Denim refresh: the updated jeans styles I’m wearing now

15 total views

While there’s no single denim trend for women that’s dominant now, some washes and silhouettes definitely feel more modern. Here are some of the denim styles I’m ditching, keeping, adding, or skipping this season.

Spring denim update: modern denim styles for women.

Modern denim styles for women

Once the garment of laborers and then rebellious youth, jeans have become a wardrobe staple almost worldwide. Here in the coastal regions of California, we wear our jeans almost year-round. In a casual poll of my California friends, 80% said they wear jeans 80-95% of the time. (For those of you who don’t wear jeans, I recently styled some cotton navy trousers HERE, and will have more options to show you soon.)

One of my style priorities is to look current and modern. So even my wardrobe basics get evaluated and updated periodically, and that includes my jeans. Here are the updates I’m making this season to keep my denim looking and feeling modern.

Setting aside…

I tend to hang onto my jeans for years, unless they are worn out or no longer fit. But to simplify my wardrobe (and manage space in my closet), I tend to only keep a few pairs in active rotation at any given time.

I mostly stopped wearing my skinny skinny jeans (the ones that fit almost like leggings) sometime around 2018. This year, I’m giving my slimmer “cigarette” styles a sabbatical. I think of a cigarette style as one that’s fitted through the leg, hits above the ankle, but not as tapered/snug at the hem as a true skinny.

Keeping in rotation: straight leg & boyfriend styles

A straight leg style is probably the most classic and timeless denim cut. These are not quite as fitted as a cigarette leg, but not baggy either. Lengths and rises vary, but you want the shape of the leg to be straight from knee to hem.

I find this a very versatile and easy to style silhouette, and one that can work with just about any footwear.

This one’s a very slim straight leg, with a nice high rise. It has a lot of stretch, so is very comfortable.

“Boyfriend” jeans have become my no-brainer style for everything from work-at-home days that may include a short errand or two, to smart casual wear. There’s often not much difference between boyfriend and straight leg jeans, so you don’t need to get too hung up on terminology. I think of a boyfriend jean as a bit slouchier and more relaxed in the upper leg, and they may have more distressing.

I sometimes wear mine cuffed. Boyfriend jeans can work with just about any top or sweater, and take a French tuck very well. They also work well to dial down the formality of an outfit, and for that reason I like to pair them with blazers and “lady” jackets.

Favorite straight leg & boyfriend styles:

rag & bone Dre | ag Mari | J.Crew vintage | Mother Dazzler

ag Ex-boyfriend | Frame le high straight | Liverpool boyfriend (Plus) | Chico’s


Sometimes also called a “kick flare” this cropped, slightly bootcut style is great for letting your footwear take the spotlight. That slight flare also helps balance visual volume if you’re curvy or have broad shoulders.

Adding: wide leg styles

While there’s no single overriding denim trend, probably the biggest shift in years has been the move toward relaxed and wide leg jeans. It’s a major silhouette shift, and can be challenging to wrap your head around, especially if you’ve mostly been wearing a long-over-lean look for a while.

I like the look and concept (and the comfort of more relaxed styles), but fuller cuts can easily overwhelm a petite frame. I’ve been cautiously dipping a toe into this look. Last summer I purchased this style, which is a wider, fuller version of a straight leg jean.

Above, the hip-length jacket helps balance my proportions, and the slightly fitted sweater tee keeps the look neat rather than oversized. The loafers add structure and definition.

What I like about this “slim wide leg” style is that it’s more fitted through the hips and thighs, and then gently widens from there (not a flare). So it’s a neater look, and not overwhelming. With a more relaxed or wide leg jean, I’m finding a belt does a lot of heavy lifting to add structure and definition, and make the outfit look more finished.

I’m wearing the Classic (regular) size in this style, as they’re a bit cropped. There’s also a full-length style (30-1/2″ regular inseam) in two washes, Classic sizes 24-37, also in Petite and Tall.

Full-length flares. I define flares as very wide bootcuts that flare out below the knee. Aside from the issue of hemming for specific heel heights, they just feel overly trendy and gimmicky to me.

“Puddle” jeans (and pants). These are styles with hems so long they puddle or bunch up at or over the foot. To me, they just look sloppy, and who wants hems dragging on the ground?

I’ve been asked about raw hems, and whether they’re still current. I’m still seeing quite a wide selection of them among premium denim brands. So I think they’ll be around for at least a few seasons more. And I’m still seeing new styles with some distressing, though it doesn’t seem to be as prevalent as in recent seasons.

As far as washes go, a medium blue wash is still a solid bet, and IMO most versatile. Lighter and faded washes are popular now, and I’m seeing some grays and blacks. If you prefer really dark, unfaded washes, they’re out there, though not always as easy to find.

And of course, white and off-white jeans are a popular option and can be worn year-round.

Those of you who have been clamoring for longer hem lengths should be able to find more options this season. There is no one hem length that’s considered “correct” anymore, so go with what feels best for you. And yes, it’s still fine to cuff your jeans for a quick length adjustment (works best with straight leg & boyfriend styles).

What denim styles are you wearing most often these days? Will you be trying any new or different styles?

Stay in touch.

Affiliate links in posts may generate commissions for See my complete disclosure policy here.

Share this Post

About Us

Celebrating our best lives at fifty and beyond! 50ismorefun brings you motivational news and stories centered around life, fitness, fashion, money, travel and health for active folks enjoying the second half of lives.