Although wider jeans are making a comeback right now, skinny jeans are still a modern wardrobe staple.
The tight-fitting pants got some flack when they first hit the scene (as most major trends do), but now you see everyone from Justin Theroux to that stylish guy at your local bar rocking the best-selling cut. This ubiquitous appeal is largely thanks to the flattering nature of skinny jeans, as they make your hips look narrower and your shoulders look wider (in other words, hotter).
Sadly, great skinny jeans are hard to find. There are a lot of solid brands selling a swath of different styles, so deciding what kind you actually want can be tough. To help out, we’ve narrowed the skinny jeans search to several categories and found the best pair for each, including the best overall skinny jeans, the best designer option, the best budget option and so on.
When looking at our picks for the best skinny jeans, consider how you’ll be wearing the jeans. More minimal, premium denim is now a great option for the office, while distressed moto jeans might be your new go-to for nights out.
1. BLANKNYC Distressed Skinny Fit Jeans
Finding good denim under $100 is a deal, so finding good denim under $50 is worth getting excited about. These distressed skinny jeans from BLANKNYC are a great option if you want a versatile pair that won’t break the bank. The black color allows you to wear them with anything, while a subtle tear adds some trendy texture and a stretch-denim material makes them comfortable enough to wear all day.
2. NXP Skinny Fit Moto Jeans
Moto jeans have blown-up recently and it’s easy to see why. They elevate normal jeans with eye-catching biker-inspired details that make them a statement piece instead of regular ol’ jeans. We like these from NXP because they’re reasonably priced (unlike the $800 Balmain biker jeans), and they have a worn-in look for extra character.
3. Levi’s 510 Skinny Fit Jeans
Levi’s are still the king of jeans. They fit like a glove, they’re affordable, and they come in a handful of timeless styles (like the medium wash below) to fill any hole in your wardrobe’s pants lineup. Plus a 1% elastane construction adds just the right amount of stretch without compromising the structure. If you just need a great pair of skinny jeans, go with Levi’s.
4. Mavi James Skinny Jeans
BEST DARK WASH
Some shoppers don’t know about Mavi, a Turkish brand making quality, affordable denim, but we think they’re worth checking out. These dark wash brushed skinny jeans are some of our favorites from the brand, as they nail the low-key vintage-inspired look. We recommend utilizing them for slightly more dressy outfits, such as a crisp white button up and loafers in the summer.
5. Topman Tapered Skinny Jeans
Speaking of vintage-inspired looks, check out these Topman skinny jeans. A few carefully placed scuffs and rips elevate the pants by contrasting the modern skinny fit with vintage vibes. Rock them on the weekends with sneakers and a short sleeve button up or tee for best results.
6. Naked & Famous Skinny Selvedge Jeans
Another denim trend that’s taken off recently is selvedge denim. This means the denim is made on a shuttle loom (usually by Japanese craftsmen), providing a higher level of quality. Naked & Famous has somewhat cornered the market on selvedge jeans, so we recommend buying from them if you can. Fair warning: they’ll be a little stiff when you get them, but after a few wears they’ll become your favorite jeans.
7. Fidelity Denim Vantage Skinny Fit Jeans
Jeans are now an office attire staple, but they have to be the right pair to be appropriate. These premium skinny jeans from Fidelity fit the bill with a style that’s not too extreme, and great for mixing with dress shoes, button-up shirts and even blazers. They’re more expensive than, say, Levi’s, but that’s a worthy investment for office attire.
8. Ksubi Van Winkle Skinny Jeans
If you want to nail the distressed look, we suggest spending a little more. Most distressed jeans from fast-fashion retailers will start to look run-down or even unravel after a few months, but higher-quality jeans like these Ksubis will stay perfectly laid-back for years. Wear them with a vintage tee and sneakers for an authentically laid-back look, or use them to dress down a short sleeve button up for an relaxed night out look.
9. Acne Studios Skinny Fit Jeans
Designers all have their own, slightly different take on skinny jeans, but we think Acne Studios does it best. Their skinny jeans gained somewhat of a following with denim-lovers for their incredible fit, premium fabric and strong, lasting washes.
10. Gucci Skinny Fit Jeans
Gucci might be making out-there clothing inspired by renaissance upper-class, wild animals and preppy uniforms, but they still know how to nail the classics. If you can afford it, the uniquely slender fit and gold-print Gucci logo on these jeans makes them worth the extra dough. We recommend wearing them with simple staples such as a white tee and low-key sneakers to properly flex the grail-worthy pants.