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There are plenty of ‘90s and early ‘00s trends that have reentered the lexicon: miniskirts are back, and so too are cargo pants. But no one trend has caused a ripple quite as much as the return of wide-leg jeans. Increasingly, trendsetters are ditching their fitted denim silhouettes for the ‘90s wide-leg jeans now favored by celebrities like Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa.
“There has been a shift in recent seasons from polished, tailored A-line jeans that are fitted through the hips and very tops of the thighs to wide-leg jeans with a looser, more casual fit and attitude reminiscent of our favorite ‘90s styles,” says Jill Guenza, global vice president of women’s design at Levi Strauss & Co. “‘90s jeans were notable for their boyish attitude suggested by the ease through the hips and stacking on the shoe.”
As you experiment with bigger proportions on your bottom half, it also allows for a chance to try something new up top. “A wide-leg fit allows for a different proportion play,” says Maggie Winter, CEO & co-founder of AYR. “Slimmer tanks and tees tucked in look so good with a jean that fits closely at the waist and then eases to the floor. It works well on many body types and ages and with so many outfits. It’s practical and comfortable. And because skinny and cropped fits have been so popular for so many years, it feels really fresh but not intimidating.”
What are wide-leg jeans?
“Wide-leg jeans fall into two different categories: jeans with an A-line shape that starts from the hips and jeans that have a loose fit through the hips and legs and are either completely straight or slightly curved in toward the hem,” Guenza says. “The key common component is the loose fit through the legs.” While you can find jeans that range from super wide to something closer to a straight leg, all will have more room through the legs than your standard straight leg jeans.
Wide-leg jeans are a flattering choice for many body types, as they allow for greater comfort on the bottom and move focus to your waist. Opt for a style that hits above the belly button for additional coverage, or go for something trendier with a style that sits at your hips.
How to wear the best wide-leg jeans
When it comes to successfully integrating wide-leg jeans into your wardrobe, it’s about understanding proportion. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with lots of loose layers. Instead, opt for fitted or cropped styles up top.
For Work: “A perfect outfit for a typical 16-hour day might be a silky slip cami tucked into a wide-leg jean, layered under a loose blazer with the sleeves rolled up and styled with a sandal or sneaker,” suggests Winter, if you’re seeking a way to wear wide-leg jeans to the office. “We’ve been loving pairing shorter tops with more volume on the bottom.” In this case, you may want to consider a cropped flare to show off your shoes. Cropped styles also are perfect for spring as you transition to baring your ankles once again.
On the weekend: Guenza suggests wearing baggy jeans “slouched on the hips and pooled over sneakers with a bralette and oversized blazer” during a relaxed weekend. In this case, there’s no need to hem your jeans as a little bit of extra fabric at the bottom adds to the look.
For a night out: To easily transition your look from day to night, “swap the sneakers for a pointy heel,” Guenza says. For a night out, consider a lower-rise, and if heels aren’t your thing, try an ankle boot instead.
Below, shop the best wide-leg jeans on the market right now.
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Top Wide-Leg Jeans for Women
AYR The Must The Secret Sauce Jeans
The Best Cream Wide-Leg Jeans
- Sizes: 24-34
- Colors: Old School, Sandstone
“I’ve been living in The Secret Sauce by AYR,” Winter says. “I own it in two inseams — one is perfect for flats, and the other looks so good with heels.” This stretchy jean style has also earned 15 five-star reviews on Ayr’s website. If you’re curious to know which inseam is right for you, you can email the brand with any sizing questions — making the process especially easy, even for those who usually avoid online shopping. To style, finish these pants with a summer sandal and a striped tee. The look is casual but still feels sophisticated.
Moussy Odessa Wide Straight Jeans
The Best Distressed Wide-Leg Jeans
Japanese denim has long held a cult status among fashion insiders for its excellent craftsmanship and quality materials. So, while Moussy may not be a household name in the U.S., the brand is worth having on your radar (it’s a favorite of Winter’s). These rough and tumble jeans feature torn cutouts over the knees and an unfinished hem that give them a worn-in feeling. The light wash and wide, straight silhouette is reminiscent of vintage ‘90s jeans often loved by supermodels like Cindy Crawford. So, if worn-in vintage is your go-to, meet your new favorite jeans.
