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Best Wide-Leg Jeans for every mood, style and personality

Wide-Leg Jeans
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Updated May 21, 2024

Brenda Cooper, author, stylist, color expert and Emmy winning costume designer at Brenda Cooper Style could not be more thrilled that wide-leg jeans are back in fashion. “I hope they stay for a long time,” she says. Why? Unlike skinny jeans, they flatter body types from petites to fuller-figures and everything in between.

Depending on how they’re styled, wide-leg jeans look great across all generations and can convey vibes from funky and cool to elegant and sophisticated. Almost every brand that makes jeans for women, has at least one wide-legged option (most have several) in their repertoire. I have personal experience with a large number of them. As a tailor and pattern maker for film and television for 33 years, I attend fittings for all the actors in a show even when we’re using off-the-rack contemporary clothing. Most people would be surprised to learn that, on some shows, I alter a lot of jeans (including the wide-leg variety) and t-shirts.

To help me sift through the seemingly endless range of options of wide-leg jeans, I reached out to some fashion designers and stylists including Maddy Pelster, a personal stylist and owner of Holland & Bloom Style Co, Naina Singla, fashion stylist, Lindsey Glasser, co-founder of fashion brand, Grey Bandit and Daisy Barnett, founder and personal stylist at The Daisy Edit.

How to choose wide-leg jeans

“Wide-leg jeans are a return trend that can be incredibly flattering on nearly all body types,” says Barnett.

Our consumer landscape offers options for all shapes and sizes of people including jeans for curvy women, jeans for petite people, jeans for people who like to dress for every occasion and jeans for those who just want a comfortable, durable pair of pants. “When shopping for a new pair, the three most important considerations,” says Barnett, “are fit, denim weight and how you style them.”

Fit

Generally, wide-leg jeans come in two varieties: Those that fit snuggly through the waist and hips, then gently flare from the top of the leg and those that are boxier with a loose fit throughout.

The rise of the pants is another key factor in fit. Rise, if you’re not familiar, refers to how high they come up on your waist. A high-rise pant, designed to sit at (or even an inch above) your belly button, usually gives off a more tailored sophisticated look than lower-waisted versions. They’ll also elongate your legs if you’re more petite as well as provide taller people with the illusion of a shorter waist.

A mid-rise jean will likely hover right below your belly button while a low-rise style rests on your hips. Low rises are generally thought to be more flattering on people with less curves, though, depending on your overall style goal, they can work for most anyone.

Types of Wide Leg (Wide to Flared)

Some wide-leg jeans end in a palazzo style width that widens as an A-line skirt does while others simply fall straight down from the hips or the top of your thighs. Smaller people could find super wide styles a bit overwhelming. Though, I’m a long-time fan of the culotte style that gives off a "is it a skirt, or not?” vibe. I’m all for owning a range of wide-leg jeans in varying widths and lengths that I can dress up or down depending on my mood.

Color/Wash

Darker washes or black denim on a wide-leg pair of jeans give them the look of a pair of dress pants while lighter washes tend to convey a more casual vibe. White can go either way depending on your footwear; heels for a dressier look or sneakers for a more sporty athleisure one.

Fabric Content and Weight

A lighter-weight denim will give you a more flowy, breezy look while a heavier one will provide a more structured silhouette.

Some people like some stretch with their denim for a closer fit, while others (like me) prefer a more OG 100% cotton feel. Cotton stretches and molds to your body with time so the more you wear a pair of non-stretch jeans, the better they’ll fit. I’m never a fan of leggings or jeggings, but if I do try a pair with some stretch I make sure it only contains only a small percent.

Length/Inseam

Ideally, says Pelster, “wide-leg denim should hit right at the floor to an inch or two above the floor when wearing shoes.” That is unless you’re going for a cropped silhouette or the long, puddle-hem look, which is when the fabric of long pants puddles around the feet and ankle. Pay attention to the inseam length when choosing a pair of pants but remember the same length will hit differently depending on your height and what shoes you wear them with.

Taller women often have problems finding pants with sufficiently long inseams for their height.

