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Ah, jeans. We’ve all had a love-hate relationship with them—especially when having to shop high and low for the perfect pair that fits just right. And, with the ever-changing trends of which jeans are “in,” once you invest in a pair, they might not even be in style.
Enter: the high-rise jean. They’re designed to sit high on, or above, one’s hips, with the button and zipper usually hitting right around the belly button. The rise in popularity of this type of jeans has been significant, as they promote added comfort and control for the wearer. Plus, they can be styled up or down, with dressy shirts and blazers, or paired with just a simple T-shirt.
To find the perfect pair of high-rise jeans, we kept some things in mind: the material of the jean, the size range offered, how to take care of them for longer wear, the inseam, and how high they actually sit on your waist. Aside from the more technical qualities of jeans, we also wanted to make sure the ones we included on our list were actually comfortable, easy to sit in or walk around in for hours on end, and would be worth the investment. To guide us through our research, we tapped denim expert Christine Rucci.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best high-rise jeans that you’ll want to add to your wardrobe ASAP, no matter the season.
Best Overall: Good American Good Legs High Rise Skinny Jean
Who else recommends it? Cosmopolitan also picked Good American Good Legs High Rise Skinny Jean.
What do buyers say? 77% of 200+ Nordstrom reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
Comfort, quality, and care are three things that make these Good American jeans not just good, but great. The material of these jeans is incredibly stretchy with a recovery feature, meaning you can wear them several times and the shape will bounce back. Plus, the high-rise and gap-proof waistband will sit right at your belly button to avoid any discomfort for all-day wear.
Material: 94.8% organic cotton, 3.7% elasterell-p, 1.5% elastane | Size Range: 00-24 | Care: Machine wash cold, inside out; dry flat or hang dry | Rise: 10.5 inches | Inseam: 29 inches
Best Budget: Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. Totally Shaping High Rise Skinny Jeans
For less than $30, you can have these super stretchy and sculpting high-rise jeans. They come in a wide range of sizes and are even offered in four shades of denim. The zipper closure will hit right under above your waistline, and the leg is skinny down to your ankle for a snug fit. Plus, the vintage, worn-in look of these jeans saves you the hassle of having to break them in before your first wear.
Material: 82% cotton, 15% polyester, 3% elastane | Size Range: 2 - 28 | Care: Machine wash | Inseam: 30”
Best Curvy: Everlane The Curvy Cheeky Jean
The Curvy Cheeky Jean is designed, specifically, for plus-size hourglass shapes. The high-rise, no-gap waistband provides a comfortable fit around the hips, and the stretchy material around the legs is meant to last all day. Plus, the back pockets were purposely set higher and closer together to “give your backside a bouncy, lifted look,” according to Everlane.
Material: 98% cotton, 2% elastane | Size Range: 23-35 | Care: Machine wash cold inside out; tumble dry low | Rise: 11 inches | Inseam: 28.5 inches
Best Petite: Banana Republic Petite High Rise Straight Jean
Finding the perfect petite pants can be a bit of a challenge; they might be too long, hitting the top of your feet, or even too big, giving a more baggy look than intended. This pair of straight jeans from Banana Republic is your solution. The leg hits right at your ankle, with enough material to cuff them if need be, and provides a snug, fitted look around your waist and thighs. Because they’re made of mostly cotton, you can even shrink them in the wash for a tighter fit.
Material: 94% cotton, 5% recycled cotton, 1% elastane | Size Range: 24-32 | Care: Machine wash | Inseam: 26 inches
Best Stretchy: Levi’s 724 High Rise Straight Cropped Jeans
How could we not include a pair of classic Levi’s in our roundup? The design of these straight, cropped jeans was inspired by their fan-favorite high-rise jeans, but they wanted to include a more modern leg fit. The mid-stretch denim will hug your figure in all the right places, while also keeping you comfortable all day. Comfortable jeans? Who would’ve thought! Run, don’t walk, to get this pair.
Material: 71% cotton, 21% viscose, 6% polyester, 2% elastane | Size Range: 23-34 | Care: Wash and dry inside out with like colors | Rise: 10.25 inches | Inseam: 26 inches
Best Skinny: Madewell 10-Inch High Waist Skinny Jeans
Madewell claims that these skinny jeans “feel like yoga pants,” so we had to include them. How could anyone pass up jeans that comfortable? They’re made of soft, stretchy denim that is great for all-day wear. Once it’s time to wash them, though, make sure you dry them carefully so they can maintain their fit and feel.
