I have to admit, I do like skinny jeans — even if the fashion gods have deemed skinnies “last year’s news.” But whether skinny jeans are trending or not, there’s a place in my closet, and yours too, for not-so-skinny jeans.
Not-so-skinny jeans are more versatile, more forgiving, more mature, and usually dressier than the tight denim fit that dominated our looks for so many years. And, contrary to popular belief, “not so skinny” does not mean mom jean, boyfriend jean, girlfriend jean, or anything jean name we’ve applied to casual-fit denim.
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Here’s a look at five jean styles that aren’t skinny or baggy. They’re just right in between and perfect to wear for work, shopping, hanging out, or socializing with friends.
The best skinny jean alternatives
1. Not so skinny: straight leg crop
These jeans from Topshop tick all the boxes. They’re high-waisted to flatter your shape, the light wash is super versatile and perfect for spring, and they have a fashion-forward crop hemline with just a touch of fray. Pair them with a pedicure, sandals, and a lightweight, button-down floral blouse for the ultimate in casual chic.
Pick up this pair of denim for $75 (I know, the price point stings a bit) in petite or regular sizes.
2. Not so skinny, 90s-inspired jeans
For a modern twist on the classic, five-pocket style, try these ‘90s-inspired jeans from Reclaimed Vintage. They feature a straight leg, midrise waste, and an ankle-length hem. If you’re a traditionalist, you’ll also love the true denim feel of these — they’re 100% cotton. There’s no Lycra or elastane, which means no stretch.
Wear these with a fitted top for proportion. You could also a belt to flatter your waistline.
They’re reasonably priced at $51 and available in waist sizes 24 through 38.
3. Not so skinny, stretchy straight leg
If traditional denim feels too stiff and scratchy, look for pants with some component of elastane, rayon, polyester, or spandex. Clothing makers use those materials to add give and softness to their jeans.
This style from Democracy fits that bill. They’re a five-pocket style but updated with stretchy fabric that feels nice without being clingy like leggings. The dark wash with strategic fading keeps these jeans (or their wearer) from being too serious or formal.
This jean is begging to worn with your best ankle boots. Choose a sweater, pretty t-shirt, or girly blouse for your top half. Don’t forget a belt to pull the whole look together.
Check Macy’s to find these on sale for $51.
4. Not so skinny black jeans
Looking for something different? Try a black denim jean with stitching that pops. These have what you need — a high waist and straight leg. Match them up with delicate sandals for contrast or go all in on the look with dad sneakers.
The best part is these jeans are currently on sale for $20. You read that right. $20. Get ’em while you can in sizes 2 through 12.
5. Not so skinny gray jeans
Old Navy brings us another ’90s-inspired style in a dark gray wash. The leg is straight without being frumpy and the waist is high enough to work on straight and skinny shapes. As a bonus, these jeans also have “slimming” front pockets and are designed to hold their shape all day long.
Pick them up for $40 and team them with your casual tops and sneaks.
Where to shop for not-so-skinny jeans
If these styles aren’t quite what you’re after, by all means, keep shopping. When you know where to look, you can find plenty of denim pants that aren’t body-hugging tight down to your ankle. Here are some stores I like for not-so-skinnies:
And equally important is where NOT to shop for jeans. Steer clear of Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, and similar budget stores that cater to younger fashionistas. These fast fashion houses tend to stock skinnies, whether they’re trending or not.