Straight Leg Jeans Are The More Stylish Skinny Alternative In 2023. Here's How To Wear Them Right

Ask anyone in the fashion crowd, and they'll tell you that jeans are one of the most important clothing essentials in any wardrobe — especially straight leg denim. There's a reason why the cut is a favorite for so many fashion enthusiasts. Not only is it one of the most versatile pieces in a pants collection, but it's also the secret ingredient to plenty of style formulas.

As a staple for many outfits, straight leg denim jeans exist outside of the trend cycle. They aren't subject to the whims of public opinion, like their controversial counterpart: skinny jeans. As if we needed another reason to ditch skinny jeans, they have become a boiling point in pop culture, sparking the heated skinny jean debate between Millennials and Gen Z on TikTok.

These culture wars can get exhausting, no matter what side of the argument you're on. Opting out of the trend cycle with a classic cut, like straight leg denim, has become all the more inviting because of it. From pulled-together basics to business casual looks, we break down the most popular ways to wear your straight leg denim jeans for stylish outfits that work year-round. 

Try the cowgirl-in-the-city style

Create a modern-day fashion look inspired by the wild west by opting for style codes associated with cowgirls. According to a trend-spotting story in People, the cowgirl-in-the-city style has had an impactful effect on fashion in the 2020s so far, with trendsetters like Kendall Jenner and Dua Lipa adopting the style in recent months. Straight leg jeans paired with cowboy boots are essential to this style, with an optional prairie-themed top, hat, and other cowgirl accessories to match.

Wear them in a business casual fashion

A pair of comfortable straight leg denim jeans are a go-to for business casual fashion, because they're so easy to dress up with a couple of key pieces from your closet. Take the outfit above from Claire Rose Cliteur as an example, wherein the fashion blogger styles her straight leg jeans with a Chanel bag, a white collared button-down, an oversized blazer, and Chanel flats. By using only her wardrobe essentials, Cliteur creates an understated yet elegant ensemble that's deceptively simple to pull together.

Opt for a baggier fit

Put a stylish twist on your straight leg jeans by wearing them in a loose-fitting fashion. To achieve this look, opt for a pair of jeans designed with a slightly baggier fit in mind, like Re/Done's '90s High Rise Loose Jeans or Madewell's Superwide-Leg Jeans. You could also size up in a pair of cult classics, like Levi's 501s, to recreate the look for yourself. Complete your outfit using a style tip from fashion blogger Lauren Johnson, who is pictured above wearing her straight leg jeans with an edgy leather top and high-heeled booties.

Exercise transitional dressing

Straight leg jeans have endless styling potential, making them the perfect clothing item for a transitional outfit. Whether it's hot or cold weather on the horizon, you can fashion straight leg jeans accordingly with anything, from an airy tank top to a heavy trench coat. The all-black outfit worn by fashion blogger Chantal Phillip is a prime example of transitional dressing. Here, she demonstrates how to create the ideal winter to spring ensemble, matching a fitted sweater with boots and straight leg jeans.

Try out a crisscross waistband

Take a fashion-forward approach to your straight leg jeans by wearing them in a crisscross waistband style, like fashion blogger Tessa van Montfoort has in the example above. This trendy element to the straight leg jean has become a fast favorite of the fashion crowd, worn by trendsetting celebrities like Hailey Bieber, Lori Harvey, and Kim Kardashian. The overlapping waist of the jeans is a subtle yet transformative design detail that turns this classic look into something contemporary: the modern day mom jeans.

Pair them with a graphic tee

Revamp your look when you don your favorite graphic t-shirt with a pair of straight leg jeans. Take a style tip from digital creator Tracy Valentine, who is shown in the image above wearing a pair of baggy straight leg denim jeans styled with a loose-fitting t-shirt and strappy sandals for a casually cool look. Elevate the ensemble by styling it with monochromatic clothing items — aside from the splash of color on your graphic t-shirt — for an instantly pulled-together look.

Tap into timeless styles

Style your straight leg jeans with a crisp white t-shirt for a fuss-free outfit that stands the test of time. This easy outfit idea for spring and summer might be simple, but it's far from boring. Its effortlessly elegant combination of wardrobe essentials is perfect for people looking to wear comfortable outfits that don't skimp on style. The formula consists of wardrobe staples, so you're likely to have all of the pieces needed to recreate the look in your closet already.

Go for the classic 'jeans and a cute top' look

The jeans and a cute top outfit formula has been popular since the early aughts for its uncomplicated yet fashionable look that's easy to recreate without getting repetitive. Follow the direction of Gen Z style icon Matilda Djerf, who put a feminine twist on the classic outfit by opting for a printed camisole top with a lace neckline. The top is embellished with a small red bow at the center, which matches the decorative bows on her kitten heels. 

Make it a monochromatic moment

Not only is it easy to assemble a pulled-together outfit when you opt for a head-to-toe monochromatic look, but it's also a timesaving layering technique for cold weather fashion. Take stylist Pernille Teisbaek's outfit in the image above as a prime example. Here, Teisbaek opts for a subdued gray and black color palette consisting of straight leg jeans, a warm top, gray layers, and black accessories. By sticking to one shade range, Teisbaek is able to forego the process of curating multiple prints and colors without sacrificing personal style.