4 Things to Look for in Your Next Pair of Jeans

By Megan Gustashaw

Jeans might be classic enough that you can buy and wear a pair for years on end, but they also reflect the times. From pocket placement to distressing choices, the smallest details can place a pair of jeans in a particular season or year. Which is why—while we’re all for having “oldie but goodie” pairs in your rotation—editing and adding to your stack every once in a while makes sense, too. If you’re due for a denim upgrade this season, here are the details you should look out for. Spoiler alert: You’ll confuse exactly none of these with your favorite slim-cut dark-wash jeans.

Guy or girl, day or night, slim-cut or baggy, the most important detail on any pair of jeans is the wash. Unless you’re going for a “raw” look, seek out denim with natural fading that doesn’t come on too strong. Whiskering around the hips and light distressing at the knees also lends a timeworn vibe. Less is more here, except if it’s a novelty pair (think: bleached and shredded).


SHOP: Slim Dark Wash Tough Stretch+ Jeans, Eco-Friendly Mid Rise Stretch Jean LeggingsFrom rock gods on stage to cowboys on horseback, rebels never part with their trusty jeans. Lean into the icon’s nonconformist vibe with a pair that shows your own tough side.

SHOP: High Waisted Stretch Studded Stripe Ankle Jean Legging

Studs, stones, and grommet-adorned denim is back from the ‘80s and ready to party. But don’t worry, the 2018 version is 100% less acid-washed and totally streamlined for modern times. (Yet still just as fun.)

SHOP: Slim Light Wash Distressed Stretch Jeans

Slim-cut jeans make you look like a respectable young man. Slim-cut jeans with big holes in the knees will make you look like you just might be the leader of a punk band. So . . . which will it be?If you want to turn the volume up on a pair of ordinary jeans, pay attention to the bookends, a.k.a. the waist and hem. A subtle tweak can really kick things up a notch.

SHOP: High Waisted Button Fly Stretch Ankle Jean Leggings

Highlight your curves and turn denim into an “outfit” with a pair of jeans that hit you at your natural waste. We especially love paneled waistlines and buttoned flies this season, which nod to—you guessed it—the ‘80s.

SHOP: Super Skinny Light Wash Destroyed Stretch+ Jeans

While rips and tears lend denim an edgy, rock ‘n’ roll vibe, a raw frayed hem feels nonconformist in the SoCal surfer kind of way. Bonus points if you show off your bare ankles by wearing no-show socks.Just because you wear denim every day doesn’t mean it can’t snap you out of your everyday routines. Switch things up with a pair of jeans so bold, it completely changes your look—and attitude.

SHOP: High Waisted Original Vintage Side Stripe Skinny Jeans

We’re loving denim with taping down the sides for a look that’s a little bit ‘90s streetwear, a little bit racetrack-ready. Wear them with a simple tee and sneakers or dress them up with a black bodysuit and heeled sandals for a night out.

SHOP: Slim Black Destroyed Stretch Jeans

What happens when you bring together black denim and up-and-down distressing? A pair of jeans so edgy, you won’t even need your motorcycle jacket for support. Whether you’re party-hopping or just indulging your biker side, these belong in your rotation.