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Are skinny jeans out? What to wear instead

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Now that we’re all scared of being considered old by Gen Z for our side parts and skinny jeans (KIDDING, wear what you want!), I’ve rounded up 5 pants that aren’t skinny jeans. Who would have imagined that the “mom-jean” trend would come back so heavily! I sure didn’t. In fact, for the last ten years of my life, I’ve owned and worn pretty much only skinny leg jeans and skinny-fit work trousers. To be honest, I was hesitant to try other styles since I’ve been a skinny jean loyalist for years. But now, I feel more comfortable in looser fitting jeans styles and have found a few pairs that are incredibly flattering. And it’s pretty much all I wear now. I’m obsessed with high-waisted straight leg jeans. And I haven’t touched my skinny jeans in almost two years!

I will always love my skinny jeans –– how can you NOT when they work with everything in your closet and are flattering on everyone? –– but like most things, it’s a little refreshing to break a habit you’ve had for so long. So, over a few months last year, I ordered a bunch of different pants that weren’t skinny jeans, to figure out what works on my frame. I’m very petite — 5’1″ — so I was skeptical of some trends that I’ve seen look great on taller ladies. I quickly found that I have been missing out on some really great pants, that work even on my petite frame. And I’m so happy to have a little variety in my life!

Five Pants To Buy That Arent Skinny Jeans

5 Pants To Buy That Aren’t Skinny Jeans

If you’re a little wary to try a new style of jeans, trust me and just do it. You might find out that you like them even MORE than your skinny jeans like I did. I update this post every six months or so with new styles I’ve tried — this go around, I’m really loving wide leg jeans, which you’ll see below!

So without any more fluff, let’s get into it!

“Mom Jeans”

When I started noticing the mom jeans look, I immediately looked to Madewell first to see what options they had since every pair of Madewell jeans I own is incredibly flattering. This pair, the Madewell Perfect Vintage, appealed to me because they weren’t drastically mom-ish and didn’t have a ton of distressing (although now, I really love this pair of distressed jeans.) They’re more of a straight leg than a skinny leg, but they’re a little more tapered than regular straight leg pants. I was instantly drawn to the wash and the raw hem.

They’re a high rise pair, which I love, and the ankles cropped fit seemed like it would be flattering. Tip: for looser-fit pants, you always want to make sure your ankle shows, unless it’s a style that goes all the way to the floor like very wide leg pants or flare jeans.

They were a perfect “starter” pair for me. And even though they were backordered for two months when I bought them, they were DEFINITELY worth the wait.  They became my most worn pair of pants. I was so happy when I tried them on and they were PERFECT.

The details on this pair

Regular pair: 11″ high rise, fitted through the hip and thigh, 13″ tapered leg opening, 25 1/2″ full-length inseam.

As you can see in the photos below, this pair hits me lower on my ankle than on the model, even though I bought the petite option (which has a shorter inseam).

mom jeans - 5 Pants To Buy That Aren't Skinny Jeans

Top | Jeans | Shoes

Madwell The Petite Perfect Vintage Jean in Ainsworth Wash

These jeans linked here

Here are other photos of these jeans in real life.

mom jeans distressed hem | Pants To Buy That Arent Skinny Jeans

Similar Top | Jeans | Similar Sandals | Bag | Bracelets

Pants To Buy That Arent Skinny Jeans

Pants To Buy That Arent Skinny Jeans

5 Pants To Buy That Arent Skinny Jeans

Trunk Club Try-On session

Another Winner

I also got this pair in the mail and I’m OBSESSED. I think I might say they’re my new favorite pair, tied with the Abercrombie pair below. These have a really cute raw hem that is cut shorter in the front, making them hit at the perfect spot above my ankle.

I think the most flattering jeans I own all have that in common: they hit the right place at the bottom.

These MOTHER jeans have a nice stretch to them, so I feel great wearing them all day. They pair well with my favorite loafers and sneakers. They’re also going to be great for spring sandals. They are more of a mid-rise than a high-rise jean.