Caitlin Begg, host of Progression to Analog podcast, and a 6-foot-1 former division-one athlete, says she can never find jeans that are long enough and fit right. Until, that is, she stumbled upon the Denham store during a visit to Amsterdam in 2022. “I have no financial incentive to say this but their jeans are incredible!” she gushes. Wide-leg jeans in particular look great on tall women, says Begg and Denham offers flattering wide-leg cuts with inseam options.

To find your perfect pair of wide-leg jeans, check out the recommendations below.

Our top picks for best wide-leg jeans

Best wide-leg jeans for petites: Paige Genevieve 32”

Best wide-leg jeans for petites
PAIGE Women's Genevieve 32" - Perspective Flare Jeans

PAIGE Women's Genevieve 32" - Perspective Flare Jeans

Paige makes Barnett’s favorite wide-leg jeans.“The weight of the denim changes the aesthetic,” she says. The Paige Genevieve balances “a more structured fabric — which creates an elevated, polished look with a softer, worn denim which gives off a California casual, think Jane Birkin vibe,” Barnett explains. The 32-inch inseam makes these a great choice for petites when paired with heels and the light/medium wash with natural fading gives them a lived-in vibe that can only come from authentic vintage denim. Also available in a dark indigo wash that is especially flattering for curvier people.

Specifications:

  • Size range: 23-34
  • Rise: 10”
  • Material: 91% cotton, 7% polyester, 2% spandex
  • Inseam length: 32”
  • Price on publish: $239.00

What we like:

  • Made from vintage denim
  • Shorter inseam great for petites
  • Spandex (2%) adds stretch and recovery for comfort

What we don’t like:

  • On the expensive side

The bottom line:

Wide-legged jeans fashioned from a heavier-weight vintage denim with a 32-inch inseam, making them a great choice for petites.

Get it here: Paige Genevieve 32”


       

Best wide-leg jeans for curvy people: Free People CRVY Gia Wide-Leg Jeans

Best wide-leg jeans for curvy people
CRVY Gia Wide-Leg Jeans

CRVY Gia Wide-Leg Jeans

Free People’s CRVY collection features a figure flattering fit designed with an additional two-inch difference between your waist and hip measurements, as well as a contoured waistband, making them a wonderful choice for those with curves. If you’re one of those people who experience the too-big, gapping waistband situation when you buy jeans that fit your hips, these may be the answer to your woes.

Constructed with rigid denim and featuring a high rise and no stretch, these are one of my favorite pairs of jeans. These days it's frustratingly difficult to find denim sans any spandex which is why I own more than one pair of these gems.

Specifications:

  • Size range: 24-35
  • Rise: 12.75”
  • Material: 100% cotton
  • Inseam length: 32”
  • Price on publish: $128.00

What we like:

  • 100% cotton (no spandex!)
  • Available in five washes
  • Contoured waistband for minimal gapping

What we don’t like:

  • Very high rise may not be comfortable for everyone

The bottom line:

These high-rise (12.75”), 100% cotton, no-stretch, wide-legged jeans that recall the ‘90s vibe.

Get it here: Free People CRVY Gia Wide-Leg Jeans


Best high-waist wide-leg jeans: Aritzia The Farrah Hi-Rise Wide Jean

Best high-waist wide-leg jeans
Aritzia The Farrah Hi-Rise Wide Jean

Aritzia The Farrah Hi-Rise Wide Jean

“I love this Canadian brand for its excellent quality and great styling,” says Cooper. Inspired by fashion icons of the 1970s, this version of the Farrah jean features a light indigo wash made from regenerative cotton. The high rise and slim hip hugs your body while the flare gradually extends out from the leg for a clean, elongated silhouette. They’re also available in white, black, and additional denim washes.

Specifications:

  • Size range: 23-32
  • Rise: 10”
  • Material: 100% cotton
  • Inseam length: 30”
  • Price on publish: $110.00

What we like:

  • Hugs hips
  • Organic cotton
  • Comes in several colors

What we don’t like:

  • Inseam may be too short for taller people

The bottom line:

1970s style wide-leg jean with high rise, slim hip and gradual flare made from 100% organic cotton.

