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Shopping for jeans is hard enough without all the confusing terminology: flare, rise, cut, inseam—what does it all mean? Here's how to decode the different types of jeans on the market, so you can find the perfect pair.



Guide to Jean Styles: 8 Types of Jeans

The cut of a pair of jeans refers to the shape of the leg, whether it's fitted, roomy, or flared. The rise of a pair of jeans refers to the location of the waistband.

  1. Skinny jeans: Skinny jeans (also known as cigarette jeans) are cut to be tight-fitting throughout the leg, from the thigh down to the ankle. They're usually made with stretch denim so that the wearer can get them off and on easily. They are often skin-tight like leggings.
  2. Straight-leg jeans: Straight-cut jeans appear to have a straight up-and-down fit through the entire leg. Straight jeans can be on the baggy side, like boyfriend jeans or relaxed-fit jeans, or the fitted side, like slim-fit jeans.
  3. Bootcut jeans: Bootcut jeans flare out slightly at the ankle. This type of jean pairs well with ankle boots.
  4. Bell-bottom jeans: Bell-bottom jeans have a snug fit through the thigh and flare out from the knee to the leg opening.
  5. Wide-leg jeans: Wide leg jeans are cut wide throughout the leg, beginning to flare around the mid-thigh and then continuing down to a wide leg opening. The difference between wide-leg and bell-bottom jeans is that bell-bottom jeans have more of an hourglass shape since they're tight around the thighs and knees, whereas wide-leg jeans have more of a triangle shape since the flare is more gradual.
  6. High-rise jeans: High-rise jeans, also known as high-waist jeans, sit at your natural waist, around your belly button. High-rise, straight-leg jeans were a popular style in the ’80s and ’90s, which led to them being called "mom jeans" in the 2000s. The once-retro look has come back in style since high-rise jeans pair well with crop tops or a tucked-in T-shirt.
  7. Mid-rise jeans: Mid-rise jeans sit between your waist and your hips. Mid-rise jeans typically hit about an inch below your navel.
  8. Low-rise jeans: Low rise jeans hit a few inches below your belly button at your hips. This style of jeans was very popular in the 2000s.

What Is the Inseam on a Pair of Jeans?

The inseam of a pair of jeans is the length from the crotch to the leg opening. Determining your inseam has to do with both your height and where on your leg you'd like the jeans to hit. The best way to find your inseam is to measure an existing pair of pants that fit you perfectly. If you found an amazing pair of jeans but they're a little too long, don't worry—a tailor can easily hem your jeans to the correct inseam length, or you can learn to hem your pants at home.

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