Jeans are so practical! They’re durable, don’t require dry cleaning or even daily laundering, and can be dressed up or down. It’s one of the most important items in any women’s closet.
So why is it so hard to find a perfectly fitting pair of jeans? Because you’re fitting so many different dimensions simultaneously: waist, seat, crotch, thighs, ankles – it’s a lot to manage in a single piece of clothing. And it’s worth investing your time and budget to find your perfect pair. You’ll get your cost per wear out of them if you find something you really love to put on.
Below are my top 5 favorite jeans, all of which I own personally. And I’ll tell you why I love each of them.
#5: American Eagle Outfitters High-Waisted Tomgirl Jeans
High Rise, Relaxed Fit, Some Stretch (best for trends)
I have been hunting for a relaxed, boyfriend cut that was not too baggy or sloppy for years. I finally found the American Eagle Outfitters High-Waisted Tomgirl which clasped my waist without clinging to my thighs. I love that it’s a reasonable price, but I do recommend being discerning. One of the reasons premium denim costs more is the manufacturing process. While expensive jeans are cut in small piles, minimizing variation, inexpensive jeans are cut in large piles to save time and labor. By the time the blades reach the bottom pair, the blades could have shifted or bowed slightly resulting in a top pair that is a completely different size than the bottom pair. I purchased two different pairs of High-Waisted Tomgirl jeans in the same cut but different washes and one fit perfectly while the other fit the waist but was baggy and droopy through the hip and seat. Don’t hesitate to try on or order more than one pair to ensure your fit is faultless, regardless of the manufacturing inconsistencies. It’s worth the effort if you’re looking to experiment with a trendy cut, wash, or detail. American Eagle Outfitters has some of the best variety in the latest styles.
#4: Old Navy High Rise Rockstar Jeans
High Rise, Very Skinny Fit, Stretch (best for budgets)
As a woman, there’s a good chance you’re going to spend time shifting between jean sizes. Women’s bodies can vary from pregnancy, nursing, age, stress, hormones, and a dozen other factors. One of my favorite places to go when I’m in between jean sizes is Old Navy. I’ve been a fan of the Old Navy Rockstar for years, and I love it even more now that they offer a high-rise, mid-rise, and low-rise fit in addition to plus sizes. They carry a large number of options in stores, but even more selection online. You should always have at least one pair of jeans that fits you perfectly. You don’t have to spend triple digits on a temporary pair of jeans, because you may not be that size long enough to justify the cost per wear. Remember, no one knows what size you’re wearing, but they can always tell if you’re wearing a pair that’s too big or too small.
Buy Old Navy Rockstar Jeans here:
#3: LOFT Curvy or Modern Skinny
Mid Rise, Moderate Skinny Fit, Some Stretch (best for petites)
When it comes to a soft delicious center, rise is really the most important consideration. If the rise is too low, you’ll get a full serving of muffin top. If the rise is too high, and the fabric lacks structure, you’ll end up with a kangaroo pouch. If you’re wondering what the rise is before you try a pair of jeans on, use your hand spavn as a guide. Less than a hand span is a low rise (8 inches or less), equal to a hand span is mid-rise (8-9 inches), greater than a hand span is high rise (9 inches or more). Your soft delicious center should be secure in a mid-rise silhouette. The rise should hit at the widest part of your midsection, corseting everything in. The LOFT Curvy is best for narrow waists and curvier hips/bottoms/thighs. The LOFT Modern Skinny will suit straighter hips and thighs. LOFT also offers great petite options for those 5 ft 3 in or shorter.
Buy LOFT Modern Skinny Jeans here:
#2: The AG Farrah
High Rise, Very Skinny Fit, Light/Flexible Fabric (best for comfort)
Curvy hips, full thighs, round bottom, if you have a curvy or hourglass figure, you need a fabric that will flex and follow the line of your body without bagging out by the end of the day; All of that is available in the AG Farrah. AG’s fabrics are unmatched; the owner, Mr. Ku, scours the fabric mills in Japan and around the world to find just the right blend. The material is soft, light, and deliciously soft but still delivers all the sculpting support where it’s needed. And when you wash them they recover (or come back to their original shape) perfectly. These have a 31″ inseam which will suit unaltered if you are between 5 ft 4 in and 5 ft 8 in.
Buy AG Farrah Jeans here:
#1: The Madewell 10″ High Rise Skinny
High Rise, Skinny Fit, Medium Wash, Soft but Structured Fabric (best overall)
Anyone else struggle with back gap in their jeans? What determines whether you get a gap in the back of your jeans is the rise of the waist and the denim yoke – the triangle shaped seam located on the backside of the jeans below the waistband. Those who regularly struggle with back gap may have seat, curvy hips, and/or full thighs- their waist is generally a smaller size then the what lies below their waist. The Madewell 10-Inch High Rise Skinnies have a generous V-shaped yoke accommodating both curvy hips and seat while a high 10 inch-rise clasps a narrower waist. When looking for great jeans, don’t expect stretch to do all the work for you, good construction will give you a far better shape.
If you happen to have a short torso, or are under 5 feet 3 inches tall, I recommend reducing the rise of your jeans and going for the shorter inseam. Madewell also offers a 9 Inch-High Rise Skinny, but an 8 inch, mid-rise with a shorter hem might be the best fit for a petite figure. This cut also comes in a longer, tall length for those over 5 ft 9 in as well, and a taller length for those over 6 ft.
Buy Madewell Skinnies here:
I’ll be working on most posts for petites, talls, plus sizes, budget, and premium denim. Feel free to comment and tell me what your favorite pair of jeans are, and I’ll be sure to include them in my evaluations.
Learn more about the Pitfalls of High Rise Denim
The Perfect Pair of Jeans $48
(Virtual Mini Shopping Session)
Too tall, too short, back gap, saggy bum? Whatever your denim dilemma, I will help you find jeans that fit not only your body, but your style, and budget. Following a virtual survey, I will evaluate your shape, size, and style and return with multiple recommendations or currently available items that fit your body and life perfectly.
Democracy Itty bitty boot jeans have been cladding my generous hour glass curves lately. Love the four way stretch, nice yoke and that they have womens sizeing. They clasp my significantly smaller waist, no gaping, clasp my tummy without creating ‘belly balls’ and manage to not bag on my flatter backside. They also come in a burmuda short with the same fit. I wore Silver Suki curvy fit for a while because they were one of the few higher quality jeans I knew about that offered plus sizing (when are they going to drop the ‘Plus’ and just dress women whatever their size?) They are paying rent in my closet as I reach for the Democracy jeans first, likely due to the comfort of the stretch in the denim and I don’t have to hitch them back up my waist after sitting like with the Silver. I would love more high quality options like these as I’ve found old navy jeans just don’t hold up. Looking forward to the Plus and tall round up.
Thank you for this great resource.
Do you have jeans altered to fit you, or are these straight from the store without alterations?
Sometimes waist gap is the only problem . .. . curvier hips that bigger than waistline . . . Have you found that a tailor can fix it adequately or should I keep shopping?
I can wear each of the jeans I featured here unaltered, but I have had jeans altered in the past. It’s not a difficult or expensive fix to take some width out of the waist. I almost always have to have this done for shorts and twill pants because there are fewer options.