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WHAT JEANS ARE POPULAR IN 2021? Your Comprehensive Guide To The Most Fashionable Jeans Of The Year – And How To Style Them

Isn’t it funny how women’s jeans are considered to be so casual and effortless, yet shopping for them is one of the most arduous and stressful tasks ever?

How To Shop For Jeans

This post has been a long time coming, as so many of my readers and even close friends have asked me questions about jeans recently – from what styles I am drawn to, to the current jeans trends, to the styles I recommend for other people, to different ways to dress them depending on occasion and body type… I’ve heard them all!

But don’t worry, because you’ve come to the right place if you want a comprehensive guide to jeans. Everything you need to know about jeans, including analyzing the different shapes and trends, styling tips, and the ways I am wearing and accessorizing the jeans from my collection are all coming right up… 

What Jeans Suit Me

I am by no means a jeans style expert or a style expert in general, but I think I now know how to shop for jeans for my own body type – in many instances, it’s been a case of trial and error – as well as how to style jeans for my day to day activities.

Most of my jeans see me through my busy mom life, and I usually choose comfort and versatility over anything else – no surprises there. You’ll probably recognize a lot of these jeans from my previous posts, and from my Instagram and Like To Know It accounts, which proves that they’re versatile and comfortable pieces that I wear all the time! I want to talk you through some of my own personal favorites, and try to offer some styling tips whenever I can. I’ll even try and help out with what jeans styles suit different body types, as I spent a lot of time researching flattering jeans for different shapes after my kids went to bed – in-between all of the unpacking of course, as things are still a bit manic while we’re adjusting to our temporary new home in Virginia. But I digress…

What Are The Best Jeans To Buy?

This post is actually coming at a great time because I’ve discovered so many different styles of jeans recently – maybe it’s because I’m looking to more practical and casual pieces while we’ve been on the road – so I’m excited to share them with you below.

Take a look at all the different jeans styles I’m loving right now, as well as how I’m wearing them…

What Shape Jeans Are In Fashion?

Women’s Skinny Jeans

Let’s start with one of the most popular and universally flattering styles – skinny jeans! I felt like my skinny jeans needed two looks because I practically live in them, as they are probably the most comfortable style for me, but also because there are so many different ways to effortlessly style them. I’m not exaggerating when I say I wear them all the time, which proves my earlier point about their popularity, not to mention their versatility.

What Are Skinny Jeans?

Don’t be fooled by the name – skinny jeans are not just for super-skinny, catwalk model body types. They simply get their name because the skinniest part of the jeans finished at the ankle, which is what differentiates them from the likes of straight leg jeans (which are the same width throughout) and wide-legged jeans, for example.

What Body Type Suits Skinny Jeans?

Again, skinny jeans aren’t just for skinny people. According to my research, skinny jeans are one of the most flattering styles for all body types (no wonder they’re so popular!) and look particularly great on pear, rectangle, hourglass, and triangle shapes. The wash is also important here, as pear and hourglass shapes tend to look better in darker washes, while apple and inverted triangle shapes would rock lighter washes much better. We learn something new every day, right?

GAP Skinny Jeans

If you’re unsure where to start your jeans search, I would recommend starting with GAP. GAP skinny jeans are where my GAP jeans obsession originated; they have the perfect amount of stretch, have petite, regular and long inseam options, and always seem to have at least 5 or 6 different colors to choose from on the website. What’s not to love?

What Size Jeans Am I?

Are Gap Jeans True To Size?

Interestingly, I get asked this question quite a lot, so I will try and be as helpful as I can be. I typically wear a size 26 in these, but I feel like they run a bit large so it’s definitely worth getting a few sizes to see what works best for you.

 

For my first look, I’m wearing my staple black skinny jeans, a cozy chenille sweater, my favorite golden goose sneakers, and a Chanel beanie.

I genuinely wear my skinny jeans at least four times a week – and the back pocket is one of the most unexpected bonuses! Being a busy mom, I really love having a back pocket for my phone, and the front pockets are very useful too, as I throw literally everything in there – from pacifiers to extra hair elastics to chapstick to small toys I find out of place on the opposite side of the house, you can bet that you’ll find them in my jeans pockets. Sometimes I even surprise myself with what I find in my front and back pockets at the end of the day!

