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Item of the week: the loose fit jeans

By Rachel Douglass

20 Apr 2022


(From left) Image: The Kooples, Kings of Indigo, Kuyichi

What it is:

Baggy jeans were a pivotal part of 90s fashion, playing a role in a string of subcultures, most notably hip-hop, as the trouser style of choice. The loose fit generally points to jeans that are relaxed in the seat, knee and thigh areas, with a roomy cut that is often very comfortable to wear. For that decade, the look became synonymous with angsty teens and a sense of rebellion in the industry, tying itself to an era driven by music-led movements. Like many styles that were born in the 90s, this jean design is currently making its big comeback through modernised takes on the relaxed fit, once again resonating with a younger generation of shoppers looking to take on retro-inspired trends.
Image: Levi's

Why you’ll want it:

Arguably dethroning the mom jeans and the skinny jeans, two styles denounced by Gen Z who have essentially “cancelled” the once popular fits, the loose fit jeans have risen up the ranks, renewing their place as one of the most popular styles. The look has been popular with celebrities and influencers alike, as a fashion-forward statement piece that doesn’t compromise on comfortability and versatility. Its presence in fashion today is also noted in the broad number of offbeat iterations there are, allowing for it to appear not just in a simple form but using fresh techniques, such as patchwork denim, embellishments and distressed elements. While the look has already cemented its place over the last year, its presence in AW22 runway shows suggested its time in the spotlight would not be fading anytime soon, ensuring that it will continue to have a strong hold on customers for the foreseeable future.
Image: Nudie Jeans

Where we’ve seen it:

The loose fit jean was spotted on a huge array of AW22 runway shows, making it one of the most popular denim looks for the season. While Missoni and Versace opted for more simple, sleek designs, other labels, like MGSM and Blumarine took a more daring approach, utilising bold embellishments, bright colour schemes and destructured forms. Palm Angels and Diesel also opted for the loose fit, both showing heavily distressed jeans, with Diesel even taking the dishevelled technique to the waistband and hems. Annakiki also favoured the ripped look for a handful of its designs, however further experimented with the loose fit for jeans that subtly referenced cargo pants, exhibited in oversized pockets trailing down the leg.
Image: J.Lindeberg

How to style it:

The loose fit jean is an easy, dress-down style, perfect for daily outfits simply consisting of baggy sweaters, oversized t-shirts and sneakers - reminiscent of its 90s origins. Alternatively, to make use of the flattering fit, pair the jeans with a body-hugging top donning a colourful statement print, contrasting the relaxed shape. To dress the jeans up, elevate the style with heeled ankle boots, an oversized blazer and a sparkly top, or mix things up with a cropped denim jacket to create a denim-on-denim look. Ultimately, whatever style you choose, the loose fit jeans are an easy-to-style, effortless piece, an item that you can rarely go wrong with and allows for a lot of personal style experimentation.
Image: Noisy May
In the continuously growing rise of retro fashion styles adopted by Gen Z shoppers, the loose fit jeans is standing strong above them all as a simple yet effective fashion item that is both versatile and trendy. Its prominence on the runway, online and in daily wear makes it a top contender for the most popular jean fit for the coming season as it looks to enjoy that spot in the limelight for a long time.
Image: Scotch & Soda

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Item of the Week