9 types of jeans for women that will enhance your wardrobe and how to wear them

From boot cut to barrel leg, these are the types of jeans for women that everyone should own

Three women wearing different styles of jeans to show the types of jeans for women
(Image credit: Getty)

Wondering what types of jeans for women you need in your wardrobe? Jeans have become somewhat of a wardrobe staple and thanks to these 9 types of jeans for women, there is a pair that will work for every occasion, style and silhouette. 

When it comes to the 9 types of jeans for women, you might want to pick and choose those that suit your lifestyle and taste best. However, it's important to note that all these jeans can play an active role in a capsule wardrobe, suiting different occasions and moods. The denim trends 2023 naturally pull some silhouettes to the height of fashion, but if your best jeans don't fit in with the latest runway looks, have no fear. 

These 9 types of jeans for women are timeless and they are styles you can return to time and time again to underpin your capsule wardrobe. Learning how to style jeans of different shapes will open up a whole new look for you, allowing you to mix and max staples for maximum versatility, ensuring those 'nothing to wear' moments are a thing of the past. And if you've felt stuck in a denim rut, then understanding the types of jeans out there could help reinvigorate your denim aesthetic.

The 9 types of jeans for women

  • High waisted
  • Skinny
  • Straight
  • Mom
  • Boot cut
  • Flared
  • Barrel
  • Boyfriend
  • Jeggings

Over the years, various styles have come in and out of fashion, yet these styles seem to be here to stay - and with good reason. Having a selection of jean styles opens up your wardrobe to many more possibilities. The tops you would wear with skinny jeans or jeggings for example, will really differ from those paired with flares or mom jeans, and while you don't need all 9 pairs, adding some different types of jeans for women into your wardrobe will make it more versatile.

Different styles and washes work for different occasions. Some jobs will allow you to wear a dark wash or black straight jean, while a ripped, light wash jean is perfect for those more casual moments, such as festivals or picnics with pals.

If you don't know where to start, it's always good to work out what your body type is first as some styles are more flattering for some shapes. For example, high waisted straight jeans are great for apple shapes as they suck in the tummy area. Boot cut jeans and flares work well for petite women as they have amazing leg-lengthening properties.

The best tip for finding your dream jean style? Try lots of styles on to see what really suits you advises Sara Ladd, Head of Product at Huit.

“Buy quality, buy better and make sure the fit is right for your body shape that you feel comfortable in,” she advises. “A good pair of jeans are an investment and should be worn all year round.”

9 types of jeans that will enhance your wardrobe

Three women wearing different high waisted jeans to illustrate the types of jeans for women

(Image credit: Getty)

1. HIGH WAISTED

High waisted jeans have a waistband that sits around the smallest part of your natural waist, just above your belly button. For this reason, they're great for apple body types and those with athletic bodies as they create a waistline and contour your shape, making them the most slimming jeans to buy. However they pretty much work for all silhouettes.

As it just refers to the waistband, it works with many different styles including skinny, straight leg, flared, and mom jeans. Due to the high waist, dark wash denim in this style can work for dressier occasions, especially when teamed with a blazer and heels. The key thing when it comes to how to style high waisted jeans is to make sure you show off your waist.

"High waisted jeans look best with a relaxed top or knit, tucked or half tucked to lengthen the leg,” advises Lesley Torson, founder of Trilogy (opens in new tab).

“They are great for styling with trainers or flats for a casual day-to-day look, but also work really well with a blouse and heels or boots for the evening."

Three women wearing different skinny jeans to show the types of jeans for women that are available

(Image credit: Getty)

2. SKINNY Jeans

While the skinny jean probably won't hit the dizzy heights of their popularity back in the mid-Noughties, these versatile jeans still have a place in any woman's wardrobe.

"Although not as on-trend as the wider styles currently dominating the market, the skinny jean is still a classic and incredibly wearable style,” says Lesley.

Not only do skinny jeans suit pretty much everyone, but they’re also one of the few jean styles that look fabulous tucked into ankle boots or your best knee-high boots. The key to making them work is to balance out the proportions. For stylish tops to wear with jeans with a skinny silhouette, team them with an oversized long coat or try a baggy shirt with a French tuck. As the bottom half is super skinny, you want to create some volume on top, on-trend ruffles and full sleeves work well for this.

The best skinny jeans will come with some stretch in them, so that they hug your curves and feel comfortable when you move around, and preferably go to your ankle or just above.

If skinny jeans give you fashion flashbacks you’d rather forget, Lesley suggests going for a slim leg instead.

She says: “A great way up updating your skinny jean collection for a more contemporary look is the slim straight, which is easily styled with trainers or ballet pumps."

