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6 Must-Have Jean Styles

With seemingly endless fits, styles, and colors, jeans are an important and versatile wardrobe staple. They can be dressed up or down, paired with almost any type of shoe, and are flattering to any figure with the right size and fit. Here are 6 popular jean styles and tips and tricks for making them work in your wardrobe.

light and dark washed jeans on hanger

Boyfriend Jeans

light washed boyfriend jeans

With a relaxed, slouchy fit, boyfriend jeans offer the perfect balance between masculine and feminine style for a casual look that looks great on everyone. This trendy style pairs effortlessly with feminine staples like heels, floral prints, fitted blazers, or sweaters. Since boyfriend jeans are oversized by design, they look best when rolled or cuffed to avoid letting the slouchy fit look too messy or overbearing. Wide leg jeans are also an option-like American Eagle’s Favorite Boyfriend Jean-which looks great with stylish trainers and a semi-fitted top. Choose between a light or dark wash and various different styles like low-rise, high-waisted, ankle-length, ripped, or even skinny to find the pair that works best with your style and wardrobe.

The slightly more fitted option, the girlfriend jean, is also a laid-back option perfect for a stylish day off. These are different from the boyfriend jean design as they offer a higher waist and a slightly more fitted leg. Girlfriend jeans also work great for giving an effortlessly casual yet stylish spin on any outfit from t-shirts to nautical striped shirts to business casual sweaters and blazers.

Ripped Jeans

ripped women's jeans

Distressed jeans offer a chic touch to any outfit. The purposeful rips and tears are edgy in the best way and pair well with anything from a button-down shirt to a graphic tee to a lace shirt layered with a leather jacket. These jeans can be worn with any shoes-from sandals to trainers to heels-and dress down any top for the perfect casual look. These jeans also come in a variety of styles: Gap, for example, offers a distressed version of every jean type from straight jeans, to flare jeans, to boyfriend jeans, to skinny jeans.

Distressed denim does require a bit more attention and TLC than other styles to avoid the rips from growing. Be mindful when putting the jeans on to avoid the foot-snag everyone with ripped jeans has experienced at least once, and turn the pants inside out and choose a delicate or gentle cycle when machine washing. If a rip does get out of hand, an iron on patch can be applied inside the jeans to reinforce the rip and keep the jeans looking classy.

Skinny Jeans

women's skinny jeans

Skinny jeans are arguably the most versatile jean option available. These are the go-to pairing for t-shirts while running errands, dressy shirts for nights on the town, or button-ups for casual Fridays at the office. Their tailored look goes with fitted tops as well as slouchy options (the slim leg balances oversized sweaters or flowy shirts) and can be a lighter wash for a more casual look or a dark wash for dressy outfits. Most styles today offer a bit of stretch for maximum comfort-making these one of the most best-selling jeans.

The most popular fits for skinny jeans include high-rise or mid-rise waist heights and either ankle or regular length cuts. While all of these styles are wonderfully versatile, some work best with certain styles of tops or shoes. Ankle length jeans work a bit better than regular length jeans with flats like loafers, ballerina flats, oxfords, or moccasins, and look exceptionally well with heels and ankle boots. The slight rise of the cut allows for the flattering peep of ankle between the jean and the shoe to elongate the look of your legs.

High Waisted Jeans

high waisted dark wash jeans

High-waisted jeans were the look of the 70s and are back even better than ever-and we’re definitely not mad about it. These flattering jeans work well with any figure and are simple to style. The key to rocking high-waisted styles is to pay close attention to the proportions of the outfit. You want to choose a shirt that pairs with the higher waist-like a slightly cropped shirt, a top that can be tucked in either completely or just in the front, or a sweater that isn’t too slouchy. High-waisted jeans also work well with business casual looks like blazers over a tucked-in blouse and look great with heels, sneakers, mules, sandals, or flats.

A classy pair, like a high-waisted trouser, has a wide leg that can easily be dressed up or down, while a cropped or ankle pair helps keep proportions in check and is especially helpful for short/petite figures. If a high-waist isn’t your favorite style, try a mid-rise for the same flattering look but with just a bit less height.

Black Jeans

black women's skinny jeans

Dark-wash denim is known for being a bit dressier than light wash, and black jeans are no exception. Black jeans work well with business casual attire, and can be worn with a variety of shirt styles and colors. Opt for a white button down or blouse to get a stunning contrast, neutral-toned sweaters or tops like mauve or taupe, or choose a shirt with a fun print like nautical stripes or polka dots.

Black jeans don't have to be dressy, however. This color is also perfect for casual outfits and can instantly add an edgy touch to any ensemble. Pair a slightly distressed pair with black booties and a graphic tee for a chic ensemble, or pair with a denim shirt or a white-shirt and denim jacket for a put-together casual outfit.