12 Types of Jeans That Will Revive Your Love of Denim

From distressed to printed.

Ryan Destiny

Byrdie / Ryan Destiny

After several months of steering clear of jeans, I am now ready to revisit my beloved denim. My favorite pair of jeans have a relaxed fit with rips in both knees, but I also love my faded black, straight leg, high-waist ones. Then, there are my cargo jeans and roomy ones that are denim’s alternative to sweatpants. A classic crisp white pair has always been one of my warm-weather staples, and a vibrant red or orange hue has its moments of glory in my wardrobe. I have also been loving the barrel leg shape when I don’t want a typical straight-leg. And I recently purchased a re-worked pair of two-tone jeans from Etsy. All things considered, it's safe to say I’m back in the denim game.

If you’re also ready to dust off your classic denim, take a peek at these 12 styles. Even if you’re not, scrolling this list may rekindle your love affair with denim. 

Relaxed Distressed

I find myself constantly reaching into my denim drawer for my pair of double-knee distressed jeans. I like the look of these dressed up with a silk or sequined top and heels. They are relaxed and casual and, therefore, work great with both a pair of sneakers or heels (try a dainty little mule). Specifically, go for a pair with soft rather than stiff denim so they’ll be comfortable enough to wear during a hearty dinner. Also, the two knee rips give them a more natural.


I love the look of cargo denim. Like relaxed distressed jeans, these are great to dress up or wear like a true casual cargo with just a tee and sneakers. If you want to put a whole look together, try pairing your cargo jeans with strappy kitten heel sandals,  a ribbed knit cami,  and a hair scarf.

Extreme Wide-Leg

Extreme wide-leg jeans are shockingly easy to style and look good with both oversized and form-fitting tops. I like wearing these with a roomy blouse or t-shirt tucked in to give some waist definition because of the leg’s exaggerated width. I would then pair this silhouette with a bunch of necklaces up and dainty glove flats.


This silhouette is my favorite right now. I recently picked up a pair from Still Here, which has outer cutouts for exaggeration. The barrel leg shape is surprisingly very flattering, and I prefer a higher rise. These are great to wear with boots. However, I am specifically excited to wear these with caged-toe sandals, a worn-in leather belt, and a tee.  


There are instances when I feel like an outfit needs white denim. I prefer a pair with some weight and no stretch. The perfect pair, to me, is straight-leg and high-waisted. I prefer a cuff (rather than an unfinished hem), but that can be harder to find. A tip: Grab a pair with an unfinished hem and get them finished at a tailor for $10-15. I love pairing white denim with cream or tan tops. To finish the look, I’ll throw on a pair of brown or navy shoes.

Faded Black

I love faded black jeans because they still have the casual feel of denim. My favorite pair is from Jordache I got years ago. They are high-rise and straight-legged with consistent color across the whole body (rather than weird, unnatural fades in some places). You can easily dress these up by wearing them with a collarless tweed jacket and oxfords (fun socks peeking out are optional).

Black and White

This style came to me one night, and in the morning, I gleefully discovered it exists (and there are a lot of them). I prefer black and white jeans with a straight leg—the two colors add enough drama to the jeans. I would wear them with something sharp like a knit polo and a pair of non-fussy shoes like white Keds. Alternatively, you could wear these to a party with a pair of pale (try peach) heels, a silk cami, and a chain belt.

Bold Colors

I try to think of bold color jeans as I would a pair of blue denim and wear them casually any day of the week. If you’re going to get one color of bold denim, snag a red pair. I find this color extremely versatile, pairing well with a black or white tee and sneakers. I would recommend getting these in whatever your favorite cut is to entice you to wear them as often as possible.

Pleated Jeans

I love pleated jeans because they are just a tad dressier than a flat-front pair. They’re the perfect jeans to wear on a casual Friday at work. With excess room at the hips, this style also tends to be comfortable. I envision wearing these with a bra or bikini top, an oversized button-down thrown over, and flats.

Major Cuff

If you’re short or have jeans that are far too long on you, you already know this look well. I love the giant cuff, especially when it’s worn on a pair of raw denim (a richer hue of denim that is unwashed and untreated). You can, of course, do this yourself with an extra-long pair of jeans by flipping them up. Pair these jeans with a statement shoe, like those beaded mules you love but never wear.


Striped jeans always remind me of a pair of striped railroad overalls I had growing up. There’s a good chance you had them too. This style elongates the leg and adds western flair to your outfit. I would pair these with a like-denim shirt and balance the Canadian Tuxedo look with sleek shoes like a glove flat or patent leather Mary Jane.

Subtle Print

I have been eyeing this pair of printed pants from Daily Paper since release. The subtle print makes the denim feel elevated. Put these on a pedestal and pair them with a platform.

Related Stories