Jeans. They're like the friends of our wardrobe. We have a favorite, go-to pair of jeans that's like our best friend. We have a trusted, reliable pair of jeans that is like our oldest childhood friend who knows everything about us. And we have some snazzy jeans that we break out when we're trying to get dressy, which of course, is just like that one friend who always brings out the party animal in us. There are many different types of jeans, and sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate between the many styles. Fortunately, we're here to break it down for you so that you too can be a jean expert.
We'll start with a true classic: the skinny. The skinny jean is the body-hugging piece with a tight fit throughout your legs. This design has a snug fit even on the calves and it ends just above or on the ankle with a small opening that is wide enough for your foot to pass through. The skinny jean is often made with stretch denim to make it easier to wear, especially if it is a super-slim fit.
The high waist comes in several designs — skinny, bootcut, cropped and more. Typically, high waist jeans have a high-rise of 8.5 to 9 inches, but a modern take on the high waist jeans means you can even find pieces going from 9 up to 11.5 inches. Covering your navel, this fit is often designed with a long zipper or with a number of buttons sewn on the front, sometimes even at the side.
Midrise jeans serve as a compromise between the high waist and the low-rise jeans. Similar to the high waist, the midrise comes in several designs — cropped, skinny, flare and more, but it will always hit you just below the navel. The right midrise fit for your height should be one that sits above your hips but below your waist.
The boyfriend jean is a fit designed to make you look like you are wearing your guy’s jeans. The jean comes in a slouchy, loose-fitting design that looks like men’s jeans but in actual fact, it is designed with a woman’s body in mind. There are different versions of the boyfriend jean as you can choose between baggy ones or more tapered versions, depending on your body type.
The straight leg jean never seems to go out of fashion. This design comes in a straight cut which means the jeans will have almost the same width the entire way down, from the thigh area down to the leg opening. Worn especially by those who want to make their legs look longer, straight leg jeans are different from bootcut jean in that they end closer to the ankle.
Cropped denim pants end right above the ankle but below the calves. You will find the high waist or midrise versions of the cropped jean, as well as, skinny or loose-fitting ones. The significant difference in this design is that these pants are shorter than the standard length of trousers. Paired with ankle boots and even sneakers, the cropped jean is, nevertheless, longer than Capri pants.
The bootcut fit was designed back in the 1800s when cowboys needed jeans that were tight enough for them to ride horses comfortably but ones which had a leg opening wide enough for their boots to fit underneath. To this day, the bootcut has stayed true to its original purpose with its tight fitting top part and a looser fit around the calves through to the leg opening. Unlike the straight fit, the bootcut design helps in minimizing a person’s height.
The baby bootcut fit has similar design features to the former bootcut version. Fitting snug on the thigh, the baby bootcut also helps in breaking up the body to minimize height. The main difference between the baby bootcut and the original bootcut, however, is that the former fits closer to the ankle. It is still more loose fitting than the straight and the skinny, but it is tighter than the bootcut.
The flare design is the jean which fits snug around the bottom and thigh area but then has a wide-bottom leg opening often between 21 to 27 inches. This dramatic flare starts to open out right below the knee and it comes in moderate and even exaggerated leg openings. Usually, the flare jean design sits on the hip area or even lower.
The main difference between the wide-leg jean and the flare design is that the former fits wide from your thighs to your ankles. For a pair of jeans to be considered a wide leg, the circumference needs to be 20 inches wide or more. Sitting low on the waist or just under the navel, wide leg jeans can cover your shoes and even drag on the floor if they are too long.
For a long time, the mom jean carried a stigma of being unflattering to the body, but this design has emerged in full force and recently became a street-style staple. The typical features of this jean design include a straight leg with a high waist. The style of the mom jean usually makes your bottom look flat and longer.
The fisherman jean is best characterized as being the perfect jean to dip your toes in the sea. With its typical straight design, the fisherman jean comes with a bottom cuff that is turned up. You can find fisherman designs ready to be worn or you can get creative and turn your straight leg jeans into the fisherman by turning the bottom part up.
The prospector jean is a combination of a straight leg and a wide-leg design. Sitting very high on the waist, this jean design stays loose on the bottom and thigh area but it then grows snug on the calves and around the ankle, similar to the straight leg. Often, the prospector jean ends right above the ankles.
The jogger jean’s main feature is an elastic material that hits right above or on your ankle. Similar to the crop and the skinny jean, the jogger has a narrow leg opening but it usually stretches thanks to the elastic denim. This design typically comes in a high or a midrise and sits loosely on your thighs and bottom area, only growing tighter around the calves.
The girlfriend jean has a more flattering design than the boyfriend jean. Sitting high on the front, as well as your back, this design helps in smoothing out your curves. At best, the girlfriend jean is the classic fit that snugs the hip area and tapers your legs with its straight design.