The best straight leg jeans of all time

As I've noted several times in the last year or so, we're in the middle of a silhouette shift from skinny jeans to wide-leg jeans, and for some of us, it's been a bit rocky. Honestly, I was happy to see skinny jeans go—I owned several pairs over the years but was never a huge fan; I have very bony ankles and if my jeans are too fitted there, they make me look awkwardly out of proportion. I like wide-leg trousers in general (shout out to the Madewell Harlow pant, one of my best buys of 2023), but because denim is such a thick fabric, any sort of slouchy or relaxed jean can be tricky to pull off. That hasn't stopped me from trying (check out this post at your own risk) and still probably won't in the future, but I recently came to the conclusion that straight-leg jeans just work so much better for my body type, so until I find a fit that I like even more, I'm just going to stick with them. I have three go-to cuts from three different brands; read on for my honest opinion on the best straight leg jeans out there.

The straight leg jeans that always fit: Frame Le High Straight

I first discovered Frame Le High Straight at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in 2016; I still have that pair and wear them all the time, and I've acquired several more since then. What I love most about them is that no matter the wash, the denim is incredibly soft and stretchy, yet with enough support to hold you in. This is hands down my favorite style of jeans to wear while traveling, even on an overnight flight. Fit-wise, they used to run a size big, but Frame seems to have since corrected that, as the pair I'm wearing now is my usual size, a 28. I should also note that in spite of "Le High" in the name, these are actually more of a mid-rise jean—the rise measures 10", which may have been on the high side after years of low-rise jeans, but now feels like a happy medium in the age of super-high ribcage jeans. The leg opening is about 14.5", which is a perfect straight leg; your mileage may vary, but for me, it's the ideal proportion. If you've been struggling to give up your skinny jeans, this is a great place to start—they're stretchy and slim-fitting like skinny jeans but with a more timeless straight leg opening. 

OUTFIT DETAILS: Frame Le High Straight jeans (c/o) | Isabel Marant jacket (similar here) | Toteme sweater | A.P.C. Sac Demi-Lune | Veja V-10 sneakers

The textbook straight leg jeans: Levi's 501 jeans

I started wearing Levi's 501s in high school (I bought them secondhand at Salvation Army) and while I've tried many other brands since, I always come back. These jeans are iconic for a reason, and I've yet to see a body they don't look good on. Getting the fit exactly right can be tricky, and Levi's doesn't always make it easy, in that certain washes or the inclusion of stretch can totally throw things off. Call me a purist, but I prefer the 100% cotton version, and I recommend wearing them for as long as possible without washing them, so that the denim can totally conform to your body. This is a process, but once they're broken in, they will be the most comfortable, flattering pair of jeans you own. I almost always wear my usual size, 28, but I have pretty narrow hips, so you may need to try a size up or down depending on your body type. I should also note that 501s come in a bunch of different fits now (like skinny or '90s), which I recommend avoiding; they also come in a cropped version, which I own (and love). 

OUTFIT DETAILS: Levi's 501 jeans | Quince shearling jacket | Iro shavani jacket | Wolford Colorado bodysuit | Celine Triomphe belt | A.P.C. Sac Demi-Lune | Veja V-10 sneakers

The influencer favorite: Agolde Riley crop

When the straight-leg resurgence started a few years ago, we started calling them Mom Jeans, which I get on a certain level, but doesn't quite apply in my case. Generally, we're talking high waisted yet straight leg, with more of a relaxed (but not baggy) fit. I feel like every influencer and their mother (pun intended) was raving about Agolde, so I decided to give the brand a try; the Lana gave me FUPA and the 90s Relaxed was comically huge (the '90s Pinch Waist also gave me FUPA—I recently figured out this is a common problem with high-waisted jeans on a short-torso person), but the Riley was just right. The rise is the highest I can tolerate (11 inches) and the leg is slightly narrower than the previous two pairs, but in 100% cotton, they are *chef's kiss*. That said, I think the sizing can be all over the place for these too, depending on the fabric and wash; I tried on the same size (again, my usual 28) in a dark wash with stretch, and they were so tight, I could barely breathe. Long story short, stick with the 100% cotton—it's worth it. 

OUTFIT DETAILS: Agolde Riley crop | NakedCashmere Cora sweater (similar here) | Celine Phantom cabas tote | Sarah Flint Rosie loafers (c/o)


Doused in Pink | Chicago Style Blog said...

I've heard great things about Frame jeans! They look great on you! I wear my Levi's non-stop. Also need to check out Agolde. Those look so cute on you too!

Jill - Doused in Pink

DUI Abogado en Fairfax said...

I love wide-leg trousers in general, but because denim is such a thick fabric, any sort of slouchy or relaxed jean can be tricky to pull off. That hasn't stopped me from trying (check this post at your own risk) and probably won't in the future, but I recently came to the conclusion that straight-leg jeans are so much better for my body type, so I'll just stick with them until I find a fit that I like even more. Es muy educativo y Ăștil. I can connect to your concepts, which I think are very insightful.

Laura B said...

These jeans all look so good on you! I will definitely remember for the next time I'm denim shopping! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!