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From tiny purses to butterfly clips, the Y2K fashion trends of the early 2000s are back in style, and love them or hate them, low-rise jeans are popular again, too.
Although it is often associated with fashion from the turn of the 21st century, the low-rise jean was originally designed in Los Angeles by Irene Krasmer in 1957—with rock legends such as Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Jimi Hendrix sporting the ultra-low-rise look. Then, decades later, in 1994, Alexander McQueen put low-rise jeans back on the map with the Bumster Pant. From there, this denim style gradually spread, and “by 2000, the iconic low-rise fashion emerged,” says celebrity stylist Tanya Tamburin. “Britney Spears is most credited with popularizing the fashion after she started wearing them that same year."
Meet the Expert
Tanya Tamburin is a celebrity stylist who has worked with stars like Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Michael J. Fox. Her work can be seen in Harper’s Bazaar, Rolling Stone, and Saturday Night Live.
With one of Y2K’s biggest fashion trends making its way back to our wardrobes, we went searching for the best low-rise jeans, considering the quality and fit, as well as leg styles and different rise lengths.
Read on for our top picks of the best low-rise jeans.
Best Overall: Reformation Addison Low Rise Relaxed Jeans
The Addison Low Rise Relaxed Jeans is our top choice for best overall because it features the perfect modern low-rise design with a 10.5-inch rise, relaxed fit, and ankle-length style. They’re low-rise jeans that can be worn casually or dressed up with a blouse and heels, giving them versatility. They’re a great sustainable option, too, as the fabrication is created from 60 percent organically grown cotton and TENCEL Lyocell.
Material: 60% organic cotton, 40% TENCEL Lyocell | Size Range: 23-31 | Inseam: 31 inches | Rise: 10.5 inches
Best Budget: Wild Fable Low-Rise Distressed Bootcut Jeans
Target’s Wild Fable is a great place to shop throwback Y2K trends, and low-rise jeans are no exception. These $25 jeans are fitted with flared bootcut legs, have a lived-in feel with slight distressing, and cut off just around the heels, giving them a more modern spin. We also love these jeans because not only are they budget-friendly, but they are also high quality, have a good size range, and the back pockets are designed to make you look good.
Material: 91% cotton, 7% polyester, 2% spandex | Size Range: 00-16 | Inseam: 31 inches
Best Designer: Rag & Bone Dre Low Rise Slim Boyfriend Jeans
If you’re looking to splurge on a pair of low-rise designer denim, we found the best pair in the Dre Low Rise Slim Boyfriend Jeans from Rag & Bone. The classic boyfriend style and 9-inch rise make these jeans the perfect relaxed pants. But these jeans aren’t just fashionable; they’re functional, too. The denim blend features elastane, which gives them some stretch, making them comfortable enough for everyday wear (and, trust us, you’ll want to wear these every day).
Material: 92% cotton, 6% elastomultiester, 2% elastane | Size Range: 23-34 | Inseam: 30 inches | Rise: 9 inches
Best Slim: Agolde Lyle Low Rise Slim
These jeans are like the perfect crossover between mom jeans and low-rise denim. The straight-leg style boasts a modern touch with a leg-lengthening inseam for a fit that is effortlessly cool. They are also available in a few must-have washes, including a stunning light wash, rich medium wash, and faded black.
Material: 100% organic cotton | Size Range: 23-34 | Inseam: 31.5 inches | Rise: 10.5 inches
Best Carpenter: Abercrombie & Fitch Low Rise Carpenter Jeans
In addition to low-rise jeans, carpenter and utility pants are also in right now—and these from Abercrombie & Fitch are the best of both worlds. The low-rise carpenter pants are designed with wide relaxed legs that hit the ankle (and are available in regular, short, and tall). The pants are available in a faded wash with a utility patch pocket, a light wash with distressing and a hammer loop, and a cream color, too.
