These Are the 15 Best Jeans We’d Recommend to Friends, After Testing 44 Pairs |

These Are the 15 Best Jeans We’d Recommend to Friends, After Testing 44 Pairs


Our favorite pair of jeans, Madewell’s The ’90s Straight offer the look and feel of vintage denim while still being comfortable enough to wear all day. Plus, they come in various lengths for different heights and boast smoothing pockets. We also are impressed with the value of Hollister’s Low-Rise Bootcut Jean. They kept us polished and comfortable on an international trip and we actually became fans of the low-rise.

There’s arguably no single piece of clothing that plays a more essential part of your wardrobe than a reliable pair of jeans. There’s also arguably no single piece of clothing that’s harder to shop for than a good pair of jeans. “[Jeans] feel like they should be simple, but it can take some work to find your perfect pair,” said Kennedy Carter, creative director at Amazon Style. “But there is [something] out there for everyone; it just requires some patience.”

To make your search a little easier, we tested 44 different pairs of jeans over four weeks. We chose jeans across brands, silhouettes, and price points, and gave each pair to two testers with different body types and sizes. Our testers regularly wore and washed the jeans during the test, and rated each pair on fit, comfort, durability, and overall quality. Here are the best jeans that impressed us—and everyone that saw us wearing them.

Our Top Picks


Madewell The ’90s Straight Jean at Nordstrom ($128)

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Spanx Flare Jeans at Amazon ($148)

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Calvin Klein Original Straight Fit Jean at (See Price)

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Everlane The Way-High Sailor Jean at ($128)

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Joe’s Jeans The Mia Ankle at (See Price)

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Citizens of Humanity Ayla Baggy Cuffed Crop Jeans at Nordstrom ($258)

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Hollister Low-Rise Medium Wash Boot Jeans at (See Price)

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Mother The Weekender Fray at ($258)

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Frame Le Easy High Rise Flare Jeans at Bloomingdales ($268)

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PAIGE Cindy Mel at (See Price)

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Best Overall

Madewell The ’90s Straight Jean

Madewell The ’90s Straight Jean




Material: 100% Cotton | Size Range: 23-34, 14W-18W | Rise: High | Inseam: 28, 30, 30.5, 33.5 inches

Tester one is 5’3” and identifies with a curvy body shape and tested a size 28 in these jeans. They are the right length but a little looser in the legs than she expected. As someone with a fairly short torso, the jeans go right up to her belly button.

Tester two is 5’1” and identifies with a curvy body shape and tested a size 18W in these jeans. Being both short and plus-size, she often struggles with finding jeans that fit right, yet she loves how these look and that they don’t need to be hemmed.

There are a lot of reasons to love these jeans, from the fact that they come in standard, plus, petite, and tall sizes to how they offer that ‘90s straight jean look with a modern touch. Designed with smoothing pockets in the front and a butt-lifting back, these jeans give us an extra confidence boost. Yet they are comfortable enough to wear all day at the office without any digging in the waistband. Made from 100% cotton, they have a nice weight to them and they don’t stretch out while wearing or washing. We can tell they will last a long time, and with a mid-range price point and a timeless silhouette, they are more than worth the money.

Best Shaping

Spanx Flare Jeans

Spanx flare jeans plus size




Material: 91% Cotton, 7% polyester, 2% lycra elastane | Size Range: XS-3X | Rise: High | Inseam: 32, 34, 37 inches

Tester one is 5’4 ” and identifies with an hourglass figure and tested a size L. As a mom, she loves shaping jeans and thinks these are the best combination of stretchy and shaping, though she wished they were 1-inch higher in the waist.

Tester two is 5’4” and identifies as curvy and tested a size 2X. She said these are the most comfortable jeans she’s tried, though they are 3 inches too long, even in the petite size.

Spanx is known for some of the best shapewear on the market, so it comes as little surprise that they make the best shaping jeans. Yet before you worry that “shaping jeans” will be restrictive, know that these are one of the most comfortable pairs of jeans we’ve tried. While we usually can’t wait to take jeans off at the end of a long work day, we barely feel like we have these on, partially thanks to the lack of hardware and zippers in the pull-on style. A combination of cotton, polyester, and elastane allows these jeans to hug us in all the right places while smoothing out our tummy and lifting our backside. With a flare leg, they look and feel more like jeans than jeggings, and they don’t sag or stretch out over time. Do note that they run long, even in the petite sizes, and are meant to be worn with heels.

