An Ode To Straight Leg Jeans & How To Find Your Perfect Pair

A double dose of denim…


I’ve been a skinny jean wearer for the past 10 years of my life. Being a child of the ’90’s meant that my early years were spent donning lycra and trousers that were so flared I could have been the fourth member of the Bee Gees. Then came the bootcut years which were thankfully short lived until I saved up pennies from my first job to buy a pair of black skinny jeans that I proudly wore to Sixth Form the next day, and the rest is history. I’ve never looked back and for the past nine years I’ve pretty much worn black skinny jeans exclusively on my bottom half.

That was until early this year when straight leg denim started infiltrating our wardrobes. It wasn’t a boyfriend fit, or a ‘Mum’ jean style – it was a straight leg denim that had a unisex look about it and a fresh feel. One by one, my skinny jeans were put on the sideline until 80% of my denim wardrobe consisted of straight leg styles. What happened there, eh? I can well and truly say that I’m a convert, but it’s taken me a long while to work out the brands and designs that work best for me. So today I thought I’d try to answer your straight leg jean queries and point you in the right direction; whether you’re petite or your butt rivals the juiciness of the peach emoji…


THE PERFECT PAIR… if you like stretch in your denim

There are two camps in the world of denim when it comes to preference of snugness. Those who like theirs to be bit stiff and rigid like the good ol’ days (if that’s more your thing then check out Levi’s, GRLFRND and the Le Rigid style from FRAME) and those who prefer to have a stretchy fit that’s more sympathetic to ordering a big bowl of pasta with a side of garlic bread at your local Italian. I personally have mad respect for those in the former camp who take the waistband digging like a champ, but I am well and truly into styles that have a bit more give in them so that I don’t have to undo my jeans under the table each time I go out for food.

The stretchiest ones I’ve found are the Urban Outfitters BDG Axyl Slim Straight Jeans, which were my first straight leg purchase and so will always hold a special place in my heart. The one thing I would say with these are because they are so stretchy, you do have throw them in the washing machine every other week or so to slim them back down into shape. I’d also recommend sizing down in these as the fit is pretty generous. I also recently picked up a pair from & Other Stories as a new addition to my winter capsule wardrobe (video coming soon!) and they are equally lovely. The stretch is there, but I’d call these a skinny-straight leg because they’re pretty slim fitting on the leg, just without that extreme tapering on the ankle. A great choice for a smart evening denim I’d say.


THE PERFECT PAIR… if you have a peachy butt

I think the two main put offs when it comes to straight leg denim are: 1) My thighs and butt aren’t compatible with a high-waistband and 2) The fit makes my behind look as flat as a pancake. Now I haven’t tried this style myself, but I’ve heard raving reviews for the Levi’s Wedgie Fit Straight Jeans. The clue is in the name here, but they are a high-rise denim with a snug fit over the hips and thighs that then taper slightly from the knee in a straight leg fashion. Apparently there’s a bit of stretch in them and they make your butt look FABULOUS. Reviews on the Levi’s website look promising and one poster on Free People said that they’re ‘The best jeans EVER’. My interest is well and truly piqued; the reviews rolling in look promising and who doesn’t want their butt to look great in a pair of jeans, eh? SOLD.


THE PERFECT PAIR… if you’re tall/petité/having a BABY! 

If you struggle to find denim that fits like a glove, I’d suggest having a root around Topshop, either in-store or online. I know I have mentioned the MOTO Raw Hem Straight Leg Jeans approximately 176 times round these parts, but they truly are my favourite design that I own. They fit high-waisted, sit slightly cropped on the leg and have a distressed hem, which I find are a great addition for straight leg newbies because it makes the length and non-skinny ankle kinda ambiguous; a great way to transition into a straight leg if you’ve spent a lifetime wearing denim that looks sprayed on. The one thing I would say is that the stretch differs between washes, so if you like a firmer fabric go for this pale wash, whereas if you want something with a bit stretch in it, give this vintage rinse a go. Type ‘Straight Leg Jeans‘ into the search criteria and up comes styles in the tall and petite sections, plus maternity too. There really is something for everyone here. Straight leg denim for all.

Photos by Lauren Shipley

*Sign up to my monthly newsletter ‘An Edited Life’ here*