The Denim Edit

Two of the jeans styles I'm wearing now: slim boyfriend and cropped. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

It’s no secret that I’m a Denim Devotee, and I think our options have never been better. We’ve moved past the days when one or two silhouettes dominated the marketplace. (I remember the frustration of flipping through rack after rack of low-rise skinnies, searching in vain for alternatives.) And as with the rest of the fashion universe, trends are no longer as hard-and-fast, or short-lived. So if there’s a style, wash or silhouette that works for you, chances are it still has plenty of shelf life.

Shown above: FRAME | J Brand

What I Want To Wear Now

Here are a few of the denim styles that I find most versatile, comfortable and easy to wear. These silhouettes feel modern and current without being too “of the moment.” Most are available in a variety of colors, washes and finishes (from clean to distressed), so there’s something for every denim preference.

The Slim Leg

AG Prima cigarette leg jeans. See all the jeans styles I'm wearing now at une femme d'un certain age.

 

Also sometimes referred to as “cigarette leg,” these jeans aren’t quite as contour-hugging as a true skinny, but fill the same role in my wardrobe. The nice thing about this silhouette is that they can be worn with a variety of footwear, and cuffed or not as you like. My preferred hem length is just at the ankle bone or slightly above, but with this style there’s no “wrong” length.

The Edit:

ag jeans | nydj | j.crew | gap | rag & bone |  j brand | citizens of humanity

plus: lucky brand | nydj | wit & wisdom | style & co | eileen fisher

Wear With: an oversized cardigan now, and an Easy White Shirt later.

The Slim Boyfriend

Slim boyfriend jeans from FRAME. See all of the jeans styles I want to wear now at une femme d'un certain age.

Sometimes referred to as “girlfriend jeans.” With a more relaxed fit, a straighter leg, and often less stretch in the fabric than cigarette leg jeans, this style is a more Old School blue jeans option. I’ve found that the cuts on slim boyfriend jeans can vary wildly, so try on several brands until you find one you like. Also try styles labeled as “straight leg” which are often indiscernible from boyfriend jeans. I love the look of a cuffed pair with a low-heeled pump, but if your style runs more toward “gentlewoman,” they also look great with a pair of brogues.

The Edit:

madewell | gapframe | kut from the kloth | joe’s jeans | ag jeans | nydj | paige

plus: nydj | lucky brand | kut from the kloth | nydj

Wear with: a turtleneck sweater now, and a striped tee and espadrille wedges later.

Cropped

cropped demi-boot jeans from Madewell. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I may be in the minority here, but I really like a cropped straight or “demi-boot” jean. They don’t fight with ankle boots, and in warmer weather look great with sandals or espadrilles. I like to wear with a long outer layer to create an overall lengthening effect, but they really can work with just about any top. For my proportions, the slimmer cuts work best.

The Edit:

good americanag jeans | j brand | madewell | ag jeans

plus: nydj | good american | kut from the kloth

Wear with: a velvet duster and embellished ankle boots now, a kimono and metallic sandals later.

I haven’t completely retired my skinnies or bootcuts. The skinnies are great for wearing with knee boots. And the bootcuts…every now and again I enjoy wearing them for variety.

What denim styles are you wearing most often?

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24 Comments

  1. Carol
    January 22, 2018 / 4:17 am

    My favorite jeans come from Macy’s and can be ordered online if there’s not a store in your area. They are Style & Co Tummy-Control Slim-Leg Jeans and come in misses sizes with short, regular and long inseams and petite misses sizes with short and regular inseams.

    • Kathy
      January 22, 2018 / 5:34 am

      Thanks. I will look into them

    • Kayla
      January 22, 2018 / 7:53 am

      I love Style & Co!

    • Jane2
      January 22, 2018 / 9:32 am

      Good to know! The best jeans I have bought were Style & Co and I can never find them in my area or online.

  2. January 22, 2018 / 4:21 am

    These are very cute. I’m wearing some “cigarette” jeans right now. You need very good, long legs to pull off “skinny.”
    My daughter is crazy about high-waisted jeans. 1990s all over again.

  3. Marty
    January 22, 2018 / 5:17 am

    Be glad you look cute in the “at the ankle bone or slightly above” length. It doesn’t work on all body types…

  4. Janet
    January 22, 2018 / 5:19 am

    Your detailed descriptions are helpful considering all rhe choices out there. Skinny and straight are what I’m wearing the most but bootcut too as I have always loved the wsy they look on me. It depends on my mood and outfit.

  5. January 22, 2018 / 7:03 am

    I agrew with Marty on ankle bone length. At 5’4″, or a little less based on last dr visit, and not being blessed with slender ankles, I tend to avoid that cut. And the current frayed hem look simply feels too young on me. But I do like the slim leg a lot. And God bless spandex!

  6. January 22, 2018 / 7:23 am

    While all these are great on slim women, id like to see jeams with less cling in the thighs. Not everyone has slim thighs.