Material: 83% cotton, 11% tencel lyocell, 4% elastomultiester, 2% elastane | Size Range: 23-37 | Care: Machine wash; tumble dry | Rise: 11.75 inches | Inseam: 28 inches
Best Wide Leg: BP. Everyday Wide Leg Jean
While researching the best high-rise jeans out there, we’ve come to realize that the wide leg jean is highly popular these days; they’re not exactly boot cut or even flared jeans, but more so just a longer, elongated leg that looks great with any type of shoe. Because of the wider fit of these jeans, you won’t feel as tight or constricted while wearing them all day, but, rather, you’ll have enough give that you can sit (or stand) comfortably for hours on end.
Material: 99% cotton, 1% spandex | Size Range: 23-34 | Care: Machine wash; tumble dry | Rise: 11.75 inches | Inseam: 28 inches
Best Ankle: Free People Raw Hem Ankle Skinny Jeans
Show off your favorite pair of sneakers or booties with this pair of raw hem ankle skinny jeans from Free People. They’ll hit right above your ankle, so you'll have a high waist, and even higher back, which will accentuate all areas of your midsection and give your backside a flattering lift. And, they’re less than $50.
Material: 93% cotton, 5% polyester, 2% elastane | Size Range: 24-32 | Care: Machine wash; line dry | Rise: 11 inches | Inseam: 27 inches
Best Tall: Old Navy Rockstar Super Skinny Jeans
The ever-so-famous Rockstar jeans from Old Navy were a must on our list. Considering we’ve worn our fair share of this pair over the years, we know a thing or two about how well they fit and how long they last. But, of course, we know that these jeans come in sizes for those with taller frames and longer legs. They’re soft, durable, comfortable, and designed to sit just right on the waist and fall perfectly above the ankles.
Material: 80% cotton, 13% polyester, 5% recycled cotton, 2% spandex | Size Range: 4-18 | Care: Machine wash cold; tumble dry low | Inseam: 33 inches
Best Black: Mother The Hustler High Waist Ankle Fray Jeans
Upgrade your only go-to-pair of black pants to this pair of high-rise ankle fray jeans. The cropped cut of these jeans is a nod to the trendy flare jeans that are more snug along the legs, and then looser closer to the ankles. This is the perfect pair that’ll last you through an entire workday into the nighttime for after-work fun.
Material: 93% cotton, 5% polyester, 2% elastane | Size Range: 23-32 | Care: Machine wash cold; tumble dry low | Rise: 11 inches | Inseam: 27 inches
Best Bootcut: Madewell '90s High Waist Bootcut Jeans
If there’s anything we’re leaving in the ‘90s it’s the low rise jean. But we’ll always be a fan of the classic bootcut look, which is why you need this pair from Madewell. Dust off your favorite pair of boots and style a classic ‘90s look with these high-rise jeans. Because they’re also full-length, you’ll even be able to sport some heeled boots if you’re feeling up to it.
Material: 79% cotton, 20% post-consumer recycled cotton, 1% elastane | Size Range: 23-32 | Care: Machine wash; tumble dry | Rise: 12.25 inches | Inseam: 30.5 inches
Best Flare: Free People Jayde Flare Jeans
Dare we say, Free People’s jeans have made quite an impression on our list! This pair of flare jeans from them will look great with your favorite pair of heeled boots. The front is super high, with two buttons at the top to secure the pant and a stretchy waistband for added comfort. They’re available in regular and short fits for all body types.
Material: 91% cotton, 7% polyester, 2% elastane | Size Range: 24-35 | Care: Machine wash cold | Rise: 12.5 inches | Inseam: 33.5 inches
Best Ultra High: Abercrombie Curve Love 90s Ultra High Rise Straight Jeans
Low rise jeans who? We’re too busy gushing over these ultra-high-rise straight jeans from Abercrombie. Abercrombie has made its mark as one of the most sought-after jean brands because of its incredible fit, size range, and durability, so we had to include these on our list. Their ultra-high rise jeans sit naturally at your waist for all-day comfort, are stretchy, and look great styled with anything from a plain T-shirt to a dressy blouse.
