7 ways to rock jeans and heels for any occasion
A fashion editor explains how to create the ultimate jeans and heels outfit combinations for every occasion
Jeans and heels is an outfit formula you can always rely on. Whilst jeans are an everyday staple, throw in a pair of heels and you’ve elevated denim in an instant. From weekend brunches to dinner dates, jeans and heels are the power pairing you’ll reach for time and time again.
A classic combination, jeans and heels is far from dated. A wardrobe staple, when styled right it can feel incredibly fresh and modern, and thanks to the many types of jeans and heels on the market, the outfit possibilities really are endless. Whether you're loving the denim trends 2023 penchant for '90s baggy jeans with feminine mules, or are loving flared jeans paired with platform heels, there is a jeans and heels combination to suit all styles.
Denim is notoriously casual, whilst heels are instantly dressy creating a high-low mix that's perfect for a smart casual outfit idea.
“I love the combination of jeans and a heel - it's that dressed up casual look that makes you feel effortless, yet polished, says Mathilde Mader, Chief Creative Officer at Everlane.
“In the daytime, I think a wider leg jean looks great with a low, easy heel, a white t-shirt or tank, and a blazer on top if you are going to the office or a meeting. For the evening or a date, I like an ankle crop jean in a straight leg so you can really show off more of a statement heel like a sandal or mule, and then worn with a shirt and lots of layered up jewelry.”
7 ways to style jeans and heels
Overall jeans and heels is a speedy way to smarten up all types of jeans, however, a key thing to remember is that darker washes tend to look smarter naturally, so if you want to keep your look more polished avoid jeans that are distressed, ripped or acid-wash and look to indigo or black jeans in a straight-leg or bootcut.
1. How to style jeans and heels for work
When it comes to making your best jeans office-appropriate, shoes play a key role and a pair of heels is your fast-track way to keeping your jeans on the smarter end of the sartorial scale. The main thing to remember is that this look is all about balance.
Jeans are seen as a casual wardrobe essential so you want to mix and match them with more polished pieces to add elegance, think a tailored blazer, a pussybow blouse, and some classic court shoes.
“To create a polished and professional look, opt for a dark skinny or straight-leg jean paired with a sleek blazer or a bodysuit (or trendy swimsuit) and a classic pump or ankle boot. The key is to keep the outfit streamlined, so avoid any overly distressed or embellished denim. A high-waisted, wide-leg jean with a tucked-in blouse is also a great option to create a chic sophisticated silhouette,” says Andréa Bernholtz, Conscious Lifestyle and Sustainable Fashion Expert.
Your heels will need to survive the commute and the 9-5 so don’t go too high. Stick to a block or kitten heel to ensure round-the-clock comfort and so that your footwear looks ready for meetings rather than the dancefloor.
RRP: $240 / £225 | The dark blue and slim-fit keeps these jeans looking smart enough for the 9-5. The best high waisted jeans offer a flattering, midriff contouring fit and this staple pair is one you'll never tire of. We love the inky blue hue too.
RRP: $69.99 / £45.99 | The gorgeous olive hue adds a hint of color, while the flowy fabric and bow details give it a feminine finish. Wear loose and layer over camis for a more relaxed look or tuck it in for a more streamlined silhouette, that highlights a waist.
2. How to style jeans and heels for a date
Whether you’re wondering what to wear on a first date or you’re heading out to your favorite spot to celebrate a special occasion, jeans and heels are a no-brainer when it comes to dating. The denim brings an effortless vibe to the look whilst the heels stop it from looking too laidback. Comfort is key to feeling confident on a date, so stick to your go-to silhouettes, whether that’s a mom jean or your best straight leg jeans. Inject some personality into this look and try a sparkly heel - thanks to the shoe trends 2023, or a statement blouse, and pull the whole look together with your best blazer.
“For a romantic night out, embrace your feminine side by pairing a flirty off-the shoulder top with a pair of high-waisted skinny jeans and strappy heels. The high-waisted denim will accentuate your curves. While the heels will elongate your legs creating a sultry and stylish look. You can also try a cropped flare jean with a statement blouse and chunky mules for a more eclectic vibe,” says Andréa.