  7. Carolyn from Oregon
    January 22, 2018 / 7:53 am

    I need a VERY high front rise which eliminates most jeans. I have an “O” body type and have long, lean thighs so I have to make sure the leg cut is pretty straight or I have jodhpur thighs flapping in the wind.

    Lately I have mostly switched from NYDJ to Jen7, made by 7 for Mankind. I think their style is a little better and I love their fabrics. I also like Miraclebody jeans when I can find them. I wear some crops in summer, otherwise cigarette cut, straight or a very narrow bootcut.

    PS – Any tips for keeping leggings in your boots?

    • Angela
      January 22, 2018 / 12:18 pm

      The rise is an issue for me too as I’ve never had a waist and have been styled as a moderated ‘H’ shape so usually require a belt to stop the constant hitching up!

    • Téa
      January 26, 2018 / 4:37 pm

      hope this isn’t too dumb a tip…sew a piece of black 3/4″ elastic at the cuff of your leggings at both side seams and make a “stirrup” pant? I also have used a “mitten clip” type thing last century for this very purpose…it clipped on the seam section of the cuff of my pants, and then the elastic fit under my foot…Am I dating myself? This was in the ’80’s – I think before Lycra was even invented???

  8. Jeanne II
    January 22, 2018 / 9:08 am

    I find that a fairly high-waisted, slim, straight leg jean works best for me. I need to wear knee high compression socks regularly, so ankle pant or sockless shoe looks are not (unfortunately) options for me. Straight leg denim with oxfords, sneakers, or the occasional loafer works well.

  9. Nicole K
    January 22, 2018 / 9:33 am

    Well done Susan! I was just thinking of buying some new denim (in Northern California, so versatility is much the same up here), and this guide is perfect. You and I share similar body types and I too find ankle length the best for most outfits. Thanks!

  10. Emily Bryson
    January 22, 2018 / 10:03 am

    I found your blog several months ago and I do not know what I did withou it!!! I have a closet full of clothes I love and have no idea how to put things together….Now I do. You have given me so many ideas on colors and textures and how they work together. Thanks. I do love jeans, but unlike you, my ankles do not pass the attractive test, so I opened for legs that are slightly longer. Loved today’s info and the plaid jacket is divine.

    Emily

  11. Caroline
    January 22, 2018 / 4:56 pm

    Norm Thompson jeans work well for me because they have a very narrow flat waistband. No bulges under tops.

  12. January 22, 2018 / 4:57 pm

    Very nice tips!
    I’m crazy about cropped jeans. Cigarette jeans are also my type 😀

    Xoxo
    Carla

  13. January 22, 2018 / 5:35 pm

    skinny, a joke as I’m a bit plump and was heavier post-menopause. Skinny meaning narrow in the ankles, not jeans worn too small. I cycle everywhere when we don’t have significant snow on the ground and wider ankled jeans are terrible for that. Dark wash, black or deep colours. Bought some jeans I like in a very dark wine colour, almost black. And they are petites, of course

  14. January 22, 2018 / 8:49 pm

    Great post! I am a jeans woman too and I like a clean looking jean, no faded spots, faux dirt, bling or other embellishments. I wear a slim baby boot cut, mostly because I have two pairs which fit well so I still wear them though I am getting a bit tired of them. I also wear men’s Levi’s 519 in a medium-dark wash. I need a tall jean and I don’t like more than 2% spandex. Living in a small town my options are limited and being Canadian my online shopping options are also limited.

    • candy
      January 23, 2018 / 7:41 pm

      Hi — I’ve extended the fashion life of some of my bootcut jeans by having them altered to a straighter, slimmer leg at the bottom. It also allows me to turn up the cuff if I want a slightly shorter look.

      • Téa
        January 26, 2018 / 4:30 pm

        What a smart idea!

  15. January 22, 2018 / 9:44 pm

    I am a denim girl too. Very much so. The only ones I really don’t like are cropped wide ones. But I might have to eat my words as I just bought some in cotton for summer. Moment of insanity.
    Greetje

  16. Lisa
    January 23, 2018 / 5:37 am

    I love Talbots curvy fit jeans. They’re cut bigger through the thigh and have enough stretch to be comfortable without looking like “mom” jeans. I’ve had a few women stop and tell me how much they like them and most are younger than me, but now a days I feel like everyone is younger than me! LOL Anyway, back to the jeans, I’ve purchased these jeans in straight leg, slim fit and boyfriend and find the sizing isn’t all that different. I wear an 8 Petite no matter the style. I find size/brand consistency very helpful when shopping.

  17. Téa
    January 26, 2018 / 4:26 pm

    I am going to check out all these recommendations. I think there’s a pair of jeans for everyone…my #1 criteria is c.o.m.f.o.r.t., and with the addition of lycra, there are so many choices at so many price points! I love them all! On the bargain price, I love Old Navy “Rockstart” skinny jeans…they have them in every color and wash and are usually on sale. A good tailor can hem your jeans with the original hem – can’t think of the word – if you don’t have a great tailor who can do this, take them to the nearest Nordstrom… their tailors are THE BEST!

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