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What are the best straight-leg jeans?

Denim jeans are a versatile closet staple that can be used year-round. They can be styled formally or paired with casual elements. The variety of jean fits is extensive, but straight-leg jeans are regarded as the most inclusive kind, flattering on most body types and heights.

What are straight-leg jeans?

Straight-leg jeans are characterized by their slim, straight shape. They often are loose-fitting in the knees and hips, with the width of the hip matching the width of the legs. Given this relaxed fit, straight-leg jeans are associated with casual living and informality. Depending on the brand, waist taper, wash and looseness will differ.

What straight-leg jeans look best?

Before purchasing straight-leg jeans, consider which elements will suit you best.

  • Wash: This is the jeans’ color and describes how the denim is processed. You have a wide variety of options, such as light blue wash and dark wash, so pick the wash that will go best with your other clothing. A closet full of whites and light colors will go best with a coordinating light-wash jean.
  • Waist: The waist style determines where the hem falls on your hip: either above or below the hip bone. Straight-leg jeans can hug your waist if you choose. High, low or mid-waist jeans are offered in this fit. Try them out to see which is most flattering on you. Body type does not determine which waist fit you should get, so go with whichever coordinates best with your style and comfort.
  • MaterialThe fabric used in your jeans is important to consider when assessing comfort. A true cotton denim will be a bit tougher and offer less range of motion, while a cotton, spandex or elastane blend will provide some stretch and softness.

Straight-leg jeans FAQ

Will my jeans shrink if I wash and dry them?

A.  Yes, most jeans are made of cotton and will shrink after the initial wash and dry. If your denim has elastane or any stretch material in it, avoid the dryer and air-dry instead. These stretchy fibers will burn up in high heat and lose their elasticity. Over time your jeans will tighten and shrink, but this can be avoided if you treat them as you would any cotton clothing.

How long do straight-leg jeans last?

A. Looser-fitting jeans such as the straight-leg style wear more slowly and less than a style such as skinny jeans. The looseness prevents stretching while a pair of skinny jeans will constantly be expanded. Your jeans will last until you notice holes or rips in the fabric. At that point, a new pair is on the horizon.

Best straight-leg jeans

Top light-wash straight-leg jeans

Best Levi's Women's Classic Straight Jeans

Levi’s Women’s Classic Straight Jeans

These jeans are a mid-waist fit and use elastane to provide a little bit of give as opposed to a traditional cotton denim material. Available in 19 colors, including several light washes, this pair offers multiple sizes. 

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Best Lee Men's Regular Fit Straight-Leg Jeans

Lee Men’s Regular Fit Straight-Leg Jeans

These jeans are available in heavyweight or mid-weight denim, making them durable work pants. The leg openings are 16 inches, leaving plenty of room for breathability and a comfortable, loose fit.

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Top dark-wash straight-leg jeans

Best Lee Men's Performance Series Extreme Motion Straight Fit Tapered Leg Jean

Lee Men’s Performance Series Extreme Motion Straight Fit Tapered Leg Jean

Using a cotton and spandex blend, these jeans offer a larger range of motion than a normal denim. They feature an extra-flexible waistband to ensure comfort while achieving a sleek style. With a focus on flexibility and support, these jeans are highlighted by extra room in the groin area for men’s comfort.

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Best Lee Women's Relaxed Fit Straight-Leg Jean

Lee Women’s Relaxed Fit Straight-Leg Jean

These jeans are a mid-waist cotton blend that have some space in the inner thigh for a more relaxed fit. They lean toward the more slim style of straight-leg jeans, with less looseness and a more tailored length. 

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Top low- to mid-waist straight-leg jeans

Best Dickies Women's Perfect Shape Straight-Leg Jeans

Dickies Women’s Perfect Shape Straight-Leg Jeans

This cotton blend pair uses a hidden tummy slimmer to smooth any creases and provide extra support in the waist. 

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Best Mavi Men's Matt Classic Mid-Rise Relaxed Straight-Leg Jeans

Mavi Men’s Matt Classic Mid-Rise Relaxed Straight-Leg Jeans

These jeans are medium-weight, offering the durability of a thick denim material and the shape-holding structure of a straight-leg fit. Available in 27 washes, they’re an everyday pair of pants. 

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Top high-waist straight-leg jeans

Best Levi's Women's 724 High Rise Straight Jeans

Levi’s Women’s 724 High Rise Straight Jeans

They feature a super-soft blend of cotton and polyester. The high waist slims creases and hugs snugly above the hip bone. These are more fitted than the typical straight-leg jeans and have a smaller hem circumference to tailor the ankles more. 

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Best Wrangler Women's High Rise True Straight Fit Jeans

Wrangler Women’s High Rise True Straight Fit Jeans

Using a blend of cotton, recycled cotton and Lycra, these jeans sit above the natural waist and give a wide range of motion. The sizes range between zero and 18. These jeans don’t have much graining and texture, leaving a smooth, solid-colored appearance. 

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Top distressed straight-leg jeans

Best TheMogan Distressed Mid-Rise Boyfriend Jeans

TheMogan Distressed Mid-Rise Boyfriend Jeans

These jeans feature a light wash with several abrasions and holes. The fit is on the loose side and drapes just above the hips. They are a cotton, polyester and spandex blend offering a bit of flexibility. The holes have cotton whiskers that add to the grungy look. 

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Best Enrica Men's Distressed Straight Fit Jeans

Enrica Men’s Distressed Straight Fit Jeans

In 35 designs and washes, these jeans are especially distressed with nine holes on the legs. The hem diameter is straight, but it is more tapered than a traditional straight-leg jean.

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Isabella Acitelli writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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