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Whether you’re on team skinny or team wide leg, denim jeans are a key staple in every wardrobe. Classic, timeless, and versatile for dressing up or down, the best women’s jeans can serve as the starting point for countless outfits and occasions. And now, with more denim brands and trends on the market than ever, there’s a pair out there for every style, too. But with such a wide variety of choices, finding the perfect pair of jeans for women can be a major challenge — not to mention incredibly overwhelming.
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In fact, a 2022 study by U.K.-based company One Poll found that 46% of women said denim is the most difficult item to buy. Despite the stress caused by shopping for jeans, another 2020 survey by Cotton Incorporated found that 55% of consumers wear denim jeans at least three times a week — meaning finding the best pair is well worth the search.
There are the denim icons like Levi’s and Wrangler, and then newcomers like Good American and Re/Done that are shaking up the space. From classic straight-leg jeans to the return of ‘90s-inspired baggy jeans and flares, to the staying power of skinnies, there’s no shortage of denim styles to choose from right now. “There’s been such an evolution lately, especially when it comes to the rise of a jean,” Erin Meehan, Design Director at Agolde says. “Right now, it’s all about the baggier, lower-slung style jeans! While high rises are still so flattering and relevant, we’re seeing low rises on the uptrend.”
Not sure where to begin in your search for the best jeans for women? “I’d recommend starting with the trend and styling you want to achieve,” Meehan advises. Step one: determine the denim silhouette you want to go for.
The Different Types of Women’s Jeans
Straight Leg Jeans: If you’re looking for that streamlined, vintage-inspired pair of ‘90s jeans, a straight-leg style is your best route. Designed to fit straight down your leg without clinging as close to your body as skinny jeans, this style is versatile for any occasion. As a bonus, many straight leg options are some of the best jeans for curvy women. Add a t-shirt and blazer for the office, pair them with heels for a night out, or make them casual with a pair of sneakers for the weekend. If you’re going to invest in one pair of jeans, a straight-leg style is essential for every wardrobe.
Skinny Jeans: Despite Gen Z’s best efforts to banish this design, the skinny jean is still here to stay. A denim staple, skinny jeans are flattering on all body types, as they’re designed to sculpt and mold to your body’s natural shape. Ideal for tucking into boots and pairing with flats or heels, skinny jeans are a no-fuss denim silhouette that’s easy to dress up or down.
Wide-Leg Jeans: If you prefer a denim style with more movement, wide-leg jeans are the way to go. Ideal for a more polished look, wide-leg jeans are perfect for the office or dressier occasions as they lend a more glam look, especially when styled with heels or boots.
Flared Jeans: The difference between flared and wide-leg jeans is that flares are designed to be fitted throughout the hips and thigh and then flare out at the knee. Made popular in the ‘70s, this silhouette is particularly flattering for those who want to elongate their legs. They can be paired with heels or platform boots for a more elevated look, or styled with sneakers for a laidback vibe.
Baggy/Boyfriend Jeans: Boyfriend jeans are loved for their loose, more laidback silhouette — but the rising ‘90s-inspired baggy jeans trend is taking that look up a notch. Ultra-loose and baggy, these jeans are perfect for those who want to keep things more casual and comfortable for those who don’t like the feel of tight-fitting denim. Style them with sneakers and an oversized tee for the true ‘90s look or dress them up with heels to put a spin on things for a night out.
Top Women’s Jeans in 2022
What to Consider When Shopping for the Best Jeans for Women
Fit: The key to finding the best jeans for you is getting the fit and size just right. And with most denim brands using different sizing scales, it can be incredibly difficult to determine your true size.
“The common misconception about jeans is that the waist size (25, 26, 27) means that is the size waist you are — sizes are completely arbitrary and that is why to ensure the perfect fit, you must know your measurements,” Lindsey Davidson, CEO and Founder of Lenny, says. To do so, the vintage denim expert recommends knowing three key measurements before you buy a pair of jeans:
Waist: “Determine the measurement of your natural waistline (above the belly button), the smallest part of your waist and torso.”
