It’s safe to say that denim is a closet must-have. And with so many jeans on the market, it can be a little intimidating shopping for the perfect pair. You want them to look good and feel good and fit within your budget. But even with those parameters, the options are endless.
“Finding a style that suits your body shape makes all the difference in creating a flattering look,” advises stylist Michaela Leitz. Once you find the best jeans for your body they become a wardrobe staple, so it’s a good idea to buy two (or three, or four!) pairs.
That’s where we come in. We spoke to celebrity stylists, polled our editors, and researched the top denim brands for women. Our picks for the very best jeans to shop now include a variety of styles, ranging from skinny, to cropped, straight, flare, boyfriend, and beyond.
Levi’s Women’s 724 High Rise Straight Jeans
What we love: You can choose between different lengths, on top of different waist sizes.
What we don’t love: The blue wash is $10 more than the other colors.
The holy grail of denim, Levi’s has been perfecting jeans since 1853, so you can expect some serious craftsmanship backed by centuries of practice in their pieces. And while they’re known for balancing sturdy denim with comfortable fits, what really makes Levi’s such a glory to shop at is the wide range of sizes and lengths. As someone who leans on the tall side (I’m five foot eight), I’ve dealt with the disappointment of finding the most comfortable, flattering jeans, only to realize they’re two inches too short — with no other options available.
The 724 high rise jeans come with a top half that supportively hugs your curves, then stretches out into a straight cut. The cotton and elastane blend makes it equal amounts comfortable and stretchy, which is why they make for the perfect everyday jeans. And while it comes in two different colors (black and white), for some reason this blue version is $10 more than the rest.
Price at time of publish: $70
Size range: 23-33 | Rise: High | Material: Cotton, elastane
Most Comfortable Jeans
WIT & WISDOM Jeggings
What We Love: You get the look of jeans without any possible discomfort.
What We Don’t Love: The thinner fabric can wear down faster.
When you can find a jean that is cute, well-fitting, and comfortable, you’ve hit a winner. These soft and stretchy jeggings look like traditional denim, but feel like you’re wearing leggings. They have light whiskering and fading to look like real jeans. Coming in petite sizes, you don’t have to worry about these skinny jeans bunching at your ankles. With their tight fit, they are perfect for tucking into boots.
Price at time of publish: $74
Size Range: 00-18 | Rise: Mid | Materials: Cotton, rayon, polyester, spandex
Best Budget Jeans
American Eagle Stretch Mom Jean
What We Love: These classic mom jeans come in extensive sizes at an affordable price.
What We Don’t Love: They are a bit baggier than some mom jeans.
They’re stretchy, they hold their shape, and they look good on nearly every body type. And since these jeans are available in sizes 000 to 20 and short, regular, long, and extra-long length, there’s a jean for everyone. And at an amazing price, there’s so much to love about these pants. The combination of their relaxed silhouette and high-rise waist makes them comfortable and supportive without feeling slouchy.
Price at time of publish: $40
Size Range: 000-20 | Rise: High | Materials: Cotton, modal, recycled polyester, recycled cotton, elastane
RE/DONE High Rise Loose Jeans
What we love: They’re very flattering on people with long legs.
What we don’t love: They have no stretch to them.
When I asked senior editor Chloe Anello what her favorite brand of jeans was, she immediately answered: RE/DONE. “They just fit so well. I have really wide hips and long legs, so it’s really hard to find pants,” she claims. So while they come in at a slightly higher price point, the flattering fit makes it worthwhile, especially when finding jeans that fit can be a bit of a feat. These 90s inspired jeans resemble the kind of jeans your mom used to wear with its relaxed fit that goes to the floor and faded wash. Because they’re made from rigid denim — meaning the material is nothing but cotton — they don’t stretch. Because they’re not skinny jeans, we don’t see that as being much of an issue, but if you were hoping for a bit of a stretch, you won’t find it here.
Price at time of publish: $275
Size range: 23-32 | Rise: High | Material: Cotton
Best Skinny Jeans
GOOD AMERICAN Good Legs Deep-V High Waist Ankle Skinny Jeans
What We Love: These skinny jeans sculpt your body with tummy control and a no gap waistband.
What We Don’t Love: They run small.
