The AW16 Denim Guide

Everyone’s favourite fabric is a major trend again for AW16, with both the catwalk gods and the street style set giving us plenty of new ways to wear it. Here’s your guide to how to do denim, the AW16 way…

Let’s start with the fun part, shall we? From rich stitches to flirty silhouettes, there are new denim trends galore to trial for AW16…


Blame the Gucci effect for fashion’s current obsession with decorating everything in sight – including denim. We love Topshop’s embroidered jeans in the shopping gallery below.

Stepped hems

“We have a great exclusive capsule from Frame on Net-A-Porter this season,” says Lisa Aiken, Net-A-Porter’s Retail Fashion Director. “They have reworked their classics with a staggered hem that is amazing. I love the 'Le Original' and 'Le High' styles.”

Extreme frays

Why sport a subtle raw edge when you can go the full fray? That’s the view that bloggers took on the streets at Milan Fashion Week, and it’s a mantra that we’re keen to copy in our own AW16 wardrobes.

Stiffer, straighter legs

“The straight leg with a high waist is here to stay,” says Lisa. “The return of vintage Levi’s has meant that brands are reverting to 80s style shapes in heavier-weight denim.”

Denim culottes

“We're also backing the wide leg culotte style which is a bestseller for us,” adds Lisa. “Styled with boots and platforms they're super flattering and definitely a 'trend-led' piece this season.”

The cropped kick-flare

New silhouette number one; a skinny with a flirty little kick at the hem. Think of a Martini glass turned upside down, falling just above the ankle for a super-flattering look.

Two tone

…Or three… or four… it doesn’t really matter how many types of denim you’ve got worked into your jeans, as long as they’re set in a clicking and clashing puzzle.

Style 101: Which jeans suit me?

Denim expert Donna Ida is celebrating ten years of her eponymous boutique this month, and her online Denim Clinic has to be the best place on the web to figure out once and for all what shape your body is, and what style of jeans best suit it. Are you a Pear seeking flares, or an Apple in need of extra stretch at the back? Consult her guide to find your perfect match.

The skinny is NOT dead

Don’t forget that the classic shapes are as important to your denim repertoire as the trend hits. “Skinny Jeans still make up the majority of our jeans sales at 55% of the mix as they are now a modern wardrobe staple and most styles are variations on the classic skinny,” explains jean queen Donna Ida. “Current/Elliott make the best boyfriend jeans with a mid-weight denim that is designed to wash and wear for years to come, while IDA Margot the Culotte has been our second best-seller. It has nice high rise that cinches in at the waist and then flares out to a 22 inch leg opening.”

How to make your jeans work harder and last longer

A) “Read the care label on the jeans - if it says a cold wash make sure it is cold and not 30 degrees,” says Donna. “There is more and more stretch in jeans these days and the hotter the wash the more it will damage the elastin.”

B) “Don't put them in the dryer as this also damages the elastin. Dry them on an airer or clothes line, not on the radiator.”

C) “Use Denim Wash from The Laundress to maintain the fabrication in your jeans.”

3 New labels to love

Meet the designers pushing the limits of what our favourite jeans look like…

Re/Done: Sean Barron and Jamie Mazur rework old pairs of Levi’s 501s, tapering the leg shapes to offer cool new silhouettes. Call it upcycling, call it vintage with a twist – this is the most eco-friendly way to update your denim wardrobe.

3x1: We’re all about New York label 3x1’s split-hem flares and major fraying. “The label’s bespoke jeans are handmade and lovingly detailed with modern distressing and long fringed hems – a coveted brand signature,” says Net-A-Porter’s Retail Fashion Director, Lisa Aiken. “We also bought into their playful flamingo and rainbow iron-on patches which are great for personal customisation.”

Faustine Steinmetz: Parisian designer Faustine has been showing her collections on the London Fashion Week schedule for the last few seasons, and her latest denim-based textile mixes are stronger than ever. Go to her for something edgier than your average blue washes.

Shop our pick of the best on-trend denim pieces in stores right now...


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