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8 Styles of Jeans You Need in Your Closet—and How to Wear Them

There’s a pair of jeans out there for everyone — promise!


Boot cut jeans

Also called flares, these are back in style, along with everything else that is ’70s-inspired. You can go with flares as wide as you’d like, based on the look you are going for—a simple, subtle bell shape works with booties, flats, and sneakers. If you’re petite, it’s important to buy them in a petite size so you don’t end up having to chop off most of the flare if you get your jeans tailored. Find out the most common denim jeans mistakes — and how to avoid them.


Skinny jeans

Skinny jeans have gotten a bad rap in recent years for being, well, too skinny, but there’s still a time and a place to wear your favorite pair. They go perfectly with any A-line or tunic tops to help give balance to your look, and they’re great for tucking into boots and booties in colder weather. (Related: Check out these fashion hacks to make your outfit look expensive.)


Boyfriend jeans

If you’re into a relaxed look, break out a pair of boyfriend jeans. They don’t have to be distressed to a point of falling apart, just look for a pair that sits comfortably on the hips and has roominess throughout the leg. Boyfriend jeans should be cuffed to help give them a more tailored feel. Avoid tapered styles as these will draw attention to your midsection and thighs through their inverted triangle shape. (Related: These little fashion tricks can make you look 10 pounds thinner.)



Moms and anyone who has to move constantly or bend over a lot should consider jeggings, they make sitting on the floor or squatting to talk to a small child a lot easier on your legs. Look for a combination of fabrics (not just cotton), and try to keep them out of the dryer so they don’t lose their elasticity. Always wear them with a long top so you don’t flash your undies when you’re seated.


Cropped jeans

Cropped jeans have been around since the 1960s, but the fashion set has been wearing them flared, frayed, and cropped lately. If that sounds like a few too many trends rolled into one pair of pants for you, try a simple hemmed and cropped pair. They’ll tuck nicely into boots and booties, and they give off a casual feeling when worn with sneakers on the weekend. (Related: Find out Audrey Hepburn-approved style tips.)


Straight leg jeans

Straight leg denim might be the most confusing style, mostly because it’s hard to figure out if a pair of jeans is straight leg. Here’s how you do it: take the bottom hem of the jeans and fold it into the knee. If it’s a flare, the bottom edge will cover the top; if it’s a skinny, the opposite will be true, and if it’s a straight let, the knee and the bottom hem will line up perfectly. Wear your straight leg jeans with everything from tees and sneakers on the weekend to heels and a silk blouse on date night. (Related: Don’t miss these 51 fashion secrets from personal stylists.)


Dark denim jeans

Dark denim still reigns for business casual dress codes, mostly because it looks tailored and clean, no matter the style. If you’re looking for a pair you can rely on as your go-to for work looks, try a straight leg in a dark denim wash. It’s the most versatile shape and can be worn with flats or boots and a blouse and blazer for an easy midweek work look. Avoid these outfit mistakes that can make you look messy.


Selvedge jeans

Selvedge refers to denim in its raw state: It’s often stiff to the touch and is made from 100 percent cotton. While it might feel unbearable in your hand, a pair of selvedge jeans will get softer and softer over time. If you can find the time to commit to breaking them in, you’ll be rewarded with a new favorite pair of denim.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest