Love them or hate them, barrel jeans are currently a “thing.” But barrel jeans are polarizing. They are the exact opposite of skinny jeans which millennials abhor. But I say do you. There is room in your closet for all styles, and if you are on the fence on barrel jeans, keep reading.
What Are Barrel Jeans?
Barrel jeans are essentially a western style jean and have a fitted waist through the hips but then “balloon” out somewhere mid-thigh. They have a curved, wide leg, and then taper back in at the ankles. They also make your backside look great. The length can be cropped or ankle. If you Google them, search for “barrel jeans”, “balloon jeans”, “wide-legged tapered jeans” or “horseshoe jeans.”
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You may think these voluminous jeans are unflattering (and they can be), but if styled correctly they can be very flattering and they are seriously comfortable. While this style reminds me a bit of the Girbaud baggy jeans I wore in the 80’s, these actually have a shape and structure to them, so they look more polished.
How To Find And Style Barrel Jeans
1. Remember, you want to look for a shape that’s fitted in the waist, flares out around the mid-leg, and then tapers in at the ankle.
2. Look at the fabric. You’ll want to make sure the denim is a high cotton count at least 95% or higher to ensure the jeans maintain their shape.
3. Check the dye, fading and shading. I have noticed the jeans with lighter fading that runs from the top of the thigh to the top of the knee (which many have) will make you look like you are standing with bent knees, which is not flattering. Nobody wants to look shorter than they are or like the have a load in their pants.
4. Be sure what you wear on top is cropped, fitted or at least tucked in (or half tucked). If you wear barrel jeans with a loose top you are not going to like how you look in them.
5. Barrel jeans look best with pointy shoes, stilettos or boots. Cowboy boots will do nicely too. But I am looking forward to styling them with sandals once the weather heats up a bit. Pointy toes are the key.
How I Styled 3 Different Pairs Of Barrel Jeans
These are my personal favorite, the Pilcro Heritage Curve Mid-Rise Barrel Jeans. They are slightly cropped and I love where they hit on me.
For a casual look, I have paired them with a floral sweater and my favorite suede boots.
This is the same pair of barrel jeans style with a cropped cashmere sweater jacket with bell sleeves.
Here I have dressed up the Pilcro Barrel Jeans with a sequined button down top, my favorite crossbody and my trusty Louboutin booties.
I’m wearing the same Pilcro jeans again, but this time I have paired them with a black cropped “business” jacket. Yes, I’m all business on the top and a party on the bottom.
Believe it or not, this pair of barrel jeans is from Amazon! Surprisingly, I loved the fit but not the light shading. So I ordered another pair of the same brand in a different wash. I have also styled them with a sweater from Amazon and my go-to Frye leather booties.
Here I styled the same Amazon barrel jeans with a white cotton menswear button down.
These are the Free People We The Free Good Luck Mid-Rise Barrel Jeans. I really like this pair too. It’s a little wider in the thigh and the shading makes me appear to be bending my legs – like I just got off a horse.
Lastly, I styled the same Free People jeans with a flannel shirt.
11 of The Best Barrel Leg Jeans To Shop
These are my favorites so far. They are very flattering and shading is perfect. They run true to size.
These come in every color you can imagine and at under $100 are a great price. They are a little wider in the thigh area than most, but they are some of my faves as well. They feature a mid-rise waistline, so they sit a bit lower than some of the others. Also they run a bit big so size down one size.
These are a fan-favorite and have strategic darts at the knees and calves give them that cool barrel shape. They are 100% cotton and come in several color options.
4. GREAIDEA Mid Rise Barrel Jeans, $44.95
These Amazon jeans are a great bang for the buck! If you want to try the trend without spending a lot of money, I’d say these are ideal, especially in the indigo and black colors that have no weird shading on the thighs.
5. Levi’s Baggy Dad Jeans, $108
You can’t go wrong with Levi’s nor the price-point.
Don’t knock it until you try it. These all cotton jeans are roomy (hence ballooned) and tapered but in the all right places. Size down a size so they have a fitted waist, barrel-leg fit.
These went viral on TikTok, but don’t let that discourage you. The darting is fabulous and they run a little longer. These jeans are perfect for the midlife woman who wants to try the trend because they are not crazy over-the-top.
8. Pistola Eli Ankle Barrel Leg Jeans, $178
These barrel jeans are a great option if you are looking for a button fly.
9. EB Denim Frederic, $495
Celebrities are snapping up these “notice me” metallic jeans from EB Denim. Believe it or not they are actually 100% cotton. They also make them in regular denim.
10. Everlane The Way-High® Curve Jean, $128
Leave it to Everlane to nail it and for a great price. This cut is not too extreme, so if you want to dip your big toe into this trend I would say try this pair. The are high wasted and made from organic cotton. The reviews are fantastic.
11. Mother The Kegger Utility Heel, $278
These are ultra baggy but if you are tall they are longer and you can probably pull them off.
Are you going to try the barrel jeans trend? Which pair do you like best, and how would you style them?
You may also like to read more fashion posts like What Is A Cocktail Dress And Why You Really Need One and Chic Ways to Nail the Mob Wife Aesthetic for Women Over 50.
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