Mother jeans when worn | Pants To Buy That Arent Skinny Jeans

Crop Step Fray Jeans | Pants To Buy That Arent Skinny Jeans

TopJeans | Shoes

Crop Step Fray Jeans review

Similar button down shirt  | Jeans | Shoes

Crop Step Fray Jeans with loafers

Shirt | Jeans | Shoes

Crop Step Fray Jeans casual outfit

Top | Jeans | Sneakers

ANNNDD another winner

The other pair of jeans I am obsessed with is by Abercrombie. What shocked me the most was how perfectly the fit IMMEDIATELY after putting them on. They didn’t even needed to be hemmed–I was shocked! The Ultra High Rise Ankle Straight Jean is extremely flattering and fits like a glove. They’re fitted on the bum, but looser down the legs so that you get the “mom” jean look without loosing your leg shape altogether. Shop here! And I also have the non-distressed version (you’ll see photos below) linked here. I got the short version, and I am 5″1.

I reviewed them detail in this post.

Abercrombie distressed jeans

Similar Sweatshirt | Jeans | Shoes

Abercrombie distressed jeans washes

Similar top | Jeans

Abercrombie jeans review

Similar Sweatshirt | Jeans | Shoes

These are the non-distressed pair linked here.

Abercrombie jeans with loafers

Similar top | Jeans | Loafers

More “mom jeans” that I’m loving

Wide Leg Jeans

I’m not super tall, so it’s important to me that my pants don’t make me look shorter than I am. For wide leg pants to work well on me, they have to go ALL the wait to the floor or they need to be a distinct, slightly higher ankle crop. And like I mentioned earlier, it’s always a good idea to have a tailor alter or hem your pants so that they fit perfectly, especially when it comes to length!

I’ve been obsessed with flare and wide leg jeans recently. I got a pair of FRAME pixie palazzo jeans that have become a wardrobe staple, and a cropped wide leg pair too.

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The first pair is by FRAME. They’re my favorite flare jeans ever! These are the pixie cut, which is for girls 5’3 and below— grab the regular palazzo pair if you’re taller! This puff sleeve sweater is a great fall find and I’ve paired with leather platform sandals (almost sold out, just in time for fall thank goodness!)

pixie cut wide leg jeans #LTKSeasonal #LTKshoecrush#LTKstyletip

Top | Jeans | Shoes

Le Pixie Palazzo flare jeans #LTKstyletip #LTKshoecrush #LTKSeasonal

Similar top | Jeans | Shoes

smocked ruffle tank, wide leg jeans, flare jeans #LTKstyletip#LTKSeasonal#LTKshoecrush

 Similar Top (exact in dress form) | Jeans | Shoes

The second pair I’m loving is by Joe’s, called The Blake, High rise wide leg crop. They’re extremely flattering on the hips and bum area, and I love that the wide leg is super obvious. I pair them with sneakers, loafers and heels.

Sleeveless brown mock neck top, cropped wide leg jeans, leather heeled sandals #LTKSeasonal#LTKworkwear#LTKshoecrush

Outfit linked here

Pants To Buy That Arent Skinny Jeans #LTKSeasonal#LTKstyletip#LTKshoecrush

Outfit linked here

Purple T-shirt, straight leg jeans, leather clogs #LTKunder100 #LTKSeasonal #LTKshoecrush

Shop Outfit linked here

Paper Bag Waist Pants

These paperbag waist pants were like hitting the jackpot. Whether you need business attire for work or just want cute pants to dress up for a dinner out, I cannot rave enough about paperbag waist pants. They are (a) comfortable with the perfect amount of stretch and (b) so flattering while still looking professional.

5 Pants To Buy That Arent Skinny Jeans

Since I left Corporate America, I’ve been playing with styles that are a tad bit dressy, but also comfortable enough that I actually want to wear them. These fit the bill. Another great thing about these pants is that you can dress them down. Originally when I got these, I only imaged them with pumps and a blouse for work. But I’m quickly finding that they’re cute with sweaters, a basic tee shirt and a denim jacket, and loafers or ballet flats. And, they look amazing with a strappy camisole and sexy heels for date night.

Paper Bag Waist Pants

Similar Top | Similar Pants | Shoes

These have a more slim fit through the calf and ankle but are still forgiving in the quads.