Material: 99% cotton, 1% elastane | Size Range: 23W-37W | Care: Machine wash cold with like colors; tumble dry low | Inseam: 30.5 inches
Best Sustainable: Eileen Fisher Undyed Organic Cotton Stretch Ankle Jeans
Eileen Fisher refers to this pair of jeans as an “unjean”; it’s a pair of pants that wears like denim, “but with a little more ease,” according to the brand. This pair of jeans is made from a blend of organic cotton and hemp and is undyed and unbleached for quality environmental purposes. They say that using undyed color reduces chemical usage, so these jeans are really the most sustainable pair you could get.
Material: 98% organic cotton, 2% spandex | Size Range: 2P-18P, 0-28 | Care: Machine wash cold; dry clean | Rise: 11 inches | Inseam: 27 inches
Best Carpenter: BDG High-Waisted Carpenter Jeans
Sometimes, you just want to throw on a pair of jeans that aren’t too tight, but not too baggy and are comfortable enough to wear all day. These carpenter jeans from Urban Outfitters are your best bet. Made from cotton denim, they’ll soften and mold to your body over time the more you wear them for a custom fit. The straight leg falls right below the ankle, so these are best paired with heeled shoes.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: 24-34 | Care: Machine wash cold | Rise: 11.5 inches | Inseam: 28 inches
Best Barrel: Gap High Rise Barrel Jeans
We decided to switch it up and add a pair of gray jeans to our list. Even more, they’re authentic denim jeans. Essentially, they were made to wear all day and fit your body over time. Because they’re purely denim jeans, they don’t have as much stretch as some of the other pairs on our list, but the more you wear them, the more they’ll eventually stretch out for added comfort.
Material: 95% cotton, 5% recycled cotton | Size Range: 27-33 | Care: Machine wash | Rise: 11 inches
Best Distressed: BP. High Waist Distressed Wide Leg Jeans
It seems as if every try-on haul on Tik Tok as of recent has included a pair of distressed, wide-leg jeans. The material of these jeans around the waist down to the mid-thigh area is a little snugger, and from the knees down it starts to flare out. The actual pant leg opening is 22 inches anyway, so there’s enough room down there for you to sport any type of shoe.
Material: 99% cotton, 1% spandex | Size Range: 23-34 | Care: Machine wash; tumble dry | Rise: 12.5 inches | Inseam: 34 inches
Best Mom Jeans: American Eagle Stretch Crossover Highest Waist Mom Jean
How could we do a roundup of the best high-rise jeans and not include the fan-favorite mom jean? Mom jeans are notoriously stretchy, flattering, and incredibly comfortable for all-day wear. This pair from American Eagle is designed to look more vintage—as if they were directly handed down from a maternal figure.
Material: 58% cotton, 20% lyocell, 12% modal, 9% polyester, 1% elastane | Size Range: 000-20 | Care: Machine wash cold inside out with like colors; tumble dry low | Rise: 12.5 inches
Best Tie-Dye: PacSun Tie Dye ‘90s Boyfriend Jeans
The super cool bleached tie-dye design of these jeans will make your other pairs look plain. They’re designed for a more laid-back style and can be paired with a great T-shirt and some comfortable sneakers. The longer inseam of these jeans makes the leg look baggier than normal, but provides added comfort and fit for everyday wear.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: 23 -30 | Care: Machine washable | Rise: 12.25 inches | Inseam: 33 inches
Best Coated: Rag & Bone Nina High Waist Coated Skinny Jeans
These coated jeans are like leather pants ... but better. From a distance, it may look like you’re sporting a pair of faux leather pants or leggings, but up close, they’re just a pair of coated skinny jeans. You can style them for your next night out, or even just wear them to work to pull off your best business casual look.
Material: 94% cotton, 4% polyester, 2% elastane | Size Range: 23-34 | Care: Dry clean or machine wash; line dry | Rise: 11.5 inches | Inseam: 31 inches
Best Maternity: Isabel Maternity by Ingrid & Isabel High-Rise Crossover Panel Maternity Leggings
The stretchy denim and jegging combination of these jeans will keep you feeling comfortable and supported all day. Because of the material of this pair, they’ll sculpt and shape your body throughout your pregnancy journey each time you wear them. The crossover panel will keep you cool and provide additional lower back support.
Material: 71% cotton, 27% polyester, 2% spandex | Size Range: 00-18 | Care: Machine wash; tumble dry | Inseam: 29 inches
Best Sailor: Veronica Beard Jossie Sailor High Waist Skinny Jeans
The detail on these high-rise sailor jeans is uniquely trend-forward. Not only is there a button enclosure at the waist, but there are some lined along with both front pockets as well. These jeans were designed for your next boating adventure or even just a strut down the street.