Three women wearing straight leg jeans to illustrate the different types of jeans for women

(Image credit: Getty)

3. STRAIGHT Jeans

Sara believes this is the one style every woman needs in their jeans wardrobe, citing that the Huit Eira straight leg jean is very popular with customers right now. 

“A true classic straight leg jean is a must-have,” she says. “They’re comfortable, flattering and an all-rounder fit.”

As the first type of jean style to be created by Levi’s back in 1873, this is a style that’s most popular for a reason. When it comes to types of jeans for women that suit all body types, the straight leg is it. Wondering how to style straight jeans? There are so many ways.

“Worn with trainers or boots, sandals or heels, a straight leg jean is a versatile piece for any wardrobe,” says Sara. “Wear it with a t-shirt tucked in, or an oversized jumper or shirt. The Hiut team wear the Eira jean with Birkenstocks and a jumper for comfort or with boots and a shirt for a smarter look.”

Three women wearing mom jeans to illustrate the types of jeans for women

(Image credit: Getty)

4. MOM Jeans

The '90s fashion trend favorite is here to stay. The beloved jean of moms across the globe, it's moved from a throwback to one of the hottest fashion trends 2023, although as with all retro styles, it's gradually evolving over time. 

“Mom jeans are a fit, which has evolved from the high-rise oversized loose fit to a more slim-leg, mid-rise today," says Sara, who believes there's a style of mom jeans for everyone.

The wider leg and tapered waist, works well for hourglass figures, however, the original full-volume mom jeans can emphasize the hip area, so if that's an area that you're conscious of, opt for the modern mom jean instead. A slimmer leg and nipped-in waist though will work for most body shapes.

The casual feel to mom jeans means that the best mom jeans outfits they are best suited to more laidback outfits, however, a blazer or sheer blouse with heels can give them the glam factor and make them suitable for more dressed-up occasions. As is fitting with the retro feel of these jeans, the best mom jeans come in light or vintage washes, but if you want to give them a 2023 feel, try patchwork or two tone for a new take on the look.

Three women wearing bootcut jeans to illustrate different types of jeans for woman

(Image credit: Getty)

5. BOOT CUT jeans

The rise of Y2K fashion continues with the return of the bootcut jean. Worn low-waisted by celebs from Mariah to J-Lo, they were the preserve of those with washboard abs. Thankfully the 2023 reincarnation is much more flattering for everyone, as the waist is higher and the flare slimmer.

Slightly tapered in the thigh area and wider from the knee to the hem, they are perfect for pear shape body types as the flare balances out the silhouette. They’re also the best petite jeans as the subtle flare effect helps to lengthen the leg, making the wearer look taller. 

Stick to a dark indigo or black wash pair of jeans for a polished finish, meaning you can wear them to work or add them to those all-important birthday outfit ideas. Keep in mind the flare and ensure your top half is sleek and simple. If you’ve got a high waisted pair, tuck your top in to help keep the balance.

Three women in flared jeans showing the different types of jeans for women

(Image credit: Getty)

6. FLARED jeans

One of the major styles Lesley says will continue to be big this year is the flare, especially a cropped iteration for the warmer months. Designers such as Alberta Ferretti and Dior reintroduced the flare in their fall/winter collections and it’s set to continue for the rest of 2023.

Seen on celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Kendall Jenner, they're loved for their leg-lengthening properties, but how to style flared jeans? The key is to keep everything sleeker on your top half says Lesley.

"Flares are best styled with a tucked-in or shorter top to accentuate the silhouette the exaggerated leg shape creates," she advises.

If you do want to wear something oversized on top like a shacket or blazer, team it with a tight-fitting bodysuit, tucked in tee or cropped top so you don't overwhelm your figure.

While lighter washes are perfect for summer picnics and more casual events, a darker denim looks super sharp, especially when teamed with a matching denim jacket. This is a Canadian tuxedo like you've never seen before and will take you to many an event. Either choose a slightly cropped jacket or one that belts at the waist for full-on '70s retro appeal.

Three women wearing barrel leg jeans illustrating the different types of jeans for women

(Image credit: Getty)

7. BARREL Leg Jeans

Think of the barrel jean as a curvier version of the classic straight leg or a smarter take on the mom jean. They feature a high waist with a wide-cut cropped leg that tapers at the ankle, and while it may sound tricky to wear, this is one of a number of types of jeans for women that Lesley says it’s actually really easy to wear stylishly.

"Barrel jeans are best styled with a slimmer-fitting top and look great with heels for a leg-elongating look,” says Lesley. She says if you do want to wear something a bit looser, add a belt for more definition.