Get it here: Aritzia The Farrah Hi-Rise Wide Jean


Best mid-rise wide-leg jeans: Agolde Harper Straight Jean

Best mid-rise wide-leg jeans
Agolde Harper Straight Jean

Agolde Harper Straight Jean

One of Singla’s favorite brands for jeans is Agolde. She likes this particular pair because of the subtle wide-leg. “It looks chic and tailored versus a slouchy and loose pair,” she says. “It’s great if you want the wide-leg look but still want to look classic and sophisticated.” The Harper features a relaxed fit with a mid-rise; a square top block, meaning it doesn’t fit close to your curves, and a subtle wide leg. It comes in five denim washes. My favorite is the dark indigo, called “formation” which creates a dressier vibe.

Specifications:

  • Size range: 23-34
  • Rise: 11.25”
  • Material: 59% organic cotton, 40% ecovero viscose, 1% elastane
  • Inseam length: 32”
  • Price on publish: $218.00

What we like:

  • Clean, finished hem
  • Blockier look
  • Slight stretch for comfort

What we don’t like:

  • Made from a thinner denim

The bottom line:

Subtle wide-leg jeans with square upper block delivering a refined, tailored look.

Get it here: Agolde Harper Straight Jean


Best low-rise wide-leg jeans: Levi’s Premium Low Loose Jeans

Best low-rise wide-leg jeans
Levi's Low Loose Women's Jeans 28x30

Levi's Low Loose Women's Jeans 28x30

“You can always depend on Levi’s for classic great quality at an affordable price” says Cooper. Pelster, too, recommends these jeans because they come in multiple inseams to accommodate both tall and petite sizes. I personally like them because they’re available in a great muddied brown color called, “Rockin Crocodile.” With a low-rise, baggy fit, no stretch and straight leg, they’re a Y2K throwback that still works today.

Specifications:

  • Size range: 23-34
  • Rise: 8.75”
  • Material: 100% cotton
  • Inseam length: 32”
  • Price on publish: $108.00

What we like:

  • No stretch
  • Low rise
  • Perfect baggy fit

What we don’t like:

  • Run small; I suggest sizing up

The bottom line:

Early aughts-inspired, 100% cotton low-rise, wide-leg jeans from Levi’s.

Get it here: Levi’s Premium Low Loose Jeans


 

Best cropped wide-leg jeans: Mother The Roller High-Rise Wide-Leg Jean in Riding the Cliffside

Best cropped wide-leg jeans
Mother The Roller High Rise Wide Leg Jeans in Riding the Cliffside

Mother The Roller High Rise Wide Leg Jeans in Riding the Cliffside

“By design, wide-legged jeans are already oversized in the leg so having additional volume in the hip and waist takes away from the A-line silhouette that makes this style of jean so cool,” says Barnett. Some of the best versions, like these Mother jeans, create a contrast between snug and wide to achieve a flattering fit. The brand Mother, so named because the word can be both nurturing and a curse word, strives for a balance of hard and soft, achieved in this particular style with its raw cut hem, fitted hips and flared leg.

Specifications:

  • Size range: 23-34
  • Rise: 10”
  • Material: cotton, modal, polyester, elastane
  • Inseam length: 31”
  • Price on publish: $258.00

What we like:

  • Raw-cut hem
  • Fitted waist
  • Easy to dress up or down

What we don’t like:

  • No petite option — cropped equals full length on shorter people

The bottom line:

Soft, flattering cropped wide-leg jeans that are fitted through the waist and hips.

Get it here: Mother The Roller High-Rise Wide-Leg Jean in Riding the Cliffside


Best budget wide-leg jeans: Levi’s ’94 Baggy Wide Leg Jeans

Best budget wide-leg jeans
Levi's Women's 94 Baggy Wide Leg Jean (Also Available in Plus), Over Exposure, 24

Levi's Women's 94 Baggy Wide Leg Jean (Also Available in Plus), Over Exposure, 24

Cut with a super wide-leg (25-inch leg opening), relaxed fit and mid-rise, these jeans from Levi’s offer a vintage inspired fit (no stretch) at a nice price. These are a true baggy fit; loose in the hips and legs, a streetwear style you see on younger generations. They come in standard and plus sizes. And in black as well as denim washes.

