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Jeans never really go out of style, but denim had a major moment this year—in the forms of updated denim jackets, surprising denim pieces and the classic denim jean. Denim became centric to most of the outfits we wore this year—yes, even our business-casual ensembles—so it’s little surprise that jeans sales rose 9 percent this year, according to market research company the NPD group.
Though denim’s upward trend is generally unsurprising, which cuts qualified as the “best-selling jeans of 2018″—and which ones didn’t—might offer a little more shock value.
For starters, the super-stretch skinny jean trend slowed down, with more of us opting for straight-leg cuts than form-fitting ones. The classic boyfriend jean? Also down. Instead of turning to the low-rise, loose-fitting cut for low-maintenance style and comfort, people turned to comfort-stretch denim with flattering high-rise cuts. (And for the record, when we say high-rise, we mean high-rise. Like, 10-inch-rise high-rise.)
Though the return of the super-high high-rise suggests low-rise jeans will remain in the aughts until further notice, several retro revivals made their way onto the scene. The bootleg cut and cropped flare jean pervaded editor-approved trend forecasts (and made their way into the closets of the fashion set)—but only for the latter part of the year.
So the overall winners in terms of consistent sales were—you guessed it—the straight leg and the high-waisted, figure-flattering cuts we discussed before. (Even last year’s oversized mom jeans got the skinny-cut, curve-hugging treatment in 2018.)
Though a recap of the best-selling jeans of 2018 skews more retrospective than forecast, the truth is, it can serve as a little of both; this year’s favorite jeans were comfortable, practical and flattering—a trifecta of trend-transcending timelessness. So even if you’re looking forward to the trends 2019 will undoubtedly usher in, you can rest assured knowing the denim you splurged on in 2018 will be wearable for years to come.
Levi’s Wedgie Icon Jeans, $98 at Revolve
This best-selling straight-leg style is designed to lift your behind for an ultra-flattering fit and a cheeky rear view.
Madewell 10-Inch High-Rise Skinny Jeans, $128 at Nordstrom
Madewell’s best-selling skinny style features a just-right 10-inch rise that promises to make your legs look miles long.
Frame Le Straight High Jeans, $199 at ShopBop
Black jeans are arguably the most versatile wardrobe staple of all time, and this pair features a slightly cropped straight hem to offer the appearance of slim-fit trousers without sacrificing the comfort of stretch denim.
AGOLDE Remy Jeans, $178 at Revolve
Vintage-inspired rigid denim with a flattering fit that hugs all the right places.
Authentic Stretch High Rise Skinny Jeans, $68 at Everlane
These high-rise skinnies feature a balanced ratio of cotton and elastane for the perfect amount of stretch.
Free People Wales Wide-Leg Jeans, $98 at Revolve
These ultra-flattering wide legs feature the perfect amount of distressed detailing. A vintage-inspired jean that looks of-the-moment? We’re sold.
Levi’s 501 Skinny Jeans, $98 at Free People
Inspired by the iconic 501 style that was a best-seller in the ’90s, these rigid skinnies are modernized with a slimmer silhouette and skinnier hem.
AG Adriano Goldschmied Farrah Skinny Jeans, $178 at Revolve
Reviewers praise these high-rise pants for their ultra-soft fabric and comfort stretch.
Re/Done High-Rise Ankle Crop Jeans, $260 at Saks Fifth Avenue
As the purveyor of reimagined vintage denim, it’s no surprise that this denim brand’s classic high-rise ankle crop consistently sells out.
Madewell Emmett Wide-Leg Crop Jeans, $110 at Shopbop
These ridiculously flattering widelegs feature a teeny hip pocket that’s perfect for showcasing your favorite statement belt.
Mother Denim the Looker Ankle Fray Jeans, $238 at Shopbop
Since Meghan Markle was photographed wearing these jeans in September, retailers have had trouble keeping these perfectly cropped skinnies in stock.
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