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16 Essential Types of Jeans for Unlimited Outfit Possibilities

Photo Courtesy of IMAX Tree

Last Updated

Oct 20, 2021

No matter your personal style, denim is in your lineup. Traditionalists might stick with mainstays like straight-leg or boyfriend jeans, while the denim-obsessed might experiment with a more expansive range of options. We fall into the latter category, so we’ve bookmarked the types of jeans that have made an impression on us.

We considered the perfect fit, wash, price point, style, and inclusive size range to corral the best types of jeans available now. Maybe, you’ll feel inspired to try something you’d typically skip, such as a pair with a bootcut silhouette or a trendy low rise. Or, you can stick to the basics. Whatever you’re looking for, rest assured it’s on this list.

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Timeless, versatile, and comfortable, mom jeans—defined by their loose fit and tapered shape—are a classic. The pants are available in every wash from light to dark, as seen with Agolde’s paper bag-waist pair and Tu es mon Tresor’s nostalgia-inspired pair. Mom jeans skew lax and loungy, so shift the narrative with designer combat boots for a mature edge. For winter, pack on the layers with a thermal long sleeve and an oversized knit sweater. 

Flared jeans are inherently retro. However, remixed designer iterations are both posh and polished. Chloé’s dark wash pair showcases a pin-tucked seam and a braid-effect belt that makes for a rebellious clash of professional prowess and Bohemian chill. Isabel Marant Etoile finds the sweet spot between grunge and feminine with its black-wash pair. JW Anderson’s version is finished with raw edges and two-tone flares for a truly eye-catching look.

Regardless of the trend cycle, boyfriend jeans are always in fashion. The menswear piece goes with virtually everything, which means we have no plans to give them up. Favorite Daughter’s Tommy jeans distill the brand’s laidback-meets-proper ethos, while Rolla’s best-selling Classic Straight jeans are cut from a similar cloth in a lighter wash. Ace a lackadaisical look year-round by styling yours with a crisp white shirt in summer and a chunky knit cardigan in winter.

Straight-leg jeans are one of the most timeless denim silhouettes. That said, it’s difficult to choose our top pairs. EB Denim’s Unraveled Jean with an ankle slit is a celebrity favorite—Megan Fox, Gigi Hadid, Chiara Ferragni, and Hailey Baldwin have all been spotted wearing them. Los Angeles Apparel specializes in basics, so this pair of straight-leg jeans are a dream come true for unflashy minimalists.

Your punk phase may be in the past, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear distressed jeans. Maje’s pair is torn at the knees, but get a sophisticated update with a tailored blazer and loafers. Slvrlake goes full “too cool for school” with a burnt-out feel. Conversely, Re/Done creates barely-there distress with just one ripped knee for a pared-back approach.

Most jeans these days feature a high waist. But because the style can be restricting, it’s crucial to land on a pair with some give. Hence, Valentino’s stretch-denim pair with lived-in details, such as a smartphone outline on the back pocket and a comfortable stretchy waist. Lee’s jeans have a roomy shape and a more attainable price point, so you can try the style with less commitment.

A slew of retro silhouettes have become must-try trends, and low-slung jeans are one of them. The polarizing trend dovetails in and out of popularity and causes quite the stir when it’s in—but don’t write off the low-rider look just yet. EB Denim’s pair is notable for its bandless waist, while Unravel Project’s kicky cropped pair laces up in the front. Low-rise boyfriend jeans, such as these created by The Attico, offer a more approachable take with a relaxed silhouette for that beachy, oversized look.

You may recall Gen Z arguing that skinny jeans are no longer cool—but we’re here to say otherwise (sorry, TikTok). Celine’s archetypal pair sticks to the blueprint while Balmain offers an ultra-high-rise waist that’s ideal for tucking in shirts to showcase the brand’s logo-embellished gold button. Then, there are Burberry’s skinny jeans embroidered with a large symmetrical heart at the front and back. Warp + Weft is a crowd-favorite for its inclusive sizing and unbeatable comfort.

When in doubt or a hurry, bootcut jeans provide a streamlined look. The vintage-inspired shape gets a new-age makeover thanks to cool-girl favorite brands like Jacquemus and Frame. The dark navy dye on the De Nîmes pant is reminiscent of ’60s-style jeans with its contrast tan stitching and emphatic patch logo on the back. Jen7’s polished pair calls back to the early aughts. In contrast, Chloé’s bootcut jean is a classic, with its solid blue wash and minimal detailing.

Among a handful of ’90s trends that have resurfaced recently, loose-fitting denim is one of our favorites (it’s just so comfy). The secret to sporting baggy jeans without looking disheveled is in the styling. Approach wide-leg jeans as though they were a straight-legged pair and style them in accordance with the vibe you want to achieve. The less attention you pay to the generous cut, the more intentional it will look. 

We’ve surveyed the street style snaps of off-duty runway models to pinpoint exactly how they look so effortlessly cool. The answer? Black denim. Doubtful? One quick stroll down any block in Soho (London or New York) provides enough evidence that the pants offer the building blocks of a chic outfit. We depend on go-to denim brands such as Rolla’s, RtA, and Good American as fail-proof choices.

Few denim colors strike such a cord as white—and pulling them off is deceptively simple. For example, Fendi’s punchy pair is adorned with black hardware that does the two-tone work for you. Pair them with a tailored black blazer for the office or a streetwear-style black hoodie on the weekends. Valentino’s pair is also worth fussing over. They even include a leather logo belt—because who doesn’t love a two-for-one deal?

Even we couldn’t predict the indigo denim trend. This category harkens back to the ’60s when denim was dyed with natural indigo that created a deep ocean blue shade. Look to Los Angeles Apparel’s raw dark indigo pair for context. The contrast stitching of the white thread adds a sartorial edge to the simplistic style. To keep that vintage look and feel, you shouldn’t put raw indigo (as opposed to synthetic) in the wash. Lee’s and Favorite Daughter’s indigo jeans veer modern while Rolla’s collab with fashion girl Sophia Richie offers a more retro wash.

It’s no secret that denim production is one of the fashion industry’s primary contributors to pollution. If the shopping criteria for your next buy is “anything sustainable,” we’ve got you covered. Some of the leading denim brands have stepped up to the plate with eco-friendly offerings. Others have become environmentally conscious across the board, such as Good American and Ética.

Capris may have lost their cachet in the early-2000s, but cropped jeans are a different story. Black cropped jeans in a skinny or straight cut are the ideal go-anywhere pants. Both Agolde’s and Re/Done’s iterations can take you from errands to a night out without hesitation. Burberry’s pair is equipped with a folded hem revealing the brand’s signature check print. The small detail packs a big punch. Style the pants with a white T-shirt and tennis sneakers and you’ll be the best-dressed person in the room.

Gen Z has embraced jeans with bright colors and funky prints. Although the trend appears intimidating, even minimalists can find their niche. There are many mature and approachable patterns that make a sartorial statement without being difficult to style. Marine Sere’s trademark moon print and Balenciaga’s logo pattern are instantly recognizable without being overly flashy. You can also opt for something with an all-over pattern like Etro’s paisley or Alberta Ferretti’s plaid.

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