Whistles first introduced its now cult barrel jean to the market in 2017 and it’s a style that seems to be going nowhere. A good choice for either apple or pear shapes, the high waist nips you in, while the barrel-style leg adds curves and balances you out. Choose a pair made from rigid denim as they need to keep their shape and stretch denim just won't cut it.

These slightly shorter jeans work so well with heels, however, don't dismiss flats or trainers either. A barrel jean is a winner when it comes to how to wear high top Converse or the best Chelsea boots.

Three women wearing bootcut jeans illustrating types of jeans for women

(Image credit: Getty)

8. BOYFRIEND jeans

If you’ve got broad shoulders or an athletic figure, then boyfriend jeans are one of the best jeans for your body type. Traditionally boyfriend jeans are low or mid-rise, but for a little more support over your midriff, opt for a high waisted pair of boyfriend jeans.

The style was given the name as they look very much like jeans you’ve stolen from your boyfriend, so a loose leg is also part of this style. This can be off-putting for some, especially as skin-tight jeans have reigned for so long, but styled in the right way, they’re super comfortable and still very flattering.

While they’re definitely not designed for formal occasions, boyfriend jeans can be dressed up for a night in the pub with a heel and tucked-in top, however, these jeans really come into their own teamed with casual gear and a flat sandal, trainer or ballet pump. You can also wear boyfriend jeans super long, like a puddle jean for a directional feel, or if you want to flash an ankle, roll them up.

If you're wondering about boyfriend jeans vs mom jeans, choose boyfriend jeans if you like that low-slung, California vibe. Mom jeans are definitely more retro and work better with more fitted tops. If you’re new to boyfriend jeans, opt for a slimmer cut (often called girlfriend jeans) which will bridge the gap between them and mom jeans.

Three women wearing jeggings to illustrate the different types of jeans for women

(Image credit: Getty)

8. JEGGINGS

This hybrid of jeans and leggings may not be around as much as it was back in 2010, but it still has a place in any denim capsule wardrobe.

Back then it was the next step from skinny jeans. Jeggings had all the skin-tight properties of its rock n roll counterpart but with the added benefit of super stretchy fabric and an elasticated waist. Since the pandemic and comfort became king once more, this jean style has definitely come back, along with leggings, but for 2023, it’s knowing how to create the best leggings outfits that's key.

Bring the cool back to them by wearing a dress over the top or teaming with trainers and a stylish trench coat. Boots are an obvious pairing with jeggings as they work so well tucked in, whichever boot trend you opt for, from thigh-high to chunky. Keep the top half oversized, such as a blazer or oversized knit, to balance out your look. More of a casual look, if you do want to go smarter, choose a dark wash and add a structured jacket or coat.

Which types of jeans are in style for 2023?

"Wide-leg styles continue to grow in popularity for 2023, including more cropped takes on the shape,” says Lesley. “You can also expect to see a lot of other relaxed shapes including straight-leg, boyfriend fit and cargo-style denim heading into spring/summer."

When it comes to shades of denim, light wash and dirty denim were all across the runways. And if you’re really looking for different types of jeans for women, this year, chaps are back. Yes, that favorite of Christina Aguilera is making a return, but this time the look is slightly more wearable with designers mixing leather and denim together to make a more family-friendly version of this style.

What are the different styles of ladies’ jeans?

There are many types of jeans for women and when it comes to finding the best jeans for you, it’s best to go and try different styles on to see how they fit your figure.

For M&S, its best-sellers are straight leg jeans, closely followed by slim fit, skinny and boot cut. Other styles that are popular right now include:

  • Flares
  • Mom jeans
  • Bootcut jeans
  • Jeggings
  • Baggy or puddle jeans
  • Barrel leg jeans
  • Split leg jeans
  • Cargo jeans

What is a normal number of jeans to own?

According to a report done by Fashion United (opens in new tab), most women own on average 7 pairs of jeans, but really it all depends on your lifestyle. If you work from home or in a more casual profession and practically live in jeans, chances are you’ll end up owning more pairs than that. However, if your wardrobe is more corporate, you may own less.

It's recommended to only wash your jeans after 10 wears, so in reality, having 3 or 4 pairs should fulfill most fashion needs. Make sure you have a couple of versatile styles in mid-blue denim, such as a straight cut or high-waisted design that will go with everything in your wardrobe. Then you can add some different cuts or washes to mix things up.

And remember, if you wear them so much and they start to fray, patchwork is all the rage at the moment, so get sewing and you’ll be able to wear them for longer.

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.