If You Only Buy One Pair Of Jeans 👖 This Season…

J Brand Ruby High-rise slim straight-leg jeans in dark and medium washes. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

It’s no secret that we Californians love our denim. We’ll dress it up, dress it down, wear it just about anywhere except yoga class. While skinny and wide cropped styles are still popular, I’m happy that straight-leg jeans seem to be more widely available this season. They’re one of my wardrobe basics: comfortable, easy to style, and can work with a variety of footwear. And there’s a timelessness to this cut that transcends trends.

Above: One Style, Two Washes

Straight Talk

As with most denim categories, “straight-leg” can be open to interpretation. Straight-leg jeans can be found in a variety of rises, cuts (slim to full), and washes (dark to faded). Personally, I find a slim-ish cut in a medium to dark wash to be the most versatile. YMMV depending on your shape and style preferences. Just-above-to-just-below-the-ankle length will accommodate most shoes or boots, and can be cuffed if needed.

Eileen Fisher high rise straight leg jeans in dark wash denim. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I recently tried these on in washed black, and the fit was perfect. So I have this style on order in the dark wash denim shown above. (Misses / Petites / Plus) In addition to a good fit, I’ve found Eileen Fisher denim to be of excellent quality, and I like the company’s commitment to sustainable and ethical production.

Eileen Fisher boyfriend jeans in aged indigo. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I’ve had these for years, and they’re the pair I reach for most often for casual days. Plus here. While they’re listed as a “boyfriend” jean, the slim, straight cut and lack of obvious distressing work for me. They’ve softened up nicely with age, too.

Everlane 90's Cheeky Straight Jean in medium wash. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This one is more budget-friendly, and available in 7 different washes/colors. The rise was too high for me (I’m 5’1″) but otherwise really liked these. These are offered in sizes 23 to 33/(14), and two lengths, regular and ankle.

NYDJ Marilyn straight leg jeans in dark wash. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This longer cut in a dark wash will dress up nicely. Plus / Petite.

J.Crew straight leg jeans in charcoal wash. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

A dark grey or charcoal wash is another versatile option, and can be a nice change-up from blue denim. These are available up to size 37.

AG Isabelle straight leg cropped jeans. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

These have an interesting yoke detail, and no back pockets. Currently 25% off too.

Gap classic mid-rise straight leg jeans. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

If you prefer straight-leg jeans with a mid-rise, here’s a budget-friendly, classic style in a classic wash. Offered in Short, Regular and Long lengths, up to size 35.

What denim style do you wear most often?

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  1. I agree that darker washes are a bit more dressy, and lighter wash more casual. I am short, and the ankle length has worked out very well for me in the warmer weather, but I’ll be looking to see what others are wearing with boots and such. Of course, it’s still very warm here in Florida.
    I like the slimmer look, but found that the “skinny jeans” of last summer just feel too much like leggings as I look at what is being worn here. But the straight leg jeans are often a bit baggy, at least to me. Leggings are great, but it feels like they are going out of style. Am I right?

    1. I live in a completely different climate but I agree with you about the “jegging” look. True leggings on the other hand ( I mean the really thick no see through style) are an integral part of my winter wardrobe fashioned with tunic sweaters and boots but never,never worn as a stand in for trousers ie Worn with short jackets/tops:0
      There are many women who have never been into jeans and I am one of them but I like a comfortable alternative for casual dressing and my heavy black leggings fit the bill, they also tuck into winter boots better then jeans. My favourites are Nygard Slims, good leggings are not inexpensive but wash and fit well and keep their edgy darkness without fading.

      1. Yes, I wear leggings with dresses or skirts, not as an alternative to jeans or trousers. Perhaps I’m old-fashioned but I find them vulgar, unless one is lithe and not at all curvy. Even at my slimmest I had a well-defined bust-waist-hips ratio like postwar Italian actresses. Black suits me, so my favourite jeans are black and a so-called skinny cut, but I buy them a bit large. I’m about the same height as Susan, but with a relatively long torso and short legs. My others are dark indigo wash, forest green and a deep violet red. Never light wash; looks too casual here.

    2. Eva, I understand your question and often wonder if something is still in style. However, shouldn’t we find our own style and stick with it? We’re encouraged to be ourselves one moment and are bombarded with tiny threats that certain styles are becoming passé the next. The notion of “in or out” is an effective marketing ploy to keep us buying new clothing, but I think we also need to follow our own instincts. I replenish and refresh regularly, but I refuse to wear something that will look ridiculous on me, just to look current. Trust yourself!

  2. I read that if your don’t have skinny legs don’t buy skinny jeans so I gave up trying them on long ago. Straight legged jeans seem to work better on most people and you don’t look poured into them. I agree that “skinny” are too too much like leggings and that says “casual”. I was lucky enough to find several pairs of high rise jeans while in England this summer and the fit is perfect everywhere (I’m 5’5″). Many people in England had their jeans cuffed so they went above the ankle. Since it was summer they had on dressier lace-up shoes (tennis shoes with platforms or not) along with anklets.

  3. Susan, would you please recheck the links; some of them are not working properly. For instance, the budget friendly 7 wash link shows the NM petite jeans.
    I prefer a straight leg jean and am ordering the ones in charcoal wash. Thanks!

  4. I never wore skinny jeans or jeggings, and I dislike ankle-lengths jeans, they really look bad when you’re sitting down and the bottom of the jeans rises above your boots. Then, when you stand up, the leg bottoms hit the top of your boots and catch there! So, I look for longer mid-rise jeans in a dark wash or charcoal wash, straight leg or bootcut. I don’t worry about being “on-trend”, that is for teenagers.

