If you've ever woken up feeling a sense of dread at the thought of pulling on a pair of skin-tight jeans, there's good cause to celebrate. The skinny trend is over. Well, not so much over as no longer dominating the denim world to the point where no other option is available to you.
Leonie Rutherford, Creative Director of Melbourne-based Denimsmith, says that men's jeans have finally reached the point of perfect compromise between both comfort and style.
"The biggest change in men's denim trend we've seen is silhouette," she says.
"There has been a big swing from skinny legs into our looser relaxed leg shapes, and our male customers also request our free hemming service and have their jeans tailored to a slight cropped look."
A denim for the ages
Denim – be it jeans, jacket or even a shirt – has to be one of the most versatile and enduring fashion statements. It's also the one that tends to undergo the most regular changes in trend.
From the flared '70s, the baggy '90s, and the skin-tight '00s, denim has continually transformed to become an iconic signature each era's look – the downfall being that said trend would then so heavily saturate the market that trying find anything that wasn't either skinny or raw was practically impossible.
How times have changed
Gone are singular-focused fads that once swept through stores (although, yes, there are styles that are more 'popular' than most) in favour for variety. Brands, and consumers, are finally embracing diversity in the wardrobe.
"Customers are looking for comfort as being a major purchasing decision so stretch washed denim are definitely preferred over raw unwashed denim now," says Vincent Wu, one half of the duo behind luxe streetwear store Incu.
"Everyone is moving away from the trend of slim raw denim to more baggier washed options. Most probably because most guys have their raw denim that they have slowly aged nicely and prefer to wear those over doing the whole process again."
The short list
But even amidst this new wave of versatility and variety, there are several standout styles that mark the season.
Firstly, the cropped denim – deliberately cut to just shy of the ankle, often unhemmed, this look goes hand-in-hand with a looser fit. Vetements, Gucci, local label Abrand Jeans and Stella McCartney have all released versions of this look with various distinctions.
Definitely on the casual end of the spectrum, these are designed to look unfinished and ill-fitting – despite the fact they are some of the most comfortable jeans you'll ever own.
Purists may live and die in raw indigo but it's definitely a strong season for washed, or faded, finishes.
"We've definitely seen most of our brands offering nice vintage blue wash options," says Wu. "They are still clean and don't have any whiskering and rips in them so it can still be dressed up."
Gucci has even gone one step further with their release of '80s punk-inspired acid wash.
The beauty of this style is, with a change of fit, it can be worked into any occasion. Pick a more fitted cut for sharper look, and go looser for a slouchier effect on the weekend.
The cut of your cloth
Ripped, shredded, torn, patched and deconstructed – just as long as it looks damaged.
"There has also been a big swing towards destruction wash templates," says Rich Bell from Neuw denim. "But black destruction is what's really driving sales right now."
Pre-torn and ripped denim has been around for yonks but it's made its way back to the forefront again, in some cases quite extremely so.
While most of us will relegate this style to the weekends or even the odd night out, with the right jacket and shirt it could just as easily work for the office.
The colour spectrum
Lift yourself out of the blues with some of the more adventurous denims out today. Fom Paul Smith's rainbow selection (including pink) to Tom Ford's conservative brown jeans, there is an array of shades to choose from.
But it's the fit that has seen the biggest changes, with brands inspired by "normcore" looks. Straight leg and high-waisted for the most part, according to Bell this trend takes its theme from "authentic blue denim inspired by 80s and 90s washes" with all signs pointing to getting even looser.
"Watch this space, fits will get looser over the coming years".
Check out the gallery above to see a selection of the best denim for men.