It doesn’t matter who you're in conversation with, as soon as you bring up the topic of jeans, it is either a love or hate relationship (the latter of which all-too-often comes from the fit being disproportionate or the shade of denim being unsuitable). There are so many hoops we have to go through to find the perfect pair of jeans that are faultless and also last a while. Throw in another curve ball such as a specific style like straight jeans, and your venture for the perfect pair starts from scratch. Yet with the apparent slow death of the skinny jean, it's even more pertinent for us to find the ideal pair.
Meet the Expert
Solange Franklin is a stylist who's worked with celebrities including Tracee Ellis Ross, Serena Williams, and Solange Knowles, and clients like Glossier, Elle UK, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
“Straight-leg jeans are the classic look everyone is looking to snag," says celebrity stylist Solange Franklin. "What’s great about the straight leg is it allows you to dress your outfit up or down with different tops or shoes, whilst staying comfortable with a looser fit—that’s stylish."
To find the best pairs of straight jeans, we considered many factors, including fit, rise, inseam, material composition, and color. If all of these components are expertly reviewed, then you have yourself the perfect pair of straight-leg jeans. The styles and fits are endless, but once you have mastered what suits you, it will put an end to your denim nightmares.
To help you on your journey to finding the perfect straight jeans, we've researched the best straight jeans for every styling need. See and shop Byrdie's list, ahead.
Everlane The Way-High Jean
When you’re looking to add a given pair of jeans to your wardrobe, comfort, fit, and style mustn’t be compromised. This straight-leg style from Everlane is everything you could want. The style is made with a premium cotton material that includes a touch of stretch for comfort, as well as an extremely flattering high-waist that sits above the navel and elongates the legs. It comes in a plethora of sizes, available in regular or long, so you have the best chance at finding your perfect fit. And, it's under-$100 price point won't break the bank.
Price at time of publish: $98
Material: 98% organic cotton, 2% elastane | Size Range: 23-35 | Inseam: 27½ to 29½ inches | Rise: 12⅛ inches | Care: Machine wash cold, inside out; tumble dry low | Colors: Vintage Indigo, Distressed, Coal, Light Indigo, Washed Black, Cali Blue, Ecru, Folsom Blue
American Eagle Stretch Mom Straight Jean
While they say that investing in key items is the answer to a long-lasting wardrobe, it doesn’t necessarily have to count for denim. As long as you can find a pair of mid-weight jeans that are soft enough to mold to your body, then you don’t have to empty your bank account. This jean is that jean. It also features a high waist and tapered leg, and it comes in extra-short, short, regular, and long sizes to ensure an ankle-length fit on every frame.
Price at time of publish: $50
Material: 80% organic cotton, 1% elastane, 10% modal, 9% polyester | Size Range: 000-20 (in X-short, short, regular, long, X-long) | Inseam: 28 inches | Rise: 12 inches | Care: Wash once separately in cold water before wearing; machine wash cold, inside-out with like colors | Colors: Easy Breezy Blue, Light Aglow
Meet the Expert
Tyler Minor is a fashion stylist and costume designer who has worked on editorials published in Vogue and People, as well as projects for HBO, Amazon, and The Motley Crue.
Best High Waist
Levi's Ribcage Straight Ankle Women’s Jeans
Levi's reputation precedes its name, and its straight-leg style is a true cult classic. These jeans flatter by cinching at the highest part of the waist and grazing the ankle. “Levi's is a brand that will stand the test of time," says fashion stylist Tyler Minor. "The fit and quality are incredible for the price point whilst also being very inclusive when it comes to sizing."
Price at time of publish: $108
Material: 99% cotton, 1% elastane | Size Range: 23-44, with some short sizes | Inseam: 27 or 29 inches | Rise: 12 inches | Care: Machine wash cold, inside out, with liquid detergent; tumble dry low, inside out | Colors: Jazz Pop, Noe High, Ojai Shore +more
"A quick tip: length is important when wearing a straight leg, which is why cropped options can also be a good choice if needed," says Franklin.
Saint Laurent Blue Cropped High Rise Straight Leg Jean
If you're looking to go luxe, Saint Laurent is here for you. Although slightly shorter in the leg thanks to a cropped cut, the fit of these jeans is relaxed enough to comfortably suit the body and style with pretty much everything—what more could you want from an investment piece?
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: 24-30 | Inseam: 27½ inches | Rise: High | Care: Dry clean | Colors: Blue
Citizens Of Humanity Eva Distressed High-Rise Straight Leg Jean
Reminiscent of the vintage straight-leg jean, these jeans are distressed along the knees and five pockets without appearing overdone and slouchy without seeming sloppy. Wear them effortlessly with a T-shirt and boots, trainers, or slides.
