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Best jeans for women: mom, straight-leg, boyfriend and skinny styles

Finding the perfect pair of jeans can feel like the search for the holy grail. We’ve whittled it down to the 21 best pairs. Now over to you…

By Karla Napoleon | Last updated Apr 4, 2022

Whether you live in denim or it’s your failsafe weekend look, everyone needs at least one pair of great jeans in their wardrobe. 

But, as we all know, finding them isn’t easy. Jeans shopping is a well-trodden road of tears and recrimination. Not only are there a gazillion styles to choose from, but the sizing seems to exist in a parallel universe - with your normal size proving to be unforgiving in the crotch area, bagging at the waist or clinging to your calves.

However, once you’ve found them, the best jeans for women will repay your time and effort handsomely. They’re something you can just style without thinking and you can rock a realm of different looks with the same pair of jeans, simply by changing up your footwear and top. 

If you’re on a mission to find some new denim, allow us to help you out. We trawled through the thousands of styles out there to find the jeans that really measured up. Then, we scrutinised the real-life reviews of wearers, and expert fashion websites’ recommendations to narrow it down to 21 pairs of truly fabulous, life-affirming jeans.

So, the best jeans for women in the UK? Deep breath. We’re going in.

Best straight-leg jeans

1. Best overall jeans: & Other Stories Favourite Cut Jeans

& Other Stories Favourite Cut Jeans

Price: £75 | Buy now from & Other Stories

“I’m a pear shape and I really like the ‘Favourite Cut’ jeans by & Other Stories. They just seem to hug all the right places and are a really nice cut!” (Recommended by Mumsnet user JDandC)

A straight-cut jean is so hot right now and the good news is that they suit all shapes and are a cinch to style. These jeans by & Other Stories have a slim fit, but with a nice bit of stretch so they skim over lower halves. That, and the high-rise waist, make for a flattering and comfortable look. 

Wear with heels and a tucked-in top for leg-lengthening perfection. Or dress them down with flats and a striped tee.

2. Best budget jeans for women: Tu Grey Wash Girlfriend Jeans

Sainsbury's Grey Wash Girlfriend Jeans

Price: £18 | Buy now from Sainsbury’s

“The Sainsbury’s girlfriend jeans are fantastic; well made, really comfortable.” (Loved by Mumsnet user SarahLox77

Super soft and stretchy, Sainsbury's girlfriend jeans are a bit hit with Mumsnet users for their comfort, shape and excellent fit. 

This grey pair feature a half-elasticated waistband, upping the comfort factor and helping you feel more secure around the midriff.

With a nice high waist, and a slim but relaxed fit, these jeans are made for the weekend. Just pair with a slouchy sweater and trainers and you're good to go. 

3. Best high-rise jeans for women: Levi’s Women’s Ribcage Straight Ankle Jeans

Levi's Women's Ribcage Straight Ankle Jeans

Price: From £39.58 | Buy now from Amazon

“I absolutely adore the Ribcage jeans! I was (still am) an avid skinny jeans wearer but tried the ribcage jeans on randomly and fell in love.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Cluckycluck)

Billed as a “hip-slimming, waist-defining, leg-lengthening obsession”, count us among the obsessed. Offering an uber-flattering fit, the 12” high waist (Levi’s highest) lengthens those pins and gives you nice support around the tummy and bottom, while the wide leg offers you plenty of room in the leg.

Slightly cropped, you can easily pair them with anything from trainers to combat boots. They’d look fabulous with a block heel or chunky sandals and a tucked-in tee for an easy summer look.

They’re made of a thick denim, with a nice bit of stretch. However, some wearers found them a bit uncomfortable to sit around in all day.

4. Best ankle-grazer jeans: Marks & Spencer Harper Supersoft Cigarette Jeans

M&S Harper Supersoft Cigarette Jeans

Price: £29.50 | Buy now from M&S

“I love them! Perfect length for summer. You definitely have to size down though.” (Vetted by Mumsnet user Daria32)

A midway between skinnies and moms, these cigarette jeans are made from a soft, stretchy denim with a nice high waist, making them super comfortable - no wonder they’re a favourite among the Mumsnet users. Available in five washes, in a versatile ankle-grazer length, you can pair them with just about anything.

They’re fitted around the bum and thighs and then looser on the rest of the leg, so, you might find that they make too much of a ‘feature’ of this area depending on your desired style. Wearers also noted that they tended to come up big, so consider a size down from your usual.

