How to style boyfriend jeans 2023: 7 outfit ideas for every occasion

Not sure how to style boyfriend jeans? We’ve got all the outfit ideas you’ll ever need

Three women wearing boyfriend jeans to illustrate how to style boyfriend jeans
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Wondering how to style boyfriend jeans to give you that laidback chic look without having to break a sweat? It's easier than you think. Combining the best qualities of some of our favorite jean styles, this is the denim to add to your closet this season. 

As the name might suggest, the boyfriend jean, is one that ostensibly is borrowed from your boyfriend, and as such, they are slouchy and relaxed as if they were tailored for the boys. One of the best jeans for women, they were first made popular by Marilyn Monroe in the '60s on the set of The Misfits, loose-fitting jeans suddenly became an option for women. However, it wasn't until around 2010 that they suddenly became popular once more.

A break from the tight-fit skinny that had become de rigueur, the baggy silhouette was the ultimate in comfort and style. Traditionally, they sit lower on the waist than mom jeans and have a straight, rather than a tapered, leg. The perfect boyfriend jean should also have an oversized fit for that chilled-out vibe. The love for all Y2K fashion means the boyfriend jean has started to evolve in more recent times to ensure there is a style for all body types.

“The boyfriend style is still in style, but now the term boyfriend jean is not just being used to describe a relaxed leg jean with a turn up, it also encompasses a '90s wide straight leg fit or baggy straight leg jean too,” says personal stylist and fashion designer Lisa O’Shaughnessy.

How to style boyfriend jeans 2023: 7 boyfriend jean outfit ideas

One of the best types of jeans for women, learning how to style boyfriend jeans is important to ensure that your figure isn't swamped by the relaxed fit. If you're on the petite side, shopping for the best petite jeans, will help to ensure that they are cut for a smaller frame. 

1. How to style boyfriend jeans with a blazer

Three women walking in the street showing how to style boyfriend jeans with a blazer

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If you want to know how to style boyfriend jeans without looking too casual, a blazer is your friend. Whether you go oversized or fitted, when paired with boyfriend jeans it makes for the basis of some great smart casual outfit ideas

Ripped jeans are back in a big way this year and they work really well with a blazer, adding polished to a casual style. The juxtaposition of distressed denim and a smart, tailored blazer (along with some sleek gold jewelry) is a failsafe combination. You can even learn how to distress jeans yourself, if you already own a pair of boyfriend jeans you want to refresh.

Keep it really casual by teaming with a pair of dad trainers and a baseball cap or up the smart factor and choose a pair of the best loafers and a structured bag.

2. How to style boyfriend jeans with a sweater

Three women wearing boyfriend jeans showing how to style boyfriend jeans with a sweater

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Whether you're wearing one of the best cashmere sweaters or a chunky roll neck, boyfriend jeans are a great choice for pairing with knitwear. Just chuck on your favorite sweater, boyfriend jeans and you’re ready to go.

If you normally opt for the best mom jeans and feel swamped in an oversized sweater and boyfriend jeans, this is where the French tuck will come in. An ideal choice for how to style boyfriend jeans, just tuck a small bit of the jumper into your jeans at the front and voila, you have some shape back in your waist. 

Another tip to help balance out proportions is to wear a heel with this look. They contrast with the masculine vibe of the jean, giving a feminine finish and will give you some height, which is a great way to feel less messy and more together. 

Three street style models showing how to style boyfriend jeans with a blouse or shirt

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3. How to style boyfriend jeans with a blouse

One of the biggest appeals of boyfriend jeans is their androgynous appeal. When mixed with something super feminine, like a pretty blouse, it creates an interesting pairing and is perfect if you don’t like to be too girlie in your approach to dressing.

The best shirts or blouses to wear with boyfriend jeans depends on your taste, but you can never go wrong with a simple white shirt, which is a classic look that never dates and is a lesson in how to dress simple but stylish.

How you wear your blouse or shirt though depends on the rise of the jean. The best high waisted jeans with a boyfriend fit look best with shirts tucked in, while a pair that's lower rise can get away with button-up shirts left untucked, a peplum or tunic style blouse.

4. How to style boyfriend jeans with an evening top

Three women showing how to style boyfriend jeans with an evening top

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While boyfriend jeans make for an effortless weekend look, they can also work well for evenings. It’s all about adding in an element of glam says Lesley.

“A boyfriend jean looks great when paired with a camisole and blazer, a silky button front blouse or a French style boucle knit jacket with a shell top,” she advises. “Choosing one statement piece of jewelry be it earrings, bracelet or necklace, strikes the right balance. Don’t forget a glam shoe as well - choose either pointy stilettos, kitten heels, slingbacks, platforms or strappy sandals. “

When deciding how to style boyfriend jeans, a black pair instantly makes the look smarter and evening appropriate. If you’re not sure how to style black jeans, keep the look simple and throw in a bold accessory such as a bright bag or metallic shoe to keep it chic.