For my second look, I’m wearing my acid wash black skinny jeans (acid wash is very on-trend right now – I’ll go into more detail about this in my next post, so keep your eyes peeled!) a cashmere button down, Chanel slides, and finishing off with my Chloe sunglasses. I could have written a whole post about GAP skinny jeans, and skinny jeans in general, but I’ve settled with just two looks as we have so many other different and exciting styles to get through. Such as the next style, for example…

What Are The Most Comfortable Jeans?

Cigarette Jeans

Where have these been all my life? The cigarette jean is a newer style for me, and I love it so so much, that I actually regret not discovering it sooner. Still, there’s no time like the present…

 What Are Cigarette Jeans?

Cigarette jeans are very close in feel to skinny jeans with a comfy high waist, but they have a more relaxed feel from the knee down. I literally cringed the other day when I put on a pair of low rise jeans, as I felt so exposed and dare I even say sloppy. I don’t know if I’ll ever wear anything but high waisted jeans ever again, as I feel like high waisted jeans are like a big warm hug, which is something we all need during these unprecedented times. Plus, there’s no unwanted exposed back or tummy, and they tuck you in in all the right places – sounds like heaven, doesn’t it?

 

What Body Type Suits High-Waisted Jeans?

I think high waisted jeans – be they cigarette jeans or another style – are flattering for so many people, as they elongate the legs and therefore give the illusion of height, even for petite ladies. They also narrow the waistline, and are therefore perfect for rectangle, hourglass, and round shapes.

How To Wear Cigarette Jeans

As always, I think the best way to wear cigarette jeans is to go for a mix of comfort and style, and throw in some luxury pieces for a sartorial pick me up. I’m wearing distressed cigarette style jeans here, alongside a stripe button down, my favorite bucket hat, and my trusty Hermes oran sandals.

Understanding Jeans Rises

Since we’ve been talking about high waisted jeans – also referred to as high rise jeans – I just wanted to touch briefly on the different rises, as they’re so important when it comes to finding the most comfortable and flattering fit.

High-Rise Jeans

High rise jeans were very popular in the 90s (watch Friends reruns and count how many times the ladies rocked a trendy pair of high rise jeans) and have since become a classic jeans style for obvious reasons.

It’s also a great style for petite ladies, as it instantly gives the illusion of longer legs. According to my research, anyone with a small waist who wants to accentuate it will look great in a high rise pair of jeans, especially if they accessorize with a cropped top or a T-shirt tucked in.

Women’s Mid-Rise Jeans

For the most universally flattering and comfortable jeans rise, I recommend going for mid-rise every time. Plus, they’re really easy to accessorize as you can wear tops of any length and any style with them, which makes them an effortless wardrobe staple!

Low-Rise Jeans

Are you getting early noughties flashbacks whenever you think of low-rise jeans? You don’t have to go as bold or as low as Britney Spears did at the start of her career, as there’s definitely a middle ground between conservative low-rise jeans and 2000s popstar jeans.

Low-rise jeans tend to sit on the natural hip line, and are perfect for those wanting to show off their hips, so are therefore great for hourglass as well as athletic figures. The fit is really important here, as if you have a small waist, there’s a risk of serious gapping when you sit down, so choose the fit and stretch wisely. It will probably be a case of trial and error, but once you find the right brand and the right style, you’ll be hooked forever! 

Straight Leg Jeans

I wanted to create a really honest post about jeans, so I want to comment on the style and fit of my jeans where possible. These particular straight leg jeans have no stretch, and they’re certainly not as comfy as the above two pairs of jeans. However, they’re not exactly uncomfortable, and I absolutely love how they look, which is why I still reach for them a lot. I loved straight leg jeans in the 90s, and adored how they came back with a vengeance last year. Luckily, it looks like they’re here to stay! Plus they have a really casual cool vibe, which is absolutely perfect for my new farm life in Virginia!

What Body Type Suits Straight Leg Jeans?

The good news is that straight leg jeans flatter almost every shape imaginable, as they divert attention from the stomach, waist, and hip areas, which are the areas most women are conscious of.