And the stretch material makes them look great from behind but they don’t stretch out for that dreaded diaper butt look (we’ve all been there with work pants, right?). The waist hits above my belly button and ties at my natural waist. The bow is really flattering and a great statement if you’re wearing a more neutral outfit.

Again, the key to these is the cropped ankle.

If they hit lower on your ankle, I’d recommend having them hemmed. On that note, ALWAYS have your clothes altered if they don’t fit you perfectly. It makes a big difference and will help you make sure you really wear everything in your closet and that it looks the best it can on you!

5 Pants To Buy That Aren't Skinny Jeans | slim fit paper bag pants

Similar Top | Similar Pants | Shoes

paper bag pants
paper bag pants for work

Other paperbag waist pants I’m loving

Pants in fun prints and colors

When you’re buying skinny jeans, you’re typically looking for a pair that will work with every item in your closet, but that’s not the case with pants in fun colors and prints. And that’s okay! I’ve been drawn to fun colors recently. I love hot pink and light blue for the warm months and dark green and red for the colder months. These days, I’d pair a sweater with colored bottoms, but you can pair a creamy white blouse or linen top to make bold pants feel spring-y and summery when those months roll around. These are skinny jeans, yes, but I wanted to share how the color takes otherwise neutral pieces and makes it all more fun. (I’m still on the hunt for the perfect printed or colored pants that aren’t skinny! I shared a few I’m eyeing below!)

Pants To Buy That Aren't Skinny Jeans | fun colored pants

Similar top | Similar pants | Similar Shoes

Here are a few I’m loving

High Waisted Pants

First of all, now that I’ve been wearing high-waisted pants for a while now, every time I put on lower cut pants I cringe. I love how a high waist or mid-rise feels like it’s hugging you in. And it makes a front tuck look so cute. I love wearing a colorful belt, too, and tucking in my tops. I recommend getting at least a single pair of pants that is high waisted so that you try it. You likely won’t look back.

Even my skinny jeans are almost all high-waisted now since they make my waist, legs and butt look better!

Pull on Pants

Pull on pants almost feel like cheating on wearing real clothes, but they they can look so professional. See? These don’t have any zippers or buttons but look professional and feel like yoga pants. I got these in a Trunk Club (and the top) but I haven’t had a chance to get them hemmed. I’ll get them cropped right above my ankle! To me, ankle length always means right above the ankle bone. It helps elongate your legs and make it look more fresh, modern and youthful.

purple pants

Similar Blouse | Pants | Shoes

I also LOVE my Spanx Faux Leather Leggings. They’re flattering and more comfortable than jeans. And recently I’ve loved Spanx’s Jean-ish pant. I wear a Petite size S.

Spanx Faux Leather Leggings

Vest | Top | Leggings | Shoes (similar)

Are Skinny Jeans Still In?

Of course. I will always love mine and keep multiple pairs of skinny jeans in my closer. They’re flattering, and perfect for booties and boots. While the styles are shifting to a more relaxed fit of jeans at most retailers, I believe skinny jeans will always have a place in your closet if you like them. There are no fashion gods who make rules about what you can and cannot wear ;).

Where to shop 

There are a few places that I swear by:

Nordstrom (some of my favorite brands for pants and jeans at Nordstrom are Frame, MotherMadewell or Good American. I like Hudson, too.) Shop here.

J.Crew – shop here!

Madewell – shop here! You can also snag a cute top to wear with the jeans. I love wearing Madewell head to toe!

Abercrombie – shop here! I have 4 pair of these jeans because I love them so much!

And another place that seems to have tons of pants that aren’t skinny jeans is Urban Outfitters. At first glance I wouldn’t gravitate there, but if you dig a little and picture the pants on you, not a teenager, they have good options too! Shop here!

What’s your favorite style of pants to wear?

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    8 responses to “Are skinny jeans out? What to wear instead”

    1. I don’t see the purple “pull-on” pants linked anywhere? What brand are they?

    2. Okay, but I also want to know where you got EVERY SINGLE WHITE top that you’re wearing in these photos ? please?

    3. Teri you are the absolute cutest! I don’t know if you remember me but I am a Smart from your old neighborhood. Anyways I LOVE following your blog, such good tips. Thanks for all your hard work!

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