"Levi’s 501s are my comfort zone, so this wide-leg, waist-high style is new for me. They’d be great for work with a very fitted jacket." — Julia Jordan, 46, physician recruiter
Crisp, dark flares with an urban attitude and high rise are this fall’s black pants. Jordan’s Not Your Daughter’s Jeans ($118), with three percent spandex, have angled pockets in front and none behind for a sleeker shape. Lauren by Ralph Lauren wool tweed jacket ($260). Anna Sui wool turtleneck ($216). Lauren by Ralph Lauren pumps ($148).
"I’m all about vintage-look funky jeans. Finding a style that fits my waist and my derriere is always the challenge." — Beth Kristiansen, 43, aesthetician
Beat-up hippie flares with an artsy soul are reincarnated as brand-new fades with a curve-accommodating fit that true vintage lacks. They’re great with this year’s floaty tunics and wedges. Kristiansen is wearing True Religion "Joey" style ($253) with contour seaming that slims the legs. Max & Co. silk tunic ($198). Kate Spade shoes ($325). Henry Beguelin bag ($1,325).
"Right now I prefer wide-leg jeans worn with a body-conscious sweater — exactly the opposite of last year’s skinny jeans and a loose top." — Terri Borden, 44, fashion consultant
Super-wide high-waist jeans are this season’s hotties. Lightweight denims that mimic menswear weaves in sophisticated gray-blues or indigo top the list. Length matters: The hem should just skim the floor. Borden is wearing Hudson Jeans ($190) linen-weight style with deep patch pockets that lie flat under fitted tops. M Missoni top ($595). Manolo Blahnik shoes ($615). Tory Burch bag ($425). Suzi Roher belt ($345).
"Stretch jeans and a pretty sweater are a quick, low-key solution for evenings out with my husband. It never looks like I’m trying too hard." — Molly Mahn, 42, former ad executive, mother of four
All our testers wanted one pair of tight, sexy jeans that are not super-low. These three won’t reveal your thong; pair them with feminine tops, metallic stilettos, and a fancy necklace. Mahn is wearing AG Adriano Goldschmied "Angel" ($145) with two percent stretch. White + Warren sweater ($155). Michael Kors sandals ($695). Anya Hindmarch bag ($980). R.J. Graziano necklace ($85).
"Slim bootcuts with a just-below-the-belly-button rise work for me. I’d wear these velvets out to dinner right now." — Susan Mohi, 52, development director
Velvet bootlegs and a glam top are a posh option for evenings out or holiday entertaining. Mohi’s Citizens of Humanity flares ($172) provide a luxurious base for sequins and silk. Iisli matte-sequin sweater jacket ($498). Badgely Mischka Platinum Sportswear top ($398). Jean-Michel Cazabat pumps ($495). Michael Kors bag ($695).
"Jeans are my marker between work and private life, the first thing I put on when I come home. This is a very European way to wear them." — Laurie Facci, 42, account manager
Slim ankle-length jeans worn with ballet flats and a cropped jacket are an all-seasons look now. A perfect fit is essential; this jean should end crisply at the anklebone. Facci’s Paige "Roxbury" style ($180) masters the hip-and-derriere cling with two percent stretch. J.Crew wool jacket ($148). Petit Bateau cotton tank ($40). French Sole ballet flats ($195). Marc Jacobs bag ($1,495).
"A pair of well-cut jeans and a jacket are my ultimate confidence booster. I always add a pop of color near the face." — Phyllis Spencer, 42, police officer
This cut — fitted in the hip, wide in the leg — can nudge your curves into line. Top it off with navy to create a lean, monochromatic silhouette (but resist pairing jeans with a denim jacket unless you’re a cowgirl). Spencer is wearing Ann Taylor Loft jeans ($54). Strenesse Gabriele Strehle wool jacket ($895). Pendleton cotton turtleneck ($75). Etienne Aigner slingbacks ($69). Tory Burch bag ($295).
"I prefer whatever jeans are in style, as long as they’re tight and narrow. I’m in my best shape ever thanks to pole-dancing lessons, so why not?" — Judy Rabinowitz, 50, hairstylist
Edgy skinny-leg jeans in black or weathered gray — the season’s fashion equivalent of a tattoo — perk up all-black wardrobes and add extra spice to leather jackets and boots. Rabinowitz’s Jordache vintage-look pencils ($79) have a lean, mean fit that shows off a serious yoga body. Mackage leather jacket ($550). Pendleton turtleneck ($75). Claudia Ciuti boots ($458). 49 SQ MI bag ($750).
"My mother never let me wear jeans as a child, so I make up for it now. I have dozens in every style, every wash, every length." — Jill Johnson McArthur, 51, yoga instructor
Sleek jeans tucked into riding boots have great eye appeal — but not when the fabric bunches or bulges. Stretch cigarette cuts like McArthur’s Armani Exchange straight leg ($98) slide like pantyhose into knee-high boots. Boss Black cardigan ($295). Petit Bateau shirt ($37). Claudia Ciuti boots ($557). Madewell scarf ($45). Ellen Tracy belt ($68).
"I could happily wear jeans every day — and my options have increased now that my daughter and I wear the same size." — Ronni Anderson-Ramirez, 42, event planner
If you don’t like the feel of denim, try these pinwale cords (but avoid skintight ones). In refined grays, browns, and earthy greens, they make sophisticated partners for blazers and boots or casual hoodies and sneakers. Anderson-Ramirez’s Joseph’s stretch cords ($275) have high rear pockets to lift the derriere. J.Crew cashmere sweater ($80). Converse All Stars ($42). Gap bag ($50).