Best Straight

Calvin Klein Original Straight Fit Jean

Calvin Klein Original Straight Fit Jean


Calvin Klein


Material: 99% Cotton, 1% elastane | Size Range: 25-29 inches | Rise: Mid | Inseam: 29.5 inches

Tester one is 5’9” and identifies as curvy and tested a size 27. The jeans are a little too short but still wearable.

You can’t go wrong with a straight-leg jean, which offers timeless appeal and unlimited style options. Known for its basics, Calvin Klein aces the capsule wardrobe staple with a high-quality, mid-priced option. We are really impressed with the quality—the jeans don’t stretch out or become baggy during wear, they don’t shrink or fade after washing, and the wash doesn’t rub off onto other clothes. No pinching or digging either! Though the brand describes these as high-rise, these feel more like mid-rise falling 2 to 3 inches below our belly button.

Best Wide Leg

Everlane The Way-High Sailor Jean

Everlane The Way-High Sailor Jean




Material: 98% Regenerative cotton, 2% elastane | Size Range: 23-33 | Rise: High | Inseam: 27.5, 29.5 inches

Tester one is 5’6” and describes her body type as somewhere between an inverted triangle and an hourglass. She tested a size 27 and found the length a little too short for her liking. 

Tester two is 5’5” and describes her body type as hourglass. She tested the 27.5-inch inseam and said the length was perfect.

Rightfully dubbed “sailor jeans” this pair gives you that nautical wide leg and high-rise. Yet what really impresses us is how comfortable and stretchy these jeans are without sacrificing style. “The denim is solidly constructed and holds its shape while wearing, unlike cheaper denim that tends to loosen throughout the day,” says Molly, one of our testers. “They aren’t as stiff and weighty as classic Levi’s or vintage denim, for example, but they provide a similar look that is much more comfortable and forgiving.” Our other tester says these are some of the most comfortable jeans she’s tried, and even after washing them in her building’s abrasive washing machine, the denim stayed in mint condition. Do note that the high-rise is quite high—it reaches our rib cage while sitting down—and there are two different inseams to choose from.

Best Petite

Joe’s Jeans The Mia Ankle

Joe’s Jeans The Mia Ankle


Joe’s Jeans


Material: 99% Cotton, 1% elastane | Size Range: 23-34 | Rise: High | Inseam: 28 inches

Tester one is 5’6” and identifies as curvy and tested a size 27. She usually struggles with jeans gaping at the waist but doesn’t have that problem with these.

Tester two is 5’2” and identifies as curvy and ordered a size 29. She was shocked that these jeans weren’t too long. 

“Whenever I wear these jeans, I feel like a ‘70s supermodel,” said Emily Cieslak, associate commerce editor at Byrdie, who considers herself petite at 5’3”. “Not only is the combination of a high-rise and wide leg elongating, but they are the perfect length to wear with heels.”  We also love how much softer and lightweight the material feels compared to typical denim. “These are some of the most comfortable jeans I’ve ever owned,” says Bailey, one of the testers. “The fabric is super soft and stretchy, so you can wear them all day long and feel comfortable—and they don’t leave any indents on our body.” Due to their ability to stretch, these are the type of jeans you can actually feast at dinner and feel comfortable in—take our word for it: we wore them to Thanksgiving dinner and didn’t even think about zipping them down.

Best Baggy

Citizens of Humanity Ayla Baggy Cuffed Crop Jeans

Citizens of Humanity Ayla Baggy Cuffed Crop Jeans


Citizens of Humanity


Material: 100% Organic cotton | Size Range: 22-34 | Rise: Mid | Inseam: 32 inches

Tester one is 5’5” and describes her body type as curvy, hourglass. She tested her usual size, 27, and they are large but still wearable as the length is perfect. She says this is the first pair of baggy jeans that look good on her shorter silhouette. 

Tester two is 5’1” and describes her body type as petite, and curvy. She ordered her regular size and these jeans are larger than normal, but like our other tester, the length is just right and she digs the baggy look.

