I’m so excited about today’s post — it’s been in the works for a few months now!
I started testing out straight leg jeans in the summer, and after many try-ons and returns, I’m excited to share with you the best of what I found. All four of them are under $90 and pass my comfort test.
Keep reading because in this post I’m sharing:
- my “aha” moment when it comes to finding comfortable high rise jeans
- how to stretch your non-stretch jeans to make them more comfy
- my tips for cutting the hems of your jeans
- how to keep your ankles warm and draft-free when wearing straight or wide leg jeans
Let’s jump in!
And if you see something you like, you can shop it and support Unfancy at the same time by using the affiliate links in this post.
1 | Medium Light Wash + Stretchy!
I’d almost abandoned high rise jeans earlier this year because they just weren’t comfortable around my stomach, but I had an “Aha!” moment when I tried on these lovely, stretchy jeans:
For me, the higher the rise, the more comfortable the jeans. I know, it sounds like it shouldn’t work. I thought I needed lower rise jeans for comfort, not higher. But the key is to go above the stomach, don’t cut across it. For me personally, if a pair hits above my belly button, then it doesn’t constrict my stomach near as much as it would if it were a couple inches lower. Makes all the difference.
Of course, we all have different bodies and this will vary from person to person. But try out a few different rises and find what works for you. It’s nice to know that not all jeans labeled “high rise” will feel the same.
As far as pairing straight leg jeans with shoes, I like going with a fitted sock bootie. These weatherproof, suede booties are a dream. They are an investment, but the heel is low, the angle of the heel is just right, the shaft is tall to keep out drafts, and there’s cushioning in the footbed (plus they are 40% off right now).
Sweater by HM (under $20) | similar
Jeans by TopShop (on sale, $45) | Fit note: Wearing size 25. Consider sizing down one. I cut the hems myself.
Booties by Aquatalia (on sale, 40% off)
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2 | Light Wash + No Stretch
We’re having our first freeze right now and I’m so happy that I can finally wear my big ol’ vintage coat and my favorite soft sweater (Madewell brought it back this year, yay!).
Onto the denim, these jeans are not stretchy. But I always like having at least one good pair of non-stretch jeans in the rotation.
Plus, I tried something new with this pair! I stretched them myself! Meaning, while my jeans were damp from the wash, I buttoned up the fly, found a household item that would just barely fit inside the waistband of my jeans (ended up using a dish drying rack, yep) and let them air dry like that, with the waistband stretched over the dish drying rack.
And it worked! It stretched out the waistband a good inch or two. And even though they fit before, they are so much more comfortable now, especially when sitting.
A few words before you jump in:
- It’s easy to get overambitious and stretch your jeans too much to the point of ruining them. Start small by letting them stretch for just an hour or two, instead of waiting for them to air dry completely.
- Stretching the waistband probably isn’t a good idea if you tend to get a gap in the back of your jeans, because this will exaggerate that. But consider which parts of your jeans feel constricting (hip area, crotch, thigh, etc) and try stretching there.
- When you’re trying to fit whatever household object you choose into your jeans, don’t rely too much on the belt loops for grip — they can easily rip off.
- And finally, as with all 100% cotton, non-stretch jeans — always wash them on cold and never put them in the dryer. Otherwise they’ll shrink up and lose all that good stretching/breaking in you’ve done.
Jeans by & Other Stories (under $90) | Fit note: Wearing size 26, I cut the hems myself
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3 | Dusty Black + Stretchy!
These jeans are a dusty black — emphasis on dusty. They lean heavily towards brown-grey and to be honest I wasn’t sure about them when they came out of the box.
But all that changed the moment I put them on — these washed black jeans are so delightfully comfortable, they win most comfortable jeans of this post. I think of them as my pasta eating jeans. :)
I paired them with these black booties to highlight the contrast in tone. While these are one of my most versatile pairs of booties (they look great with dresses, jeans, anything), the heel is slightly higher than I like to wear. Fine, but not comfortable for a whole day of walking. So I linked to a couple of other options below that have a lower heel, including the black version of the brown boots I’m wearing in this post, which are comfortable beyond words.
I’ve been cutting the hems off my jeans a lot this year because I like the look of a raw hem over ankle booties. Here are a few of my tips:
- Make sure you’ve washed your jeans at least once to get any shrinkage out of the way.
- Get in your closet, find a pair of old jeans that are the length you want, and measure the inseam (from the crotch to the hem). Now transfer those measurements to the new jeans. Use masking tape or painters tape to mark off a straight line, and cut!
- To cut, use a pair of sewing scissors like this pair (though honestly, I just use this pair that I already had)
- Err on the side of cutting off less (because you can always do a second round if they are still a little too long)
- Once they feel right, put them in the dryer for a few minutes to fray up the hems, keeping in mind that the stretchier the jean, the less natural fraying it’ll have
Jeans by Everlane (under $80, conscious) | Fit note: Wearing size 26, I cut the hems myself
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4 | Faded Black + Stretchy!
Whew I did not intend for this post to get so long! Turns out I like sharing all the little details with you too much. How about if I keep this last one brief? :)
These jeans are a bit stiffer than the dusty black pair before it. They still have a good bit of stretch to ’em, but you can see the fabric looks more structural, like raw denim, which I really like.
I like to pair a fitted sock bootie with straight jeans. That contrast between the wider hem and the skinny boot shaft — I love it!
These weatherproof, suede booties in particular have a taller shaft than most ankle booties, meaning they keep those chilly drafts out. To combat drafts even further, I wear merino wool knee socks. Two simple steps and I’ve got warm ankles all winter long, even with my cropped pants.
Sweater by HM (under $20)
Jeans by TopShop (under $75) | Fit note: Wearing size 25. Consider sizing down one.
Booties by Aquatalia (on sale, 40% off)
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And there you have it!
So tell me, are you into straight leg jeans? Do you prefer stretchy or non-stretch? Have you ever cut the hems of your jeans? How did it work out for you? Got any other tips for keeping your ankles warm in the winter? Share away!