Best High-Waist Jeans 2021 in Every Kind of Style
The best high-waist jeans are those you feel most confident in—every woman knows a less-than-comfortable
The best high-waist jeans are those you feel most confident in—every woman knows a less-than-comfortable pair comes with debilitating effects. Pinches and gaps? No, thank you. When a high-rise hits just right, the rest of your outfit sings, whether you’re styling in a waist-skimming crop, French-tucking a crisp button-up, or opting for a fitted bodysuit or tee.
Of course, the best high-waist jeans will vary in wash, fabrication, and silhouette—it’s about personal preference and the look you aim to embody when a denim mood strikes. Timeless styles like straight-leg and skinnies sans distressing are the most versatile in medium-blue tones and ideal for dressed-down days and elevated moments alike. Flares and crops are popular classics too—the former looks great in deeper washes and the latter helps to spotlight your footwear. Laidback ease is the overarching tone guiding trendier high-rise jeans this season, with baggy legs as the silhouette du jour.
When it comes to fit and fabric, a hint of stretch adds comfort. On the other hand, rigid cotton is beloved for its structure, becoming perfectly lived-in, wear after wear—this rings especially true in vintage-inspired cuts and roomier straight-leg styles. There’s also a tremendous shift toward more sustainable production among many denim brands. Recycled fibers, eco-friendly wash, dyeing techniques, and ethical working conditions are just a few ways denim-makers continue to improve their products and standards. Without further ado, Vogue’s edit of the best high-waist jeans currently on the market.
High-waist straight-leg jeans are the epitome of classic denim. Lighter hues and slightly roomier legs exude vintage-inspired style, while inkier tones and slimmer fits look polished with the potential to skew dressy.
Whether you’re petite or want all eyes on your shoes, cropped high-waist jeans are a casual staple. Pair yours with flats or slides on your most leisurely days, and heeled boots or stilettos when dialing things up.
Do skinny jeans ever really go out of style? Quick answer: No. For maximum freshness, look to ultra-clean lines, rigid fabrics, or throwback features like pale and acid washes.
Perhaps it’s a response to comfort fashion ruling the past year, but baggy jeans are the It silhouette of 2021. Whether you go the ultra-relaxed route with a wide leg that pools around your ankles or take a sleeker approach via a billowing trouser or slouchy straight-leg, the key is offsetting the volume with a fitted or polished piece on top.
With a decidedly ’70s feel, high-waist flare jeans can go one of two ways: Tailored and sophisticated or chilled-out and casual. When aiming for the former, shop for a dark or medium-blue wash without distressing. To lean into the season’s current surfer vibe, sun-soaked washes, gentle distressing, or a two-tone design will hit the nail on the head.
Synonymous with warm-weather locales and easy summer living, high-waist white jeans look best with nautical knits, breezy tops, and simple tanks. For a 2021 take on white or creamier shades of denim, try a roomy barrel or slouchy straight leg. In favor of timelessness? You can’t fail in a clean wide-leg or slim pleated style.
The ultimate evening jean is unquestionably black, whether you prefer a slim-straight, cropped, or boyfriend silhouette. Washes range from the blackest black to faded hues that border on charcoal—we’re partial to small details like top-stitching or brushed hardware for extra style points.
Distressing can easily skew sloppy, but if you’re discerning, the result reads anything but. Like baggy jeans, high-waist distressed jeans appear infinitely more polished with the right pieces as part of the equation. Think trim blazers, body-skimming knits, and crisp shirting for a stylish offset.