Material: 99% cotton, 1% elastane | Size Range: 24-33 | Inseam: 27-33 inches
Best on Amazon: Wrangler Retro Sadie Low Rise Stretch Boot Cut Jean
Amazon is a great place to shop trendy styles, including low-rise jeans. We love this classic cut from Wrangler, which is available in 11 washes and styles and a range of sizes from 00 to 19. The jeans are made from 100 percent cotton with a retro five-pocket design and classic embellished details. We’re not the only ones who love these low-rise jeans—they have 4.5 stars from over 1,000 customers with rave reviews for their low-rise cut, faded wash, and slight stretch.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: 00-19 waist; 30-36 length | Rise: 7.75 inches
Best Black: Topshop Low Rise Bootcut Jeans
We are obsessed with these black low-rise jeans. They have a perfect bootcut flare, feature great pockets, and are designed specifically with the Y2K low-rise style in mind. The black is also a great wash—not too dark but not faded—and the jeans have a little bit of stretch for maximum comfort.
Material: 91% cotton, 7% polyester, 2% elastane | Size Range: 24-34
Best Light Wash: Free People We the Free Shelby Low-Rise Boyfriend Jeans
If you’re looking for a good pair of light-wash low-rise denim, our favorite is the Free People Shelby Low-Rise Boyfriend Jeans in Free Bird Blue. The ultra-light denim is designed with a slouchy boyfriend look with slightly baggy legs and, despite the loose fit, they are still ultra-flattering with the addition of a front yoke seam, which gives them some additional shape.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: 24-32 | Inseam: 33 inches | Rise: 8.2 inches
Best Sustainable: Citizens of Humanity Inga Low Rise Slim
For a more sustainable pair of low-rise jeans, we love these from Citizens of Humanity. The jeans come in a few washes, including white, medium blue, and light blue, and have a great size range from 23-34. The jeans are made to look and feel vintage, making them a great choice for everyday jeans, too.
Material: 98% cotton, 2% polyurethane | Size Range: 23-34 | Inseam: 29 inches | Rise: 9 inches
Best Straight Leg: Madewell The Low-Rise Perfect Vintage Straight Jean
Straight leg silhouettes give low-rise jeans a modern feel, making this category a good option for someone looking to try the style out after years of wearing more high-waisted looks. We love these jeans from Madewell because they have the most perfect blue wash, an ultra-low 8-inch rise, and have some slight stretch for maximum comfortability.
Material: 99% cotton, 1% elastane | Size Range: 23-33 | Inseam: 29 inches | Rise: 8 inches
Best Boyfriend: American Eagle AE Low-Rise Tomgirl Jean
When shopping for a pair of boyfriend jeans, we prefer a pair made from rigid denim, which gives them a durable, high-quality feel. These from American Eagle are made from 100 percent cotton (with 5 percent recycled cotton) and feature a relaxed silhouette that sits low down on the hips, a tapered leg, and rolled hems.
Material: 95% cotton, 5% recycled cotton | Size Range: 000-20 (in short, regular, and long) | Inseam: 13.5 inches | Rise: 10 inches
Best Bootcut: Paige Sloane Low Rise Bootcut Jeans
Bootcut jeans are one of the most flattering low-rise styles. These from Paige take that up a notch with their sleek and versatile design that can pair with heels or boots for a dress-up vibe or sneakers and a tank top for a casual Y2K ensemble. In addition to their versatility, the jeans are the perfect light wash denim shade, feature figure-flattering angled pockets, and have a slight stretch, so they hug in all the right places.
Material: 93% cotton, 5% polyester, 2% spandex | Size Range: 23-34 | Inseam: 34 inches | Rise: 9.5 inches
Best Flare: American Eagle AE Ne(x)t Level Low-Rise Flare Jean
Behold: The most comfortable low-rise flared jeans. Designed with ultra-stretchy and soft fabrication and a silhouette reminiscent of the early 2000s, these jeans are a great option for classic low-rise, too. On top of everything else, they also have a great medium wash with some slight fading for a lived-in vintage look.