Chrissy Teigen, Ashley Graham, and Kelly Rowland are all obsessed with Good American jeans, and for good reason. Designed by Khloe Kardashian, the jeans are made to enhance all body types and sizes. The Good Legs style is a skinny sculpting jean with extra stretch and a flat tummy tech. No matter if you’re curvy up top and slim on the bottom or vice versa, you won’t experience any gapping in the waistband. They are slim-fitting all the way to the ankle, and women say they look just as great on petite shapes as they do on curvy, plus the style comes in a short and long inseam in addition to regular.
Price at time of publish: $119
Size Range: 00-24 | Rise: High | Materials: Cotton, polyester, elastane
Best High Waisted Jeans
Joe’s Jeans The Raine
What we love: It sits extra high around your belly button.
What we don’t love: It runs a little small.
Even as a Jennifer Garner and Jennifer Anniston favorite, Joe’s Jeans might be lesser known to the masses, but the ultimate if-you-know-you-know brand amongst celebrities. With so many styles to choose from, including classic cuts to fun boot cuts, we had a difficult time picking just one — but we kept coming back to this straight ankle jean. These are extra high-waisted, ending just above your belly button. The cotton denim has a little bit of spandex blended in, which gives it a comfortable stretch. It only comes in one color: a really dark gray with a subtle stone wash, which gives it a little more versatility when styled with the rest of your closet. One reviewer left a comment that it runs a bit small, so make sure to check the provided size guide before committing to your purchase.
Price at time of publish: $198
Size range: 23-34 | Rise: High | Material: Cotton, spandex
Best Midrise Jeans
Rouje Germain Jeans
What we love: It hugs your tush and belly in a flattering way.
What we don’t love: Finding the right size or length might be awkward for petite women.
Rouje set out to create the kind of jeans you find at a vintage store, only with a slightly better wash and fit. The Germain pants curve around your tush to give it a little lift and come up to a mid-high rise, hugging your belly and ending just below your belly button. At a size 26, the straight cut pants are 41 inches long, falling just around your ankles (that is, if you are five foot nine like the pictured model). But for every waist size up, Rouje adds one centimeter in length, catering to those with long legs. However, for those who don’t need that extra length, you might need to take it to a tailor. If you’re not in love, though, Rouje offers a 15 day return policy.
Price at time of publish: $180
Size range: 24-34 | Rise: Mid-high | Material: Cotton
Best Low-rise Jeans
Ksubi Low Rider Muse Jeans
What we love: The baggy pants embody the revived Y2K style.
What we don’t love: The pants are very long.
After trying Ksubi’s detached jeans (and getting a lot of questions about them), I wanted to highlight one of their wide leg pants for their comfortable and flattering fit. Low rise pants have officially entered mainstream fashion again, and these baggy pants embody the revived Y2K style effortlessly. The light wash indigo jeans are made from premium rigid denim, so expect these to be quite sturdy and well structured. Ksubi always places their signature branded “flag” on the back pocket of their jeans — I removed it from my pair — makes for a recognizable and unique statement if kept on. Just note that the model pictured is six foot two, and the pants nearly reach the floor even with heels on. It’s likely these will bunch up at the bottom or you’ll need to get them hemmed.
Price at time of publish: $220
Size range: 23-32 | Rise: Low | Material: Cotton
Best Cropped Jeans
Frame Le Garcon Crop Manserra Jeans
What we love: You can return gently used Frame clothes for store credit.
What we don’t love: After a few wears, they stretch out.
These skinny jeans finish in a straight cut, well above your ankle, giving you the opportunity to pair them with boots (from ankle to knee-high) or use them as a pair of summer jeans. While the low rise cut and tight construction might look constricting, the extra comfort stretch denim used here actually makes these very flexible. As a matter of fact, one commenter pointed out that they stretched so much after a few wears that they actually turned into a larger size. Because of this, we think it might be worth sizing down, giving you more opportunity to break in the material without overstretching them. But whenever you feel like you’ve outworn certain styles, Frame’s partnership with ThredUp allows you to return your gently worn jeans in exchange for store credit. It’s a sustainable way to give your clothes a second life, and your wallet a little treat.
Price at time of publish: $248
Size range: 23-34 | Rise: Low | Material: Organic cotton, elastane
Best Mom Jeans
Agolde Cherie High Rise Straight Jeans
What we love: Agolde centers their business around sustainable practices.
What we don’t love: The raw hem might increase as time goes on.
