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.
That's where we come in. To save you countless hours, we spoke to celebrity stylists and researched the best jeans for women based on fabric quality, size range, style, and fit. Included are a variety of styles, ranging from skinny, cropped, straight, boyfriend, and beyond — so you can buy one, two, or three of your favorite styles.
Best overall jeans
Levi’s Wedgie Straight Jeans
The Wedgies win the title of “most recommended Levi’s” and, consequently, are the jeans we’ve (probably) written about most — seriously, I tried to tally up how many times they’ve appeared in our archives and lost count. Eagle-eyed Strategist readers will have noticed that these topped our list of the best high-waisted jeans — with Bird founder Jennifer Mankins explaining that they have a “natural rise that hits right at your belly button, so it’s high but not too high.” Hailey Rizzo, who runs the blog Feeling Good as Hail, praises their butt-lifting power, “whether you’re working with one or not.” Le Whit co-founder Liza Curtiss swears by them — as a “no-purse kinda person,” the pockets are deep enough to hold her essentials. With so many accolades, this one’s the most crowd-pleasing pick.
Best jeans for plus sizes
Petite-plus influencers Tinsaye Berhanu and Natalie Craig have both previously called out the Bombshell Skinny Jeans. Berhanu describes the high waist as “really comfortable without rolling down when you’re moving around.” The jeans are rated as a “maximum” on the company’s stretch scale. Craig points out that Torrid offers short and extra-short lengths for jeans — something many other plus-size brands don’t have. (You can also choose between tall and extra-tall options.) Torrids were popular in our guide to plus-size jeans, where they earned praise for how well they fit curves. Style influencer Nikki Apostolou appreciates the way they “hug my curves, cling where I need them to, and flatter my more apple-shape figure.”
Best jeans for petites
When we asked petite women about their favorite jeans, there wasn’t a consensus on a brand or a particular pair — more than a few referenced standard-size pants instead of petite-specific ones. But two people did refer us to Abercrombie, which has become a popular destination for #petitetok and among other stylish women we’ve talked to. These jeans were mentioned by both photographer Lizbeth Hernandez and content creator Amy Serrano. Hernandez calls them “perfect for my curvy body,” while Serrano says the pair “hugs every part of my butt perfectly.” But what made Abercrombie really earn this spot is its two types of petite sizes: “short” for those who are five feet to five-foot-three and “extra-short,” which is specifically designed for those under five feet (although this length is only available in sizes 25 to 30).
Best super-high-waisted jeans
Levi’s Ribcage Ankle Jeans
The Levi’s Ribcage (the Goldilocks of Jeans, as we like to call them) were a given to include in this guide. They count Strategist editor Maxine Builder and New York deputy editor Alexis Swerdloff as devotees. Builder calls them “deliriously high, easily clearing my belly button” without actually cutting into her ribcage, as their name suggests. “When these Ribcage jeans become the new Wedgies, don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Builder says, noting that they are even comfortable when she sits down. Swerdloff, for her part, calls them “stiff without being too constricting” and with washes that have a “worn-in without trying too hard” attitude. They also have the youth’s stamp-of-approval — when we polled teens about their favorite denim, then-18-year-old Claudia Perez told us they were her “soulmate jeans.”
Best slim-leg jeans
Wrangler Cowboy Cut Slim-Fit Jeans
Don’t let the “Cowboy Cut” name fool you — these Wranglers are nowhere near a full flare. Strategist senior editor Simone Kitchens did discover the pair in a cowboy store in Oklahoma City, but they look like “something fresh out of A.P.C.” and do “good things all around for my butt and waist.” The high-rise jeans fall into the middle ground between skinny and straight-leg. On the fit front, you can choose between 100 percent cotton without stretch (offered in the medium and bleach washes) or just a hint of spandex in the light wash. Kitchens went non-stretch, adding that after a few washes, the pair gets that “thrift-store-faded patina these jeans are known for. Or wash them a little less and prolong their A.P.C.-like stiffness.” If you need any more convincing, Kitchens’s ode to her Wranglers was so popular that four of her friends bought them right away.
Best super-skinny jeans
Levi’s 720 High-Rise Super-Skinny Jeans
The 720s from Levi’s are what the company describes as “modern jeggings” with a super-skinny shape. These were featured in our guide to the greatest high-waisted pairs, and I thought they deserved commendation here as well. Although they are cut very slim through the leg, writer Diana McCorry praises the 720s for their stretch (which comes from to a combination of cotton, polyester, and elastane), so you don’t have to suffer through compressed insides to wear them. And comfort-wise, McCorry finds that the denim has enough give at the waist “but not quite enough to necessitate a belt.”