Mavi Bodrum Jeans
The Best Cropped Wide-Leg Jeans
- Sizes: 24-32
- Colors: Deep Comfort, Off-White
Turkish label Mavi was founded in 1991 and has been a favorite around the globe since for its affordable denim options. This cropped silhouette is ideal for creating a sophisticated weekend look. Try styling the jeans back to a cream sweater or a classic white tee and finish with flats or kitten-heeled sandals. The look will be ideal for transitioning into spring. Since these jeans are also made with elastane, you can expect them to stretch a bit, too.
AG Adriano Goldschmied Etta Jeans
The Best Wide-Leg Jeans With Stretch
- Sizes: 25-32
- Colors: Ruminate, living proof
If comfort is your first priority when it comes to denim shopping, then you’ll want to opt for AG Jeans’ Etta silhouette. The style is made from 10-ounce comfort stretch denim from Japan. It has a high waist and a relaxed fit from the hip, meaning that although you’ll feel supported, the jeans won’t squeeze too tight. You can try the off-white colorway if you’re looking for a great jean for the office, while the light blue jean is better for casual occasions. Finish them with loafers, and either way, you’re good to go.
Levi’s High Loose Jeans
Best Petite Wide-Leg Jeans
- Sizes: 23-33
- Color: Let’s Stay in
- Cotton and hemp blend requires less water and fewer pesticides to grow
While Levi’s signature 501 jeans will always be a favorite, for women on the petite side, it’s worth checking out the brand’s high-waisted loose jeans. Since they come in both a 29 and 31-inch inseam, you can size down without having to worry about hemming your denim. The jeans are made of both cotton and hemp, making them an unusual choice on the list. They still have a rigid fit, but you can expect them to loosen comfortably over time. The above-the-belly-button waistline is a flattering choice that lengthens the leg, no matter your height.
H&M Mama Wide High Ankle Jeans
Best Wide-Leg Maternity Jeans
- Sizes: XS-XXL
- Color: Light Denim Blue
If you’re expecting, you can safely assume that your normal rigid jeans won’t fit quite the same as your belly continues to grow. A pair of comfy maternity jeans can help you maintain your signature style while offering you a bit more stretch than your usual denim. These jeans from H&M include a waist panel that can easily fit over your stomach, so you’re not left leaving your bottoms unbuttoned. The mix of cotton and spandex in the jeans will ensure that throughout the day you’ll be able to move (and rest) without feeling constricted. Finish the look with sneakers and a relaxed band tee for a chic ensemble.
Madewell Perfect Vintage Jeans
The Best High-Waisted Wide-Leg Jeans
- Sizes: 23-32
- Colors: Edmunds Wash
Madewell is a brand that shoppers turn to for quality denim — it’s classic, and never overly trendy. These vintage-inspired jeans have an instantly flattering silhouette, hugging you gently at the waist and hip while flaring softly down into the leg. They also feature a slightly lower rise in the front and higher in the back, meaning that you’ll have extra coverage where it’s needed. If you need a tried-and-true everyday option, start here.
& Other Stories Wide-Leg Jeans
The Best Wide-Leg Flare Jeans
- Sizes: 24-28
- Color: Deep Blue
Embrace the ‘70s aesthetic with these wide-leg jeans by & Other Stories that flare at the bottom. They have plenty of room, so you’ll be able to move comfortably, whether you’re looking to hit the disco or just run errands. And since the jeans are made with a touch of elastane, they’ll stretch with you, too. The medium wash is also a smart choice if you’re looking for versatile denim that you can easily dress up or down. Swap platform boots for converse and you can take the look from evening to day.
Everlane Rigid Way-High Jeans
Best Wide-Leg Rigid Jeans
- Sizes: 23-35
- Colors: Worn-in black, Worn-in Blue, Vintage Light Wash, Rich Indigo
- Made of premium organic cotton
Everlane is the San Francisco brand known for its mastery of the basics. If you’re looking to build out your wardrobe staples, this is exactly where to start. The brand’s high-waisted rigid jeans are sturdy and will mold to your body. “I love the rigidness of the fabric, yet it sculpts to my body perfectly,” writes one reviewer. These jeans also come in both a regular and long option, making them a great silhouette for taller women who are worried about where their denim will hit at the ankle. While the black colorway is a must-try, the brand offers a range of denim hues, so you may want a pair in every color.