If you’ve been looking for a good pair to get on the slouchy jean trend, look no further. “I love the oversized, exaggerated silhouette. The shape is everything!” says Sarah, one of our testers. “I always look for jeans that are unique, and I love that these are different but still easy to style.” You can belt them, you can roll up the hems, and because they have a nice medium weight, you can easily wear them all year round. We do recommend sizing down for the best fit.

Best Budget

Hollister Low-Rise Medium Wash Boot Jeans

Hollister Low-Rise Medium Wash Boot Jeans




Material: 77% Cotton, 16% polyester, 5% viscose, 2% elastane | Size Range: 000-20 | Rise: Low | Inseam: Regular, short, long

Tester one is 5’6” and describes her body type as athletic. She ordered a size 4 and loves the way the pair fits.

Tester two is 5” and describes her body type as curvy. She ordered a 15S and said they are slightly large due to the stretchiness. 

Low-rise, boot-cut jeans are still hard to find these days—though low-rise jeans are certainly making a comeback—so who better to master the style than one of the OG creators, Hollister? Hitting right below our belly button, these aren’t exactly the thong-bearing pants of the early aughts, and we are pleasantly surprised with how much we enjoy the look and feel of the lower rise. These jeans have a good amount of stretch—they almost feel like a jegging but are more substantial. We took this pair to India, and they were the ultimate travel pants for long plane and car rides. And they survived a rougher wash in a foreign country, a big feat for a $50 pair.

Best Curvy

Mother The Weekender Fray

Mother The Weekender Fray Jean


Mother Denim


Material: 78% Cotton, 16% modal, 4% polyester, 2% elastane | Size Range: 23-34 | Rise: High | Inseam: 31 inches

Tester one is 5’2” and identifies as an hourglass body type. She ordered a size 26 and both the length, hitting at her ankles, and fit is perfection.

Though our tester usually struggles with finding jeans that are wide enough for her hips yet narrow enough for her waist, she didn’t have that problem with these. “Not only do they fit my hips well, they hug my stomach in the best way, really accentuating my hourglass figure,” says Caitlyn, our tester. The material is the Goldilocks of jeans—not too thick, not too thin—and the stretchiness offers the right amount of comfort without bagging. Even after enjoying a ton of pasta at dinner, our tester felt so comfortable and at ease in these jeans. She’s tried all the popular jean brands (Agolde, Levi’s, Pistola, Abercrombie, Gap/Banana), and she swears these flares are the best. “I have gotten so many compliments on my shape in these jeans, and my best friends all agree that they make my butt look crazy good,” she said.

Best Flare

Frame Le Easy High Rise Flare Jeans

Frame Le Easy High Rise Flare Jeans




Material: 77% Cotton, 18.5% rayon, 3.5% elasterell-p, 1% elastane | Rise: High | Size Range: 23-34 | Inseam: 31 inches

Tester one is 5’3” and has a slender and athletic figure. She tested size 25 in these jeans and said they hug all her curves in the best way, though she has to wear them with heels to be the right length

Tester two is 5’7” and describes her body as curvy. She ordered a size 30 and likes the way they fit but feels they are too short.

Calling all flare jean fans—these are your best bet. With a slim fit in the thighs that gradually extends out into a flare leg and fading throughout, these jeans make our legs look miles long. “I love the way they look on me. I feel like they elongate the right parts of my legs,” said our tester Annalee. “I have never had such soft jeans that weren’t jeggings. The fabric is thin enough to feel comfy but constructed well enough to give shape and high quality enough to hold it.” Despite the soft fabric, the jeans hold up well over wearing and washing, not changing in color or size.

Best Splurge

PAIGE Cindy Mel

PAIGE Cindy Mel




Material: 93% cotton, 5%/ polyester, 2% spandex | Size Range: 23-34 | Rise: Mid | Inseam: 28 inches

Tester one is 5’2” and identifies with a pear body type. She ordered a size 25 and recommends sizing down.

Tester two
 is 5’5” and describes her body type as curvy. She recommends sizing up.