Price at time of publish: $349
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: 23-34 | Inseam: Approx. 31 inches | Rise: 11¾ inches | Care: Machine wash cold, inside out; tumble dry low | Colors: Punchbowl (mid denim), Chamberlain (light denim)
Topshop Carpenter Jeans
While they're less functional and more fashionable, carpenter jeans are having a moment right now. This pair from British brand Topshop features roomy, angular pocket and baggy straight legs on its overall relaxed silhouette.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: 24x30-36x32 | Inseam: 30 inches | Rise: High | Care: Machine wash | Colors: Bleach
Dr. Denim Petite Nora High Rise Mom Jean
There is nothing worse than an ill-fitted pair of jeans—it can throw any outfit off-balance. So, when we wore these petite straight-leg jeans, we were sold in an instant. They still have the popular properties of a regular straight leg—high waist, tapered, and straight to the ankle—but they're made uniquely for a petite silhouette.
Price at time of publish: $85
Material: 69% cotton, 31% Lycra elastane | Size Range: 24-32 | Rise: High | Care: Machine wash | Color: Empress Blue
Good American Good Straight Jean
Sometimes straight-leg jeans are either too big on the waist or too small on the hips and leg, but these Good American straight jeans nail the assignment with their inclusive offering. They stick to the high-rise-and-straight-leg formula but boast super stretchy composition makes them a fit a wide range of body types.
Price at time of publish: $129
Material: 94.8% organic cotton, 3.7% elasterel-p, 1.5% elastane | Size Range: 00-26 | Inseam: 27½ inches | Rise: 10½ inches | Care: Machine wash cold | Colors: Blue524, White037, Indigo126, Indigo033
ASOS DESIGN Tall Mid Rise 90s Straight Leg Jean
On the flip side of jeans that swamp petite frames, we have jeans that are too tight and short for taller frames—styles that sit too high on the calf or are otherwise small and extremely uncomfortable. For such a dilemma, ASOS has a solution, with jeans that fit long legs right down to the ankle.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: 24-38x36 | Rise: Mid | Care: Machine wash cold | Colors: Navy
Frame Le High Straight Jeans
Given their effortless and versatile appeal, fans say these Frame jeans are a wardrobe essential. The jet-black color of the Film Noir wash and top-tier construction mean you don’t have to worry about the integrity of your jeans after washing them; they'll stay as true to you in five years as the day you purchased them.
Price at time of publish: $199
Material: 91.5% cotton, 6% polyester, 2.5% elastane | Size Range: 23-34 | Inseam: 27 inches | Rise: High | Care: Machine wash | Colors: Film Noir, Blanc +more
Totême Organic High Rise Straight-Leg Jeans
When it comes to the quality of its ready-to-wear collections, Totême means serious business. Sturdy yet polished in appearance, this high-waist pair provides the perfect heavyweight jeans feel for non-stretch denim lovers.
Price at time of publish: $320
Material: 100% organic cotton | Size Range: 24-31 | Inseam: 32 inches | Rise: High | Care: Machine wash cold; air dry | Colors: Black
Paige Maternity Noella Straight Jeans
The side elastic gussets on this pair allow it to grow with you through your pregnancy journey so you don't have to minimize your style. Pair it with shoes of your choice—like heels, flats, or slippers—for an all-around comfortable get-up.
Price at time of publish: $240
Material: 98% cotton, 2% elastane | Size Range: 23-34 | Inseam: 26 inches | Rise: 9 inches | Care: Machine wash | Colors: Liza
Agolde '90s Pinch Waist High Rise Straight Jeans
Vintage lovers, here's another option to love. The beauty of these AGOLDE jeans is that they look as worn-in as a prized vintage pair but fit like fresh jeans. They have a high-rise waist, straight legs and a retro buttoned fly. Wear them with nearly anything in your wardrobe, from simple tees to chunky sweaters and heels, boots, trainers, or flats.
Material: 100% organic cotton | Size Range: 23-34 | Care: Machine wash | Colors: Drum, Imitate, Flashback, Navigate, Portrait +more
Ksubi Brooklyn Jean Stella Mid-Rise Jeans
Sometimes you just want a true blue jean. This mid-rise pair is cut from rigid denim in a subtly faded, indigo blue wash. Designed with a classic five-pocket construction, they have straight legs and the brand's signature logo patch at the back. The shape and the shade are so classic that you're sure to find yourself wearing them over and over again.
Price at time of publish: $220
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: 23-32 | Inseam: Approx. 29 inches | Rise: Mid | Care: Machine wash | Colors: Mid-Blue
Amo Denim Sophie Crop With Released Hem
For those of us who don't want the narrow fit that some silhouettes provide, this style by sustainable denim brand Amo is ideal. It's a wide-leg straight jean with a modest amount of distressing that's localized at the bottom—so there's no need to worry about knee holes not sitting in the right place on your legs.
Price at time of publish: $308
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: 23-32 | Inseam: 27 inches | Rise: High | Care: Machine wash | Colors: Runaway Destroy
Citizens of Humanity Charlotte High Rise Straight Jeans
Sometimes straight-leg jeans carry too much material in the leg, and without going down the skinny jean route, your options for a more tailored look can feel limited. Luckily, this Citizens of Humanity pair is the antidote to said issue. It stays true to the brand's laid-back aesthetic while offering a solid option to those who prefer a slightly slimmer straight-leg style.
