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Published Oct. 13, 2021

You can’t always listen to Gen Z, particularly when it comes to skinny jeans. Though the kids these days might think they’re over, we think that the opposite is true. There’s a reason skinny jeans have been a staple in our closets for more than a decade now, earning true fashion classic status. They’re right up there with white button-downs, a little black dress, and classic pumps when it comes to closet must-haves. The best skinny jeans fit like a dream—we’re talking just the right length while sculpting your legs and butt—and work with everything from a blazer and boots to a T-shirt and sneakers. 

However, just like any style of denim, shopping for skinny jeans can be tough. There are an overwhelming number of styles, washes. and fits, which means you could be in a fitting room forever. And those fluorescent lights and bad mirrors aren’t helping. That’s why we did the work for you by finding the best skinny jeans for a range of bodies and budgets. From dark washes to high waists, the perfect pair is waiting for you.

How We Picked The Best Skinny Jeans

Methodology

Since shopping for skinny jeans can be notoriously challenging, we took out as much of the guesswork as possible. To accomplish that, we relied on these factors to narrow down the field.

  • Quality was top of mind, so we included skinny jeans you could wash over and over again without having them lose their shape or feel—which means looking for bounce-back stretch fabrics like spandex and strong ones like lyocell.
  • Figure flattering: The clothing we choose should always make us look good and feel fantastic.
  • Comfort: We factored in jeans that felt great, so we gave priority to styles without denim annoyances like gapping waists and pinchy seams.
  • Versatility: We all want lots of choices in our clothing, so we sought out skinny jeans that can easily be dressed up or down and look as good with heels as they do with sneakers.

Best Skinny Jeans Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Lee Women’s Sculpting Slim Fit Skinny Leg Jean

Great Fit and Stretch

Sleek lines that smooth your body from waist to ankle. Lee

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Why It Made The Cut: Designed to be super-slimming, this classic pair truly flatters.

Specs: 

  • 71 percent cotton, 25 percent polyester, 4 percent spandex
  • Machine washable
  • Comes in 26 sizes and 16 colors

Pros: 

  • Classic 5-pocket style
  • Slimming, flattering fit
  • Comes in range of washes

Cons:

  • Some customers complain the fabric attracts lint

When it comes to shopping for the best skinny jeans, you can’t go wrong with a timeless five-pocket style like these. Cut for a super-slim cut that hugs your body from the hips to the ankles, these jeans sculpt and slim all over. Made from a stretch blend of 71 percent cotton, 25 percent polyester, and 4 percent spandex, these Lee jeans will keep their shape for a flattering look—no sagging or bagging.

For extra comfort, these jeans sit at your natural waist. Designed to flatter, they are made with fibers that slim your legs (which also makes them look longer) plus sculpt your bum and hips. They feature a button closure and are machine washable.

Best Value: Goodthreads Women’s Mid-Rise Skinny Jean

Beauty on a Budget

The Goodthreads line offers a skinny jean that is both comfortable and affordable. Goodthreads

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Why It Made The Cut: Your wallet and your wardrobe will be thrilled with these great-fitting skinny jeans.  

Specs: 

  • 67 percent cotton, 18 percent lyocell, 8 percent viscose, 5 percent polyester, 2 percent elastane
  • Premium soft and smooth denim with stretch that keeps its shape
  • Snug fit through hip, thigh, and leg
  • Come in 16 colors and 27 sizes

Pros: 

  • Comfortable
  • Affordable
  • Nice variety of washes and colors

Cons:

  • Potential waistband gapping

Proof that you don’t have to break the bank to get a great pair of skinny jeans, these are made by Goodthreads. Accurately named, the label is all about delivering quality fashion essentials and basics at very accessible prices.The stretch fabric—67 percent cotton, 18 percent lyocell, 8 percent viscose, 5 percent polyester, and 2 percent elastane—guarantees a comfortable, flattering fit that is snug through the hips, thighs, and legs. The five-pocket silhouette will never go out of style, plus the denim is super-smooth and soft. The mid-rise waist sits just below the belly button and has a button closure.

Best Jeggings: Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. Gold Label Women’s Totally Shaping Pull-on Skinny Jeans

Flattering, Slimming Jeggings

Levi Strauss & Co. calls these pull-on skinny jeans, but these are actually comfy jeggings. Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. Gold Label

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Why It Made The Cut: Comfortable as can be, these jeggings slip right on and look as good as they feel.

Specs: 

  • 78 percent cotton, 20 percent polyester, 2 percent elastane
  • Sizes range from 2 to 28 while lengths go from 28 to 32
  • Built-in tummy panel smooths without feeling tight

Pros: 

  • Slip on
  • Shaping panel
  • Comes in range of inseams

Cons:

  • Not traditional jeans

Forget the buttons and zippers! Skinny jeans simply don’t get more comfortable than a pair of jeggings, like these Levi Strauss Women’s Totally Shaping Pull-on Skinny Jeans. The pull-on style features a waistband with a tummy-slimming panel to flatter your figure without feeling tight. That also means you won’t have to worry about that dreaded gap in the waist. The mid-rise cut has a slim fit through the hips and thighs. In addition to its slimming effect, the super-stretchy fabric helps the jeans retain their shape and fit.

To ensure you can find the right fit, they’re available in three different inseam lengths: short (28 inches), medium (30 inches), and long (32 inches). The fabric has a vintage, worn-in look, so you can get that throwback vibe without actually having to scour thrift stores. The skinny jeans come in a variety of washes, from light blue to black, as well as a range of hues, including olive green, burgundy, and baby pink. 

Best Mid-Rise Cuts: Lucky Brand Women’s Mid Rise Ava Skinny Jean

So Many Great Choices

These jeans sit just below your waist and comfortably retain their shape all day long. Lucky Brand

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Why It Made The Cut: A universally flattering fit makes these mid-rise skinny jeans a keeper.