Yes, spending over $200 on a pair of jeans is an investment, but when they become your go-to jeans and your go-to leggings, it is worth it. “I’m 7 months postpartum and for the first time in a very long time, I finally feel confident in something other than leggings, and it’s all thanks to these jeans,” says Karla, one of our testers. “They have a goldilocks level of give—not too stretchy, not too tight, just right—that holds everything together without feeling suffocating.” She even wore them to a trip to the Caribbean, where the temps were in the 80s, and the jeans were still breathable. Despite wearing them non-stop, we haven’t seen any wear in terms of fraying or ripping. Our other tester also loves the design. “​​I like the way they fit me—they feel tailored but also laid-back and cool,” says Kate.

Best Stretchy

7 For All Mankind B(Air) Kimmie Straight in Rinsed Indigo

7 For All Mankind B(Air) Kimmie Straight in Rinsed Indigo


7 For All Mankind 


Material: 35% Organic cotton, 34% cotton, 14% recycled polyester, 14% lyocell | Size Range: 23-34 | Rise: Mid | Inseam: 33 inches

Tester one is 5’2” and describes her body type as slender and got a size 27. The jeans were two inches too long on her, so she cuffed them.

Tester two is 5’8” and describes herself as curvy, hourglass. She ordered a 29 for the test. The length is perfect with sneakers but a smidge too short with heels.

What if we told you that you could get the comfort of sweatpants in designer jeans? Well, that’s the case with our favorite stretch jeans. “These are not only my comfiest jeans, but also my comfiest pant overall,” says our tester Karla. “No buttons or tags digging into the skin, and the waist did not pinch at all. I kept telling everyone that the jeans were so comfortable, it was equivalent to wearing soft sweatpants.” While high-stretch jeans might be less durable or more prone to sagging, that isn’t the case with these. “The jeans held up well throughout wearing them. There was no fading, shrinking, or any changes when they were washed and dried. There is also no transfer of the color to other clothes or skin. They are very durable and still look as new as the day I got them.” says Karla.

Best Mom Jeans

Still Here Childhood Jeans

Still Here Childhood Straight-Fit Jeans


Saks Fifth Avenue


Material: 100% BCI-Certified Cotton | Size Range: 22-32 | Rise: High | Inseam: Not listed

Tester one is 5’5” and describes her body type as somewhere between an hourglass and a rectangle.

Tester two is 5’4” and describes her body type as athletic. The jeans were a tad too long but one cuff made them perfect.

If you love the look and feel of vintage denim but haven’t been lucky enough to score the perfect pair at a thrift shop, we recommend scooping up this one from Still Here. Not only do they boast a classic high-waist with a button fly, but the 100% cotton makeup offers that thick, rigid feel that takes us back to the ‘80s. Yet that doesn’t mean they aren’t comfortable. “I wore them everywhere and did many activities in them from long walks to city bike rides to celebratory dinners,” says our tester Kathleen. “These jeans were extremely comfortable.” The straight leg and wedgie fit also works for a variety of body types. “I think it can be hard to find true straight-leg pants that aren’t wide-leg and aren’t too tight on my calves, so it was a relief to try on the jeans and be happy with the way they fit my body and see it be honestly marketed online,” says our tester Heer.

Best Plus-Size

NYDJ Marilyn Straight Jeans

NYDJ Marilyn Straight Jeans




Material: 90% Cotton, 8% elastomultiester, 2% lycra® elastane | Size Range: 00-28, petite | Rise: High | Inseam: 30,32 inches

Tester one is 5’9” and describes her body type as hourglass. She ordered the 8 tall size and they are a little too long when wearing flats.

Tester two is 5’3” and describes her body type as curvy. Despite ordering 14 petite, the jeans are still too long.

Coming in plus sizes up to 28, in addition to petite and regular, these high-rise, straight jeans cater to all body types. Not to mention they have a smoothing panel in the front and a signature design in the back to accentuate your curves. “The fit is really good and contoured to my body well,” says our tester Rachel. The material is stretchy yet feels high quality and looks great after wearing and washing. “The material is somewhat medium: not paper thin but not a heavy, un-stretchy jean, so they’re comfy to both chase my kids in and sit down on the couch to relax in, plus sit at my desk to work,” says our tester Kate.

Best Boyfriend

Kut from the Kloth Catherine Mid Rise Boyfriend

Kut from the Kloth Catherine Mid Rise Boyfriend Jeans


Kut from the Kloth 


Material: 91% Cotton, 7% polyester, 2% elastane | Size Range: 00-18 | Rise: Mid | Inseam: 26.5 inches (after roll up)

Tester one is 5’5” and describes her shape as slender to apple. She ordered a size 0, and they fit just right.