Under the belly button: “Knowing that measurement will ensure that any jeans with an inseam of 9-11” will fit properly.”
Low hips/butt: “This is probably the most important measurement because it indicates how the jean will lay on your butt, ensuring a different fit based on preference.”
Rise: There are three general denim rises to choose from: high-rise, mid-rise, and low-rise. High-rise jeans hit above your belly button, mid-rise jeans sit at your natural waist, and low-rise jeans hit below the belly button at your hip bone. “A jean’s rises and inseam lengths are important factors for individuals trying to achieve a certain shape,” Meehan says, “For example, if you are hoping to elongate your torso and height, I’d recommend a higher rise, full-length jean, and pairing it with a heel.”
If you’re looking for a jean you’d like to tuck your tops into, a high or mid-rise is your best bet. If you’re looking for something more casual and trendy, the current low-rise jeans renaissance is a fun way to try a new denim look.
Fabric: Most jeans are made from cotton, but there are two main styles of denim: stretch and non-stretch (also called rigid, stiff, or structured). If a pair of jeans have any percentage of elastane, spandex, or lycra in the fabric contents, they have some stretch to it.
“Structured denim pieces are 100% cotton, which means they will stretch out with wear, but are not ‘stretch’ jeans. Stretch denim has elastane keeping the general shape throughout,” Davidson says.
The higher the percentage of spandex or elastane, the more stretch a pair of jeans will have, which is why it’s so important to look at the fabric contents before buying a pair of jeans. If you’re looking for a more vintage-inspired, rigid denim style, look for a style made of 100% cotton. If you prefer your jeans to have some stretch to them for more comfort, reach for a pair that’s made with spandex or elastane. Typically, stretch jeans tend to mold to your body a little snugger without sacrificing comfort. It all comes down to personal preference.
Below, our picks for the best women’s jeans in every style for every body.
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Agolde ‘90s Pinch Waist Jean
Best Straight-Leg Jeans
Agolde has very quickly become a staple denim brand for fashion insiders and celebs alike — spotted on everyone from Hailey Bieber to Katie Holmes. “One of our most beloved styles season after season is the 90’s Pinch Waist,” design director Erin Meehan shares. “To me, it’s the perfect vintage-inspired jean with a real throwback feel. It has this pinched-in top block and an easy straight leg that makes it so wearable yet flattering. It’s been so incredible and inspiring seeing so many women from all over the world wearing this universal fit and styling in their own individual way!” If you’re looking for that quintessential ‘90s model off-duty jean, this high-waisted straight leg style is a winner — and one you’ll wear for years to come.
Frame Le High Ankle Skinny Jeans
Best Skinny Jeans
Whether you’ve moved on from skinny jeans or not, the slim silhouette does come in handy in any wardrobe — especially if you like tucking your jeans into boots. Frame’s Le High Ankle Skinny Jeans are always a favorite amongst fashion editors for their sleek silhouette that’s fitted without looking (or feeling) completely glued to your legs. The ankle-grazing jean is easy to style with a wide array of shoes — from flats to heels to sneakers. And as one reviewer writes, “these fit like a glove but enough stretch so they are comfy!” The classic style is available in a range of blue washed, along with a white and dark black wash for a more polished look.
Madewell The Perfect Vintage Jean
Best Mom Jeans
Sizes: Available in petite, standard, and tall lengths, in sizes 23-33
Colorways: Available in a range of denim washes
Madewell has become a denim favorite for many thanks to its petite, tall, and curvy-friendly sizing options. One of the brand’s bestsellers, The Perfect Vintage Jean, offers size accommodations in all categories and a range of denim washes for every style. These high-waisted jeans are designed to accentuate your waist in a slightly slouchy, straight leg silhouette. The raw hemline offers an effortlessly cool look when paired with boots or heels. With a 4.5 star rating to boast, many reviewers love these for their vintage-like look and feel that still offers a very slight stretch. “They have a nice rigid feel to the denim (not a super thin feel the way some are) with just enough stretch for there to be no waist gap and to perfectly hug the booty and thighs,” one reviewer says.