Material: 80% cotton, 12% polyester, 6% viscose, 2% elastane | Size Range: 000-20 | Inseam: 23 inches | Rise: 9.5 inches
Best Wide Leg: Abercrombie & Fitch Curve Love 90s Low Rise Baggy Jeans
Inspired by the low-rise denim of the 90s, these Abercrombie & Fitch jeans come in four vintage-inspired washes in a wide-leg silhouette. We love them for their classic wide-leg look, but also because the sizing is so spectacular, as they are available in short, regular, and tall. The jeans are also ultra-soft and made of 99 percent cotton and 1 percent elastane, which creates some give and helps achieve the perfect fit.
Material: 99% cotton, 1% elastane | Size Range: 24-33 (in short, regular, and long) | Inseam: 26.5-32.5 inches
Best Distressed: GRLFRND Bella Low Rise Boyfriend
The thing about distressed jeans is that you want them to look naturally distressed—and the Bella Low Rise Boyfriend jeans from GRLFRND are just that. With their 11.5-inch rise (they're supposed to be worn baggy), they have a slightly higher rise than other jeans on this list, which makes them a great choice for someone who is on the fence about the trend.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: 23-32 | Inseam: 30 inches | Rise: 11.5 inches
Best Plus Size: Good American Good ‘90s Loose
These loose-fitting low-rise jeans from Good American are available in a variety of sizes, including plus-size options. Inspired by the ‘90s, they have a straight—yet oversized—silhouette, are made from 100 percent cotton, and are comfortable enough for everyday wear. Although they're technically high-rise, you can size up and wear them lower on the waist for that coveted baggy look. While they look great with a pair of sneakers, we love to dress these up with a slim heel to create contrast.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: 00-26 | Inseam: 33.5 inches | Rise: 10.34 inches
Best Petite: Old Navy Low-Rise Slouchy Boot-Cut Non-Stretch Jeans
For petite sizes, you want to check out low-rise jeans made for your body type, as so many of them can have legs that are a tad too long. These low-rise jeans from Old Navy have the perfect fit with petite sizing (as well as regular and tall), come in a versatile medium blue wash, and smoothing front pockets that add to the overall complementary design.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: 0-30 (regular); 2018 (tall) | Inseam: 32-36 inches
What to Look for in Low-Rise Jeans
Fit and quality
Tamburin says the number one and two things to look for are “fit and quality.” After all, they are jeans and are meant to feel comfortable, fit well, and last a long time.
You also want to consider the pockets. “Look at where the pockets are placed and how big they are,” Tamburin explains. The pocket placement and size can impact how your booty looks in jeans and keeping this in mind will help you find the style that fits your preference.
What are low-rise jeans?
“Low-rise jeans are the only style of jeans with a waistband that should not rest anywhere near your actual waist,” Tamburin explains, adding that they are the opposite of the mom jean. “They have a short rise and sit low on or below the hips.”
Are low-rise jeans back?
“Low rise is experiencing a resurgence in popularity due to their association with early 2000s fashion, which in turn is being revitalized on social media platforms like TikTok for a new generation,” says Tamburin. That being said, low-rise jeans are back with a more modern twist as today’s runways show “low-rise jeans in baggy and oversized silhouettes for an updated look from the 2000s.”
How do you style low-rise jeans?
“For a day look, you can style low-rise jeans by wearing a blazer with a bodysuit, crop top, or a fitted t-shirt with a sliver of midriff showing and pair of clean white sneakers or slingbacks,” Tamburin suggests. “You can also go with a white or colored button-down [and] match your shirt with your shoes." For a nighttime ensemble, Tamburin recommends a “fitted bustier top” as it “provides the right proportions to ground a pair of low-rise jeans.”
Why Trust Byrdie
Contributing writer Jessie Quinn has a bachelor's degree in fashion journalism. From working in the fashion closet and interviewing designers at NYLON to writing about the best style trends for various publications, Jessie researches, and sources the best fashion finds. When researching the best low-rise jeans, Jessie kept fit and quality top of mind and considered different rise lengths, leg styles, and options inspired by the Y2K era she grew up in with a more modern twist.