  5. Almost all my jeans are LL Bean straight-leg 1912’s. Their Favorite Fit is made for someone like me with no discernible waist. And they are 99% cotton — hard to find these days. (I worry constantly that Bean will discontinue them — it wouldn’t be the first time that they have axed one of my favorites.)

  6. I feel I need to go on record as saying I’m officially over the distressing trend (that I never purposefully bought). I refused to buy tattered worn out pre-spot faded and whispered looking jeans. When that happened when I was growing up, we turned them into summer “cut offs” or my mom patched them! Call me old but it’s just officially not “my jam.” I wear mid rise jeans both with fly zipper and pull on for no button lumps. Jag jeans has the perfect pull on for me in every color I’ve ever wanted. Going jean shopping is a multi store all day athletic event for me! I’m 5’4” slim hourglass and couldn’t tell you sizing etc….ergo the all day event! Love this blog!

  7. When will this cropped craze be over? Skinny or full cut, trousers above the ankle look like a mistake…”floods”, if anyone remembers that term for pants that are unintentionally TOO SHORT. Not flattering either, cut the body length and even well proportioned people look stumpy and wide.
    That rant over, I have a terrible time finding jeans. I do like the dark washed option above, but what are they? I don’t see a manufacturer’s name. Also the waist looks very tiny. I am 5’8″, slim legs, flat behind, but a wide-ish waist. If the legs fit well, I can’t zip them. If I can zip them, the legs and butt drag and bag. If I do find a pair that fits, they are either too short in length and rise or ridiculously long, dragging on the ground long. I’m not THAT tall! Who are the fitting models for these items? Presently I do not have a single pair of jeans in my closet. I’ve tried every brand I see. Any brand suggestions out there?

    1. Hi Claudia, I’ve linked directly to all of the styles shown. If you click on the text that’s highlighted in red, it will take you to the website for each item.

  8. I only buy NYDJ. They have many styles and lengths. I prefer long jeans, and in black as they look dressier. I usually buy boot cut jeans, but also have some straight leg, but longer jeans. I think the boot cut balances my body as I am not flat chested, and, when traveling, I use a leg wallet for my protected financials when I travel solo internationally so the boot leg cut works very well for that also. As when I buy all clothes, I always ask myself how it will travel. This is always a consideration. I don’t buy it if it won’t travel well. I do not buy “travel” clothes. NYDJ wash well, especially when traveling as they dry more quickly than a pure denim jean. They last forever, it seems. Made in the USA of foreign made fabric.

  9. Glad that at least some of these options are full length styles. I’m 5’7”, and don’t care for ankle length jeans/pants, since they usually look much too short on me. I have, on occasion, ordered ankle length pants in a Tall length, which makes them about right for me! Ideally I’d wear high-rise jeans, with a slim straight leg, with at least a 30” inseam. Hard to find that combination!

    1. Talbots has several options in a high-rise, slim straight leg jean in a full length for taller women. I have pairs in twill, denim and corduroy. Maria Allen

  10. I love jeans. But there are so many styles and brands now it is quite confusing. Gone are the days where I have one favorite brand. I appreciate Lyn’s comment about jeans that fit when you have no discernable waist. That’s my problem. My weight is fine but I have never had a small waist even in my youth. So if jeans fit my waist they are often too loose in the hips and thighs. And mid rise surprisingly fit better then high rise. Any tips from readers with no discernable waist are very much appreciated!

    1. Hi Rondi, I don’t have much of a waist either, that’s why I was pleasantly surprised by the fit of those Eileen Fisher jeans (1st pair).

  11. I recently bought a pair of straight, high rise jeans in an above ankle length. I don’t like the ankle baring length because I like the comfort and warmth of socks! Notice the models above are wearing a variety of shoes but no socks! It was 53 degrees when I left for work and snow is in the forecast for the weekend! And no, the jeans didn’t work with my booties and I’m not buying new boots just to go with a pair of pants.

    1. I am with you on the no or no-show sock trend. It looks great when shot in a studio on a tall slender model, but in the real world (for those of us who don’t live in warm climes) it doesn’t seem very

  12. Thanks for this post, which is highly relevant to me at the moment. I’m in the market for slim/straight jeans, as ankle jeans don’t work for me in fall and winter. I “shopped my closet” this morning and discovered a pair I had forgotten about, but I could probably use another.

    Incidentally, thank you so much to the commenter who suggested the SkinniBelt for smoothing the waistline of jeans! This works beautifully without constricting or adding bulk. I sized up one size for extra comfort.

    1. Another excellent no-bulk belt is Unbelts, I have had great success wearing them with both jeans and dressier pants, they come in assorted colours too

  13. I buy only jeans that pull on…don’t like the bulk or feel of a zipper and button/snap at my middle. Like another reader, I buy JAG pull on jeans as my staples. I like some of the NYDJ pull on jeans, but I find their sizing inconsistent and they are sooo long on my 5’4″ frame. I, too, am moving from skinny jeans to straight leg jeans and occasionally boot cut.

  14. Straight leg or bootcut, dark wash or back. Last year I got a pair of Universal Standard skinny jeans in a 28 inseam, which is a good length for 5’4″ me. Stretchy but they hold their shape.

  15. I did a huge Une Femme overhaul, just in the past week. I just got the EF straight cropped jeans and they are so great looking and comfortable, I have worn them the past 4 days in a row. I also bought the Lo and Sons Pearl bag after you recommended it, and I love how it is keeping me organized beautifully. No more digging in my purse for keys. :). And I got Aquatalia boots, brand new on eBay, and I love them too. Plus, after reading about them here for years, I bought the EF Ponte pants, and they really are as comfortable as you’ve been saying all this time. Thank you for all the great suggestions. Your blog is terrific. I also have booked a color session with a House of Color rep in San Diego- the closest thing I can find to Red Leopard. I have learned a lot from you!