I’m wearing my favorite straight leg jeans, and have teamed them with a zodiac graphic tee, a cozy cardigan, and some Gucci Princetown mules for a little touch of luxury to an otherwise very low key, effortless look.

What Jeans Are Popular In 2021?

Mom jeans – which we’ll get onto in just a second – are one of the most popular styles of the past few years. But it hasn’t always been this way. Did you know that back in the 90s, What Not To Wear’s Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine actually went on Oprah (and then later, the whole of Chicago) and petitioned to eradicate mom jeans for good? I know that mom jeans aren’t for everyone, but I’m glad that the fashion world soon found a place in its heart and wardrobe for mom jeans. I couldn’t live without mine!

I think mom jeans – and all loose styles, to be honest – are having a really big moment right now, which may have something to do with the fact we have been living in sweatpants and other loose and forgiving silhouettes for a whole year now thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. So mom jeans seem like the perfect level up.

How To Style Mom Jeans

As a mom of five, it would be rude not to have at least a few pairs of mom jeans in my closet, right? These mom jeans have a classic wash and a super flattering cut, which makes them perfect for an effortless and comfortable outfit. I must admit that the ones I have on are stiff at first, but they quickly warm up and get more comfortable.

 

Are mom jeans comfortable?

Again, comfort and practicality are key when wearing mom jeans – at least for me anyway, and I definitely think my look reflects this. I’m wearing medium wash mom jeans, a pinstripe button down, and a GAP graphic sweatshirt. I’ve given my look a pop of high fashion glamor by way of my Dior espadrilles and Chloe sunglasses. I love a high/low look!

Are Mom Jeans Flattering?

Who can wear mom jeans? Those with pear or hourglass shapes will look really good in mom jeans, as they will complement their curves really well, although I actually think mom jeans are flattering for almost everyone depending on how they’re styled.

What To Wear With Mom Jeans

To not overwhelm your body, and to give your body some shape, I would recommend sticking to tighter fitted pieces at the top (or tucking your top inside the jeans) to allow for the baggier silhouette at the bottom. Additionally, not all mom jeans are created equal, so look for brands and styles that flatter your shape. And then ounce you’ve found what works for you, stock up!

Boyfriend Jeans

These are the cutest boyfriend jeans I have ever seen thanks to that side detailing! They have a soft, worn in feel which I love, but as they are mid-rise, they do run a bit low for my usual jean taste. As I said earlier, I’m completely head over heels with high waisted jeans right now, so I proceed with caution when it comes to lower rises.

Still, I really like the way I have styled my boyfriend jeans here, and would definitely go for this outfit combo again when I want something super-casual and effortless. I’m wearing Pilcro mid-rise boyfriend jeans, teamed with a simple white button down, a yellow sweatshirt, and some statement sneakers. Effortless casual cool!

What Body Type Suits Boyfriend Jeans?

As boyfriend jeans emphasize the waistline and hide narrow hips, they’re perfect for hourglass, inverted triangle, and rectangle shapes. However, I don’t think they’ll work for everyone, as they could make round or triangle shapes look shorter than they are – which is something petite round or triangle shaped ladies should bear in mind – and also flatten the butt, which isn’t great if you’ve worked hard in the gym on this area. In other words, check the returns policy before you buy your first pair, just in case they need to go back…


 Girlfriend Jeans

I believe girlfriend jeans are just a more polished version of boyfriend jeans, as they still feel super casual, and are perfect for running around after the kids. You can still dress these up and down as you see fit, but I don’t think I’d wear them for date night or more formal occasions, as I still style them on the more casual end of the spectrum.

Here, I’m wearing my dark wash girlfriend style jeans – a great tip is to go for darker washes for some added chicness, so these don’t feel as casual as a lighter wash pair, for example – as well as a forest green layering top, an animal print button down, and my Bottega Veneta board flats.

Barrel Style Jeans

I am brand new to the world of barrel style jeans… and I am sold! I think barrel jeans make such a statement, and I tend to style them with more fitted tops due to their shape so I don’t look completely overwhelmed.