5. Best jeans for petite women: Boden Girlfriend Jeans

Boden Girlfriend Jeans

Price £70 | Buy now from Boden

“I’m only 5”1 and have a couple of petite Boden jeans and they’re perfect.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user BruiserWoods)

Somewhere between a mom and a boyfriend, girlfriend jeans are a flexible and easy style that most people can get along with.

These jeans have a mid-rise waist and a looser leg which tapers down to the ankle - or you can roll them up, natch. They’re a relaxed but not loose fit and as they're made from a soft stretchy denim, they’re super comfortable.

Boden are a beloved brand among petite Mumsnet users thanks to the great fit they offer. But the good news if you’re taller is they do them in regular and long lengths too.

6. Best jeans for curvy women: Everlane Women’s Curvy Cheeky Jean

Everlane Women’s Curvy Cheeky Jean

Price: £90 | Buy now from Everlane

“Everlane Curvy Cheeky range. They are AMAZING!! I'm a size 8-10 with curvy thighs, and wear a 27 (I'm often a 26 in other ranges).” (Reviewed by Mumsnet user OverTheRubicon)

Bye bye belts! If you have a small waist but larger bottom half, these jeans do away with the gaping midriff problem. They have an adjusted hip-to-waist ratio, meaning you can finally find a pair of jeans that fits you everywhere.

With a high-rise waist and raised back hook seam, the pockets are set higher and closer together to help showcase your derriere to its top potential.

With 2% elastane, they have a nice stretch fit for supreme comfort, but they still feel thick and sturdy. The only downside? Taller girls might find that they come up a bit short.

Best skinny and slim jeans

7. Best skinny jeans for women: Topshop Jamie Recycled Cotton Blend Jean

Topshop Jamie Recycled Cotton Blend Jean

Price: £40 | Buy now from ASOS

Still going strong after all these years, these failsafe skinnies were among the top items bought by Mumsnet users in lockdown, so it would be remiss of us to leave them out of a list of the best jeans for women.

High-waisted and with just the right amount of stretch, they hold you in without feeling too constrictive. You’ll feel totally confident in them. 

They’re ankle-grazer length so will look great with a pair of boxfresh white trainers and a tee for a casual look or ankle boots or heels and a nice shirt for a night out. 

Available in a whole realm of washes, you may struggle to pick just one. 

8. Best jeans for tall women: New Look Tall Blue Mid Wash Ripped 'Lift and Shape' Jenna Skinny Jeans

New Look Tall Blue Mid Wash Ripped Jenna Jeans

Price: From £25.49 | Buy now from New Look

“Recently someone recommended New Look Tall ‘Lift & Shape’ jeans and I’m a total convert. They’re especially good if you have big hips and a small waist.” (Loved by Mumsnet user Radish12)

New Look jeans are a Mumsnet users’ favourite and the sculpting seams on their Lift and Shape range might just make them yours too. Offering you lift and support where you need it, they’re high waisted and stretchy, making them a very flattering jean.

We like the subtly ripped version here, but you can get them in other washes too, including bright blue and black. New Look jeans are part of their Kind range, featuring products made with less energy, water and fewer chemicals.

9. Best ankle length jeans: Boden Slim Straight Ankle Jeans

Boden Slim Straight Ankle Jeans

Price: £65 | Buy now from Boden

“Boden slim straight jeans are fab. Shopped with them for years and their customer service is second to none.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user weekend2021)

If you’re veering away from skinnies, these still offer a fitted look, but in a more contemporary straight-leg style. Stretchy, cropped at the ankle and with a mid-rise, they’re a wardrobe staple that will go with practically everything - and there’s a great range of washes too. 

Something to note: recent reviews suggest that Boden may have changed their sizing, so if you have a regular Boden size, it might be worth reconsulting their size guide before you purchase.

Best loose-fitting jeans

10. Best jeans for women with big thighs: Whistles Denim Stretch Barrel Leg Jean

Whistles Stretch Barrel Leg Jean

Price: £95 | Buy now from Whistles

“Whistles barrel-leg jeans are fab for short folk with curvy legs. They’re not the cheapest but do fit well.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Craftycorvid)

“I love them!” (Recommended by Mumsnet user nzeire)

Pear-shaped gals can sometimes find jeans a bit tricky, but these barrel-leg beauties from Whistles are comfortable and flattering. Hurrah!

There are some hardcore fans among the Mumsnet users, but they’re a fashion editor’s pick too. High-waisted to elongate your legs and falling at the ankle, these jeans are a really versatile cut and just oh-so-stylish, whether you pair them with a blouse and mules for evening, or a jumper and trainers or boots for a classic-but-chic weekend look. Tucking in your top will make the most of that high waist too. 

