The best high-waisted jeans

In the 1960s, some parts of society believed that wearing denim was some form of rebellion on the part of young people. Certain establishments stopped allowing patrons who were wearing jeans.

Low waisted jeans might have been all the rage for a while in the early 2000s, but those with an eye for style know that when it comes to pants that complement the female shape, high waisted jeans are as good as it gets. Because they cinch at the waist, they accentuate an hourglass figure and stay in place much better than low ride jeans. High waisted bottoms from skirts to shorts and pants have always been in style for women, and luckily that design made its way into denim like we see in the Levi's Women's High Waisted Straight Jeans.

What to know before you buy high-waisted jeans

They stay in place well

Low-rise jeans have always suffered from a major problem: they slide down. Low jeans sit on a part of the female body that curves outward, so they don’t stand a chance against gravity. It’s nearly impossible to keep low jeans up without wearing a belt. Meanwhile, high-waisted jeans close at the waist of a woman, which is the part that naturally curves inward. The hips below create a natural shelf for the pants, which means high-waisted jeans stay in place very well. You likely won’t find yourself constantly pulling up high-waisted jeans the way you might with low-rise jeans.

They lift the buttock

High-waisted jeans work with gravity in many ways that low-rise jeans simply do not. Because they close at the waist and stay in place well, they successfully lift the bottom half of the body up. What this results in is a buttock that looks higher and firmer. Low jeans flatten the butt out, and often sag, making the rear look even worse. 

They’re slimming

Many women complain of a part of the body called the fupa. This is the portion of skin that sits between the hips and above the pubic bone. Due to a woman’s natural anatomy, this area has a way of sticking out, even on the slimmest of individuals. While there are options like shapewear to tuck this area in, many women appreciate that high-waisted jeans naturally cover and tuck in the fupa. High-waisted jeans also give the illusion of a longer torso, so in several ways, they have a slimming effect.  

High-waisted jeans features 

Leg type

There are several leg styles to choose from when picking out high-waisted jeans. There are skinny jeans – also known as tapered jeans. These have a legging-like fit and are great for sliding into boots. On the opposite end of skinny jeans are flared jeans, which are sometimes called bell bottoms. They are extra-wide at the bottom. Between skinny and flared you have a boot cut, which has just enough room to slide a boot beneath. You will also select a length. You’ll find cropped, ankle-length, regular-length and tall. The type of footwear you prefer will determine the best length for you. Shorter lengths are best for showing off footwear. Tall styles are great for chunky or tall heels since you don’t want the jeans to touch the ground.

Wash

You’ll also select a wash. Consumers see a wash as the color or shade, but that color is a result of a type of wash used on the denim. Some options include acid wash, bleach wash and stone wash. There is also light wash, dark wash, mid-wash, black denim and white denim. Of course, there are also many dyed varieties for those wanting something colorful like pink or yellow jeans. 

Closure

There are several different types of closures you’ll find in high-waisted jeans. Because of the excess fabric along the front, a multi-button closure is popular in high-waisted jeans. It can look very fashionable, however, some don’t like having to open and close so many buttons. There is also the simple zipper closure. Sometimes you’ll find a combination closure that has two or three buttons as well as a zipper.

High-waisted jeans cost 

Due to the many different designers making high-waisted jeans, this garment is available in a wide price range. You might find a pair for as little as $25 and another for as high as $200.

High-waisted jeans FAQ

What do you wear with high-waisted jeans?

A. High-waisted jeans are great for pairing with crop tops and short sweaters. Clear lines and defined silhouettes are the goal when choosing what to wear with these jeans, so any top that falls to just where the jeans rise should look good. You can also tuck longer tops into high-waisted jeans for a tailored look.

What is the difference between high-rise and high-waisted?

A. High-rise bottoms will typically come up to just below the belly button or right at the belly button. High-waisted bottoms will usually rise above the belly button, to the waist.

Which high-waisted jeans should I get?

Best of the best high-waisted jeans

Levi's Women's High Waisted Straight Jeans: Available at Amazon

Our take: These jeans have a relaxed fit and classic look.

What we like: These jeans are straight through the hip and thigh area for a relaxed, boyfriend look. They’re made from 100% cotton and have a 29-inch inseam. Available in four blue washes, they’re a classic pair of jeans that should go well with most tops.

What we dislike: Some find the legs to be too wide.

Best bang for your buck high-waisted jeans

SweatyRocks Women's High Waisted Ripped Skinny Jeans: Available at Amazon

Our take: These ripped jeans have an edgy aesthetic and flexible material. 

What we like: With 2% spandex, these jeans allow for plenty of mobility and won’t feel constricting throughout minor weight fluctuations. They have skinny legs that are great for sliding into boots and stylish intentional rips up the front. 

What we dislike: The fabric is rather thin.

Honorable mention high-waisted jeans

GOSOPIN Women High Waist Distressed Straight Jeans: Available at Amazon

Our take: These subtly distressed straight-leg jeans are great for everyday wear.

What we like: The straight, slightly wide legs of these jeans make them great for showing off boots or heels. Their distressed look gives them a relaxed aesthetic that looks great with crop tops and sweaters. With two percent elastane, they have a bit of comfortable stretch.

What we dislike: These can run a little big.

Julia Austin is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.