I really like how barrel jeans make me feel. It might sound crazy so bear with me, but you know when you put on something kind of unflattering and daring and instantly feel amazing? Well this is what barrel jeans do for me. They look so uncool that they quickly morph into something incredibly unique and insanely cool, and I really love how they make me look and feel. Do I sound crazy?

What Body Type Suits Barrel Jeans?

Akin to the skinny jeans at the start of the post, barrel jeans are also getting two looks because I am utterly obsessed with them, and wanted them to get the attention they deserved. I also think that they work for all body types, which is another reason why I want to shout about them from the rooftops.

 

 


For my first look, I’m wearing gray barrel style jeans with a Free People thermal, an argyle cardigan, Golden Goose sneakers, and my favorite Chloe sunglasses.

The second look is just as casual – although it has a touch of femininity added thanks to the hair bow – and consists of gray barrel style jeans, a peach cable knit vest, Bottega Veneta sandals, and the aforementioned hair bow. What do you think?

What Jeans Suit Tall And Petite Ladies?

Digressing ever so slightly here, but I initially thought that barrel style, flares (more on these later) and mom jeans would probably work best on taller frames – as you know I’m 5’10” and I think they work well for my height and frame – but I’m not sure how true this is, as I’ve seen some gorgeous petite ladies pull these styles off as well. So does that mean they’re universally flattering? Perhaps so!


Vintage Flare Jeans

I love my vintage flare jeans so much, and I tend to wear them on days when I want to break away from my skinny and cigarette style jeans. These jeans have a soft worn in feel and I love jumping into them for a change of pace. They’re not totally flared so I look like I’m going to a 70s themed costume party, but they have a subtle flare which I love, and they also look great with all of my sandals and sneakers.

I’ve gone for my trademark mix and match high low vibe here, and I’m wearing my vintage flare jeans with a cashmere vest, Chanel slides, and some statement Valentino sunglasses. 

What Body Type Suits Flare Jeans?

Flares are great for instantly making the body look more proportioned, which is why I think they’re very flattering for most body shapes. They also create the illusion of a smaller chest and shoulders – as well as making them look more proportioned with the rest of the body – so they’re great for anyone feeling self-conscious of those areas.

Wide Leg Jeans

These wide leg jeans are definitely going to make a statement this spring. They have a pretty wide leg, and are a bit shorter than the flared jeans above, so I think the ideal footwear to pair them with is either a pretty sandal or summery espadrille. 

I’ve worn some wide leg GAP jeans with an Anine Bing graphic sweatshirt, a ribbed layering top, Dior espadrilles, and my Chloe carlina sunglasses.  

What Body Type Suits Wide Legged Jeans?

Some of my petite friends have told me that they steer clear of wide legged pants because they make them look even shorter than they are, so I’m dutifully passing this advice on. The good news is that wide legged jeans are great for all other body types, especially hourglass, inverted triangle, and round, and they’re a particularly good choice for curvier ladies too. 

Overalls

And finally, for something a little different, we come to overalls. I haven’t worn overalls in forever, and I always forget how much I love them! Except for this pair, my trusty overalls are all in storage waiting to see the light of day when we finally move back to Texas later this year – and I can’t wait! I have always loved overalls and think they are perfect for running errands and whatever else my busy mom life throws at me. 

 

How To Style Overalls

You absolutely can dress up painter overalls, and I believe the key is all in the accessorizing. As you know, I’m a huge fan of mixing and matching smart/casual as well as high/low end pieces, and I think my look really demonstrates this.

I’m wearing denim painter overalls with a floral button down for a touch of femininity, and finished the look off with my Valentino sunglasses and the versatile and forever-on-trend Hermès Oran sandals for a little splash of luxury. 

What To Wear With Overalls 

You can always count on Hermès to supply the luxury for an otherwise very casual and low key look. Another great example of this is an outfit you may recognize from my previous post about my favorite – albeit slightly controversial – choice of headwear, which involved me pairing the same Anthropologie overalls with my Hermès baseball cap. I love how one simple addition can make such a difference!

That’s all for now! What do you think of my comprehensive guide to the biggest jean trends of the year? Are your favorite jeans styles on here? Are there any new styles you’re dying to try after reading this post?

As always, thank you for reading – until next time!

Lots of love,

Lily x x