The Year in Denim: 5 Looks That Define 2019 The Year in Denim: 5 Looks That Define 2019

Lou already know how to wear jeans, that much is certain. But even the most masterful doyenne of denim might find her faith wavering when presented with the following exercise, brought to you by Gap (and us, having shower thoughts): If you were to define 2019 in a handful of jeans-based outfits, what would those look like?

For her sleek, considered aesthetic and devotion to warp-faced cotton, we tapped fashion editor Kahlana Barfield Brown — "I'm pretty much always styling around denim, because I wear jeans [almost] every day" — to take on the challenge, demonstrating the most right-now ways to wear five silhouettes Gap has perfected with impeccable fit and quality washes and fabrics. Keep scrolling for our version of the exam answers, and hover overtouch the black buttons for additional top tips and alternative styling tricks.

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Denim Guide
1 Straight Leg
2 Cropped Wide-Leg
3 High-Rise Skinny
4 Jeggings
5 Cigarette
Denim Guide
1 Straight Leg
2 Cropped Wide-Leg
3 High-Rise Skinny
4 Jeggings
5 Cigarette

Cheeky Straight 1 Cheeky Straight

Gap Straight Leg denim image

1

These might be your front-runner for Jean Of The Year, with a cheeky cut usually only found after many hours of scouring vintage shops. Here, Gap's trial-and-error-eliminating iteration stars in a juxtaposition of casual and dressy that highlights a feature Brown says is ultra au courant: "They're what I feel like is the trend of the moment in terms of the distressing. I like the distressed detail, because it adds toughness and edge to whatever outfit you’re going to dress these with."

Gap High Rise Rip & Repair Cheeky Straight Jeans with Secret Smoothing Pockets Gap High Rise Rip & Repair Cheeky Straight Jeans with Secret Smoothing Pockets

With these, I'd roll them up to play up my ankles. It makes it more flattering than tucking the jean into a shoe.

Brown suggests trying a half-tuck here, with one side of the top tucked in, one side left out.

GAP

High Rise Rip & Repair Cheeky Straight Jeans with Secret Smoothing Pockets

$89.95
image

Cropped Wide-Leg 2 Cropped Wide-Leg

Gap High Rise Wide-Leg Crop Jeans

2

We're still saying "hello, sailor" to shortened, bell-shaped denim. But instead of the ceramics-teacher vibe this style evoked in seasons past, we're now after a sharper, more polished aesthetic. That's achieved with a similarly abbreviated wrap top for a shapely upper half against the more voluminous bottom — and a footwear choice that's decidedly unlike what the art educators we know would wear. "Because the wide-leg is already oversized, you need some skin to break it up," Brown says. "So I would wear this with a [single-sole] pump or heeled sandal. You need that height to elevate and elongate your body."

Gap High Rise Wide-Leg Crop Jeans Gap High Rise Wide-Leg Crop Jeans

[You could] do a fitted turtleneck, blouse, or basic tee. In the fall, I might layer on a great jacket. Because these pants are voluminous, [I prefer] something fitted to show off [my] figure.

If you're not into shirts that are cropped and fitted, look for one that's "loose or boxy," Brown says. "You could also do a loose sweater that hits at your hips and tuck it and roll up the sleeves."

GAP

High Rise Wide-Leg Crop Jeans

$69.95
image of jeans

You already know how to wear jeans, that much is certain. But even the most masterful doyenne of denim might find her faith wavering when presented with the following exercise, brought to you by Gap (and us, having shower thoughts): If you were to define 2019 in a handful of jeans-based outfits, what would those look like?
For her sleek, considered aesthetic and devotion to warp-faced cotton, we tapped fashion editor Kahlana Barfield Brown — "I'm pretty much always styling around denim, because I wear jeans [almost] every day" — to take on the challenge, demonstrating the most right-now ways to wear five silhouettes Gap has perfected with impeccable fit and quality washes and fabrics. Keep scrolling for our version of the exam answers, and hover over the black buttons for additional top tips and alternative styling tricks.
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The High-Rise Skinny 3 High-Rise Skinny

Gap Sky High True Skinny Jeans with Secret Smoothing Pockets

3

"This is the perfect example of playing with proportions, where it’s bigger up top, but you bring in the waist so it shows your shape," Brown says of this look. "The jeans...show off and elongate my legs. They were the canvas of this outfit." While narrow pants, to some, invite more body-con pieces, paying closer attention to the line [of the body] creates a true 9-to-whenever outfit Brown calls "very much me and true to my style."

Gap Sky High True Skinny Jeans with Secret Smoothing Pockets Gap Sky High True Skinny Jeans with Secret Smoothing Pockets

I would wear this to meetings during the day, but then, throw on a delicate, small bag, and it would take me to night.

A braided belt with a buckle would pull the look together and accentuate the waist even more.

GAP

Sky High True Skinny Jeans with Secret Smoothing Pockets

$69.95
image of jeans

Jeggings 4 Jeggings

Gap High Rise Favorite Jeggings with Secret Smoothing Pockets

4

If 2016 was the year of realizing things, 2019 is a time during which we have no more illusions left to shatter, so we might as well expand our definition of what jeggings can accomplish. And here, under a cream shacket, it's not hard to reimagine their return to our daily rotations as genre-bending pants/instruments of smart-casual weekends/part-time tights, even. (More on that in a bit.)