Specifications:

  • Size range: 24-37 Plus
  • Rise: 9.625”
  • Material: 95% cotton, 5% recycled cotton
  • Inseam length: 31”
  • Price on publish: $69.99

What we like:

  • True baggy fit
  • Super wide-legs
  • Comfortable

What we don’t like:

  • Loose fit may overwhelm people with smaller frames

The bottom line:

Baggy, wide-leg, 90s inspired 100% cotton jeans from Levi’s at a great price.

Get it here: Levi’s ’94 Baggy Wide Leg Jeans


 

Best splurge wide-leg jeans: Rag & Bone Featherweight Sofie Wide-Leg

Best splurge wide-leg jeans
Rag & Bone Featherweight Sofie Wide-Leg

Rag & Bone Featherweight Sofie Wide-Leg

“For a lightweight denim with great styling you can’t go wrong with these,” says Cooper. These jeans are some of the softest and most comfortable you’ll find. I like them for airplane travel and days when I don’t want to leave the house but still have to run a couple errands. The flowy, breezy style and lightweight denim also makes them the ideal jean for hot, humid summer days in the city.

Specifications:

  • Size range: 23-34
  • Rise: 11”
  • Material: 64% cotton, 36% lyocell
  • Inseam length: 34”
  • Price on publish: $295.00

What we like:

  • Very lightweight fabric
  • Comfortable
  • Great for hot weather

What we don’t like:

  • Very long

The bottom line:

Incredibly soft, lightweight, flowy wide-leg jeans that offer excellent comfort and style.

Get it here: Rag & Bone Featherweight Sofie Wide-Leg


Best plus-size wide-leg jeans: Good American Good Skate Wide Leg Jeans

Best plus-size wide-leg jeans
Good American Good Skate Wide Leg Jeans

Good American Good Skate Wide Leg Jeans

Pelster loves this brand and fit because they are size inclusive and wonderfully comfortable with great stretch and high-rise waists. She suggests styling these with a cute bodysuit, oversized blazer and a pointed toed heel. Made in Los Angeles, the Good American brand was co-founded by Khloé Kardashain and Emma Grede. The jeans themselves with their puddled hem and soft stretchy fabric combination channel Gen Z vibes.

Specifications:

  • Size range: 00-32 Plus
  • Rise: 12”
  • Material: 69% recycled cotton, 30% lyocell, 1% elastane
  • Inseam length: 34”
  • Price on publish: $159.00

What we like:

  • Wide size range
  • Long inseam option for tall people
  • Very soft

What we don’t like:

  • Only come in one color wash

The bottom line:

Soft, stretchy, light denim wide-leg jeans with a puddled hem available in a wide range of sizes.

Get it here: Good American Good Skate Wide Leg Jeans


Best white wide-leg jeans: Anthropologie Maeve Cropped Ex High-Rise Wide-Leg Jeans

Best white wide-leg jeans
Anthropologie Maeve Cropped Ex High-Rise Wide-Leg Jeans

Anthropologie Maeve Cropped Ex High-Rise Wide-Leg Jeans

These jeans stand out with their no-waistband construction, low slung belt that buttons on either side of the front and cropped cuffed length. They come in standard and tall in a fresh off-white color. Inspired by the Greek goddess and the Irish warrior queen of the same name, the Maeve collection from Anthropologie balances structure with delicacy which is reflected in the clean bold lines of this jean and unique details that make them anything but your run of the mill, wide-leg cropped jeans.

Specifications:

  • Size range: 23-34
  • Rise: 11.25”
  • Material: 98% cotton, 2% elastane
  • Inseam length: 24.5” regular and 27.5” tall
  • Price on publish: $138.00

What we like:

  • No waistband cut
  • Button on belt
  • Come in two lengths

What we don’t like:

  • Only available in white

The bottom line:

Refined, cropped, cuffed white jeans with a no-waistband cut and button on belt.

Get it here: Anthropologie Maeve Cropped Ex High-Rise Wide-Leg Jeans


Best black wide-leg jeans: Mango Culotte High Waist Jeans

Best black wide-leg jeans
MANGO - Jeans culotte high waist black denim - 4 - Women

MANGO - Jeans culotte high waist black denim - 4 - Women

For some, a cropped wide-leg offers a less intimidating style choice. According to Pelster, a crop should hit about one to three inches above the ankle bone, making them easy to pair with a range of footwear including a sandal, loafer, heel or tennis shoe. “I love that these are raw hem so you can cut them to your perfect length,” she says. This culotte design features a high rise with belt loops and looks great with a wide leather belt and t-shirt. They’re available in black, khaki, white, and light and dark denim washes.

