types of jeans for women_revelle

From straight leg to slim fit, boyfriend to bootcut, we’re breaking down the most common types of jeans — and dishing on our favorite brands for every body shape.

Most people know what it feels like when they finally land on that perfect pair of jeans — you know, the jeans that accentuate allllll the right parts and make you smile just thinking about the places you’re going to wear them. The jeans that feel like they were made for you and ONLY you, practically begging for a spot in your closet. 

Sound familiar? Yeah, us too.

Unfortunately, the journey to find those picture-perfect jeans can be long. And frustrating. And filled with what feels like never-ending trial and error. 

To make the process smoother, we’re breaking down the most common types of jeans for women. Because if we can de-mystify the confusing jean jargon — wait, is straight leg the same as cigarette jeans? What the heck is bootcut? — we’ll be one step closer to understanding what type of jeans to look for based on style preferences.

1. Straight leg


Straight leg jeans are a close cousin to everyone’s favorite skinny jeans. The main difference? The width of the hem. As you’d guess from the name, straight leg jeans don’t taper inward at the ankles. Instead, the hem remains straight from hip to ankle for a comfortable, vintage-esque silhouette with more breathing room.

Best for: 

While anyone can rock straight leg jeans, they’re a particularly fab option for those of us with strong, athletic calves because of the extra lower leg space. 

Why we love ‘em:

Versatility is the name of the game with straight leg jeans. Dress them up with a chic blouse or keep it casual with a tucked-in T-shirt. Bonus points for the fact that they work with a whole slew of shoes, too: sneakers, ankle booties, sandals…you name it. 

Our go-tos:

mango_womens_premium_straight_jeans_types of jeans for women_revelle
NYDJ_petite_marilyn_straight_leg_jeans_types of jeans for women_revelle

Rubberband Stretch Women’s Straight Jeans 

Mango Women’s Premium Straight Jeans

NYDJ Petite Marilyn Straight-Leg Jeans

2. Slim fit (aka bootcut)


Slim fit jeans are just a tad less tight than skinny jeans. Think of it this way: They won’t feel like a second skin hugging your body, but they’ll still be form-fitting around your legs and hips (except for a narrow ankle opening). It’s a small difference, we know. But still worth mentioning! 

Slim fit jeans are *essentially* the same thing as bootcut, which earned its name when cowboys (circa 1850ish) needed pants that’d allow them to ride horses with enough calf space to fit their boots.

READ MORE: Discover The Fascinating History Of Women’s Jeans In The U.S.

Best for: 

Those of us looking to one-up our skinny jeans with an extra dose of comfort and breathability would L-O-V-E slim fit — especially when moving around a lot. If you’re going for a more chic look to pair with high heels, though, skinny is your best bet. 

Why we love ‘em:

Slim fit jeans provide the sleek skinny jean look that most of us love, without the suffocating, I-can’t-get-these-jeans-off feeling we don’t. Plus, they give us the option to roll ‘em up at the calf for a relaxed look.  

Our go-tos:

JEN7_slim_bottcut_jeans_types of jeans for women_revelle
NYDJ_slim_fit_bootcut_jeans_types of jeans for women_revelle
joes_jeans_hihoney_bootcut_types of jeans for women_revelle
Women's Coated Bootcut Flare Jeans

JEN7 by 7 For All Mankind Slim Bootcut Jeans

NYDJ Slim-Fit Bootcut Jeans

Guess Bootcut Jeans

Joe’s Jeans Hihoney Bootcut Jeans

Mango Women’s Coated Bootcut Flare Jeans

3. Skinny 


Skinny jeans will hug your body from hips to thighs to knees to calves to ankles. As the most snug of all the types of jeans out there, they’re often made with material that has some stretch to it. 

Best for: 

All body shapes can rock skinny jeans (really!). If you’re worried about *just* how form-fitting they are, start off with a darker wash made of heftier fabric, which tends to be more forgiving — without sacrificing style, of course.

Why we love ‘em:

Skinny jeans are the little black dress of the jean world. The never-goes-out-of-style cut that pairs just as well with oversized sweaters as fitted tops as raggedy T-shirts. And when it comes to jackets, give blazers a go for the perfect balance between laid-back and sophisticated. 

Our go-tos:

indigo_rein_juniors_high_rise_distressed_knee_skinny_jeans_types of jeans for women_revelle
levis_womens_710_super_skinny_jeans_types of jeans for women_revelle
flying_monkey_womens_high_rise_skinny_crop_jeans_types of jeans for women_revelle

Indigo Rein Juniors High-Rise Distressed – Knee Skinny Jeans

Levi’s Women’s 710 Super Skinny Jeans

Flying Monkey Women’s High-Rise Skinny Crop Jeans

4. Boyfriend jeans (aka loose fit)


Boyfriend jeans take a cue from the relaxed, masculine look. First spotted on actress Marilyn Monroe back in the 60s, they’ve been seen on everyone from Katie Holmes (who used to actually wear Tom Cruise’s jeans!) to Margot Robbie, Diane Kruger, and Jessica Chastain. Although they’re, by definition, a bit slouchy, that doesn’t mean they’re not sleek. In fact, more and more brands are designing boyfriend cuts with a slight taper to lend the look a touch more structure. 

