I Tried On 32 Pairs Of Jeans In Search Of The Perfect Denim—I Found Them

Sweat, tears and a countless mirror selfies later...
collage of woman wearing multiple pairs of jeans

If there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that I love to shop. Not only do I love to shop but, I’m good at it, too.

I’m the person my friends turn to when they want brand recommendations, outfit advice or need help sourcing that coveted ‘out of stock’ item that’s impossible to find. Hell, I love it so much I’ve somehow (and very luckily) found myself doing it as a job, and yet, when it comes to shopping for jeans, I shudder at the thought—and I know I’m not the only one.

Why is shopping for jeans so universally despised? Is it the fact that ‘straight leg’ has 12 different definitions depending on the brand? Or that a 27’’ waist won’t do up in one style but will be swimming on you in another? What is with all the cropped and ankle cuts? And why is changeroom lighting so heinously unflattering?

Given the stress shopping for jeans causes so many, I decided to put my body (image) on the line and try on as many pairs of jeans as possible to find the best styles of the season. 

Wide leg, straight, slim, tapered, flared, cropped, designer, high street…I tried it all. Thirty-two pairs to be exact.

I may have done some damage to my self-confidence in the process, but I’m delighted to say, I found them. And, not just one pair, but nine stunning sets of jeans truly worthy of adding to cart. 

While I am aware body shape and size will play a major role in how these jeans work for you, I do hope this will provide some guidance on the fit, fluctuation and features of each style.

Note: for reference and transparency, my waist measures to 71cm (I’m usually between 27-28” in pants), 99cm in the hips/seat and I’m around 165cm tall.  

Review: The Best Jeans Of 2024

st agni jeans

St Agni Mid Rise Wide Leg Jeans

$349  at St Agni

Style: Mid rise, wide leg 

Wearing: Size 28

The Review: These jeans are everything. The cut. The colour. The fit. Perfection. In the dreamiest ‘70s-esque mid-blue and a super flattering wide leg cut that leans chic rather than baggy, these jeans look good with everything—sneakers, heels, boots, blazers, coats, oversized knits, “going out tops”. I’ve been wearing them for weeks (with countless compliments) so, you can take my word for it. 

woman wears blue jeans and white tank

Uniqlo Wide Straight Jeans

$59.95  at Uniqlo

Style: High-rise, wide leg

Wearing: Size 27

The Review: At first, I hated these jeans. Why were they so big?! I’d even sized down to a 27” (I typically grab 28” in denim because I hate my denim feeling tight) but, the longer I wore them in my tiny cubicle of a dressing room, the more I liked them.

Because the looser fit forced me to wear them as more of a mid-rise rather than the ‘high-waist fit’ they’re advertised as, they felt intentionally slouchy and the length was perfect for a sneaker. The denim was also quite lightweight making them perfect for trans-seasonal weather, the price point was affordable and they come in five other colours. 

woman wears two pairs of jeans and white tank in a split image

Henne Valentina (left) & Gisella Jean (right) 

$229 at Henne

Style: Mid/low-rise, wide leg

Wearing: Size 28 in Valentina & Size 27 in Gisella 

The Review: Henne’s Valentina jeans have been cropping up all over my TikTok, so naturally they made the list for try-ons. The fit is great and they’re generously long—I had to cuff mine so you may need to hem them if you’re on the shorter side. Much to my surprise, however, it was Henne’s Gisella jean that stole my heart….

I’d put myself in the never-wearing-low-rise-jeans category and never imagined I’d take myself out, but here I am, utterly obsessed. Sitting at the top of my hip bone, these are a really flattering fit for anyone who’s short-waisted like me (giving the illusion of a longer torso), and the wider leg makes for a relaxed cut that’s not too baggy. 

woman wears blue jeans and white tank

FRAME Le Palazzo Jeans

$540 at Net-A-Porter

Style: High-rise, flared leg

Wearing: Size 27 

The Review: LA-based designer denim brand FRAME has long been a favourite of the celebrity and style set, and now, I finally understand why. When I picked up my size in these jeans I immediately thought, ‘there’s no way these are going to fit.’

And yet, like some kind of Sisterhood-Of-The-Travelling-Pants magic, when I slipped them on, they were perfect; buttery soft, a comfortable stretch and a stunning, flared silhouette. If you have the cash to splash, you won’t regret buying these.

woman wears blue jeans and white tank

Viktoria & Woods Cobain High Waisted Jean

$350 at Viktoria & Woods

Style: High-rise, straight leg, split-hem 

Wearing: Size 2

The Review: Vik & Wood’s Cobain Jean have been a constant in their denim collection for a few seasons now, just about as long as they’ve been on my wishlist. They didn’t disappoint. This season’s colourway sees the style return in this rich blue with a dark contrast stitching, which felt like a genius, elevated design decision. 

I tried both a size one and a size two, opting for the larger because, again, I prefer a looser fit. The slimmer leg felt elongating and the split hem is a really cute touch however, they are quite long so you may need to get them altered if you want to wear them with flats or sneakers. 

woman wears blue jeans and white tank

Abrand Carrie Jean

$129.95 at Abrand

Style: High-rise, straight leg

Wearing: Size 11

The Review: I’ve been a loyal fan of Abrand’s denim (the last four pairs of jeans I’ve owned have come from them) so, I was looking forward to trying one of their newer silhouettes: Carrie.

If you’re after a baggy cut, these jeans have a nice amount of stretch for a comfortable wear. They are slouchier around the top and taper slightly at the bottom to suit all shoe styles.  

woman wears blue jeans and white tank

Neuw Denim Eva Wide

$249.95  at Neuw Denim

Style: Mid-rise, wide leg

Wearing: Size 28:32

The Review: There’s something about the fit and flare of these jeans that feels flirty and fun. Unlike many wide-leg styles which have a relaxed silhouette throughout, these jeans are fitted around from mid-rise waist to the thigh (before dropping into a wide leg).

Hugging your curves in all the right ways thanks to the luxe Italian stretch denim, they seem to move with the body rather than around it—exactly what you want from a great pair of jeans. 

woman wears blue jeans and white tank

R.M.Williams Maren Jeans  

$179 at R.M.Williams

Style: High-rise, regular fit 

Wearing: Size 28

The Review: If you’ve been missing your skinny jeans and showing off your pins, then I think this selection from R.M.Williams might be for you.

They’re comfortably soft and hug the body from the waist right through to just above the knee for a fit that sit somewhere between skinny jeans and a straight-leg. I opted for the larger size, but felt as though I could have easily sized up again for a more relaxed fit.   

woman wears blue jeans and white tank

Assembly Vintage Straight Jean

$120  at Assembly

Style: High-rise, straight leg

Wearing: Size 28

The Review: The exhaustion has set in, I’m crawling to the finish line. After 9 consecutive flops I’m not sure I’ll make it but, I summon the strength and try on what I promise myself will be the last jeans of the day.

Suddenly, it all feels worth it. Not too tight. Not too loose. Not too rigid. Not too stretchy. Not too dark. Not too light. They’re the goldilocks of jeans, perfect for all occasions and looks and the ideal way to wrap up my jean journey. 

Looking to save money on jeans? Check out our coupon codes for Net-A-Porter, The Iconic and more.

Related article:

Related stories