The joy of a slouchy jean is that you can wear more fitted tops that will make you look dressy without trying too hard. A corset or sequin top looks edgy when you team it with boyfriend jeans.

Three women walking on the street showing how to style boyfriend jeans with heels

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5. How to style boyfriend jeans with heels

You may automatically reach for your trainers when it comes to your boyfriend jeans, but a heel actually works really well with this style.

“Platform shoes/sandals look fresh and modern, while slingback kitten heels are also a great option,” says Lesley. “For those who can wear high stiletto strappy sandals and pointy courts make a killer evening look.”

Don’t just keep this look for evenings either, a block heel or strappy sandal can help make choosing a stylish top to wear with jeans that bit sharper, especially if you’re not used to wearing baggy style jeans.

It's important to get the proportions right with heels. Wear with either cropped ankle boyfriend jeans or go the other way and wear with puddle grazing jeans. A peek of a pointy shoe is so very chic with longer jeans and helps stop them from dragging on the floor too much.

6. How to style boyfriend jeans for petites

Three women including Kylie Minogue showing how to style boyfriend jeans if you're petite

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While taller women probably revel in that slightly looser cut, learning how to style boyfriend jeans can be hard to get right for petite women. While boyfriend jeans are meant to be oversized and worn loosely on the thigh and waist, if you’re under 5 foot 4 inches, it may be best to choose a slimmer leg boyfriend jean and pay attention to the length.

“This style is not so much about body shape, but the calf and ankle area,” says Lesley. “The turn up has to hit the right point that is flattering for you. As this is a relaxed style, the jean shouldn’t be too tight either.”

Even though boyfriend jeans are meant to sit low on the hip, a high waisted version benefits petite women as it helps to create an illusion of length. It also means you can tuck in your top half and keep a slimmer silhouette, which balances out against any volume in the bottom.

While this style of jean looks great cuffed, this can actually make petite women look even shorter, so if you want your legs to appear longer, ditch the cuff and wear them with a flesh toned heel.

7. How to style boyfriend jeans for plus size

Barbie Ferreira, Hayley Hasslehoof and Amber Riley showing how to style boyfriend jeans for plus sizes

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Are boyfriend jeans the best jeans for curvy women? Find the right fit, and they’re great for all sizes.

Consider boyfriend jeans that include stretch to ensure they hug your curves and avoid waist gape, and opt for the best quality denim you can afford. These will last longer, especially if you find your thighs tend to rub together. Choose a slimmer boyfriend jean if you a more streamlined silhouette, and opt for a pair with pockets at the front, to contour your shape.

As for how to style boyfriend jeans, you can’t go wrong with a simple top and jacket, whether that’s a biker jacket, blazer or your best trench coat, for an easy look. If you feel like boyfriend jeans are too slouchy for you, a small heel can help make you feel more pulled together. A cowboy boot, block heel or small platform all work well with this style of jeans.

What body type do boyfriend jeans look good on?

“Boyfriend jeans are an incredibly versatile, comfortable style that suit every body shape” says Lesley. “The relaxed nature of the style means they flatter both curvy and more androgynous/ athletic figures.”

When it comes to boyfriend jeans, Lesley says it’s also important to think of the length and alter this depending on your body type.

She says: “Women that have larger calves/ankles (might want to try) choosing a pair that are slightly longer than the traditional cropped style, hitting just below the ankle bone.”

How to wear boyfriend jeans over 40

There’s no age limit when it comes to boyfriend jeans as they’re super flattering for all ages. Unlike skinny jeans, which can be quite tight cling to you, the looser fit offers a relaxed, figure skimming fit.  If you choose a baggier style, keep your top half slim-fitting to balance your shape. Another option is to choose a slimmer-fitting leg for a smarter look.

Not everyone embraces a low waist, despite its popularity with this season's trends. In this case, ditch the low waist for a mid-rise or high-rise waist to help you feel more secure.

Are boyfriend jeans out of style in 2023?

Mom jeans may have been in the fashion spotlight for a while, but boyfriend jeans are definitely making a comeback. Low-waisted jeans with loose legs were all over the runways and celebrities such as Gigi Hadid and Dua Lipa are often snapped in their baggy boyfriends.

When it comes to boyfriend jeans vs mom jeans, it all depends on what style suits your lifestyle. Mom jeans nip in the waist and balloon out, lending themselves to smarter outfits, whereas boyfriend jeans are much more laidback and perfect for more casual looks.

Jayne Cherrington-Cook

With over 22 years’ experience in journalism, Jayne has written about a variety of subjects. She spent the start of her career within the world of film, interviewing Hollywood stars, attending premieres and lusting after red carpet outfits, and then moved into fashion, launching websites for big magazines such as Look, Woman’s Own and Wedding and working with top fashion brands such as Westfield, LK Bennett and Hunter. 

Career highlights include dressing up as Kylie (in gold hot pants!) for a national newspaper and working on big fashion events alongside Giles Deacon, Henry Holland and Naomi Campbell.