I Tried On 10 Pairs of Relaxed, Wide-Leg Jeans (Not All Were Good)

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I’ve been struggling with jeans lately, and by “lately” I mean “for three or more years.” Part of it has to do with this major shift in styles & trends that’s been happening (RIP skinny jeans), and part of it (a large part of it) has to do with the fact that I’m getting older and the, uh, associated redistribution of self. (Hiiiii, menopause.)

The thing is…I’m fundamentally a jeans-and-tee kind of girl. And my lifestyle requires walkable, comfortable shoes (usually sneakers). So my denim goals for fall are simply this: Find a denim style that feels current in 2023, is comfortable on my softer stomach, and is cute enough/flattering enough to be worn with sneakers & tees.

If I look to what I’ve actually been wearing over the last year or so, one denim type keeps popping up: looser, full-length jeans.

This description, however, can be taken into two different directions for 2023: dad jeans or relaxed, wide-leg jeans. Here’s the difference.

Levi’s Baggy Dad Jeans (left) | Veronica Beard Wide-Leg Jeans (right)

Truthfully, I love both! And both options are perfectly relevant for 2023. But the extra bagginess of the dad jeans does present a few styling challenges*. So if I had to identify one easy, throw-on-with-sneakers, look-cute-with-almost-everything, uncomplicated option…it’s the relaxed, wide-leg silhouette.

*Dad jeans, tho. Let me know if you want me to style up dad jeans a few different ways — they’re seriously fun.

My Search For Relaxed, Wide-Leg Jeans (That Are Also Full Length)

For reference, I’m about 5’3″ tall, and I typically wear a size 27/28 in jeans (unless you’re MOTHER Denim, then WE NEED TO TALK). I tried on everything from budget brands (Madewell, Gap) to the very pricey SLVRLKE & Veronica Beard. My favorite pair ended up being…a total shock. Let’s get into it.

1. Veronica Beard Taylor Wide-Leg Jeans (OLD FAVES, LOVE THEM)

I've bought these exact wide-leg Veronica Beard jeans during the NSale the past 2 years...I freaking LOVE them (size up 1).

tank (S) | jeans (28) | sneakers

Inseam: 32 inches

Composition: 100% cotton

Notes: I’ve bought these exact Veronica Beard jeans during the NSale the past two years running…I freaking LOVE these jeans (size up one size). I’ve been wearing them all summer with flip-flops and cropped tanks whenever I need to feel dressed up. These are deeply comfortable jeans (super-soft cotton, on the thinner side) with a vintage silhouette that manages to feel really current. They’re *almost* polished yet decidedly un-fussy. And while the dark wash is great, I’m now looking for a lighter pair. I’m a sucker for that broken-in vibe. The current pair at Saks has both patch pockets and a lighter wash, oooo. These are jeans I’ve washed & dried — they hold up well.


2. Madewell Superwide-Leg Jeans (FAVS!!)

The Madewell wide-Leg Jeans are...shockingly good. The wash is perfect, & I love that the waist is defined but doesn't look overly tight.

tank (S) | jeans (27) | Also at Madewell | Also in petite, curvy sizes at Madewell | sneakers

Inseam: 32 inches

Composition: 100% cotton

Notes: The Madewell Superwide-Leg Jeans are…shockingly good. The wash is perfect, the leg line is long (but loose), and I love that the waist is defined but doesn’t look overly tight. This cotton isn’t as soft & comfortable as the Veronica Beards jeans mentioned above, but it IS still pretty darn comfy. And given the price difference…these are my top recommendation.

tank (S) | jeans (27) | Also at Madewell | Also in petite, curvy sizes at Madewell | sneakers

I also played around with cuffing versus hemming (or, more realistically, hacking with scissors). I don’t actually hate the cuffs here, but I’ll, in all likelihood, go the scissors route. If only Madewell would restock the petite version (or petite curvy version), gahhhh.


3. AGOLDE Clara High-Waist Wide-Leg Jeans (I LIKE THEM?)

The AGOLDE wide-leg jeans are really cool, but they aren't high waisted like the listing says. They're some of the lowest-rise jeans I've worn in a while.

tank (S) | jeans (27) | sneakers

Inseam: 32 inches

Composition: 100% organic cotton

Notes: Here’s the deal: These are really cool jeans. That said, under no circumstances would I describe these AGOLDE wide-legs as “high waisted.” In fact, these are some of the lowest-waist jeans I’ve worn in a while. Because the waist is so low, many of my “cropped” tops (read: barely cropped) wouldn’t work, making these jeans more complicated. (Oh — Revolve has them tagged correctly.)

tank (S) | jeans (27) | sneakers

The legs are too wide to cuff (which is fine, honestly), so I’d go ahead and hem or hack these jeans.


