When it comes to essentials, nothing tops the list quite like a great pair of jeans. It’s the ultimate workhorse of any wardrobe – a go-with-everything staple that no closet should be without. While I certainly have my tried-and-true favorites (these and these), the truth is, my denim rotation is an ever-changing lineup. There’s no one pair that I swear by, and even when I land on a new pair that comes as close to perfect as it gets (right now, it’s these and these), I never cease the hunt for the next best ones (just ordered these). Bottom line: denim choices are personal and finding the right ones can take a lot of trial and error.
If you’re on the hunt for your next best pair, here’s a cheat sheet that might help. Below, a hit list covering all of my current favorites – from the best boot-cut and a bevy of straight leg styles to my go-to pair of not-quite-white jeans and everything in between.
These Reformation jeans check every box for me when it comes to denim: high-waisted, straight-leg, no stretch, and the ideal length for wearing with ballet flats or a pair of heels. What really levels these jeans up for me though is the “Colorado” wash. It’s my idea of the perfect blue – a timeless shade that can easily be dressed up or down.
Hot tip: these jeans have zero stretch so if you are in between sizes, go up.
There’s never a time when there’s not at least (!) one pair of Agolde jeans in my rotation. Right now, that pair is the brand’s “Ren” jeans. They have a slim wide leg (too wide is too much for me) while still being fitted in all the right places. They’re a great daytime pair of jeans.
The newest addition to my lineup! I love (!) white denim and while I don’t abide to the old rule of not wearing them after Labor Day, I do find that they’re trickier to style this time of year. The best suitable alternative is a pair of ivory denim. This high-waisted pair totally fits the bill. With just a little bit of stretch, they’re super comfortable and the perfect shade of not-quite-white to take me from spring to summer.
These are one of my most-worn pairs of jeans. With a perfect lived-in blue wash, these jeans are cut with a wide-ish leg that hits at just the right spot on my ankle. I balance the leg volume out by wearing a more fitted silhouette (a white tee or lately, this cashmere sweater) on top.
Hot tip: Though they are meant to have a relaxed fit, I still think they run a little big. Go down a size if you aren’t sure.
As a rule, I always prefer rigid denim that have little to no stretch – but, of course, there are a couple of exceptions. This is one of them. These jeans are lightweight and have just the right amount of stretch so that I don’t feel like I am wearing leggings. They’re a big part of my rotation right now because the ankle flare is perfect for wearing with boots.
I wear black jeans a lot this time of year. They’re the go-to when I need a dressed-up denim look. Like every other pair of Khaite jeans I’ve owned, these jeans are superior in every way – minimal stretch (yet still super comfortable enough for all-day wear!), perfect ankle flare, and the quality of the denim is tip-top. These look great with every shoe, too, – ankle boots, pumps, or flats – making their wearability unbeatable.
I never judge the length of a pair of jeans by how it looks on the model. Models are tall – much taller than I! – so just because it looks super cropped on them doesn’t mean that’s how it’s going to look on me. This pair is a great example. It looks much more cropped on the model than it does on me. In fact, it hits me at just the right spot that allows me to wear it with pretty much any pair of shoes I want – flats, block heels, sandals, you name it.
This is really the only time of the year I wear skinny jeans as I almost always prefer a straight-leg style. But right now, a pair of skinny jeans is essential since tall boots are a regular part of my winter uniform. These jeans are a straight-forward skinny jean – classic wash, high-rise, a comfortable amount of stretch, and ideal for wearing under a tall pair of boots to minimize any sort of bunching up of denim.