Price at time of publish: $208
Material: Dance Floor wash is 79% cotton, 20% recycled cotton, 1% elastane | Size Range: 23-34 | Inseam: 27½ inches | Care: Machine wash | Colors: Dance Floor, Porcelain, Dresden, Soiree +more
Reformation Newsprint High Rise Straight Long Jeans
Your straight-leg jeans don’t have to be ordinary. Infusing your wardrobe with a fun print, like this newsprint, is sure to set you up for a good time wherever you wear them. Pair them with a pop of color for the biggest impact.
Price at time of publish: $188
Material: 60% organically grown cotton, 40% TENCEL™ lyocell.| Size Range: 23-31 | Care: Machine wash cold and line dry | Colors: Cosmic
Best Low Rise
AGOLDE Wyman Low-Rise Organic Straight-Leg Jeans
Many of you may be agonizing over all of the noughties comebacks, namely, low-rise jeans. Yet, the denim pants style has undergone an upgrade you needn’t be afraid of. Given their relaxed fit, these all-cotton AGOLDE jeans are the epitome of comfort. Wear them ultra-casually with a T-shirt and loafers.
Price at time of publish: $198
Material: 100% organic cotton | Size Range: 23-34 | Inseam: 27½ inches | Rise: 11¼ inches | Care: Machine wash | Colors: Dimension, Ratio
E.L.V. Denim The Twin Frayed Two-Tone Straight-Leg jeans
Get in on the craftcore trend with this straight-leg patchwork style by E.L.V. Denim. The brand committed to minimizing its impact on the environment, which is why it upcycles unwanted jeans destined for landfill. This pair is spliced together from two contrasting styles, with the mismatched pockets and seams showing the true individuality of each pair.
Price at time of publish: $385
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: 25-32 | Inseam: 27½ inches | Care: Machine wash | Colors: Tonal blue
What to Look for in Straight-Leg Jeans
Quality & Weight
“A good straight jean consists of thick, weighted denim," says Minor. "Most premium quality denim will be a little stiff at first, but after wearing them for a while the stiffness fades and the denim almost molds to your body. This is what most people consider the break-in period. It's also important to take note of the stitching. Double stitching and chain stitching are a great indicator of quality in jeans."
Everyone has their own take on how they want their jeans to fit; some prefer a little stretch, while others prefer a more rigid fit. In a pinch, you can determine a pair's composition without trying them on in two ways. If physically holding the pair of jeans, a gentle pull on the leg both in width and length is telling of the give. You can also see on the tag or in the online description how much elastane is woven into the fabric to give you an idea of how stretchy the jeans might be. Those that prefer more give should opt for a material composition with elastane as opposed to all-cotton styles.
Fit & Rise
Those who prefer a high waist should opt for a rise (the distance between the crotch and the waist) of at least 12 inches. Styles with a short inseam (ones that are designed to sit on the calf or above the ankle as opposed to full-length) provide the perfect cropped option for transitional seasons or full-length option for petite shapes. If you can't find the perfect fit organically, and the best-kept secret is to tailor your clothes to best suit your shape. Just don’t compromise on the leg fit—this part is more difficult to alter than the hem or the waist.
What are straight-leg jeans?
A more relaxed silhouette than skinny jeans, straight jeans have a wider leg opening and continue in a straight cut towards the ankle. Though, some styles can taper towards the ankle for a more narrow fit.
Can you wear ankle boots with jeans and how can you style them together?
Straight jeans are incredibly versatile and can be worn with virtually every style of shoe and boot. If you'd like to wear an ankle boot and slim straight jeans together, then you might try opting for a bootie that hugs the ankle or calf for the most streamlined look.
What’s the difference between straight-leg and bootcut jeans?
The main difference between the two is that from the leg opening, straight jeans continue in a uniform cut to the ankle and can slightly taper under the knee. Meanwhile, bootcut jeans often flare out, away from the ankles.
Do I wash my jeans after each wear?
“Denim was created to be utilitarian; it wasn't meant to be washed with every wear," Minor says. "Wash your jeans as little as possible, and wait until they look or feel soiled. It's also OK to wash them if they have stretched a little too much. When this time comes, wash them inside out in cold water."
How do you keep jeans from fading color?
It's normal for jeans to lose some of their color over the years. When that happens, you can re-dye them. Or, for the least amount of maintenance, opt for a light wash from the get-go, Franklin suggests.
How We Researched
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie Contributor Nateisha Scott has years of experience in fashion, working with some of the best brands and magazines. With trouble in the past finding the perfect pair of straight jeans, she has tried them all and narrowed down her favorites that come highly recommended.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough straight-leg jeans from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business to meet this percentage. If you know of some we should consider, please email us at email@example.com, and we will evaluate the product ASAP.