Agolde solely offers jeans on their site, so you can expect their hyperfocus on denim has led them to perfect the craft to a T. The brand also prides themselves in running a sustainable business, where excess waste is minimized, recycled materials are utilized, and environmental consciousness is exercised.They created these light wash jeans, made of 100 percent cotton from regenerative farms — a type of farming where a healthy relationship between soil, cotton, and atmosphere is prioritized. They come with a distressed hem, high rise waist, and a loose cut. “Despite the casual look of the Agolde mom jeans, they can be dressed up by pairing them with statement pieces like silver metallic heels,” says stylist Michaela Leitz. We particularly love the frayed hem, but like all loose hems, you risk it growing as time goes on. Just be careful when you wash them and it won’t expand too much.
Price at time of publish: $178
Size range: 23-34 | Rise: High | Material: Cotton
Best Distressed Jeans
Abercrombie Curve Love High Rise Mom Jean
What we love: You can choose between five different lengths.
What we don’t love: Each color has a slightly different style and distress to it.
These curve hugging jeans come with an extra two inches around the hip and thigh compared to their classic denim, so women won’t have to size up or deal with the awkward gapping around the waist. These jeans hug the rest of your legs in a gentle embrace, without being too constricting, and end in a straight opening. The casual look is brought to life with the subtle distressing on the left leg, although this detail changes with the three other colors — two of which don’t have any distressing to them at all. Otherwise, we’re impressed with Abercombie’s promise to become more inclusive, with a wide size range and five different length options. That, combined with its affordability, makes this piece stand out from the rest.
Price at time of publish: $100
Size range: 23-37, | Rise: High | Material: Cotton, elastane
Best Straight Leg Jeans
Rails Topanga Straight Jeans
What we love: The added lyocell makes them extra comfortable and soft.
What we don’t love: The blue versions come with distressed detailings.
As a big fan of Rails denim jackets, I’ve always been impressed with how comfortable, well constructed, and stretchy the brand’s denim is. Blended with 33 percent lyocell, the fabric feels more breathable and soft than rigid denim, but it keeps its shape more than jeans mixed with high amounts of elastane (this only has one percent elastane). The topanga jeans come straight down and dangle open around your ankles, which feels comfortable and relaxed, but the sleek design keeps it looking polished. Although you’ll notice that while the tarmac, ecru, and graphite colors come in the same clean-cut style, the two blue versions have distressed detailings around the knees.
Price at time of publish: $198
Size range: 23-32 | Rise: High | Material: Cotton, lyocell, elastane
Best Wide Leg Jeans
Rag & Bone Sofie Splice High-Rise Jeans
What we love: The diagonal seams make for an eye-catching detail.
What we don’t love: The extra long pants might cause the hem to get dirty quickly.
These (extra) wide leg jeans from Rag & Bone, a brand loved by celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Katie Holmes, instantly caught our attention — aside from the obviously large flare and loose fit, the diagonal seams coming in across the pants give it an added visual distinguisher that’s missing in a lot of the other options. Made in a lightweight rigid material, these will drape loosely and effortlessly around you with every stride. Just be aware that the long inseam might drag on the floor a little, causing it to get dirty quickly (or be the cause of a few stumbles).
Price at time of publish: $325
Size range: 23-32 | Rise: High | Material: Cotton
Best Flare Jeans
Boyish The Ricky Blue Steel Flare Jeans
What we love: They’re made of OCS Certified organic cotton and tencel lyocell, making them one of the more sustainable options in the bunch.
What we don’t love: The button fly is a bit trickier than a zipper.
At a first glance, your eyes immediately dart over to the five charming buttons on the fly, which, while sometimes more annoying to fasten than a zipper — and time consuming — adds an additional retro detail that complements the flare. Made of OCS certified organic cotton and tencel lyocell, a natural raw material coming from eucalyptus trees, the jeans are not only environmentally friendly, but sturdy and comfortable as well, making the experience of wearing them feel good in more than one way.
Price at time of publish: $178
Size range: 22-32 | Rise: High | Material: Organic cotton, tencel lyocell
Best Plus Size Jeans
Universal Standard Seine Mid Rise Skinny Jeans
What We Love: These stretchy skinnies range from sizes 00 to 40.
What We Don’t Love: They run large.