They are a looser fit, so if you prefer a close fit, then size down. A few wearers reported that the jeans looked slightly too big in the stomach area, so if you’re particularly small-waisted, again you may want to size down.

11. Best black jeans for women: Marks & Spencer Luxury High Waisted Wide Leg Jeans

M&S Luxury High Waisted Wide Leg Jeans

Price: £55 | Buy now from M&S

“M&S have certainly upped their game as far as jeans are concerned.” (So says Mumsnet user RampantIvy, and these classic wide jeans are a case in point)

These wide-leg jeans are contemporary but timeless. Made from a brushed back cotton-blend fabric, they feel luxuriously soft and with added stretch and a high waist, they’re really comfortable too.

They will look amazing with lug sole boots and a chunky knit or you could just as easily wear a pair of trainers and a blazer and tee for a chic daytime look.

Available in three different lengths, you may need to wear a length down as wearers say they tend to come up long.

12. Best boyfriend jeans: G-Star RAW Kate Boyfriend Jeans

G-Star RAW Kate Boyfriend Jeans

Price: From £28.74 | Buy now from Amazon

If you like a low waist and a slouchy look, the boyfriend jean is for you. But don’t let the cool, distressed look confine you to casual wear only. These boyfriend jeans look just as great with heels as a trainer. 

Boyfriend cuts are great for less curvy figures, athletic builds or if you’ve got very long legs, because they add curves and the low rise can even out proportions.

Available in a wide range of washes and lengths, it’s got a more relaxed fit around the hips and thighs and then tapers down slightly to the ankle. We’ve got to say we love them rolled up...

13. Best baggy jeans for women: FRAME Le Baggy Palazzo Jeans

FRAME Le Baggy Palazzo Jeans

Price: £135 | Buy now from The Outnet

And now for something a bit different. Baggy jeans are making big waves this season. But not only are they marvellously fashion forward, they’re uber-comfortable and amazingly versatile.

This fabulously slouchy pair from hip label, FRAME, are a case in point. Worn low on the hips for a laidback look, you can still dress them up or down. Team with chunky trainers or loafers and a cropped sweatshirt or jacket or go more dressy with a shirt or blouse and heeled boots. Oversized is the name of the game here, but if you prefer a more fitted look, then size down.

They’re available in a great range of washes from a chic white to this vintage blue and they’re made from recycled and organic cotton mix.

Best bootcut and flared jeans

14. Best flared jeans: River Island Mid Rise Flared Jeans

River Island Mid Rise Flared Jeans

Price £42 | Buy now from River Island

“River Island jeans are fab.” (Brand recommended by Mumsnet user millymoo1202)

Channel the sexy 70s vibe with these awesome leg-lengthening, waist-cinching jeans from River Island. 

Featuring a super-stretchy fabric and a slim leg extending into a flare, these jeans are just begging for a heel to enhance the look. Take them to work with a heeled boot and a blazer, or out on the town with sandals and a sparkly top.

They’re available in a whole host of washes and in plus-size, petite and tall lengths so everyone can enjoy a bit of their supreme leg-lengthening action.

15. Best bootcut jeans for women: 7 For All Mankind B(air) Bootcut Jeans

7 For All Mankind B(air) Bootcut Jeans

Price: From £83.65 | Buy now from Amazon

Derided by the time their noughties heyday was over, celebrities including Kendall Jenner and Kate Moss are bringing the bootcut back. Hallelujah we say, because they’re a great shape for elongating the leg.

7 For All Mankind’s B(air) fabric is ultra-lightweight and soft, so it looks and feels very comfortable while giving an authentic denim look. They have a nice stretch in them to fit you over the hips and thighs and a mid-rise waist. Wearers loved how comfortable and flattering they were. 

When it comes to bootcut, heels are a non-negotiable. Wear with boots, t-shirt and a blazer for a fashion-forward spring outfit. Or heeled pumps or sandals for a classy evening look.

Wearers did say that they came up long, so shorter-legged lasses might need to get even bigger heels out!

Best mom jeans

16. Best retro jeans: Wrangler Women’s Mom Jeans

Wrangler Women’s Mom Jeans

Price: From £24.79 | Buy now from Amazon

Once mocked, now the epitome of cool, us mums are reclaiming the mom jeans. 

With a curved high waist, tapered leg and cropped length, these Wrangler jeans are a totally wearable version of the genre from an iconic brand. A striped tee and some classic trainers and you’re good to go.