"With the pant, they're sexy, they show off your legs. What the shirt does is cover your butt," Brown says of this super-clean look. "It hits the right places, so it still looks sexy but not overly so."

Gap Sky High True Skinny Jeans with Secret Smoothing Pockets Gap Sky High True Skinny Jeans with Secret Smoothing Pockets

I would wear [these] under a dress. It would almost act like a legging or a tight, and even a more modern tight because they’re denim.

For fall, an oversized sweater, even belted, would look nice. I would roll up the sleeves on whatever top to show my arms and break it up a little bit. It definitely reminds you that there’s a woman underneath.

GAP

High Rise Favorite Jeggings

$59.95
image of jeans

These might be your front-runner for Jean Of The Year, with a cheeky cut usually only found after many hours of scouring vintage shops. Here, Gap's trial-and-error-eliminating iteration stars in a juxtaposition of casual and dressy that highlights a feature Brown says is ultra au courant: "They're what I feel like is the trend of the moment in terms of the distressing. I like the distressed detail, because it adds toughness and edge to whatever outfit you’re going to dress these with."
We're still saying "hello, sailor" to shortened, bell-shaped denim. But instead of the ceramics-teacher vibe this style evoked in seasons past, we're now after a sharper, more polished aesthetic. That's achieved with a similarly abbreviated wrap top for a shapely upper half against the more voluminous bottom — and a footwear choice that's decidedly unlike what the art educators we know would wear. "Because the wide-leg is already oversized, you need some skin to break it up," Brown says. "So I would wear this with a [single-sole] pump or heeled sandal. You need that height to elevate and elongate your body."
"This is the perfect example of playing with proportions, where it’s bigger up top, but you bring in the waist so it shows your shape," Brown says of this look. "The jeans...show off and elongate my legs. They were the canvas of this outfit." While narrow pants, to some, invite more body-con pieces, paying closer attention to the line [of the body] creates a true 9-to-whenever outfit Brown calls "very much me and true to my style."
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Cigarette 5 Cigarette

Gap High Rise Cigarette Jeans with Secret Smoothing Pockets

5

Saturdays are for the girls — and for slim, straight denim that can accompany you to battle with the supermarket hordes, to the dog run so your "child" can practice being more outgoing, then to spritzes on an Italianate terrace. "This is a weekend look," Brown says of the "cozy-chic" combination of fitted jean, denim jacket, faultless white T-shirt, and sneakers. In fact, you might even call it the weekend look, in the vein of timeless movie stars whose basics-driven, off-duty style still reads impossibly fresh, even decades later.

Gap High Rise Cigarette Jeans with Secret Smoothing Pockets Gap High Rise Cigarette Jeans with Secret Smoothing Pockets

I would flip up [the hems] one level to show off the sneaker. If I were wearing a heel, I'd keep it skinny at the bottom.

I love mixing dressy and casual — wearing a fitted pant and crop top is very sexy, so I would also try toughening up the look with an oversized blazer.

An oversized denim jacket is the perfect investment, because it carries you through different seasons. And it [makes] great proportions, where you have the fitted jean with the jacket over it.

GAP

High Rise Cigarette Jeans with Secret Smoothing Pockets

$69.95
image of jeans

If 2016 was the year of realizing things, 2019 is a time during which we have no more illusions left to shatter, so we might as well expand our definition of what jeggings can accomplish. And here, under a cream shacket, it's not hard to reimagine their return to our daily rotations as genre-bending pants/instruments of smart-casual weekends/part-time tights, even. (More on that in a bit.)
"With the pant, they're sexy, they show off your legs. What the shirt does is cover your butt," Brown says of this super-clean look. "It hits the right places, so it still looks sexy but not overly so."
Saturdays are for the girls — and for slim, straight denim that can accompany you to battle with the supermarket hordes, to the dog run so your "child" can practice being more outgoing, then to spritzes on an Italianate terrace. "This is a weekend look," Brown says of the "cozy-chic" combination of fitted jean, denim jacket, faultless white T-shirt, and sneakers. In fact, you might even call it the weekend look, in the vein of timeless movie stars whose basics-driven, off-duty style still reads impossibly fresh, even decades later.
You already know how to wear jeans, that much is certain. But even the most masterful doyenne of denim might find her faith wavering when presented with the following exercise, brought to you by Gap (and us, having shower thoughts): If you were to define 2019 in a handful of jeans-based outfits, what would those look like?
For her sleek, considered aesthetic and devotion to warp-faced cotton, we tapped fashion editor Kahlana Barfield Brown — "I'm pretty much always styling around denim, because I wear jeans [almost] every day" — to take on the challenge, demonstrating the most right-now ways to wear five silhouettes Gap has perfected with impeccable fit and quality washes and fabrics. Keep scrolling for our version of the exam answers, and hover over the black buttons for additional top tips and alternative styling tricks.
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Photographed by Emma Trim. Styled by Sachiko Clyde. Hair by Clara Leonard. Makeup by Taylor Simpson. Set Design by Mat Cullen.