Slug:

  • 48 percent cotton, 34 percent Tencel lyocell, 14 percent polyester, 4 percent elastane
  • Comes in 23 colors, 5 lengths, and 13 lengths 
  • Machine washable

Pros: 

  • Comfortable mid-rise
  • Flattering cut
  • Classic fit

Cons:

  • Runs small

These Lucky Brand Mid Rise Skinny Jeans just may become your lucky pair. Designed to be universally flattering, they certainly check off that box with their slim fit in a classic five-pocket style. Cut close to the body for a sleek silhouette, the mid-rise pair sits just below the natural waist for comfort. The skinny leg has a leggings-like look and feel. 

Made with a stretch blend of 48 percent cotton, 34 percent Tencel lyocell, 14 percent polyester, and 4 percent elastane, they will keep their shape all day long. Whether you prefer cropped or extra long, you can choose any length you like, since they offer a generous five options for inseams. As if that wasn’t enough for variety, these skinny jeans are available in 23 colors and washes. Why not make a statement in leopard print or camo? Or, stick to the basics in black or a timeless dark wash?

Most Flattering Fit: NYDJ Women’s Ami Skinny Jeans in Sure Stretch Denim

Most Flattering Fit

Premium stretch jeans with a fabulous fit. NYDJ

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Why It Made The Cut: You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more flattering pair of skinny jeans than this option from NYDJ.

Specs:

  • 70 percent cotton, 13 percent polyester, 10 percent lyocell, 5 percent elastomultiester, 2 percent elastane
  • Patented Lift Tuck design uses a criss-cross slimming panel
  • Available in 11 sizes and 6 colors
  • Machine wash, line dry

Pros: 

  • Flattering
  • Comfortable
  • Retain shape

Cons:

  • On the pricey side

No matter your size, shape or style, we all share one common goal when shopping for skinny jeans: Finding a pair that looks good. NYDJ, formerly “Not Your Daughter’s Jeans,” created the first slimming jeans in 2003, and still knows how to make jeans that flatter. All of their jeans feature the brand’s proprietary Lift Tuck Technology, which flattens in the front with a slimming panel that has a patented criss-cross design to create a more slender silhouette. As a result, NYDJ’s Ami Skinny Jeans in Sure Stretch Denim delivers sculpted legs, a tucked tummy, and a lifted bum. 

Featuring classic five-pocket styling, with a zip fly and button closure, the stretch fabric is extremely soft and lets you move without restriction. Super versatile, this pair can be worn in any season. They have an inseam of  29  inches, the high rise is 9.75 inches, and the skinny leg opening is 10.5 inches. Because of their Lift Tuck design, the brand recommends ordering a size smaller than normal for you.

Things to Consider Before Buying Skinny Jeans

Find the Right Size

Sizing can vary widely from brand to brand, so know your measurements to avoid the hassle of making an exchange. Before you start filling your cart—whether virtually or in person—have your most up-to-date measurements ready to ensure the right fit. Practically every brand has a sizing chart on their site, making it a cinch to identify the size you wear for that designer. Additionally, make sure you buy the proper inseam for your height and leg length.

Understand What Makes a Good Fit

While everybody is unique and we all have different fit goals, there are a few general rules of thumb to keep in mind to help you find the most comfortable and flattering cut. The best skinny jeans will hug your body in all of the right places, and won’t have unflattering bagging at the knees or butt. A slim leg throughout is a good thing to look for. When you’re trying them on, it shouldn’t be necessary to squat or jump to get them on. Also scrunching or sucking are no-nos—that means you either need a different size or possibly a different pair entirely.

Versatility of the Colors

If you’re looking for a pair of skinny jeans that will work with practically anything in your closet and stand the test of time, there are a few things to keep in mind. The wash you choose  is very important. While trendy washes are fun, if you want a pair to stick around, look for a classic rinse—like dark or regular denim—that won’t look dated in a few months. Plus, those classic tones will likely go with much more of your wardrobe, unlike the bright colors that were on trend a few years ago. This will help you get the most value out of your purchase. To ensure they will work with a range of styles, try them on with a range of tops—from blazers to blouses to T-shirts—and a slew of shoes, from booties to brogues.

FAQs

Q: How can I ensure my skinny jeans will stand the test of time without fading or stretching?

Every pair of jeans comes with a care tag, so read those instructions carefully and follow them to extend their lifespan. Typically, you don’t want to wash your jeans after every wear, so you can sport them a few times before throwing them in the washing machine. To keep their color, washing jeans inside out helps. Always check the tag to see if it’s better to line dry or put them in the dryer.

Q: What style of skinny jeans works best for my body?

Finding the best pair of skinny jeans for you often entails a lot of trial and error in the dressing room. Shopping for your body type will definitely help take out much of the guesswork. Pear-shaped and curvy women often do best in high-waisted styles that cinch the waist, which will deliver a better waist-to-hip sizing ratio. Those with long legs and a short torso can fake a longer torso by opting for mid- or low-rise styles.

Q: Why is stretch fabric so popular with skinny jeans?

To sum it up succinctly: Comfort. Stretchy fabrics feel better on your body, so you won’t feel like your waist is being strangled by the end of the day. Stretch jeans also tend to be more flattering because they hug the body, avoiding sagging at the knees and bum, which doesn’t do anyone any favors. Plus, stretch ensures better shape retention, so your jeans won’t lose their fit after a few washes and wears.

Final Thoughts

Finding the perfect pair of skinny jeans can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack, but we’ve done the shopping for you to help you find the best skinny jeans. Every pair on this list is designed to fit well, flatter, feel comfortable, and retain its shape over time.

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