Jean-eology: A Comparison of Denim Styles for Women
There’s something special about the perfect pair of jeans. In the words of the great Yves Saint Laurent, “They have expression, modesty, sex appeal and simplicity.” Once a sturdy work pant of early Californian miners, jeans are now a style staple of the masses. From its unruly role in Rebel Without a Cause in the 1950s, to sexy Calvin Klein spreads in the 199os, to the distressed designer jeans of recent times, denim has always maintained prominent in our culture.
Finding that perfect pair of jeans, as you know, is harder than it sounds with wide range of styles available today. Follow our denim guide to find a simple outline of jean styles and tips on how to make your favorite jeans last longer.
The Best Jean Styles for Women
Voted the most universally flattering jeans, this style hugs the hips and thighs, and widens slightly from the knee to the ankle. These namesake jeans were originally designed to wear over boots, however this slimming style can be worn with just about everything from formal tops to casual sneakers. These jeans are a great multi-tasking essential for every woman’s closet. Dress them up with a dark wash or down with a lighter or more distressed wash.
Flared Jeans / Bell Bottoms
This style is a more dramatic version of bootcut jeans. They are fitted from the hips to the knee, and flare out past the knee down to the feet. Flared jeans are also known as bell bottoms and, though not as popular as their glory days in the 70s, they still have a place in modern fashion. Style icons such as Rachel Zoe are known for rocking this unconventional and bold style. The flare can range from modest to pretty extreme. Pair flared jeans in a darker wash with a formal blouse to give an everyday outfit a boho flair.
Skinny jeans offer a tight fitting silhouette that hugs the leg from the waist all the way down through the ankle. This is a great style to balance out large or flowing tops. Skinny jeans are a great contemporary basic that has versatile styling options and come in a wide array of washes and fun prints. Look for stretchy styles for a more comfortable fit.
Legging jeans closely resemble skinny jeans, but have a little more stretch built into them. This causes them to look less bulky on your legs and instead clings like a second layer of skin. This style is usually slightly softer than skinny jeans and tend to be more comfortable due to the stretchy fabric. If you find skinny jeans a little restricting, legging jeans may be a better way to go. However, they are definitely more casual. Pair them with a comfy oversized sweater or a silky flowing blouse.
Cropped Skinny Jeans
These are skinny jeans with a slight crop that hits about mid-calf, usually with a small notch at the bottom of the outer seam. This style gives a more casual look and a little extra mobility that’s great for daytime wear. Cropped skinny jeans are perfect for warm summer weather or showing of your new shoes.
Jeans with straight legs are fitted from the waist to the thigh, and have a consistent width from knee down to the hem. This style, like bootcut jeans, flatters most body types and are a great go-to if you’re looking for a more forgiving alternative to skinny jeans. As an intermediate between skinny jeans and bootcut jeans, straight jeans can be styled in a wide variety of ways. These jeans look great paired with a crisp button-up or a comfortable sweater.
Intentionally baggy, these jeans are designed to look like a lived-in pair of men’s jeans. This style has a slouchy fit and feel as comfortable as they look. Be weary about proportions when wearing boyfriend jeans, as they are the least form-fitting style. Paired with a large or loose top, your outfit can easily start too look a little sloppy. This casual style of jeans looks great with a flirty top (tucked in the front), leather oxfords, or a pair of sky-high stilettos. Roll them up at the hem or add your own feminine twist.
Trouser Jeans or Wide Leg Trousers
This style of jeans fits more like dress pants: the wide leg remains the same from the hip down to the ankle, fitting loosely around the whole leg. Unlike bootcut or flared jeans, trouser jeans don’t hug as much on the thighs and the backside. These are a great option for Casual Fridays in the office as they are not too informal and maintain a modest, tailored shape. Most trouser jeans are creased in the front and have a covered fly instead of an exposed button. They also usually feature slanted front pockets and flap or welt back pockets. When shopping for trouser jeans, you’ll see a bit of a range in leg widths.
Caring for your Jeans
Caring for your jeans is very easy and often times can be thrown in the washer and dryer with your other laundry. If you’re concerned with the color of your denim fading (especially with darker washed denim), turn your jeans inside-out before throwing them in the wash to keep the color from bleeding out excessively. If you’ve forgone ordinary, run-of-the-mill jeans and decided to purchasing raw or dry denim, you simply do not wash them. Unlike ordinary jeans, raw denim is not washed after being dyed. This allows the material to gain it’s own character and wear naturally.
Find Your Perfect Pair
Now that you’ve explored the range of jeans styles available to you, we hope you’ll find the perfect pair that suits your personality and style. A pair of quality jeans that makes you look great and feel comfortable is an essential and versatile wardrobe staple.