I am a huge fan of the look of '90s-style straight-leg jeans, but finding the right pair for my own wardrobe has proven to be difficult. At 5'5," I often don't feel tall enough (which is crazy, I know) because these are usually cut significantly longer than your average pair of skinnies. So this month, I made it my mission to find three perfect pairs and share the different ways I was able to style them with some of my favourite summer pieces and trends.
After weeks spent in various changing rooms getting seriously stressed and sweaty, I finally found my winning styles that could finally fill the hole in my closets. It just so happens that the chosen few don't break the bank, either. I found Arket's Vintage Straight-Leg Jeans were great for dressier evening outfits, Ksubi's Playback Jeans suited more fashion-focused outfits and Levi's Ribcage Straight-Leg Jeans are especially great for comfy weekends. Now I understand why so many girls have been buying them.
I discovered that the key to pulling off this long-leg style is getting the shoes right. For me, trainers and many flat styles were a no-go—they may work well for taller girls, but my legs are on the shorter side and I just didn't feel right. Mules, chunky boots or barely there flip-flops (or any shoes that show a lot of foot) seemed to work best. Keep scrolling to see how to wear straight-leg jeans now and shop the essential pieces I've put together.
1. Arket's Straight Vintage Jeans
I've always liked Arket's jeans because their fit and quality is totally up there with designer denim (just without the hefty price tag). I came across its Straight Vintage Jeans, which were the perfect '90s fit. The really long inseam hits the floor, and they come in the era's light-wash denim. They have a lower-rise waist, which isn't what I would usually choose, but the waistline is shaped really well and rises slightly at the hip. Size-wise, I am wearing a 26.
Style Notes: An oversized beige blazer and tank top is an easy but modern way to echo that '90s look. I've teamed this look with black mules to lengthen the leg and strike the right balance with the jacket. I tend to go a couple of sizes up these days with my blazers.
Style Notes: There's more volume in the legs of straight jeans in comparison to the skinnies you're used to, so if you're not tucking in a slim-fit top, then I think blouses and shirts need to be extra supersized to look right. Low mules are also the perfect shoes to add so that the hem of your jeans grazes the floor.
Style Notes: These jeans are the perfect length and leg shape to try wrapping strappy heels over the denim (yes, really!). This micro-styling trend has been a recent favourite with the girls I follow on Instagram and is the perfect way to add a stylish spin to an otherwise classic or plain look.
2. Ksubi's Playback High-Rise Straight-Leg Jeans
Australian brand Ksubi is a go-to denim brand for off-duty models like Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne. The Playback jeans in chalk white are super-roomy straight-leg jeans with a fitted high waist. They are extra long in the leg but actually still work with both heels and flats. I am wearing a size 25.
Style Notes: As the summer heats up, I'll be going for a pared-back look of just a simple racer-back vest with my jeans, mules and layered gold jewellery. This £6 vest has been one of my most useful summer wardrobe pieces this season.
Style Notes: The back of the jeans is embellished with the brand's signature cross signs just above the pocket, which is a really cute branded detail.
3. Levi's Ribcage Straight Ankle Jeans
There's no denying Levi's are an obvious source for these kinds of '90s shapes (they made them iconic the first time around, after all). The brand's Ribcage style is perfect if you're looking for a more casual option. The ripped knees mean they're ideal for day-to-day wear, and I found them super comfortable too. Size-wise, I am wearing a 27.
Style Notes: Team these jeans with chunky ankle boots and a leather shirt for a casual weekend look. A trench coat or chunky knit over the shoulders are great for extra layering pieces if you need.
Style Notes: I really love a contrast, which is why when the weather is weird, a chunky knit looks great with leather flip-flops. This knit is especially great, as you can wear both as a jumper or tie the sleeves together as I have.