In 2013, denim jeans turned 140 years old. May 20, 1873 is widely considered the day blue jeans were invented. They are still wildly popular; 450 million pairs are sold in the USA each year alone [source: CNN].
Since the invention, many different types of denim jeans have evolved. Just as there are many different types of pants for women, there are many different types of jeans (including jean brands) for women.
However, not all cuts are in style at the same time. Below, we set out the 10 main blue jean cuts and styles for women accompanied by real-world examples. Above is our nifty chart.
Table of Contents
Chart Setting Out Different Jean Styles for Women
Now that you have a bird’s eye view of all the different cuts, check out real-world examples below plus a few tidbits of interesting info about the various styles.
Related: 12 types of blue jeans for men
1. Straight Leg
Straight cut jeans are a conservative cut that while not always the most stylish, isn’t necessarily out of style either. It’s a classic cut.
What are straight leg jeans?
The pant leg is somewhat consistent width all the way down the leg. Tighter on the thigh, slightly loose around the calf and ankle.
2. Slim Fit
What are slim fit jeans?
They’re cut to fit snuggly around your thighs and butt. They loosen up a tad down the leg. They should not be confused with a skinny cut, which maintains snug fit down the entire leg.
3. Skinny Cut
What are skinny jeans?
While slim fit jeans are cut to the contour your butt and thighs, skinny jeans take it to the next level by being tight in butt, thighs and entire leg. They’re essentially denim stretchy pants. Both men and women wear this cut. Yes, they can be comfortable these days with the invention of stretch denim.
4. Boyfriend Jeans
What are boyfriend jeans?
They’re loose, comfortable lounging jeans without entirely throwing style to the wind. They’re often a bit distressed, worn but have more give and room than skinny or slim-fit jeans.
5. Loose Fit
The loose fit hangs down low on your waste and offers ample room in thighs. The leg opening may narrow a bit.
6. Flared Cut
What is a flared cut jean?
It’s tight on thighs and butt but flares wide at the bottom. The flare is more pronounced than the bootcut jean. These were popular in the 1970’s and were referred to as bell bottoms.
The bootcut jean has a practical application in that the bottom opening and calf area widens to accommodate boots. The boot cut isn’t necessarily as tight around butt and thighs as the flared jean.
8. Wide Leg
The wide leg offers a wider cut leg from top to bottom. They are wide at the thighs and bottom.
Distressed jeans are not so much a cut as it’s referring to a style. The style is a worn look, often including rips.
10. Mom Jeans
Wouldn’t you know it, the mom (and dad) jean is in style. Amazing, right? The name was as unflattering as the style. Yet, ironically, now the mom jean is in style. Go figure? It’s a loose, unshapely jean cut worn for comfort. Think dockers in denim. The butt is high, the zipper / front loose, together creating an unflattering look… except style really is perception and if the high butt and loose front is stylish, it looks good, right?
11. Low Rise
Low rise jeans have a short rise and site low on the waist. They can be a bootcut, straight leg, boyfriend or skinny jean. The name applies to the rise only. Here’s an example:
12. High Rise
A high rise cut jean has an extra rise in the seat so the pant waist sits higher up. They can be straight leg, skinny, slim fit, etc. Here’s an example of high rise skinny jeans: