells for next year, with ultra high heels and floppy hats. 2011 is going to be a lot of fun for denim.



  1. Jennine
    December 23, 2010 / 10:04 am

    OH yes, how did that slip my mind… you are so right. Love Isabel Marant.

  2. December 23, 2010 / 10:21 am

    Woot, I made it in. And thank God, I’m not the one wearing the denim diaper. Though she wears it with great style!

  3. Halley
    December 23, 2010 / 11:39 am

    I am sooo excited for this high rise trend! Right now the only ones I can find are at Urban, but at $60 a pair for BDGs…I will definitely be going back for different colors! I never would have thought in a million years I would go with jeans that are this high wasted, I always thought it was for out of fashion old ladies wearing turtle necks, but it feels great for once in my life I am not having to constantly hike up my jeans – and I feel cute and trendy!

  4. Jennine
    December 24, 2010 / 2:19 am

    wendy, of course you’d make it! 🙂
    megahn, mee too!
    halley… i think you’ll be seeing more variety next year. there are several high rise options with premium denim, but keep an eye out on Blank Denim or Cheap Monday, both have a great price point and great denim.

  5. December 24, 2010 / 1:40 pm

    I found myself nodding in agreement with almost every point on this list. It’s nice to see that some of the trends that were so popular in 2010 are going to stick around in 2011!

  6. December 24, 2010 / 1:58 pm

    I’m all over the trouser jean! Not sure I’m ready for the bell bottom though. I can compromise at a boot cut. LOL. Great list!

  7. December 27, 2010 / 10:19 am

    The denim leggings were at the top of my list this year. In fact I am still living in them and I am pretty sure its going to be a look I carry into 2011.
    I do want to try the bell bottoms though, I have 5 inch heels that can make my legs longer and this look actually work on me. 🙂

  8. December 29, 2010 / 11:40 pm

    I rolled my jeans this past bring after seeing some jeans styled that way on Gap and I love it. Feel more modern then cuffed. Cuffing them always makes me feel like it was done because their high-waters.

    I’m excited to see demin skirts come back. But its funny because as a teenager in the late 90’s early 2000 long denim skirts & a few khaki types from Old Navy were major staples in my closet. And I was just watching a re-run of a Girlfriends episode last night & the character had a denim skirt on & I thought to myself “I totally want to rock a denim skirt come Spring”

  9. Andi
    January 2, 2011 / 9:45 am

    I am so glad that you mentioned long denim skirts. I have been on the look out for a few good ones for the last few months. I have managed to find an older Citizens one and a Moschino one one ebay, but was concerned that no one was going to make any new ones anytime soon. I am super excited to get the Genetic skirt you had featured.
    I also agree that elastic cuffs are going to continue to be an important trend, I know it’s not for everyone, but it gives a leg style option other than skinny, cigarette, boot cut, or flare.
    Stellar job on compiling your list, as usual you brought up a few trends that most denim bloggers aren’t savvy enough to mention!

  10. January 3, 2011 / 10:33 pm

    nice post. my NY sister raves about her denim bootcut leggings. how comfortable does that sound?

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