We don't issue fashion commandments very often, but dear readers, we've got one for you today. The directions are simple: please take your jeggings out of heavy rotation and give the distressed denim in your closet a wee rest. For spring, instead of going for those familiar favorites, you need to find the perfect pair of '70s-inspired jeans. Whether it's a full-on flare or a wide-leg style is totally up to you, just make sure you look for two things: a mid/high-waisted silhouette and a clean, understated wash. (The latter means a relatively monochromatic rinse and no holes, rips, or worn-in details.) To help you follow this denim dictate, we've sourced some of the season's must-have styles for your shopping pleasure, so read on for all the info you need about this new wardrobe necessity!
Before we delve into our top picks, first let's talk about runway inspiration. As you might already know by now, one of the looks from Derek Lam's S/S 11 show is the ultimate reference point for how to wear these jeans. The key piece is Lam's High Waisted Denim Trousers ($550)--they're actually a linen/cotton/lycra blend--which have a high-rise silhouette and a generously cut leg. For the runway, Lam showed these jeans with a Silk Crepe Blouse ($750), which was tucked in for a polished look, and styled with his own Misa Platforms ($690, 212.966.1616) and a silver and leather Lola Belt ($360, 212.493.4454) by sculptor/jewelry designer Pilar Olaverri. The resulting ensemble is sleek, sophisticated, and wildly wearable. We suggest recreating this look exactly--surely you have some silky blouses on hand--as it offers a very chic and modern way to wear these vintage-inspired jeans!
1. Gap Wide Leg Trouser Jeans ($79.50) in Medium Wash
Have you noticed how amazing Gap's denim is lately? We certainly have--especially this incredibly cute pair of pintuck-detailed jeans. (P.S.: that pintuck is incredibly flattering because it elongates your legs!) The Wide Leg Trouser Jeans have a wonderfully flared leg, an 8.5" rise, and are decidedly affordable. Better buy them now before your friends all do...
2. J Brand 2244 Kiki Jeans ($203) in Pure
Call it a hunch, but we have a feeling that the fashion-insider crowd is freaking out over J Brand's Kiki Jeans. The reason is simple: thanks to their high-rise, bell bottom shape, they have a retro look that is so Dazed and Confused cool, it's ridiculous. In addition to the dark indigo Pure wash shown above, the Kiki also comes in Shadow (black) and Lotus (a medium wash with some fading on the thigh), so you have some lovely options to pick from! While the Lotus is the only wash available right now, the other two will hit J Brand's website by the end of March, so stay tuned for updates.
3. MiH Marrakesh Mid-Rise Jeans ($189, arriving at Shopbop.com this week) in Lagune
The Marrakesh Jean by MiH is already a celebrity favorite--Jessica Alba and Katie Holmes are both devotees--but this iconic style is available in a new wash for spring: Lagune. Described as an "oil slick blue," this fashionable addition is wildly soft and the darker hue makes them just a bit dressier and more polished than the brand's other great options. (The classic mid-blue Reef wash is also fantastic.)
4. Vince Denim Flare Jeans ($220) in Eclipse
We've depended on Vince for cozy sweaters, heavenly tanks and t-shirts, and other casually cool essentials for ages now, but now we have a whole new reason to adore this brand: denim. The style we're specifically mad about is the Flare Jean, which is a ridiculously soft and flattering option. The silhouette is definitely one of the most modern in today's selection--it has a modest flare and is low-waisted compared to some of the other featured jeans--so it's perfect for the girl who wants to try this trend in a subtle way. In addition to the medium blue hue shown above, the jeans are also available in Midnight (a dark blue wash) and White.
5. Hudson Milman Five Pocket Flare Jeans ($198) in Ashes To Ashes
We found another incredible pair of '70s-inspired jeans over at Hudson, specifically their Milman Five Pocket Flares. Everyone in our office flipped over the extremely dark charcoal wash and the clean, classic, five-pocket shape. While we can't promise that you'll look as amazing as Georgia May Jagger--who stars in the brand's smoldering ads and is debuting her collection for Hudson this month--you'll definitely come close.
6. Genetic Denim Adriane Mid Rise Quilted Bell Jeans ($209)
If you've read WhoWhatWear.com for ages, you've probably heard us wax poetic about Genetic Denim's Shane jeans, which are one of the few skinny styles out there that never give a girl muffin top. Now we're focused on the Adriane, which has a totally different silhouette, but is just as body-friendly--hooray! In addition to the great fit, this new jean has over-dyed front pockets and a casual blue wash that's perfect for spring's '70s trend.