This side of last year I was really fighting to let go of the skinny jean trend. I still think it is the best silhouette and most flattering for all in the denim world, but I also want to be open to new trends, too. Since skinny jeans have been up for debate for a while now, I’ve really tried to find wide leg jeans that work for me and my body type. I’ve found that two things matter the most: high rise waistline and the right length. I either need a pair that falls right at or barely above the ankle or some that skim the floor without heels. If I want to wear heels with a trouser like pair, they need to be long enough to elongate my legs without feeling ‘chopped’ by the heel. If I am going for a more casual look, I need the wide leg to be an intentionally shorter pair that hits right at the ankle, perfect for sneakers and sandals.

I’ve also noticed in this whole journey of finding myself in wide leg jeans, that many brands are abandoning high rise along with skinny jeans. I must have both — an elongated leg and a high rise waist. I am tall and my legs are long, but because I tend to carry weight around my middle, so I need to create a balance between my top and bottom since I can’t rely on the typical skinny jean silhouette. Many times on a body type like mine (apple), we end up looking rectangle instead of hourglass in a pair of wide leg jeans. I’d rather lean towards a curvier look than a straight rectangle. High rise waist helps with that and so does create a longer bottom half, if possible. Everyone’s jean strategy is going to be different, but I’ve found that when looking for wide leg jeans, or non-skinny jeans, those two are my best solution.

I am also kicking myself for not showing the jeans in different outfits. I decided to shoot  the same shoes / top so you could see a marked difference between each pair but in the end, I wish I would have styled them according to their vibes. Keep an eye out for this post, part 2.

Let’s get to my 4 recommendations!

Favorite Overall:
Madewell Perfect Vintage Wide Leg Jean

If I had to suggest one pair, it would be this pair. This pair is the best — dare I say it — everyday pair. They are comfortable, the perfect length for sneakers / boots / heels / sandals, and the mid-rinse goes with everything. They lean more casual, but for me that works well. This pair has stretch but comes across as 100% cotton which lends to a more vintage vibe. This is hands down my favorite pair to wear which I find myself wearing at least once a week. (I wear the 30 regular length.)

Under $150 at Madewell — find them here!

Best Crop Pair:
Paige Wide Leg Jean

This a a new to me pair but I absolutely love the fit. They are the teeniest bit cropped — right above the ankle but not so cropped they look like capris. I’ve heard rumors of capri’s coming back in style, so brace yourselves. We must be strong. I deemed this pair my non-crop crops because they’re actually not cropped but they act like it and feel very springy. This pair has the widest leg of all of them, so they’re really comfortable, especially with the stretch. I love them with heels the best, but they also work well with sandals and low profile sneakers.

Find this pair of Paige denim here!


Best High Rise Pair:
J.Crew Denim Trousers

J.Crew is taking up the last two spots repectfully because J.Crew does a wonderful denim trouser. I love this denim trouser from J.Crew and actually have it in a few rinses. I love this light blue chambray for spring! It will literally go with everything and brighten up all of my neutrals. I like this pair because a) they are very long and I can get away with a heel and b) the wide leg gives a more retro vibe. Not really a flare, but there is a bit of a retro / flare kick to the pant leg. I love the high rise element too, as it’s my favorite fit for denim. The wide cuff at the bottom only adds to the tailoredness of this pair. If you like a dressed up denim, this one is your gal.

I wear the 30, regular length.

Comes in a lot of rinse options, as well! Find them at J.Crew

Best for Work Pair:
J.Crew Dark Denim Trousers

Last and definitely not least, this pair is what I’d call an office jean. If you can get away with denim at your office, this pair is tailored like a trouser with sailor pockets up front and the darkest, shiniest denim you’ve ever seen. And yes, I said shiny on purpose. They’ve got this luxe sheen about them and the fabric is stiff but not hard to wear. I am in the 30, fit runs most snug at the waist.

I find these to be the most versatile for work — worn with blazers, button downs or just a pretty top and heels, they look and feel pulled together, buttoned up and classic.

Find them from J.Crew here!

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Fit Details

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12 Responses

  1. Great recommendations! I love a skinny jean still too and will die on the hill that they flatter most body types best, but I do like the lengthening effect of a wide leg. I just find them hard to wear as my main jean silhouette all the time, you know? They’re never easy to just throw on, you need to think about the shoe and the length/tightness of the top so you don’t look sloppy or boxy, blah blah blah. Skinny jeans are just throw on and go. Literally any top and shoe goes with them. Why did fashion decide to make a basic like jeans so tricky all of a sudden?

    On the other hand, my 5’3 self loves looking like a leggy Amazon in wide leg trouser denim! Those JCrew ones are perfect!

    1. Skinny jeans will always be 100% my favorite silhouette forever and ever. I wholly agree with you — they are the easiest to throw on and go! Like the styling is a no brainer and they go with literally ANY SHOE!! Like we are on the exact same page, same paragraph, same sentence. In our skinny jeans lol.

      1. Oh gosh, I’m over the moon that you replied! I’ve been following your blog since 2010 and you have been THE biggest influence on my personal style all these years! I swear not a week went by in 2011-2016 that I wasn’t wearing an outfit basically lifted off your home page lol! And we both had kids around the same time so I was influenced by your maternity styling too! I fell off prioritizing dressing well around when I had my second, but now they’re getting older and I feel more like myself again. So I’m back here checking on the daily for more great ideas from you! And your recent recommitment to finding your personal style at this stage of life vs chasing trends even when you don’t like them really gave me the courage to do the same. I just repurchased a pair of straight-leg skinny-ish jeans after wearing exclusively wide legs the last two years. It felt like coming home. 😭

  2. I have such a SIMILAR body shape and DIMENSIONS as you. Im STRUGGLING with ANYTHING but a skinny jean because none of them look good on my butt. I have diaper butt in all other styles. Ugh! I want to find SOMETHING to fit my small hiney. And DEFINITELY carry weight in my middle.

  3. This article is truly captivating. The author’s words flow effortlessly, painting a vivid picture that draws the reader in and leaves them wanting more. The topic is explored in depth, offering valuable insights and thought-provoking perspectives. Thank you for sharing such a beautifully written piece.

  4. Great job but how about women that can’t afford these jeans,? There must be reasonably priced wide leg JEANS for them too.

    1. For sure — Old Navy, AF, Target have a few pairs under $100 that I’d recommend. They’re all a bit different styles, too.
      Here is one from ON:

      There are lots of options out there — I just don’t have any from those particular retailers that I can personally show you right now! Also Madewell is having 25% off right now so that makes them a bit more affordable. I also watch J.Crew, Madewell, etc. for sales — they tend to turn inventory over quite quickly and you can catch deals most of the times!

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