10 best women’s high waisted jeans, from flared to mom styles

Although loungewear is here to stay, brands like Zara and Levi are helping us fall back in love with denim

Ataowaji Victor
Friday 13 November 2020 16:10
<p>We were looking for affordable yet quality denim that is perfect for wearing at home as well as those last-minute dinner plans (when we can socialise again)</p>

We were looking for affordable yet quality denim that is perfect for wearing at home as well as those last-minute dinner plans (when we can socialise again)

This year has undoubtedly changed our clothing habits forever, comfy and cosy is decidedly in and loungewear is here to stay.

Despite this organic drift towards the elasticated waistband, for the few moments in which fitted clothing is still a must, the humble jean still reigns supreme.  

The best pair of jeans are the ones you’ll want to live in. It’s the wardrobe staple that can be worn infinitely and much like wine, each year and with every wash, a good jean can age with you and your style.  

For quite a small investment, good denim jeans have a high return of longevity for seasons to come, however when buying a new pair picking a silhouette that suits your shape is the first step.

As the undisputed favourite among the fashion pack and jean wearers alike, the high waisted number is one trend that has managed to surpass the current y2K resurgence and still remain the buyer’s choice for denim jeans.  

Whether it is a paper bag nod to the Eighties or a Levi ribcage – sans any stretch – a well fitted pair of high waisted jeans are an essential foundation piece for any women’s wardrobe.

We tried a range of high waisted jeans to find the comfiest, best fitting, top quality pairs around. We were looking for affordable yet quality denim that is perfect for wearing at home as well as when we can finally socialise again.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Monki Yoko black jeans

The lesser-known sister brand of Zara may not have been at the top of your list, but after you see these jeans, it’s likely to be your go-to brand. Fun, fresh and versatile is the best way to describe the Yoko jeans from Monki. If you’re after an investment pair at a high street price point, go for these. Although they come in many colours, we think black is a wintery everyday staple. Take it from us, cardigans, roll necks and even the odd dressing gown will pair nicely with them.   

M&S collection magic shaping high waisted skinny jeans

As we continue to spend more time working indoors, the transition between loungewear to more structured clothing is one that will continue to be blurred and redefined within our new normal. These shaping skinny jeans from M&S are the prefect prelude for those of us yet to jump into our beloved, but definitely more stringent denim. We loved pairing these jeans with cosy pair of socks and a ribbed sweater vest for WFH bliss.

Gap sky high straight leg jeans

What you see is what you get with these Gap jeans, making them a perfect mid-weight buy. Contrary to current fast and trend-focused fashion, the ordinary style of this jean is exactly what makes it stand out. The array of colour options, the way they sit just below the belly button and the slim but yet not snug fit, all marry together to make the ultimate no fuss, no frills good denim jeans.

Topshop considered one oversized mom tapered jeans

The Topshop Joni jean was a coming of age purchase for many teens looking to graduate into womenswear. These oversized mom jeans bear no resemblance to their high waisted predecessor in cut or style, but their Instagram, it girl appeal is equally as effervescent of the current denim trends. We loved pairing these with a crisp white shirt in the day and added a brown heeled cowboy boot to see us through to a casual dinner in the evening.

Nudie high-top tilde dark navy

Being a new kid on the denim block is no mean feat, but Nudie Jeans is making waves. Its worldwide repair service solidifies its place, creating jeans for life and living. Made with organic super stretch denim with all bodies and lifestyles in mind, personalisation is the biggest selling point of the brand. We paired these with our favourite white trainers and an oversized leather shirt for a playful take on androgynous styling. 

Zara z1975 baggy paperbag jeans in light grey

High street powerhouse Zara is the one-stop-shop for all thing’s runway with an affordable price tag. These baggy paper bag jeans are yet another perfect example of this fashion fluidity. If you want to tap into the autumn/winter runway trends, from Ganni’s nonchalant nod to the Eighties to the airy waistband offerings at Christopher John Rogers, then these jeans may just be the pair you need. We loved going full throttle, so we paired them with a shoulder-padded T-shirt and our favourite slingbacks. 

Levi ribcage straight ankle jeans

Levi and great denim have been synonymous since the brand's inception in 1853. The forefather of the denim is loved for its durability and style. These jeans are not for pasta night though, as ribcage is not just a fun description for these sky-high jeans. Although we think everyone should own an authentic piece of denim history, the stiffness of this true to blue pair may not be for everyone.  

Weekday body extra high skinny jeans in black

Weekday is another fairly new face on the high street, but its denim offerings are becoming quite legendary. The body extra high skinny jeans are the skinniest of the collection and have that oh so sleek look, but they can feel a tad restrictive now that sweatpants have become the new norm. But when we eventually return to some form of normality, they’ll be our go-to for the jeans-and-a-nice-top kind of fit.

Re/Done high rise loose light indigo

A good pair of jeans can hold their own against cotton tees and silk shirts alike and this high-rise pair from Redone do just that. Although a little more on the luxe side price-wise, these jeans are a great investment piece and are perfect for transitioning across all seasons. If you have ever uttered the phrase “just jeans and a nice blouse” then this could be the pair for you.

Asos design curve '90s' stretch flare in bright-wash

Why stop at high rise jeans in your Nineties fashion reboot, when you can also have a flared cut to boot? These light-coloured stretch flare jeans are perfect for everyday wear thanks to their ability to mould and flatter all silhouettes. We loved wearing these with a cropped jumper and an autumn-proof trench coat.

The verdict: Women’s high waisted jeans 

It was very hard to choose between the Monki Yoko black jeans and the Gap sky high straight leg jeans because of how well both fit into our criteria of affordable yet long-wearing. But, the Yoko inches out ahead purely because of the colour offerings beyond blacks and blues.

For a true It girl look, read our review of the best women’s cardigans 

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