They have 1% elastane for a bit of stretch and they’re made with recycled and sustainable cotton and use less water and energy consumption. And they’re Wrangler, so they’ll basically last you forever.

17. Best light blue jeans: Bershka Organic Cotton Mom Jean in Light Blue

Price: £19.99 | Buy now from ASOS

For an effortlessly easy weekend look, these Bershka jeans are a sure thing. In a gorgeous light blue, they’ll look great with summery colours and chunky sandals.

The denim is thick without any stretch, but it’s soft and comfortable. The jeans might feel a little stiff at first, but wearers report that they soften up with wear. However, make sure to size up if you need a little room around the tummy. 

Made with organic cotton grown using less water and no pesticides, these are a cheaper ethical brand as well. 

Best cropped jeans

18. Best women’s jeans for athletic legs: Levi’s Women’s 501 Crop Jeans

Levi’s Women’s 501 Crop Jeans

Price: From £33.77 | Buy now from Amazon

“They work perfectly for a less hippy figure as they’re a unisex jean. I find them incredibly comfortable and practical. They’re almost all I wear now.” (Vetted by Mumsnet user BlackCoffeeinAPoolofSunshine)

The iconic 501 in a modern cropped version? Yes please. 

They’re a versatile jean that you can wear with practically anything. Pair them with chunky Chelsea boots and a jumper with a french tuck, or trainers and a tee. 

They’re mid-rise and straight leg, but it’s more of a relaxed than slim fit, making them ideal for larger legs. They’re non-stretch, so you may find them stiff at first, but they will loosen up and lots of wearers size down for this reason.

They’re a bit more expensive than high street, but the cost-per-wear works out negligible, thanks to their enduring style, versatility and quality. Amazon has some pretty good prices and a great range of washes.

19. Best blue jeans for women: ARKET Straight Cropped Jeans

ARKET Straight Cropped Jeans

Price: £59 | Buy now from ARKET 

“I like the ARKET straight cropped jeans. I have a small waist in proportion to my bum and hips and find they fit me really nicely. The denim feels good quality and doesn’t lose its shape after half a day.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user SummaLuvin)

How great-looking are these jeans? High-waisted, leg-lengthening and in a flattering loose fit, they’re a cinch to style and they might just become your new favourite trousers. We love them with the Chelsea boots and blazer in the image.

Made from organic and recycled cotton using less water and energy, they’re available in three blue washes. 

One Mumnset user said that the denim was a bit stiff, so if you like a bit of movement in your jeans, they’re also available in a stretch version.

Best maternity jeans

20. Best over-the-bump maternity jeans: H&M MAMA Vintage Straight Jeans

H&M MAMA Vintage Straight Jeans

Price: £34.99 | Buy now from H&M

“So comfortable and a great fit!" (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Lemonade86)

“Another vote for H&M over-the-bump jeans. Tried a few others and none as good as these.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user TheGlitterFairy)

H&M’s maternity range is a big hit with Mumsnet users and we love this classic straight jean. In a vintage style, these will easily take you through your final days at work, or for relaxed pre-baby weekends. 

Made from a soft cotton-blend stretch denim with a fake fly and button, they look super stylish, are supremely comfortable and are available in six different washes.

Over-the-bump jeans are for when you start to pop, but let's face it, most of us still like wearing them a good few weeks afterwards as well. Plus they keep your tummy so warm in colder weather.

21. Best under-the-bump maternity jeans: Seraphine Marcus Under Bump Maternity Skinny Jeans

Seraphine under bump maternity skinny jeans

Price: £52 | Buy now from John Lewis

“Another vote for Seraphine. I found them the most comfy and well-fitting.” (Reviewed by Mumsnet user Tessa84)

If you’re wedded to your skinnies and don’t want to give them up while pregnant, these jeans from Seraphine are made from 81% organic cotton and 2% elastane for just the right amount of stretch to grow with you.

We love the deep indigo colour - smart enough for work or easy to dress down at weekends.

They feature a band which sits comfortably under your bump, ensuring a flexible fit at every stage. Under-bump styles are great for early pregnancy or if you tend to feel hot and don’t want the extra warmth provided by an over-the-bump band.

Which brand of jeans is best?

With so much choice available it’s difficult to know which brand to spend your money on.

But for our money, we think that Levi’s take the crown. The makers of a number of winning styles (including two on our list but we also could have included the 312 shaping slim jeans and 721 high rise skinny jeans), they’re a well-established brand with a storied heritage. Levi’s have reached iconic status; a pair will last you a lifetime and should remain in style for just as long.