Material: 98% cotton, 2% spandex | Size Range: 23-32 | Care: Hand wash; line dry | Rise: 13 inches | Inseam: 30 inches
When it comes to providing that perfect high-rise fit, our top pick would have to be Good American’s Good Legs High Rise Skinny Jeans. Incredibly stretchy with great recovery, these jeans look and feel great on—plus, they boast a super-inclusive size range. If skinny jeans aren’t your thing, Free People’s Jayde Flare Jeans and AE’s Stretch Crossover Highest Waist Mom Jean are two trendy options worth trying.
“After wearing, hang and air out your jeans," Rucci says. "You can also rub them with a dryer sheet to give a just-washed smell (also keep them in the pockets when storing). Unless you are working on a farm, how dirty can you get in one wear? I also switch up my jeans and rotate them so I don't wear the same jeans each day.”
What to Look for in High-Rise Jeans
It’s important to key an eye out for the material of the jeans you want, as some might have a little more give, additional stretchiness, or are prone to shrinking in the wash. “When buying jeans, look for ones that have Tencel and Lycra for comfort and softness,” says Rucci.
If you want your jeans to last, opt for a pair that is made of cotton and another material so that they can fit the shape of your body over time. Rucci suggests that "whenever possible, look for sustainable and eco-friendly denim, and shop retail to reduce your carbon footprint."
More often than not, base your jean size off of your regular pant size. Most of the jeans on our list offer a wide range of sizes, but the numerical values of them are different; some jean brands run in even numbers, others in odd numbers, and some based on the size of your waist. However, brands will have size guides on their sites to help you figure out the size you’re looking for if you’re more familiar with shopping in one type of value.
“First and foremost do not wash your jeans too often, and try to avoid the dryer,” says Rucci. “If you must wash [them], always turn [them] inside out. And, if you can, hang [them] to dry to keep the fiber integrity and good stretch recovery. Less washing also will make them last longer, as well as help the environment by using less water and energy.”
If you want your favorite pair to last, you must take care of them properly and avoid unnecessarily shrinking them (unless that’s your intention). Plus, washing them with like colors and materials will ensure they don’t get damaged or faded.
Rise height varies by each pair of jeans; it’s usually noted on the brand’s site, but otherwise, you can eyeball how high the waist will come up on your body. The rise of most of the jeans on our list is right around the belly button area (whether above or below it) for the utmost comfort.
The inseam is the distance between the crotch area and the end of the leg opening. If you want your jeans to run a bit long, look for a higher number inseam. On the other hand, if you want your jeans to run a bit shorter, look for a lower number inseam.
Are high-rise jeans supposed to be tight?
“There are two moods when I wear high-rise jeans: tight and sexy, or high and boyish,” says Rucci. “The slightly cropped straight leg but fitted on the hips to the waist gives the ‘70s meets ‘90s vibe.”
Regarding other fits, though, Rucci says that super stretch and shaper denim are better for skinny jeans, and a comfortable stretch is better for straight or boyfriend jeans. “For high-rise skinny jeans, I prefer a clean look and ankle length with heels or sneakers.”
What underwear do you wear with high-rise jeans?
While it is recommended that high-rise briefs would wear best with high-rise jeans, just about any type of underwear could do. Ultimately, it’s up to you and how comfortable you want to be if you’re planning on wearing a pair of high-rise jeans all day.
How can you wear high-rise jeans with a T-shirt?
“You can fully tuck [a T-shirt] in or front tuck and blousy in the back,” says Rucci. “My favorite is to wear extra small vintage tees as an alternative in a more professional environment.” To dress it up, Rucci says you can pair a T-shirt and jeans with a low flat, sneaker, high heel, or ankle boot. “You can also throw on an oversized blazer, worn open, belted, or even on the shoulders like a cape, for the night,” she suggests.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Kylee McGuigan is a jean fiend; when she finds a pair that fit her perfectly, she has to buy them. While she’s aware that the trendier jeans these days are looser fitting and more distressed, she’ll always be a skinny jeans lover at heart. After hours of researching online, interviewing experts, and testing several out herself, she has gained extensive knowledge of the current high-rise jean market.
The Internet Says These Are the 17 Best High-Waisted Jeans for Women. Cosmopolitan. https://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/fashion/a25424799/best-high-waisted-jeans-women/