How To Wear This Season’s

Best Denim

text by Robin Reetz      photos courtesy of Barneys New York

We sat down with Barneys’ Associate Fashion Director Jackie Kim and stylist Felicia Garcia-Rivera to find out what’s happening in denim right now.
Photographed by Alex John Beck / Styled by Felicia Garcia-Rivera

Denim plays a huge role in every wardrobe. Skinny or wide-leg, crop or flared, it’s a timeless standby that works for almost any occasion. The challenge with denim is finding ways to make it look and feel modern, and luckily the last few seasons have offered fresh spins via updated silhouettes, surprising embellishments, and updates to fit and construction.

To celebrate this brave new world and gain some insight into what our future wardrobes might look like, we caught up with Felicia Garcia-Rivera, the mastermind stylist behind Barneys’ recent denim lookbook, as well as with Jackie Kim, Barneys’ Associate Fashion Director, who clued us in on the the ins and outs of what works in denim, for this season and beyond.


After seasons of subtlety, denim is getting a welcomed update with standout washes and playful appliques. “I’m excited by the novelty treatments, colors, and embellishments I’m seeing in the market,” says Kim. Garcia-Rivera agrees and encourages experimentation. “I’ve been noticing a lot of pale blue denim, which I love,” she says.


Both women agree that the key to finding the right denim look is focusing on fit. Consider style and cut when thinking about which silhouettes will work for you. “It’s all about finding the right fit for your body, which is different for everyone. The key is going for what is flattering for you personally,” says Garcia-Rivera. Referencing the season’s new silhouettes, Kim adds, “Fit is key but it doesn’t mean what it used to. Keep in mind that fit doesn’t have to mean fitted.”


The quickest way to refresh a look is with a new silhouette. While skinny and wide-leg styles are recent staples, straight-legs jeans are no longer stale. “We are definitely seeing our customer move away from the skinny stretch jean and into a rougher selvedge style,” says Kim. “Designers such as Y-Project are being experimental creating a lot of new silhouettes to play with.” Kim adds, “I’ve been seeing downtown cool girls in a straight bootcut. There’s a confidence and ease to it when paired with a beautiful blouse.”


There’s no harm in brand loyalty, but taking some risks when it comes to trying new denim labels can pay off in the long run. According to Kim, KsubiMoussyAdaptationGRLFRND, and Forte Couture are the names to know now, while Garcia-Rivera favors Y-Project‘s experimental approach.


When in doubt, Garcia-Rivera embraces the classics. “Denim always looks chic with tailored pieces, like a great blazer or turtleneck and boots — it’s simple and modern.”