RRP: $34.99 / £29.99 | For affordable jeans, Scandinavian clothing brand, H&M is a one-stop shop. These mom jeans have an ultra-high waist for an extra flattering finish and a tapered leg so you can show off your jeans and heels ensemble too.
RRP: $119 / £75 | Mastering the balance of sexy and sophisticated, this top has a fitted bodice that hugs in all the right places. The puff sleeves and frilly cuffs add a dose of drama and the off-shoulder neckline shows off some skin.
RRP: $83 / £99 | These pink '90s-inspired mules will add a pop of color to your date-night outfit. Perfect teamed with jeans or dresses, they come in five chic muted shades with the brand's horseshoe buckle. Ideal for what to wear to a wedding too.
3. How to style jeans and heels for the weekend
Whatever the weekend has in store, jeans and heels are a great smart-casual combination that will work for anything from Saturday cocktails to Sunday brunch. For a more laid-back aesthetic, turn to slouchier jean such a mom fit or a boyfriend cut and team with simple sweaters and tanks. When it comes to style how to style baggy jeans if you go for a boxier top half, add structure by half-tucking in the front to highlight your waist. Or if you want to smarten it up a bit, try layering a blazer or some gold chunky jewelry. Lean into '90s fashion trends with a slouchy cut and style with some mules or barely-there sandals.
“When it comes to weekend wear, anything goes! A baggy or distressed boyfriend jean paired with a graphic tee and chunky sneakers is a great way to create a casual and effortless look. For a more elevated weekend outfit try a wide-leg cropped jean with a boxy crop top and heeled sandals. The wide-leg silhouette will create a relaxed and flowy loop, perfect for a day out with friends or family,” says Andréa.
RRP: $148 / £165 | Taking inspo from the eighties, these mid-rise jeans have a slouchy feel with a straight leg for a cool, laidback edge. As well as classic blue, they come in green and yellow for a bolder look, ideal for those spring outfit ideas.
RRP: $39 / £25 | Cos are pros at crafting elevated basics and this tank is no exception. Made from a cotton-jersey, it’s delightfully soft and has a modern, wide boat neckline. A stylish top to wear with jeans, try half-tucking it into your denim.
4. How to style wide leg jeans and heels
The best wide-leg jeans are serious leg lengtheners, throw on a pair of heels and you’ve got legs for days, especially if you opt for a high-waisted silhouette. If you usually need the best petite jeans, adding heels will also stop them from dragging on the floor and making you appear smaller. Tap into '70s trend, and try a heeled boot or some clogs and keep your top half more fitted to offset the voluminous shape. Wide leg jeans are also some of the best jeans to wear with cowboy boots, thanks to the edgier aesthetic.
“In general, when wearing jeans and heels, it is essential to choose shoes that complement the style and fit of the jeans. For example, a classic pump or ankle strap heel can work well with skinny or straight-leg jeans, while a platform or block heel can balance the volume of wide-leg or baggy jeans. Experiment with different combinations to find the look that works best for you,” says fashion expert Karine Laudot.
RRP: $258 / £297 | These '70s-inspired wide-leg jeans fit like a dream thanks to the comfy stretch fabric. Paired with heels, they'll elongate your legs, while the high-rise waist will help to contour your waist. Balance the look out with a cropped tee or knit.
RRP: $59.90 / £45.99 | One of the top shoe trends this season, clogs are high up on many a fashionistas list. Easy to wear thanks to the platform sole and chunky heel, stick to neutral hues of creams and browns to keep them as versatile as possible.
RRP: $135 / £85 | To style wide leg jeans, opt for a fitted top, like this one to balance out proportions. Made using partly recycled materials, it has a deep v-neck and long sleeves making it a stylish and functional choice for those in-between weather days.