Free People Old West Slouchy Jeans
Best Low-Rise Wide-Leg Jeans
- Sizes: 24-35
- Colors: Deep Indigo, Shadow Play, Clear Water, Warm White, Canyon Blue, Dirt Road Blue, Martini Olive
You don’t have to be headed to the ranch to embrace these Western-inspired wide-leg jeans from Free People. The slouchy silhouette can be worn both higher on the waist or as a trendy low-rise jean depending on your preference. Try styling them low-slung on the hip with a fitted tank for an unexpected look inspired by the runways. The extra wide-leg is perfect for pairing with ankle boots for a little extra lift. “They are soft and swishy, flattering at the waist yet comfortable,” writes one reviewer.
Gabriela Hearst Norman Jeans
Best Wide-Leg Trouser Denim Trousers
- Sizes: IT 36-48
- Color: Navy
If you’re on the hunt for a pair of jeans that can work in a more formal office setting, look no further. These high-waisted wide-leg jeans from Gabriela Hearst have a polished, sophisticated look thanks to the dark wash, front darts and waist belt. Made in Italy from selvedge denim, these jeans will keep their shape through the day without wrinkling or getting too baggy. To finish off the look, style them with a printed blouse and a pair of kitten-heel pumps. Gold jewelry will add a stylish touch, standing out against the navy denim.
Good American Good ‘90s Jeans
The Best Plus Size Wide-Leg Jeans
- Sizes: 00-24
- Colors: Blue 934, Blue 542
“The best jeans out there for girls with a booty,” writes one reviewer of this Good American style. These high-waisted jeans are a favorite among shoppers for their relaxed, vintage-inspired fit. If you’re considering them for yourself, try styling them, as one customer suggests, with a half-tucked tee. The finished look is relaxed and has a touch of cool to it. Add a pair of low-top sneakers, and you’re good to go.
Ganni Magny Jeans
Best Colored Wide-Leg Jeans
- Sizes: 24-32
- Colors: Rutabaga, Bleach Blue, Mid Blue Vintage, Washed Black
Scandi favorite Ganni is a beloved brand for trendsetters all over the world. So, it’s no surprise that the playful label’s take on wide-leg denim is colorful and fun. These loose-fitting jeans feature a flattering high waist and wide leg from the thigh to the ankle. The yellow hue is a fitting option for spring, ideal for styling with printed tops and colorful sweaters, but there are more subdued options available as well. As you start to pull your seasonal wardrobe together, consider adding these to your rotation.
Boyish Jovi Jeans
Best Black Wide-Leg Jeans
- Sizes: 22-32
- Color: Space Odyssey
- Upcycled with organic cotton and Tencel
Ready to embrace the return of baggy jeans? Try a modern iteration of the ’90s trend by way of these high-waisted jeans from Boyish. The fit of this style is loose through the hip and leg, giving it a relaxed feel. The washed black hue with soft whiskering feels a tad more formal than blue finishes, but still works for daytime wear. To help balance out the fullness of the bottoms, try styling these with something more fitted up top like a cropped tank or preppy cardigan. The finished effect will be playful and fresh.
Frame High-Rise Wide-Leg Jeans
Best Wide-Leg Cargo Jeans
- Sizes: 23-32
- Color: Genoa
Another vintage look currently making a resurgence is the cargo-style jean. These light wash jeans from Frame take on the look without feeling too tactical. The small side pockets hit mid-thigh without adding any additional bulk. Since they sit above the belly button, they accentuate the waist, making for a flattering cut that will lengthen the leg. Finish with a pair of ankle boots or sneakers.
Meet The Experts
Jill Guenza is the Global VP of Women’s Design at Levi Strauss & Co. which was founded in 1853. The San Francisco-based label has created many iconic denim silhouettes, including the 501 original fit jeans. Today, the brand is known worldwide as one of the largest denim companies.
Maggie Winter is the CEO & co-founder of New York-based label AYR. The name, which stands for “All Year Round,” conveys the brand’s dedication to creating clothing that will stand the test of time. In addition to jeans, AYR makes classic, everyday staples like button-downs, coats and tees.
Meet The Author
Aemilia Madden is a writer, editor, and brand consultant who has worked in the fashion industry for over eight years. She’s an Oakland, California native and Brooklyn resident. When she’s not writing about the latest trends, Aemilia is running in Prospect Park, testing new recipes on her friends and trying to keep up with her New Yorker subscription.