Tester two is 5’8” and describes her shape as pear/hourglass.

We love a good boyfriend jean outfit for a casual look or to offset more elevated pieces. These jeans check off all our boxes. They fit great—even on our tall tester, the length is perfect. “I’m actually really impressed and surprised with how well they fit. It’s been a long time since a pair of jeans felt that good, to be honest,” says our tester Bierley. “There isn’t anything about the thighs that is too loose or the waist that is too tight.” Working as a photographer, our tester moves around a lot, and the material provides the ideal amount of stretch to crouch comfortably. In fact, one of our testers describes these jeans as a more sturdy pair of leggings. “These jeans are SUPER comfortable. After receiving many compliments on their color of wash and look on me, I would go “Feel them! They’re so soft!!’ ” says our tester Dera. We honestly thought these were more expensive based on the look, quality, and feel.

Best Skinny

J.Crew Curvy Vintage Slim Straight Jean

J.Crew Curvy Vintage Slim Straight Jean




Material: 88% Cotton, 8% polyester, 4% Lycra® spandex | Size Range: 23-37 | Rise: High | Inseam: 24.5, 27.5, 30.5 inches

Tester one is 5’1” and describes her body type as athletic and ordered a size 23 petite. She is impressed with how she could find a petite size that fit her waist well.

Tester two is 5’7” and describes her body type as a pear and tested a size 34. She loves how these jeans fit her hips and butt well without gapping.

No, skinny jeans aren’t dead, especially when it comes to styles like this one from J.Crew, which feature a cigarette-style leg that’s more chic than those suffocating styles from skinnies heyday. These jeans offer a true denim feel with thick seams and high-quality cotton fabric, though there is a touch of stretch. We’re impressed with how the waist doesn’t bag or sag while wearing and the brand’s perfecting pockets smooth us out and lifts us up. And we had to give bonus points for the tall and petite sizing options.

Five different women wearing different styles of jeans

What to Look for in Jeans

  • Fabric: If you prefer the feel of rigid denim, go for styles made out of 100% cotton. These styles may feel tight at first, but they will gradually stretch out and mold to your body. If you want stretch jeans from the jump, go for pants that blend cotton with elastane or spandex.
  • Silhouette: From skinny to flares to baggy to bootcut, jeans come in various silhouettes that compliment different shoes and aesthetics. Most stylists recommend investing in a few different silhouettes, but if you can only get one, they recommend the straight leg. “They are great for all silhouettes, flattering, simple, and the most comfortable,” says stylist Catherine Bibeau. “And they can easily be dressed up or down depending on the occasion with any kind of shoes.”
  • Inseam: Carter recommends checking the inseam length, which is the length of the inner pant leg, and considering not only your height but also what type of shoe you’re planning on wearing with any given pair of jeans. If you plan on wearing your jeans with heels, you may want a longer inseam whereas a shorter inseam is better for wearing with flats or sneakers. If you are short or tall, look for styles that offer inseams for your height for the best fit.

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In a shopping mood? Here are a few tried-and-true Byrdie favorites to compliment your new favorite pair of jeans.


  • How do you find your jean size when shopping online?We’ll admit shopping for jeans online is no easy feat, as sizing varies greatly by brand. That’s why we always recommend having your measuring tape handy and referring to the style specific size guide and customer reviews to find your jean size. ​​And before you cut off the tags, our stylists recommend sitting and standing in them, as well as trying the jeans with different shoes and tops.
  • What’s the best way to wash your jeans?Pay close attention to the care tag; as a general rule, washing on cold, with like colors (and sometimes inside out) and line drying is your best bet. Top tip: You can also put them in a plastic zip-top bag and place them in the freezer overnight to kill odor-causing bacteria.

Why Trust Byrdie

Emily Cieslak is an associate commerce editor at Byrdie and has written countless articles about jeans for sites like InStyle and People. 

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She interviewed the below experts to help her uncover the best jeans to buy now.

  • Kennedy Carter is a fashion expert and the Creative Director at Amazon Style.
  • Catherine Bibeau is a stylist, fashion veteran, and creative fashion designer with over 15 years of experience


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