We love the flattering fit of the Ribcage (“took my own breath away” joked one Mumsnet fan) and the versatile cropped 501s were a big winner with the Mumsnet community too.

Away from Levi’s, favourite high street brands among the Mumsnet community include New Look, River Island, Next and Marks & Spencer, along with higher range (primarily) online stores such as ARKET and Boden.

If you love the cut and feel of designer jeans, brands including FRAME, Citizens of Humanity, Paige and 7 for All Mankind are loved by Mumsnet users and fashion editors alike. Amazon is a good place to start for cheaper prices on designer jeans or if you know the size and style you want, scour the likes of eBay, Depop and Vinted to find second-hand deals.

What to look for when shopping for jeans 

Shopping for jeans can feel pretty daunting. Here are some things to consider to help ease the process.

  • Style: Straight jeans are very much the style of the moment, but at the same time, they’re a classic look that’s unlikely to go away anytime soon. Despite what those young’uns may say, there’s still a place for skinnies in our wardrobes if you like them - they’re ideal for tucking into boots or dressing up for a night out. Wide-leg and baggy jeans make for a cool addition to your wardrobe - they suit all body types and are just as versatile as their straight and skinny counterparts.
  • Fit: Whether you go for slim, straight or loose, if you like a bit of stretch in your jeans, look for products that contain elastane. If you prefer the classic non-stretch look, bear in mind that even without elastane, denim does soften and relax after a while, so if your jeans feel a little tight at first, they will loosen up.
  • Length: Ankle-grazer jeans sit just on or above the ankle bone and are one of the most flattering lengths. They look great with heels, trainers or ankle boots. If you’re opting for a bootleg or flare, you’ll want them to be longer (unless they’re cropped, of course) so a heel is required to enhance their leg-lengthening effect. Cropped pairs offer easy cool points or look for a jean that you can roll up so you’ve got the best of all worlds.
  • Use: Do you want a multi-tasking pair that you can wear to work, on the school run and a night out, or are you looking to mix it up with a new style, like a wide-leg? A classic straight is unlikely to go out of fashion and is probably one of the most versatile styles, so if budget is a factor, this is something to consider.
  • Price: How much do you want to spend on your jeans? If you have a limited budget, head to the high street. H&M, M&S and even Sainsbury’s and Tesco have excellent denim ranges and are much loved by the Mumsnet community. Typically, the more expensive the jeans, the longer they should last, so if you have a little more to spend, you could opt for an iconic and hard-wearing brand like Levi’s or Wranglers. If you’ve got your heart set on a designer pair, make sure to try them on first and then scour the internet to find the best price.
  • The rise: How high you like the waistband on your jeans can be a matter of personal taste, but the right rise can also help to compliment your shape. High rises (those that sit above the belly button) are particularly suited to hourglass, apple and pear shapes as they add or enhance waist definition and elongate the legs. Petite women should consider mid-rise (in line or just below the belly button) to keep proportions balanced, whereas tall and athletic figures might opt for a low-rise to balance out long legs or add the illusion of curves.

What are the best ladies’ jeans to buy?

No wardrobe is complete without a straight-cut jean and we think & Other Stories just about nudges it with their version of this classic cut. The high waist and slim leg with a hint of stretch make for a universally flattering cut that feels super comfortable but looks effortlessly cool. They’re made from organic and recycled cotton, too.

How we chose our recommendations 

With such an enormous choice of jeans on the market, narrowing them down to just 21 was a task of epic proportions.Here’s how we did it.

Expert recommendations

Our extensive research included looking at various fashion websites including Vogue, Glamour and Woman&Home to read about their recommendations. We noted the brands, styles and fits that came up time and time again, analysing what made each special enough to deserve a spot in your wardrobe.

Suggestions tried and tested by real Mumsnet users

We also spent several hours combing through the Mumsnet Talk boards to explore the jeans vetted by our users - which jeans they were loving and which jeans not so much. With each recommendation, we also evaluated the pros and cons of each, making sure we brought you an honest guide to the jeans our users rate. 

Authentic consumer reviews

And finally, we looked at other real-life reviews from retailer websites. We compared the results of these three sources to find the jeans that were highly rated across the board.

Why you should trust us 

At Mumsnet, we are fortunate to be able to look to our millions of users for their recommendations on products and services.

As a rule, Mumsnet users tend to be discerning shoppers and as real customers, we value their opinions highly. They can always be trusted to give options that are full and frank.

Our reviews combine the wisdom of Mumsnet users combined with the experience of consumer journalists to find the best on the market every time.

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust.