Every season, trendsetters lay down their predictions. Once upon a time there was Anna Wintour and a few notables. Today? There are more influencers than influenced, and a flow of advice that exhausts the most interested readers.
For denim, the problem is worse. Denim technology, denim influencers, and denim brands keep growing. Everyday, keeping up becomes tougher and tougher.
At DenimBlog, we’re here to help you cut through the noise. For this article, we analyzed hundreds of news stories, denim companies, and jeans to understand what’s popular & passé in 2019.
(To learn about our process, scroll to the end of the article. The TL;DR is we looked at 30 “2019 denim trends” articles, summarized their ideas, and put together a top 10 list.)
Below, we break down the most recommended trends for jeans in 2019. Each style is ranked by the number of times it appeared on a “2019 trend list”. Also, we reviewed each trend’s Google searches, showing how everyday people feel about a trend. In other words, more searches = more interest.
The Clear Winners
Of the 30 articles — and over 200 individual recommendations — we looked at, the three below were the most recommended. If you are looking to stay on trend in your denim shopping, let these 3 guide you.
Annemiek Kessels in Won Hundred
1. Straight Leg Jeans
18 of 30 articles mentioned this trend – In fact, nearly every review we read mentioned movement toward a wider leg. Of all the “wide leg” styles (think flares, culottes, etc.) straight leg jeans had the most mentions. The the low cut straight-leg jean enjoyed was the most popular variation of straight leg jean. Since 2017, we’ve seen tons of fashionable celebs wear this look, so its no surprise that it topped the list.
Search Trend – Searches for “straight leg” jeans have been increasing ever since 2004. Even when skinny jeans were at their most popular (in 2009), searches for straight leg jeans grew.
Over the last year, shoppers searched for straight leg jeans more than ever.
Wide Leg Jeans from 3CUT
2. Wide Leg Jeans
16 of 30 articles mentioned wide leg jeans, making it the second-most suggested trend of 2019. It’s worth pointing out that there wasn’t any consensus around the “style” of wide-leg jean. Some editors recommended high waisted, some recommended low waisted, and more.
Search Trend Searches for wide leg jeans peaked in November of 2018. There is a lot of legitimate interest in this style (not just editor hype).
Interestingly, 2007 had the most searches for wide leg jeans. With the sad departure of JNCO —among other setbacks — searches for wide leg jeans bottomed out around 2015.
Tine Andrea in Calvin Klein
3. Striped Jeans – Pintucks, Ribbons, and Stripes
14 of 30 articles mentioned some variation of jeans with “stripes”, from pintucks to ribbon hem. We consolidated these ideas under the umbrella of stripes.
Search Trend Searches for “striped jeans” reached their highest in late 2018, doubling from late 2017. That said, searches for similar terms — like pintuck jeans and ribbon jeans — were lower in 2018 than any other year.
(As a note, there was growth in the searches related to the word “pintuck”, which suggests people were at least interested in finding out what it means.)
3 That Made The Cut
The three selections below were the next-most cited trends. These suggestions were made slightly less than those mentioned above, so between 8 – 12 times.
Loverboy by AMO
4. Embroidered/Patched Denim
12 of 30 articles mentioned embroidering or patching. Embroidering and patching both work as “extra” on top of the denim, so we decided to group them together. This was a very popular choice among high-end fashion critics, who noted the patched and embroidered look at both NYFW and PFW.
Search Trend Searches related to patching and embroidering reached their peak in early 2017. I suspect the release of “denim guides” for that year, like 2018, mentioned this trend.
Interest in patched denim shows a peak and valley effect, which correlates with the beginning of each year.
Both styles are also far more popular in NY and California than any other state.
Alanna Arrington by Tyler Joe in Off White
5. Colorful Denim (Rose Denim)
11 of 30 articles mentioned colorful denim. Editors preferred specific colors — like lime and rose — to “colorful” jeans in general.
Search Trend The fashion press got this one right. Searches for colorful jeans are at their lowest ever in 2018, but searches for certain colors have never been higher.
One example is rose, where more people searched for rose denim and rose jeans in the last 12 months than ever before. As the number of denim brands continues to grow, so will the number of colorful washes that you can find. It makes sense that shoppers can be specific with the colors they want.
Charlotte Groeneveld in Balenciaga
6. Cargo/Utility Jeans
9 of 30 articles mentioned this trend – This trend had its origin in PFW, which featured cargos.
Search Trends Cargo jeans have increased in search volume over the last year or so, though interest is only marginally different this year vs. last.
Like embroidered denim, this trend feels like a media darling, but interest from everyday people buying jeans isn’t there.
The Final Four
These last choices couldn’t break the top 6 but still got some love from editors.
Divya (Cosmoandfries) in Cinched Waist Jeans
7. Paperbag Jeans (Cinched Waist)
8 of 30 articles mentioned this trend and I’m sure the catchy name had something to with those choices. Some editors referred to these as cinched waist jeans, too.
Searches for paperbag jeans are 10x what they were 16 months ago, so there is interest from everyday people. As with other “fashion forward” trends, New York, California, and Texas all lead the pack with interest, searching 10x as much as other states.
Lindsey B Simon
8. Two Toned Denim
6 of 30 articles mentioned two toned denim. A lot of streetwear has done two-tone well. In Los Angeles, I haven’t seen too much of this out and about, but it’s a cool enough concept. I wonder if it will make the leap from the runway to everyday life.
Searches for two toned denim have been higher since early 2017. I do believe that many 2018 predictions mentioned two-toned denim, so this explains the jump in popularity.
Penelope Cruz for Marie Claire
9. Acid Wash (Tie Dye)
5 of 30 articles mentioned acid wash or tie dye. Count me surprised that acid washed made the list — even more surprised that tie dye did too. “Distressed” has been popular since 2015, so maybe editors didn’t want to include “distressed” on their lists for yet another year?
Searches for acid wash jeans and tie dye jeans are both 15-year lows. I don’t really know what to make of these predictions, as I haven’t really heard anyone talking about acid washed recently irl.
It’s worth mentioning that light wash jeans had their best search year in 2018 — so did light wash skinny, light wash denim jackets, and light wash shorts.
10. Distressed Hemline
3 of 30 articles mentioned distressed hemlines — which are a close cousin of the raw hemline, a detail that has been popular for a few years now. The difference is that while raw hemline is totally frayed, the distressed hemline is partially frayed. Like acid wash, this trend is part of “distressed” denim, which has been very popular for a few years.
Searches for distressed hem jeans hit a high at the end of 2018. Interestingly, there were no searches for raw hem jeans until around 2015, when the phrase started picking up speed.
Denim in 2019 – The Short Version
Here is the short version of our findings…
- First, skinny jeans are officially out. Wide leg, straight leg, and relaxed fit have taken their place. Atheleisure is also part of this story, as many of you who once wore skinny jeans now just go for leggings.
- Second, Paris Fashion Week and New York Fashion week have a real influence on editors and tastemakers, but their trends don’t get through to the average denim wearer. Some of the styles are really fashion for fashion’s sake, making them a hard sell if they have to be worn to the office/in professional settings.
- Third, Denim shoppers know what they want today more than ever before. Searches for very specific kinds of jeans — like distressed hem line jeans and rose jeans — are high than ever before. With some many brands, as a shopper you have the benefit of finding exactly what you are looking for.
A Little About Our Process
Data used in this article was collected via 30 “denim trends” articles that had the highest combined social shares and links online. Some articles that met the criteria were omitted due to plagiarism.
For each article, we compared recommendations to an umbrella topic that would encapsulate both specific and broad suggestions. For example, low-cut straight leg and high-rise relaxed fit would both fall under the umbrella term “straight leg”.
Some suggestions were too general or unclear to be used. For example, many articles suggested health tips and ways to look better (so your denim looked better). We’ve used our editorial discretion here and did not include many of these.
If you are interested in more information about our methodology, email me email@example.com and I’d be happy to send you our list of referenced articles or answer any questions you may have.