8 Transitional Denim Pieces You Can Wear Now & Later

Every few years we see a significant shift in the shapes and cuts of denim. Where the boot-leg reigned supreme in the early 2000s, the 2010s saw the skinny jean take its place. And despite the cropped kick-flare taking center stage in 2016, in recent seasons, there has been less of a prescribed rule of thumb, meaning more experimentation and — dare we say it – more fun.
For the fall '17 collections, denim was polarized into light and dark, with rich indigos and inks playing off '80s- and Americana-inspired light washes. Cropped, boxy jackets were seen on the runways of Off-White, APC, Stella McCartney, and MSGM, while embroidery adorned the denim at Adam Selman, Libertine, and Fyodor Golan. Both Ashley Williams and Raf Simons, with his Calvin Klein collection, paid homage to the USA's lonely cowboy: Williams gave her cowgirls plaid shirts and high-waisted denim, while Simons presented matching denim button-up shirt jackets and bootleg jeans, complete with steel-toed tan boots. All manner of denim skirts were spotted too, from the A-line button-ups at Maison Kitsune to Loewe's cropped fishtails and Jour/Né's straight-up minis.
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Next season's denim drop is varied, giving us contemporary cuts, frayed hems, off-kilter seams, and nods to the '70s and '90s. We're styling floor-skimming flared jeans with sandals and poplin shirts now, but come colder climates, we'll be teaming them with sock boots and turtlenecks; our stepped-hem patchwork jeans, too, look wonderful with a slogan tee during summer, but when winter shows up, we'll be layering them under midi dresses.
Click through to see the brands producing the most exciting denim pieces to help you transition seamlessly from summer to autumn.
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The Not-So-High- Not-So-Low-Waisted Flares
Paulo Almeida and Marta Marques burst onto the scene back in 2011, bringing with them frayed hems and distressed denim. With an eye for experimental construction, they've always been inspired by '90s street style and attitude-first design, and this mid-rise pair is going to see us through autumn, thanks to its deep indigo denim and signature frayed hem.

Wear Now: With sandals and an oversized shirt now (remember, the brand's jeans look best skimming the floor)
Wear Later: With sock boots and a quilted jacket

Marques'Almeida Frayed Mid-rise Wide-leg Jeans, $425, available at Net-A-Porter.
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The Patchwork Jacket
You can always trust Zara to reflect the season's freshest trends, bringing us more attainable takes on catwalk looks. The brand's latest drop features vintage-inspired pieces, from straight-cut jeans with utilitarian five pockets, to this jacket with frayed hems across the arm line, multi-tonal shades, and distressed edging.

Wear Now: Over floral dresses
Wear Later: Under shearling jackets and puffers

Zara The Vintage Denim Jacket, $69.90, available at Zara.
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The Revamped Classic
RE/DONE alters vintage Levi's denim, updating the shape and fit to offer fresh jeans with a nostalgic touch. This pair is every inch Farrah Fawcett; what makes it contemporary is a twist only visible from the side — an inner-leg panel of lighter washed fabric. Plus, the nipped-in waist and wider hem make this pair perfect for proportion play.

Wear Now: With a poplin shirt
Wear later: Under a long-sleeve midi-length floral dress

RE/DONE Leandra Jeans, $337, available at Farfetch.
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The Front-Slit Midi Skirt
Originally based in Hong Kong, this Chinese brand relocated to Paris soon after its 2004 inception. Inspired by boy/girl mash-ups and Parisian and London street style, its denim pieces, like this split-hem midi skirt, are a dose of wardrobe-friendly ready-to-wear. Just look at that just-off-center front seam and the stepped hemline — it's a 2017 spin on a classic shape.

Wear Now: With anything gingham
Wear later: With rainbow-bright knits

MO&Co. Split-hem Denim Skirt, $120, available at Selfridges.
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The So '60s Jumpsuit
Bringing to life the spirit of the much-referenced '60s style icon Jane Ormsby Gore, M.i.h's autumn/winter denim collection lives and breathes a bohemian and rebellious vibe. There, you'll find faded stonewash denim in button-up shirt dresses and flared jeans, but this jumpsuit is the star of the show with its nipped-in waist and statement collar.

Wear Now: With rolled-up sleeves
Wear Later: Unbuttoned and layered over a turtleneck

M.i.h Jeans Icon All in One Denim Overalls, $385, available at M.i.h Jeans.
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The Exposed Stitching Topper
Topshop offers some of the best new shapes in denim, and the coming season is no different. Head of design, Mo Riach, tells Refinery29 that it's all about "diversity in washes for the new collection. While we're still inspired by vintage and authentic washes, we're loving cleaner and smarter looks too." We love the exposed stitching on this deep denim boxy jacket, which is cropped to the perfect length for high-waisted jeans. Don't be afraid to double up your denim.

Wear Now: With a tucked-in white tee
Wear Later: With a black sweater and patent booties

Topshop MOTO Cropped Denim Utility Jacket, $90, available at Topshop.
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The Vintage-Style High-Waisted Boot-Cut
AG's fall offering sees pinafore and button-up dresses in dark indigo, embroidered jeans and shirt jackets, and — our favorite — repurposed raw denim. Inspired by the '90s, the brand has used visible seams and stitching to update classic hero styles; these vintage-fit, high-waisted jeans are reimagined with a straight leg and a faded cotton blend.

Wear Now: With a slogan tee and Birkenstocks
Wear Later: With a chunky sweater and Chelsea boots

AG Jeans The Phoebe, $357.98, available at Harrods.
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The Racer-Striped Bottoms
Ever since Mother's debut collection back in 2011, denim connoisseurs have been hooked thanks to its soft fabric, innovations in technology, and forward-thinking shapes. Earn your racing stripes with this motocross-inspired pair, which is equally-as-comfortable, cool, and Instagram-worthy.

Wear Now: With Converse and a band tee
Wear Later: With a thick knit and point-toed slingbacks

Mother Whipping the Racer Jeans, $220 available at Farfetch.
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