All the cool girls are wearing vintage Nineties denim or new jeans that look old, with a seam, a stepped hem — the terminology for a raw, shorter-in-the-back, longer-in-the-front, or vice versa, hemline — and a four-digit price tag. These trends have not gone unnoticed at J Brand, where the fall collection was focused on reviving denim hits from that decade. “I started designing denim for the first time in the Nineties,” said Mary Bruno, J Brand’s head of design. “There were so many brands launching denim and they each established their own identity.”
Remember Earl Jeans’ straight, skinny fit? And JNCO’s superwide, baggy raver jeans? Bruno took inspiration from such styles and updated them in more accessible versions. The superwides were less “trance dance pants,” as Bruno called the original, than good, wearable wide-legs. There were skinnies with higher rises and stepped hems, cropped straight legs and riffs on Levi’s classic 501s — still in 100 percent cotton with no stretch but more lightweight than the originals.
Denim purists will consider the styles cheating. But those who don’t feel like sifting through piles of vintage jeans, to find one pair that kind of fits, will appreciate that J Brand did the work for them.