Best for: 

Having the ability to control how baggy we want them and where they’ll live on our hips means boyfriend jeans will fit our body the way WE want them to, not the other way around. If you have strong, broad shoulders and are looking to add balance on your lower half, go for a baggier cut.

Why we love ‘em:

Boyfriend jeans are the perfect marriage of comfort and style. Need we say more? 

Our go-tos:

levis_trendy_plus_size_stretch_boyfriend_fit_jeans_types of jeans for women_revelle
style_and_co_curvy_fit_cuffed_boyfriend_jeans_types of jeans for women_revelle

Levi’s Trendy Plus-Size Stretch Boyfriend-Fit Jeans

7 For All Mankind Women’s Josefina with Crystal Squiggle Back Pocket

Style & Co Curvy-Fit Cuffed Boyfriend Jeans

5. Flared cut (aka bell bottoms)


Flared jeans are the ultimate throwback. This cut — which widens starting at the knee and flares outward just above the ankle — was initially popular in the 1960s during the hippie era and is now back with a vengeance. Think of it as the opposite of a skinny jean, with flare that can vary from subtle to exaggerated. 

Best for: 

We can ALL rock this throwback look. If you’re on the petite side and worried about the hefty amount of fabric in a flared cut, just ditch the dramatic flare for a smaller one. 

READ MORE: Best Brands For Small Waists & Big Hips

Why we love ‘em:

When cropped, flared jeans are the perfect style with which to show off your shoes. And if we’re talkin’ full length, be sure to whip out those high heels. This style is MADE for height.

Our go-tos:

mango_flared_jeans_types of jeans for women_revelle
joes_jeans_the_molly_high_rise_flared_jeans_types of jeans for women_revelle
sam_edelman_denim_stiletto_high_rise_flared_jeans_types of jeans for women_revelle

Mango Flared Jeans

Joe’s Jeans The Molly High-Rise Flared Jeans

Sam Edelman Denim Stiletto High-Rise Flared Jeans

6. Wide leg


At first glance, wide leg jeans may resemble flared cut. But when you look closer, you’ll notice that flared cut are tight around the hips, thighs, and knees before extending outward. Wide leg, on the other hand, fit more like the letter A. They’re narrow at your hips with a gradual (rather than dramatic) flare extending down to your ankles for a trouser look. 

Best for: 

Wide leg, like flared, aren’t off limits to anyone. Due to their shape, they tend to divert attention away from the hips — so if that’s something you’re looking for, this may be the cut for you. And for all our petite friends who fear getting swallowed up in all that fabric, go for a narrower letter A. 

READ MORE: Jeans For The Tallest Of Them All 

Why we love ‘em:

Comfort comes in at #1 on our list of reasons to love wide leg pants, followed closely by the fact that they pair perfectly with that fitted top we’ve been dying to wear (the balance between fitted on top and loose on the bottom is oh-so-chic). 

Our go-tos:

levis_loose_high_waist_wide_leg_jeans_types of jeans for women_revelle
goldsign_net_sustain_pleated_high_rise_wide_leg_jeans_types of jeans for women_revelle
everlane_wide_leg_crop_pant_types of jeans for women_revelle

Levi’s Loose High-Waist Wide Leg Jeans

Goldsign NET SUSTAIN Pleated High-Rise Wide Leg Jeans

The Wide-Leg Crop Pant

7. Mom jeans


If you take a peek into the depths of your mom’s closet, odds are you’ll find a pair of high-waisted, relaxed-fit jeans that, these days, go by the name “mom jeans.” More often than not, they’re light blue in color with ample space around the zipper and crotch area. No stone washing. No fading. Try to find a pair with elastic waistbands for a major throwback.

Best for: 

If you’re looking to create the illusion of curves, mom jeans are for you. Although TBH, as long as you’re comfortable with jeans that sit higher up on the waistline rather than the hips, no one’ll stop you.

Why we love ‘em:

For a time, the 90s look was considered unflattering by the younger generation, especially when associated with antiquated, reductive stereotypes about motherhood. But not anymore. Women of all ages are embracing the laid-back look, and we are SO here for it.

Our go-tos:

levis_high_loose_taper_fit_womens_jeans_types of jeans for women_revelle
BDG_urban_outfitters_mom_jeans_types of jeans for women_revelle

Levi’s High Loose Taper Fit Women’s Jeans

BDG Urban Outfitters Mom Jeans

The Madewell Momjean in Melva Wash

Read more: 15 Best Mom Jeans

Now that we’ve gotten jean styles out of the way, let’s talk look and fit. 

  • Distressed: a vintage style that gives the denim a worn-in look
  • Dark wash: when jeans are dark in color 
  • Light wash: when jeans are lighter in color 
  • Low-rise: jeans that rest along the hip bones 
  • Mid-rise: jeans that rest somewhere between the belly button and the hips
  • High-rise: jeans that rest above your belly button (like these high-waisted ripped jeans we LOVE)

Revelle is on a mission to make women feel beautiful in their bodies every day by helping them find clothes that actually FIT, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that the recommended items are based on availability as of the date the article was published. You can always get personalized recommendations by joining our community. Also, if you do purchase something by clicking on a link, we may receive a small commission.

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