Unfortunately a rarity in the mainstream denim world, Universal Standard offers jeans up to size 40 in both regular and tall lengths. The Seine mid-Rise Skinny Jeans are one of the most-reviewed pairs on the site, and numerous shoppers say they’re obsessed. The fabric is made to be super stretchy and the elegant fit and washes go with just about every outfit.
Price at time of publish: $98
Size Range: 00-40 | Rise: Mid | Materials: Cotton, polyester, elastane
Gap High Rise Vintage Slim Jeans with Washwell
What We Love: These jeans come in tall inseams and have stomach slimming pockets.
What We Don’t Love: They run small.
The opposite problem goes for tall gals. Yes, cropped jeans are super chic, but they may not be the everyday look you’re going for. Most of Gap’s denim options are available in long sizes and the brand has even extended its offerings with tall sizes. With the High Rise Vintage Slim Jeans, the style’s body-contouring design molds to your shape for a personalized-feeling fit. For added support, its high-rise waistband and strategically placed front pockets work together to hold you in and smooth.
Price at time of publish : $70
Size Range: 24-35 | Rise: High | Materials: Cotton, recycled cotton, recycled polyester, elastane
Banana Republic High Rise Slim Raw Hem Jeans
What we love: The raw hem adds a fun, modern detail to a classic pair of jeans.
What we don’t love: It only comes in one light wash color.
Banana Republic offers a lot of their styles in different lengths — from regular to tall to petite, and even recommends the best option for you with their “what’s my size” feature. Just drop in your measurements and they will find the perfect fit for you. This vintage stretch denim gives you enough wiggle room to comfortably move, but they still hug your body in a skinny jean fashion. We appreciate the raw hem, too, which crops just above the ankle, and allows a few loose threads to delicately dangle around your ankle. Though it only comes in one wash, the classic style will easily pair with anything in your closet, and can become your favorite everyday jeans.
Price at time of publish: $90
Size range: 24-31 | Rise: High | Material: Cotton, modal, recycled cotton, elastane
Best Maternity Jeans
Madewell Side Panel Perfect Vintage Jeans
What we love: The side panels provide ample stretch and comfort.
What we don’t love: These pants might not be best for women in their third trimester.
Known for its waist-accentuating, tapered leg perfect vintage jeans offered in various colors and washes, Madewell consistently comes recommended by fashion experts, like plus-size fashion influencer Rosey Blair, and InStyle editors alike. But we dug around and found that this comfortable style is offered in maternity as well, with stretchy side panels and a front cut low to dip under and support a growing belly. Reviewers agree that these come with a generous stretch and more importantly, comfort. Although once you enter your third trimester, the low cut front might begin to slide down or sit awkwardly around your waist.
Price at time of publish: $138
Size range: 23-33 | Rise: Low | Material: Cotton, elastane
Outland Denim Abigail New Blue Jeans
What we love: From the materials, machines, and people involved, Outland operates in an ethical business model.
What we don’t love: Those with wider hips might find these a bit constricting.
Before we get into the ins and outs of what makes these jeans particularly stellar, we wanted to highlight Outland’s commitment to sustainability and ethical treatment of our planet. From the materials they use (premium organic cotton with zero chemicals) to the machines that produce the garments (they require reduced water and emit a smaller carbon footprint), Outland strives to put Earth first with every pair of jeans they make. They also give work to women who need it most, like victims of human trafficking, and help them get back on their feet again.
Now onto the actual pants, these jeans come in a relaxed fit around the legs but a supportive top half. The new blue color is made of comfortable stretch denim, but the aged black and bloom version have a more stiff feel to them. Across all colors, however, the reviews collectively agree that the Abigail jeans are soft and perfect in color, length, and fabric.
Price at time of publish: $200
Size range: 24-34 | Rise: High | Material: Premium organic cotton, spandex
What to Keep in Mind
Both ends of the jean rise spectrum have their shares of pros and cons. High-rise jeans are beloved for their ability to highlight the smallest part of your waist as well as create the illusion of long legs. They go great with crop tops and can even convert a bralette into a blouse. However, they can be tricky to style with longer tops and sweaters, especially if you can’t easily tuck the top into the jeans. And some folks just aren’t a fan of the look and feel of a pant that goes above their belly buttons.