5. How to style skinny jeans and heels
Skinny jeans and heels might be the most obvious pairing of them all. With their slim-fitting style, the best skinny jeans often finish just at the ankle which makes them ideal for showing off fancy footwear. Embrace this opportunity and let them take center stage with a pop of color against classic blue jeans or some fancy embellishments for extra glamour. Help to balance proportions and finish with a looser-fitting top half, an oversized shirt or chunky sweater will do the trick.
“When wearing skinny jeans and heels, ensure the jeans fit well and do not bunch up around the ankles,” adds Karine.
RRP: $69.50 / £100 | You can always rely on jeans brand Levi’s to deliver well-fitting jeans and these are a winner. Sleek with a figure-hugging silhouette, these have a flattering high rise and the perfect amount of stretch. The dark blue keeps them polished.
RRP: $229 / £139 | This floaty floral top is the ideal companion to figure hugging skinnies. Featuring a long flowy hem at the back and an adjustable drape at the front, it’s flirty and feminine. Swap for denim shorts fora fun beach side ensemble.
RRP: $1,152 / £860 | Indulge in some high-shine designer heels for a glamorous finish to your look. These gold stretch pumps are elevated by their directional mesh detail and trend-worthy wraparound straps. Team them with the best designer bags.
6. How to style straight jeans and heels
From the best white trainers to designer heels, there’s not a shoe that doesn’t go with a pair of straight-leg jeans so you’re really spoilt for choice if you’re a straight-leg fan-girl. For an unstated, yet elegant look, opt for a simple, pointed pump. The pointed toe will elongate your legs and make your outfit feel instantly dressier. While the straight leg adds an almost tailored feel to your ensemble.
“Straight leg jeans look great with a button-up shirt for work, a statement top for a date, or a sweater for a weekend outing,” says Karine.
Try a vibrant hue or a shiny metallic and let it peep subtly out from the bottom of your jeans. Or you could opt for a cropped cut or try rolling up the hem if you want to offer them a bit more attention.
RRP: $118 / £113 | Designed to hit at the ankles, these jeans are a go-to if you want to show off your shoes. They have a classic, low-rise fit for a slouchier feel and they’re crafted from super soft organic cotton, making them a more sustainable buy.
RRP: $120 / £85 | Introduce a pop of color to your outfit and tap into the top fashion color trends of 2023 with these green slingback shoes. The low heel makes them wearable all day long and the classic silhouette means you'll wear these for years to come.
RRP: $285 / £175 | You can never have enough stripy knits as far as we're concerned and this is a front-runner thanks to the cute details. The three-quarter-length sleeves make it an ideal choice for a spring capsule wardrobe, it will easily become a staple.
7. How to style baggy jeans and heels
If you really want to amp up the cool factor, opt for a '90s-inspired light wash baggy jeans with some dainty kitten heels for the ultimate high-low combo. Light-wash jeans can be harder to dress up so you want to go all out with your combinations - the fancier the shoe, the better. Think Sex and the City and think about how to dress like Carrie Bradshaw. Keep your top half more structured with a fitted sweater or the best t-shirt and finish with a boxy bag for extra polish.
“When wearing baggy jeans and heels, ensure the jeans hit just above the ankle bone to show off your shoes,” adds Karine.
RRP: $148 / £178 | One of the key fashion trends for 2023, cargo pants are a must-have. These have a flattering wide-leg, a mid-waist and statement pockets. For help with how to style cargo pants, as with wide legs, keep your top half fitted for balance.
RRP: $1,195 / £945 | These embellished pumps have the power to dress up the most casual of outfits. Featuring the designer’s signature crystal buckles and a comfy slingback, we love the sunshine hue for an instant mood boost. Wear these with dresses too.
Charlie is the Deputy Fashion Editor at Future plc across multiple women’s magazines including Woman & Home, Woman and Woman's Own.
She bagged her first magazine job in 2009 and has previously written for titles including Stylist, Closer and Dare. Over the years Charlie has embraced anything that was thrown at her from styling celebrities to testing out the best jeans on the high street to writing about must-have beauty buys.
With a weakness for a printed midi dress, Charlie is on a mission to shop more sustainably and loves finding new ethical brands and second-hand buys.
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