Good American Always Fits Straight Leg Jeans
Best Stretch Jeans
Good American is known for its size-inclusive jeans that span from sizes 00-32, but the brand’s Always Fits collection takes that attitude to a new level. The super-stretchy range is designed to fit up to four sizes in one, so it can mold with your body. As one reviewer writes of the sizing, “I usually wear a size 16, so I bought the 14-18 size. These jeans fit me amazingly well! Stretchy enough that they are SUPER comfy and yet I do not need to be constantly pulling them up all day.” These classic jeans are a hybrid of skinny and straight leg silhouettes with a flattering high-waist that can be styled with a top tucked in or out.
Re/Done Stove Pipe Jeans
Best Rigid Jeans
Colorways: Available in 8 washes, including white, khaki, blue, and black
Since its launch in 2014, Re/Done has been a favorite for reconstructing and modernizing vintage Levi’s jeans. The brand’s Stove Pipe Jeans have remained a favorite for the ‘70s-inspired high-waist cut made with rigid, non-stretch denim for that truly vintage look and feel. The structured cut is ideal for styling with a blazer for the office, or your favorite tee for a more casual look. This style is offered in a variety of eight different washes, from white to black, with a range of blues and khakis in between.
Universal Standard Seine Skinny Jeans
Best Size-Inclusive Jeans
Sizes: 00-40; regular, tall, and petite lengths
Colorways: Available in 5 washes, including white, black, and several shades of blue
Whether you’re looking for the best standard or plus-size jeans for curvy women, Universal Standard’s size-inclusive range has you covered. The brand’s Seine Skinny Jeans have become a cult-favorite skinny style amongst women of all sizes, thanks to the invisible built-in stretch and flattering high-waist. However, the brand does recommend buying a size down from your normal size due to the stretch. “These are the best jeans I’ve ever worn, and I am 70 years old. They fit smoothly, stay put, do not bunch or gap, and do not pinch. The fabric is of good quality, not thin and cheap, and the pockets are deep. I want a pair in every color, since I get to wear these almost all the time now,” one reviewer writes.
Lenny Custom Vintage Low-Rise Levi’s
Best Custom Jeans
Finding a pair of jeans that actually fit is never an easy feat, which is why Lindsey Davidson started Lenny, a denim brand that custom tailors vintage jeans for you: All you have to do is pick your favorite style from the site’s collection of vintage jeans and input your exact waist and hip measurements online. “Vintage denim is not a one-size-fits-all model, and that is why we decided to tailor our jeans to your body,” Davidson explains. “Not only do you deserve a perfect fit, but loving a pair of upcycled jeans is helping the environment as well.” The brand offers a variety of high and low-rise options, but if you want to try the low-rise jean trend, this is the perfect solution to avoid all your early aughts denim try-on nightmares.
DL1961 High-Rise Rachel Flare Jeans
Best Flared Jeans
Flared jeans are having a moment and if you want to channel the ‘70s, DL1961’s High-Rise Rachel Flare Jeans are the style to do it in without looking like you’re wearing a Halloween costume. With just the right amount of flare, this pair offers a more polished take on denim that can be effortlessly styled for both casual and elevated occasions. Made with InstaSculpt technology, the denim is designed to mold to your body while offering a smoothing look and feel. The contrast inseam panel and khaki stitching are the perfect way to top off this retro-inspired style that will get you all the compliments (and also elongate your legs). Win-win.
Warp + Weft Nce Wide-Leg Jeans
Best Wide-Leg Jeans
Sizes: 2-14; plus sizes 14-24
Colorways: Available in 7 washes, including khaki, white, black, and blue
For a pair of jeans that’s equal parts comfortable and elevated, a wide-leg style offers that extra polish. Warp + Weft’s Nce Wide-Leg jeans is made of a mid-weight denim that offers a slight stretch (and sculpting fabric) while still looking structured. The high-rise fit and sophisticated wide leg design is inspired by the South of France — which a look you can never really go wrong channeling. Add a bodysuit, sandals, and straw hat and you’ve got the perfect laidback summer ‘fit.
