In an article for American Fabrics, one journalist once claimed that “Denim is one of the world’s oldest fabrics, yet it remains eternally young”. It would be somewhat unfair then to say that recent trends dictate the textile’s omnipresence this season. For denim has boasted comfort, practicality and – above all – versatility since the dawn of ready-to-wear fashion. This autumn/winter has however offered menswear a certain resurgence in what one might refer to as “proper” denim.
In the light of the return of the 90s grunge vibes that seem to have been embraced by so many, ready to tie a plaid shirt around their waists and embellish almost anything with a handful of studs (not that the latter should be condoned as often as it has been), the shift this season seems to be towards more authentic looking denim pieces. It is a leap away from brightly coloured denim trousers that “pop” and clad legs in an intensely audacious manner, difficult to place within an outfit and far from easy to carry off in real life. AW13 proudly presents two distinct trends that are accessible and easy so that, actually, every man might dress with style.
For many, the denim jacket is an irrefutable wardrobe staple. Its versatility seldom rivalled, a jacket of jean will work well as part of many an ensemble. Buttons undone or even just resting upon shoulders, a denim jacket is perfectly casual attire and would quite suitably complement either chinos or the infamously unbeatable and basic skinny blacks. Double denim is by no means an abomination to be avoided at all costs, but it should be carefully considered: be mindful to match the denims exactly or contrasting boldly, lest the entire outfit look to be a careless mistake. In advocacy of the aforementioned 90s grunge revival, a checked flannel shirt wrapped around the waist will cleverly break the denim-on-denim and create an interesting skirt-like silhouette in line with our ever-androgynous approach to menswear that continues to seep through to average Joe and his street style.
Specifically relevant for this AW13, is the push for darker denim in a more grown-up setting. Giorgio Armani was at the forefront of this trend which demonstrates denim’s capacity to be manipulated to sit right on top of a smart pair of shoes or under a well-tailored overcoat. At the other end of the spectrum from the relaxed 90s look above, these dark dyes showcase the textile’s veritably variable nature: the right hue renders a charming sophistication that is on a level playing field with one’s trusted brogues and (at the moment) well-used mackintosh.
Denim ticks the respective boxes of smart, casual and smart-casual with ease and finesse. The age-old fabric can be technically manipulated or cleverly styled to suit trends that come and go as each season passes, this much is truly undeniable. The durability of the textile in physical terms should, however, not be dismissed. And this in turn should dictate a durability of the style with which denim is worn. Lucky for bank balances, AW13’s denim trends resonate with authenticity and real inherent style, both of which of course always last much longer than fads and phases. This idea of channelling “inherent style” gives food for thought. Some say one is – or isn’t – born with style. One who is not shy of a clichéd pun as a closing note might even say that it’s in your jeans.