Low-rise jeans are slowly making a comeback after what feels like a decade of being canceled, and celebrities are here for it. “I love a low-rise moment, and everyone is going to realize that low-rise jeans are superior in the near future,” Rae once told InStyle. Rae recommends pairing a tank top with a low rise pair to show a some skin while Karla Welch, celebrity stylist and co-founder of the styling app Wishi, suggests pairing them with sneakers. As for the low-rise jeans themselves, Welch says “the baggier, the better.”
If you can’t decide between the two extremes, a mid-rise jean is a good compromise. You won’t feel like you are drowning in a high-rise or baring it all in a low- rise. Plus, a mid-rise goes with just about any top.
It’s smart to have jeans in different washes to go with different occasions and seasons. Dark wash jeans tend to look more sophisticated, so they can be easily dressed up for the office or for a date night. They also tend to be more slimming, so it’s no surprise that black jeans are models’ go-to for their off-duty uniform.
If you like to wear jeans in warmer weather, having a few light wash pairs is a must. They give off a casual, laid back vibe that’s perfect for vacations and weekend plans. White jeans are the quintessential summer denim, but there are plenty of ways to style them all year long. And like the mid rise, a medium wash jean is the perfect in between shade that can be worn regardless of season and occasion.
Not all denim is created equal, and when it comes to its make up, there seems to be two camps — those who want some stretch and those who want no stretch at all. If you prefer the look and feel of rigid denim, go for styles made from 100 percent cotton. Overtime, these jeans will stretch out to your body, achieving that customized fit you often find in thrifted jeans worn by previous owners.
If the thought of breaking in your jeans does not sound fun, go for blends that have a little bit of spandex or elastane. They will be comfy on the spot, and offer stretch and recovery throughout the day. Paige Adams-Geller, co-founder and creative director of Paige Denim, once told InStyle that jeans made from mixed materials are better at holding you in and retaining their shape.
Your Questions, Answered
How do I find the right fit while shopping online?
Finding jeans that fit right is hard enough in person — shopping online is a whole different feat. To make it easier, Welch says it’s important to look at the inseam, rise, and model’s measurements. The inseam tells you the length of the jeans from the base of the zipper to the leg opening. The rise is the distance from the waist band to the crotch seam. In other words, the inseam tells you where the jeans will hit your legs while the rise tells you how high they will go up your torso.
To conceptualize these numbers, many sites list the height of the model and the size they are wearing. Based on how the pants fall on the model, you can decide what size to choose and if you should consider a short or long version.
How do I take care of jeans to make them last?
Once you find the perfect pair of jeans, you want them to last forever, right? The secret to extending their life is not to wash them too often. In fact, Levi’s recommends that you only wash denim every 10 wears at most.
When you do wash your jeans, follow these rules: “Wash jeans inside out, then hang them up to dry,” says Adams-Geller. “If you don’t like the crispy texture that results from air-drying, throw them in the dryer for 10 minutes on the tumble setting. It’s not hot, so it won’t blow out the Lycra and cause stretching.” To prevent the color from fading, especially black jeans, always use cold water and the gentle cycle.
How do I dress jeans up or down?
These days, jeans are as acceptable in the boardroom as on the beach. For more casual outfits, Welch suggests going with distressed styles and pairing them with sneakers. To dress up a pair, switch to heels or sandals and add a belt.
The top you wear immediately changes the formality of an outfit. Nothing says casual more than a simple tee paired with jeans. For a night out, consider tucking in a bodysuit or corset with some jeans. Throwing on a blazer or leather jacket can instantly elevate the look too.
How much should I expect to pay for a pair of jeans?
While they can range from less than $20 to well over $200, the price of a pair of jeans doesn’t always reflect the quality of the denim. Our best overall pick, The Levi’s 724 High Rise Slim Straight style, rings up at under $60 but can last for decades, while cheaper jeans from fast-fashion brands may not stand up to years of wear. Learn to look for the hallmarks like high-quality denim (and a minimal amount of synthetic material), reinforced pockets, and durable hardware. If you care about sustainable production processes, check to see if the brand provides information on how they source and treat their denim.
Why Shop with Us
Emily Cieslak and Bianca Kratky are commerce writers for InStyle, with a combined four years of experience covering fashion and beauty. In order to write this article, they tapped into the team at InStyle for their favorites, reached out to stylists and influencers Michaela Leitz, Rosey Blair, and Karla Welch, and included some of their own personal favorites in order to curate a list of best jeans that come from experience, rather than mere research.