Levi’s Premium 501 Original Fit Jeans
Best High-Rise Jeans
There’s a reason Levi’s Premium 501 jeans remain a classic. This pair’s timeless, hybrid design of straight-leg fit and high-rise mom jean style make these a versatile option for nearly every occasion. Made of 100% cotton, these non-stretch jeans deliver that rigid look to keep things looking sleek and put-together, yet never feel too stiff. And if their cult-status isn’t enough for you, just go by the hundreds of glowing reviews online that love the fit and feel of these.
Paige Amber Mid-Rise Jeans
Best Mid-Rise Jeans
Colorways: Available in 10 washes, including white, black, gray, and various blue denim shades
You can’t go wrong with a mid-rise jean — a great go-between for styling. Easy for tucking or untucking your tops, Paige’s Amber Jeans hit at just the right point of your natural waistline for a flattering fit. Though this style is considered a vintage denim, it still has some stretch to it with 2% spandex. Available in a range of washes, there’s a color for every sense of style — from chic, crisp white to classic blue denim.
Citizens of Humanity Inga Low-Rise Jeans
Best Low-Rise Jeans
Like it or not, low-rise jeans are staging a comeback — and the trend isn’t slowing down any time soon. But don’t worry, today’s low-rise styles don’t have to be paired with itty bitty crop tops and visible thongs a la the early 2000s. Citizens of Humanity’s Inga Jeans offer a polished take on the trend that can be styled in a plethora of ways. This low-stretch denim offers a little leeway and movement while still maintaining that structured, vintage-esque look. Plus, the ankle-length crop makes this pair effortless for styling with every type of footwear.
Abercrombie & Fitch Curve Love ‘90s Straight Leg Jeans
Best Petite Jeans
Sizes: 23-37; extra short, short, regular, long, extra long lengths
Colorways: Available in 10 washes, including white, black, blue, and distressed denim styles
Hi, I am a person who will not shut up about the incredible transformation of Abercrombie’s jeans — I am truly obsessed. Known for its limited size range in the early aughts, the retailer now offers a variety of sizes from 23-37 in the waist, along with a curve-friendly line. What’s even better is that they offer extra short (below 5’0) and short (for those 5’0 – 5’3) length options, which are amazing for petite people who don’t have the patience to go and get their jeans hemmed (hello, it’s me). This high-waisted style offers the look and feel of structured, rigid denim with just the right amount of stretch to keep you comfortable. And with no hemming needed, it’s no surprise the brand’s Extra Short and Short jeans have taken over #PetiteTok — yes, that’s a thing.
Madewell Tall Slim Boyjean
Best Tall Jeans
Sizes: Available in petite, standard, and tall lengths in sizes 23-33
Colorways: Available in a range of denim washes
Similarly, it can be challenging for tall women to find jeans that are long enough. Enter Madewell’s range of Tall Jeans — which includes standard, curvy, and plus size jeans. The brand’s Slim Boyjeans offer the laidback ease of traditional boyfriend jeans but in a slim, slightly skinny silhouette. The Tall range is designed to fit those who are 5’9-5’11. Made of 99% organic cotton and 1% of elastane, these jeans have a slight stretch for a comfortable, broken-in look.
Everlane The Original Cheeky Jean
Best Eco-Friendly Jeans
Colorways: Available in 6 washes, including white, black, and a range of blues
Everlane’s Original Cheeky Jeans are a top-seller for several reasons. The high-rise, straight-leg style features a raised back-hook seam that’s designed to lift and tighten. Aside from the incredibly flattering and easy-to-style fit, the denim is the brand’s most eco-friendly to date, made with organic cotton, Roica® V550 yarn (a stretch yarn that isn’t made with harmful chemicals), microplastic-free dyes, and recycled trim. Some reviewers recommend sizing down, with one writing, “I love the feel of the real denim with just the tiny bit of stretch! They are a little loose on me, so may run a tad big. I wanted looser jeans this time so I am keeping them, but will likely opt for a size smaller next time.”
