Low-rise jeans may be making a comeback this season, but the trend is quite polarizing if you ask us. So if there’s one style we’re happy to still see on denim shelves, it’s the high-waisted jean. The form-enhancing fit flatters all shapes and sizes, tucks in the tummy, accentuates the waistline, and lengthens the legs. Oh, and a good pair does all of this regardless if you are tall or petite. What’s not to love?
High-waisted jeans are a hit for a reason. They were originally created to conform correctly to the female form, coming onto the scene in the 1940s as a utilitarian solution for women working in the fields and in factories during World War II, explains celebrity stylist Amber Padilla. “Women needed garments that fit and maintained modesty while bending down during work, so Levis produced the first pair,” she says. “Throughout the past 80 years we’ve seen them come and go and having major moments, which shows them to be a timeless closet staple.”
Of course, high-waisted jeans have come a long way over the years. You can now find them in all styles—from skinny jeans to boyfriend fits to flared legs—and washes. Just remember that when shopping for high-waisted jeans, comfort should be top of mind. Any clothing item that’s going to cinch the top of your waist, sitting right above your hips, shouldn’t be too tight or restricting in any way. At the end of the day, you want to be able to sit comfortably and move freely.
Now, let’s get to the fun part—actually shopping for this look just in time for the fall season. Because, let’s be honest, you’ll be living in jeans (and joggers) for the majority of it. Ahead, you’ll find the 10 best high-waisted jeans to add to your wardrobe.
AE The Dream Jean Super High-Waisted Jegging ($45; www.ae.com)
If you’re inclined to wear sweatpants every day, these are the high-waisted jeans for you. They’re actually not “jeans,” per se, but rather jeggings, so they literally feel like leggings on the body. It’s also a plus that they come in so many different colors of denim—from Monaco Blue to Indigo Skylight Destroy, as well as the perfect jet black—with varying degrees of wear on the design. Tip: Because these are “jeggings,” they run a bit large, so consider sizing down.
High Waisted Luxe Comfort Knit Dark Wash Flare Jeans ($80; express.com)
If you’re feeling extra nostalgic for that 70s-style look, you need this pair of flared jeans to live in your closet. They’re made from a unique material called Hyper Stretch, which moves with you comfortably while still maintaining the desired shape through the hips and thighs. Bonus: The innovative fabric also accentuates the shape of your booty.
Levi’s Premium Wedge Fit Ankle Women’s Jeans ($69; levi.com)
You can’t go wrong with the OG maker of the high-waisted jean. Celebrity stylist Soneca Guadara is a huge fan not only because the company knows what they’re doing in the denim department, but also because their fit flatters and accentuates the female body to a T. Made from a heavyweight denim with a slight stretch, this pair fits snug through the hips and thighs and comfortably cinches at the natural waistline. “The crop length is flattering for women of all heights,” adds Guadara.
Luxe Vintage High Waist Ankle Skinny in Sloane Vintage ($215; 7forallmankind.com)
If you’re into that distressed look that’s so on-trend right now, you can’t go wrong with this subtle take by 7 for All ManKind. “These are chic and comfy, but what I love most is that the hint of distressing gives them that lived-in effect,” says Guadara. They’ve got the right amount of stretch, and the tapered leg hits at the perfect spot to pair with stilettos or ankle boots. It’s a great pair to have during the transition from fall to winter, when the air is crisp but not too cold.
Daze Denim Call You Back Light Blue Distressed High-Rise Skinny Jeans ($74; lulus.com)
You can always count on Lulus to sell some of the most on-trend clothing of the season—and fall just might be their specialty. This pair of super-stretchy, ultra-faded jeans are incredibly comfortable, but they are also so flattering. They’re figure-hugging and have a hidden fly zip behind a row of buttons. We love the raw, cropped ankle hem, which totally finishes the look.
Madewell The Perfect Vintage High Waist Jeans ($128; madewell.com)
Call them mom jeans, boyfriend jeans or whatever you like, but straight-leg, relaxed-fit styles are here to stay. This humble, high-waisted pair is universally flattering and comes in sizes up to 37. They have a slightly loose fit in the leg, which make them a great option for shoppers adverse to super-slouchy jeans, and a lived-in, vintage wash that is perfect for weekends.
High Waisted Luxe Comfort Knit Faded Skinny Jeans ($80; express.com)
The name of this jean says it all. “Comfort Knit” is the best way to describe how these feel on your bottom half. They’re made from a super-soft denim fabric that holds its shape without feeling like it’s clinging too much or revealing every dimple on your backside. The skinny leg is super versatile, too, and everyone needs a super dark wash of denim in their wardrobe.
Pilcro Patchwork Ultra High-Rise Flare Jeans ($168; anthropologie.com)
One daring way to try the wide-leg culotte bottoms trend is with this gorgeous, pilcro patchwork pair by Anthropologie. The two on-trend components, the patchwork infusion and flare fit, give off casual ’70s vibes, and the slim fit through the waist still provides you definition where you want it. Pair with a chunky sweater or a drapey cardigan.
Always Classic Medium Wash Belted Paper Bag Waist Cropped Jeans ($48; lulus.com)
If there is one look you need for fall, especially in the early months, it’s a pair of paper bag pants. They’re a nod to the ’90s, which we love, but also flattering and feminine without being ultra form-fitting. This pair cinches tightly at the waist, thanks to the matching D-ring belt, and has a loose fit around the back and legs. Other features include front pork chop pockets, two faux back pockets, and a hidden zipper fly.
Levi’s Mile High Black Super Skinny Jeans ($98; amazon.com)
You can never go wrong with a pair of proper black, ultra high-waisted jeans, especially with the soft stretch that this pair possesses. And considering they go with everything, they’ll remain a favorite for years to come.
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