4. Pistola Ruby High-Waist Palazzo Jeans (LOVE…WITH A CAVEAT)

I do love these Pistola jeans. However, I washed & dried them, and they're now a bit tighter than I'd like through the waist & hips.

tank (S) | jeans (27) | sneakers

Inseam: 32 inches

Composition: 77% cotton, 23% rayon

Notes: This was another NSale win this year — I do love these Pistola jeans. However, I washed and dried them, and they’re now a bit tighter than I’d like through the waist & hips. You can see they don’t have that same easy vibe as the Madewell jeans, but I’m hoping that they’ll stretch a bit with wear. (I also hacked them off with scissors, for those of you wondering about the length.)


5. MOTHER Mid-Rise Double Dip Nerdy Flare Jeans (RUNS SMALL)

These MOTHER flare jeans are super-soft, comfy, & have the coolest '70s blue wash.

tank (S) | jeans (27) | sneakers

Inseam: 30.5 inches

Composition: 41% recycled cotton, 41% Lyocell, 22% cotton

Notes: You can’t tell in this photo, but those buttons are stretched soooo far across my stomach, they’re literally gasping for breath. It’s a testament to the Lyocell that I could even button these bad boys up. In short? SIZE UP. That said, these MOTHER flare jeans are super-soft, comfy, and have the coolest ’70s blue wash. Full disclosure, it was the name, “Nerdy Flare Jeans,” that sold me — despite the fact that these jeans are NOT flares nor are they “mid rise,” and I’m left wondering if brands are just rolling dice to pick style names. “You rolled a 6 and a 4? We’re going with mid-rise flares!”


6. Favorite Daughter Masha High-Waist Wide-Leg Jeans (I’M CONFUSED)

Favorite Daughter's wide-leg jeans look soooo different on me than the model that I'm...confused.

tank (S) | jeans (27) | sneakers

Inseam: 34 inches

Composition: 100% cotton

Notes: Favorite Daughter’s wide-leg jeans look soooo different on me than the model that I’m…confused (go look, I’ll wait). The cotton itself isn’t bad — softish, not too thick or thin — but I find the stomach a little too constricting, and there’s just sooo much fabric in the, uh, crotch region. I keep flipping back to the model shot and cracking up. How are these the same jeans?? If I were to do this over, I’d probably size up in this pair to see if I could replicate that elegant leg line. (I do have a fairly high rise, so.) I like these in theory.


7. Favorite Daughter Ollie Ultimate Baggy Jeans (FINE. THEY’RE FINE.)

I had high hopes for these baggy jeans from Favorite Daughter — they're soft, stretchy & exactly the right vibe. But on me...they're underwhelming.

tank (S) | jeans (27) | sneakers

Inseam: 30.75 inches

Composition: 95% cotton, 3% elastomultiester, 2% elastane

Notes: I had high hopes for these baggy jeans (also from Favorite Daughter) — they’re soft, stretchy and exactly the right vibe. But on me…they’re underwhelming. I can’t even pinpoint why. That said, they have a reallllllly cute side detail worth pointing out:

Though I don't like these Favorite Daughter jeans, they have a cute side detail.

tank (S) | jeans (27) | sneakers


8. Gap High-Rise Stride Wide-Leg Jeans (MEH)

I went for these wide-leg jeans from Gap in petite to the get right inseam for sneakers...but I think I sacrificed some of the rise.

tank (S) | jeans (27 petite) | sneakers

Inseam: 29 inches (but also available in 30-, 32- and 34-inch inseams)

Composition: 99% cotton, 1% elastane

Notes: These Gap jeans are yet another pair that look wildly different on the model! I went for the petites to the get right inseam for sneakers…but I think I sacrificed some of the rise. These are decidedly lower on me than the model. This might be YET ANOTHER CASE of needing a bigger size. Hmmmm.


9. SLVRLAKE Grace High-Waist Wide-Leg Jeans (NAH)

These wide-leg jeans from SLVRLAKE are more straight-leg than wide, & I don't love them.

tank (S) | jeans (27) | sneakers

Inseam: 34 inches

Composition: 100% organic cotton

Notes: SLVRLAKE jeans are known for their high-quality organic cotton that will age beautifully over time. With that in mind…these wide-legs are not the vibe. They’re much more straight-leg than wide-leg in person, and I don’t love these.


10. Favorite Daughter Mischa Raw-Hem Stretchy Wide-Leg Jeans (NOPE)

I really don't like these Favorite Daughter wide-leg jeans. They remind me of those old, stretchy jeans from 2003. Oof.

tank (S) | jeans (27) | sneakers

Inseam: 34 inches

Composition: 78% cotton, 18% modal, 3% elastomultiester, 1% elastane

Notes: If you stare closely at my lower stomach and think you can see some rolls there, you would be correct, sir. That was just one of the lovely features I noticed before ripping these Favorite Daughter jeans from my body. They remind me of those old, stretchy jeans from 2003 (Mudd? XOXO?) — oof. Pass.


Welp. There you have it. If I had to summarize what we’ve all learned here, in order to get the vibe?

Relaxed, wide-leg jeans.

SIZE UP.

xo,

S