Good American Good ‘90s Loose Jeans
Best Baggy Jeans
Ultra-loose, baggy jeans from the ‘90s are another denim trend staging a comeback. Good American’s iteration delivers on the vintage-inspired look with an oversized, baggy silhouette that is super laidback with a dash of cool. Made of 100% cotton, the non-stretch baggy jeans give you that authentic ‘90s look with a comfortable feel. Pair them with a tee and sneakers, or contrast the style with a pair of heels for an unexpected combo.
Wrangler Westward 626 Bootcut Jeans
Best Bootcut Jeans
Colorways: Available in 8 washes, including peach, gray, oat, and a range of blues
Wrangler is a denim icon, and these bootcut jeans from the brand’s heritage collection are proof. Made of 100% cotton, this structured denim style looks sleek with its slight bootcut flare shape. “I love the way these jeans fit,” one reviewer writes. “They are a heavy denim material that holds you in just right. I will say they look a little like mom jeans around the tummy area, but they make your butt look amazing.” This style is also available in a range of eight different washes — from a less traditional peach denim to a cool gray to a minimal oat hue.
Slvrlake London High-Rise Jeans in Natural White
Best White Jeans
Finding a great pair of white jeans can be tough — you have to find denim that doesn’t appear see-through or cling too much, not to mention, a shade of white that won’t look too stark white. Slvrlake’s London High-Rise Jeans get the white denim look just right with a ‘natural white’ shade that has a bit of depth to it. The flattering high-waisted, straight-leg style doesn’t mold to your body too tightly, thanks to the rigid denim (it’s made of 100% cotton). Topping it off, the contrast stitching and gold button stand out as subtle, yet chic design elements.
Old Navy Maternity Roll-Over Waist Stretch Jeans
Best Maternity Jeans
Sizes: 0-20; short, regular and long lengths
Colorways: Available in mid and dark blue denim washes
Finding a comfortable pair of maternity jeans is tough, and you probably don’t want to shell out a ton of money on a style you’ll likely only wear for several months. Enter Old Navy’s Maternity collection, which is loved for its affordable jeans that come in a range of sizes. This mega stretch style features an adjustable rollover waistband panel that you can style above, below, or over your baby bump for optimal comfort as your body changes. The super stretchy design also ensures comfort throughout every trimester for jeans that mold and grow with you.
Khaite Danielle Jeans
Best Designer Jeans
You can snag a great pair of jeans at almost every price point, but if you’re looking to splurge on designer denim, look no further than Khaite. The fashion house’s Danielle Straight-Leg Jeans are made of 100% cotton for a structured, rigid denim fit and feel. Featuring a high-waist, flat front, and five pockets, these dark wash jeans are designed for the most flattering — and sophisticated — fit of jeans. Style them with boots or heels to further elevate the look for the office, a night out, and beyond.
The Best Way to Wash Denim Jeans and How Often Should You Wash Them
Denim is a durable fabric that doesn’t have to be washed after each wear, with many brands like Levi’s suggesting you wash your jeans every 10 wears. Most jeans can be machine-washed, but make sure you follow the instructions on your jeans’ care label, as some may need to be washed in certain temperatures of water or turned inside out to preserve dyes and shape. If you’re looking to clean your jeans without putting them through the washing machine, most denim can be placed in the freezer to get rid of bacteria without compromising the shape in the wash. While some jeans can go through the dryer, letting them hang dry can help avoid any potential shrinkage.
Meet the Experts
Erin Meehan is the Design Director at Agolde.
Lindsey Davidson is the CEO and Founder of Lenny, a brand that specializes in custom-tailored vintage jeans.
Meet the Author
Lauren Alexis Fisher is a writer, editor, and brand consultant based in New York City. With eight years of experience in the fashion industry, she’s written and edited for publications including Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and more.