30 Best Jeans for Women

The best jeans for every style and shape, tested by a team of very opinionated readers.

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Jeans for the Executive

"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).

Joe’s ($158) Businesslike classics with a subtle high rise and enough polish for a blazer pairing.

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"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).

Levi’s Red Tab flare jeans ($44) Soft as flannel PJs, with faux patch pockets in back to minimize your rear.

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"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).

Lucky Brand stretch cottons ($120) have attention-getting pockets fore and aft; the wide waistband defeats muffin-top.

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"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).

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Levi’s Skinny ($44) Sturdy stretch denim holds you in like a body shaper.

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"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).

Christopher Blue stretch velvets ($180) take five-pocket styling up a notch.

"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).

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J & Company "Robertson" ($175) A narrow-waist, tailored style for hourglass shapes.

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"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).

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Red Engine wide-leg trouser jean ($174) True blues with stretch, a clean A-line shape and angled pockets to whittle hips.

"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).

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DKNY onyx wash ($69) have a rich, dense color and a slightly relaxed, but still slim, shape.

"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).

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J Brand pencil jeans ($242) Skinny, but not too skinny, with four-way stretch to smooth you into shape.

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"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).

Level 99 Premium Denim stretch cords ($98) A slightly lower rise with slimming contour seams.

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Originally published in MORE magazine, October 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

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