THE NEW DENIM M

High waists aree back

The Australian - - FRONT PAGE - THE TIMES AD­DI­TIONAL RE­PORT­ING BY GLYNIS TRAILL-NASH

We live in a fast-mov­ing age. Mi­crotrends — Crocs! Plas­tic trousers! Odd shoes! — sweep the fash­ion world so fleet­ingly that 14 min­utes af­ter their vic­tims have handed over credit cards the new pur­chases are al­ready passe. How­ever, let me re­mind you of some­thing that demon­strates the loy­alty and stub­born­ness of women: skinny jeans.

It has been a good four years since fash­ion jour­nal­ists started herald­ing the death of the skinny. Hav­ing been prac­ti­cally com­pul­sory since the early 2000s, the style passed what one would have ex­pected to be its sell-by date long ago. Yet con­sumers don’t care. On­line searches for skinny jeans have de­creased by 6 per cent com­pared with last year, ac­cord­ing to global fash­ion search-en­gine Lyst, but they’re still ubiq­ui­tous from Perth to Par­ra­matta.

Why are we so ad­dicted? Largely, I sus­pect, be­cause a be­lief pre­vails that they’re flat­ter­ing. I spent my youth in baggy trousers, and when I bought my first pair of drain­pipes in 2005 the re­ac­tion I got was an ad­mir­ing “You’ve lost so much weight.” I hadn’t lost a kilo — but I didn’t wear loose-fit jeans again for 10 years.

How­ever, skin­nies aren’t with­out their draw­backs. They’re usu­ally made of high-stretch fab­rics, which are un­for­giv­ing on lumps and bumps, and go slack in the knees af­ter a few wears and washes. The new wave of jeans, on the other hand, rep­re­sents a re­turn to proper denim, which of­fers more struc­ture and sup­port. Edited, a tech com­pany that analy­ses sales of 342 fash­ion brands, tells me that the shape that has grown the most in pop­u­lar­ity since last year is the “mom jean”. If you are con­sid­er­ing branch­ing out I’d sug­gest this is a good place to start.

High-waisted, straight-legged and sig­nif­i­cantly more roomy than skin­nies, mom jeans are — to ad­dress an im­por­tant style con­sid­er­a­tion — more com­fort­able postlunch than any other jeans I’ve worn in the past decade. They don’t have the fig­ure-squash­ing qual­i­ties of skin­nies, which com­press your or­gans like a tube of tooth­paste, and it may take you a few days to get used to the ex­tra fab­ric around your tummy, but that’s not to say they can’t be flat­ter­ing. Tuck a shirt or a T-shirt into mom jeans and you’ll find they pro­vide a great, ex­ag­ger­ated hour­glass look. It’s all very Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe.

Lyst re­ports that Levi’s Wedgie jeans are the most searched-for denim of the mo­ment: es­sen­tially sexed-up mom jeans, they get their moniker from the fact they hug the bum a lit­tle too closely for com­fort, giv­ing it a lift ($149.95, levi.com.au). If a wedgie is, in your view, a price too dear for an at­trac­tive bot­tom, then try my favourites, Mih’s Mimi jeans (from $385, mih-jeans.com), which come in light and dark den­ims or in true black. (There are few more use­ful and ver­sa­tile items of cloth­ing than a good pair of black jeans.) But if you’re not averse to a pop of colour in your denim, Neuw’s Lola jeans are a great op­tion ($179.95, neuw­denim.com).

Erin Fridja, owner of Lon­don’s Bad Denim bou­tique, says if you’re ap­pre­hen­sive about shift­ing from skin­nies, a high-waisted slim leg is the most nat­u­ral step into some­thing more mod­ern. “It will work with all the looks a skinny worked with, and be­cause it’s not a skintight style you can go for a great heav­ier-weight fab­ric with more struc­ture,” she says. Try Kap­i­tal’s white Momon­roe style ($193, bad­denim.co.uk) or Mih’s straight-legged Cult jeans, which use denim that stretches ver­ti­cally, help­ing to avoid the dreaded baggy knees ($317, mih-jeans.com). Matchesfashion.com’s in-house la­bel, Raey, of­fers a good se­lec­tion for $190 a pair. “Our Press style sits on your hips, it gives you a good shape on the bum and it’s a straight leg with a raw hem,” ex­plains the brand’s cre­ative di­rec­tor, Rachael Proud. “That’s our best­selling jean by miles.” If a frayed hem isn’t for you, the cig­a­rette-legged Clean style has a fin­ished hem. Flares are hav­ing some­thing of a mo­ment, but I’ve al­ways been put off by the thought they re­quire sky­scraper heels for the full wil­lowy ef­fect. Not so, says Proud. If you want to wear flat shoes, go for a cropped flare. This style will soon join the Raey sta­ble, but in the mean­time try Paige’s Flora jeans, which have a ruf­fled, flared hem ($315, shop­bop.com), Frame’s Le Crop style ($333, matchesfashion.com) or the West Coast crop flare from Rolla’s ($139.95, rol­las.com).

Cropped styles in gen­eral are do­ing very well this year, ac­cord­ing to Edited. A flash of an­kle is ap­peal­ing, but they also look great with boots or even tights or socks. I like mine to end just above the an­kle, but if you are fonder of your calves than I am of mine, you may want to go shorter. Ex­per­i­ment with Golden Goose Deluxe Brand’s loose-fit Komo jeans ($342, matchesfashion.com), Top­shop’s Moto washed­black ver­sions with a raw hem ($68, top­shop.com) or Re/Done’s high­rise an­kle crops ($394, bad­denim.co.uk).

If you’re re­ally not will­ing to mess with a win­ning for­mula, there are still plenty of op­tions in the skinny de­part­ment, such as the Khaite Vanessa jean (priced from $303 to $366, matchesfashion.com). Stick with a high waist to lengthen the leg and make the look con­tem­po­rary: try J Brand’s Maria ($337, net-a-porter.com) or Re­for­ma­tion’s High & Skinny Jean ($128, there­for­ma­tion.com). How­ever, I do rec­om­mend you take a leap into the world of new denim. You may not be­lieve it yet, but I prom­ise you: mom’s the word.

Move over, skinny jeans — roomier, high-waisted mom jeans are back HATTIE CRISELL

FASH­ION

Clock­wise from main pic­ture, colour­ful Neuw Denim; Levi’s Wedgie jeans do what they say; Matchesfashion.com’s in­house Raey jeans; cropped, flared and high-waisted Rolla’s

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