Specifications:

  • Size range: 1-22
  • Rise: 11”
  • Material: 99% cotton, 1% elastane
  • Inseam length: 28.34”
  • Price on publish: $69.99

What we like:

  • Frayed-hem finish
  • Budget-friendly price
  • Medium weight denim

What we don’t like:

  • May not be a true culotte on petite people

The bottom line:

Black, cropped culotte style wide-leg jeans with raw hem at a budget-friendly price.

Get it here: Mango Culotte High Waist Jeans


 

Best wide-leg jeans for tall women: The Kit High-Rise Wide-Leg Utility Trouser Jeans by Pilcro at Anthropologie

Best wide-leg jeans for tall women
The Kit High-Rise Wide-Leg Utility Trouser Jeans by Pilcro at Anthropologie

The Kit High-Rise Wide-Leg Utility Trouser Jeans by Pilcro at Anthropologie

Barnett recommends these jeans by Pilcro because, “they’re soft, with a bit of stretch and are incredibly flattering.” And that’s not all; they also feature a side zipper, back cinch buckle and front button and patch pocket details for an elongating silhouette and sleek style. They come in standard, tall and petite cuts but are especially flattering on taller figures.

Specifications:

  • Size range: 23-34
  • Rise: 10.75”
  • Material: 81% cotton, 11% lyocell, 8% elastane
  • Inseam length: 35.5”
  • Price on publish: $148.00

What we like:

  • Great, interesting details
  • Soft
  • Long inseam for tall people

What we don’t like:

  • High elastane content so they stretch out

The bottom line:

Soft, stretchy, long inseam wide-leg jeans with hidden side zipper, patch pockets and back waist cinch buckle.

Get it here: The Kit High-Rise Wide-Leg Utility Trouser Jeans by Pilcro at Anthropologie


Best cuffed wide-leg jeans: Agolde Dame High-Rise Wide-Leg Jeans

Best cuffed wide-leg jeans
Agolde Dame High-Rise Wide-Leg Jeans

Agolde Dame High-Rise Wide-Leg Jeans

One of my favorite styling techniques is a nice, wide substantial cuff, because I’m almost always on my bike and a cuff cuts down on the flopping and because I just think it looks cool. Made from 100% cotton with a high rise, these Agolde jeans feature a relaxed fit throughout and a wide-leg for a go anywhere vibe. Available in white, two denim washes, and a faded black color.

Specifications:

  • Size range: 23-34
  • Rise: 12.5”
  • Material: 100% cotton
  • Inseam length: 32.5”
  • Price on publish: $258.00

What we like:

  • Cool color choices, including faded black color
  • 100% cotton
  • Relaxed fit

What we don’t like:

  • On the expensive side

The bottom line:

100% cotton wide-leg jeans with a stylish substantial cuff that come in groovy washes.

Get it here: Agolde Dame High-Rise Wide-Leg Jeans


How to style wide-leg jeans

Just as there are a variety of wide-leg jeans available, there are a range of ways to style them. “They have a loose fit, making them a comfortable choice that can be dressed up and down,” says Singla.

Go for a tonal look

Barnett recommends a fitted or cropped navy-blue cardigan paired with the classic and flattering Pilcro jeans from Anthropologie.“This makes the jeans the hero,” she says, “The tone on tone draws the eyes to the shape of the outfit rather than other elements like patterns or textures.” This means the fit of the jeans really stands out. She also likes the “balance of a sweet, classic cardigan with the long, wild pant leg.”

Balance proportion

“Consider offsetting the loose silhouette of the denim with a fitted tank, button down or bodysuit which will create a sleek, streamlined look,” says Singla. Or, pair a cropped cashmere cardigan or blazer with your wide-leg denim. This will elongate your legs, she says, especially if the jeans are high waisted and your top layer hits right above your hip. “This is a great way to put together a more styled and polished look,” she explains. Alternatively, a tailored blazer and a tucked-in silky long sleeve blouse with wide-leg denim will appear dressy. And, she adds, “a belt is always a nice finishing touch.”

