As the name would imply, boyfriend jeans are designed to evoke a “borrowed from the boys” vibe. The hallmarks of the fit are a straight cut through the hip and thigh, with a long rise and straight waistband. A true boyfriend jean should hang artfully from the hip as if you have actually stolen a pair of well-worn men’s jeans from your boyfriend who, in this idealized fashion dream, is about one full size larger than you.
The popularity of the boyfriend fit has spawned several derivations that, while possessing some of the traits of the boyfriend jean, are actually totally different fits. If your target jeans are loose through the hip and upper thigh, but slim from lower thigh through the hem, you’re looking at a pair of slouchy skinny jeans. If your jeans are loose and distressed, but have a low rise, contoured waistband, or curvy hips, you’ve actually got a pair of cropped or distressed women’s fit jeans. I know, it’s a lot to remember.
Now that you have the fit down, how do you wear boyfriend jeans? Here are some simple tips:
- Embrace the slouch. These jeans are supposed to fit loose, to the point of often requiring a belt. Don’t make the mistake of sizing down from your normal size to get them to “fit” you. The straight cut needs a little slouch to flatter a woman’s body.
- Dress up, or down. These jeans can handle it both ways. A white tee and flip flops vibes California cool. A structured blazer and heels feels downtown fresh.
- Roll to just below the widest part of your calf muscle. Too high, and you look like you’re wearing oversized shorts. Too low, and you look like you are trying to salvage jeans with a too short inseam.
The resurgence of the boyfriend jean as a denim staple owes absolutely everything to Current/Elliott. Their boyfriend jeans still reign as the gold standard for this fit, and they are now available in a wide range of washes and levels of distressing. I think these very lightly distressed “super loved” wash jeans are the most versatile.
→ Buy the Current/Elliott Boyfriend Jeans in Super Loved, $206.00, at shopbop.com; shipping and returns are free.
If you are down with the combination of distressing, whiskering, and pre-staining, then try these Nsf boyfriend jeans. I think they’d look crazy good with a silk blouse and heels.
→ Buy the Nsf Beck Boyfriend Jean, $282.00, at industriedenim.com.
These Rag&Bone jeans put a big emphasis on whiskering, which is a rare focus for boyfriend fit jeans. I’m kind of smitten.
→ Buy the Rag & Bone/JEAN The Boyfriend Jeans, $242.00, at shopbop.com; shipping and returns are free.
If only the finest Japanese denim will do, then snap up these very hard to find Chimala jeans. This cult label is currently stocked in Madewell’s online store, but that won’t last for long.
→ Buy the Chimala Denim Ankle Jeans, $450.00, at madewell.com.
For a budget buy, check out these distressed boyfriend jeans from ASOS. They’re ultra affordable, but have a classic shape that belies their price.
→ Buy the ASOS Brady Low Rise Slim Boyfriend Jeans, $72.41, at asos.com.
More Boyfriend Jeans:
Editor's Note: This post was originally published on April 19, 2013. It has since been updated.