Have fun

Cooper offers up some playful ways to style your jeans. “Pairing wide-leg jeans with a cropped tank top, cool belt and trendy sneakers or Doc Martens will create a chunky, funkier look,” she says. And you can always add a cropped hooded sweatshirt for cold weather. For a sexier look, Cooper suggests pairing the jeans with a bikini top, high heeled sandals, a great pedicure and statement earrings.

Want dressy?

For a simple, sophisticated look don a black turtleneck (long sleeves or sleeveless for warm weather) and black suede ankle boots. “Look for a wide-leg jean that is made of lighter-weight denim,” Cooper advises, “so that it doesn’t feel heavy on the body and has an excellent drape.”

What shoes to wear with wide-leg jeans

The right shoe is critical when it comes to styling wide-leg jeans, says Barnett. A high clog is her go-to, but she also likes a classic boot with a pointy toe. As odd as it may sound, a sandal with a kitten heel looks great if you want a lower shoe.”

Singla suggests fun and playful heels as they’ll offer an element of interest, especially if you choose a pair of jeans that are cropped at the ankle. If you’re petite, this can balance the look.“For a neutral look, wear a darker pair of wide-leg jeans,” she says, “add flats and a simple tucked in camisole with a blazer. This works well for a casual day at the office.”The darker wash of the wide-leg jeans gives the appearance of trousers and fosters a more work appropriate and elevated style, she explains. Finally, for a weekend casual outfit, Singla suggests a pair of wide-leg jeans with white sneakers and a cropped tee.“Layer a trench for a super relaxed look that works for a farmers market run or casual brunch.”

How I selected the best wide-leg jeans

Personal experience

I’ve been dressing and altering and making garments for actors of all shapes and sizes for over 30 years. I’ve seen wide-leg jeans come into style, then out, then in, out and in again. As a tailor and pattern maker, I know a lot about different fabrics, what looks good on different body types, how to fit clothing, and how to tell if a garment is well made.

Expert recommendations

I took into account recommendations and advice from other stylists and designers. They all have unique tips and knowledge to offer and I talked to several for this article.

Price, quality, and style

I weighed my experience and the suggestions of the experts I talked to against attributes like cost, overall quality, style, color/wash options and size inclusivity to come up with a diverse list of wide-leg jeans to satisfy and compliment a range of styles and personalities.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What body type should wear wide-leg jeans?

Glasser believes anyone can wear wide-leg jeans. There are so many options for lengths, as well as different rises that anyone can find a pair they like. The only thing, says Singla, “is you have to be careful how you style them, so that they are the most flattering.” It's all about proportions and balance, and finding your ideal length.

So, how do you determine your ideal length? While some is personal preference, Singla recommends the following guidelines. For petites, avoid styles that are really cropped and choose a high-waist denim. “Pair them with pointy toe heels for additional height and tuck in your shirt to show off your waist and make the legs look longer,” she says. For those with curves, choose wide-leg jeans in a darker color and avoid styles that are too slouchy and relaxed.

Are wide-leg jeans more flattering?

According to Cooper, the challenge of wide-leg jeans is that many women assume the wide-leg will make them look short. Many have been led to believe that only tall, slender women can wear wide-legs.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” she says. How a wide-leg jean or pant drapes on the body magically minimizes and slims that body — as well as being roomier and more comfortable than slimmer styles.

“A wide-leg jean does not automatically make you look wide or short,” Cooper says. She also loves that they’re so versatile. You can wear them during the day and transition into casual evening wear and be confident that you look modern, chic, and fashionable, she explains. They’re a fabulous style alternative to skinny jeans or sweats.

What is the best length for wide-leg jeans?

This depends on what look you’re going for. Some wide-leg are meant to be long, puddling over your shoes. These give off a trendier ‘90s style and are not the length you’d really want to wear if you’re going to be traipsing around town or in nature—or if it’s raining. If you’re on the shorter side, an ideal length might be just to the top of your toe when in heels; this will make your legs look longer. Glasser tends to wear sneakers a lot so she has a pair that cuts right below the ankle so they don’t drag on the floor. However, she keeps a pair that is a longer length to wear with heels when going out. Once you get on the wide-leg jean bandwagon, you’ll likely want more than one pair.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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