We are often asked “What jeans are in style?” and this is a big fashion conundrum because women over 40 worry they will look dated. With good reason too, because the one of the first things people do notice are jeans. I think this started back when ‘Mom Jeans’ were not a good thing. They represented women who had not kept up with the trends and stayed trapped in the past. Nobody wants to be that woman. Did anyone ever think maybe she actually was busy being a mom? I digress.
And now Gen Z is trying to cancel skinny jeans? Please, they will have to pry them out of our hands. And what woman over 30 would listen to what a teen thinks of their fashion anyway? Besides we are old enough to know that fashion is cyclical. They aren’t.
Thankfully today we have so many options, and no one denim style is the only way to look fashionable in jeans. Here are some of the best jeans for women over 40, how to select them for your own body type, how to style them and how to get the best fit.
What Are The Best Jeans for Women Over 40?
Fashion has evolved to a point where almost everything is “in” if you wear it with conviction. Some women over 40 may look fabulous sticking with a dark pair of straight leg Levi’s or a washed denim boot cut style, both of which are considered denim classics. Yes, you may want to even wear those original reverse denim ‘mom jeans’ from the 80s which are back on trend. Vintage is always in, so you can always wear a pair you already own from a certain era, as long as you own the look! But keep in mind the newer denim, even if it looks like an old style, is made with more comfortable fabrics, often with a tiny percentage of elastin for stretch!
Yet some denim styles are not quite right for women over 40, such as totally distressed and torn jeans with gaping holes. To look more polished (and slimmer as well) darker wash denim, greys, deep solid colors or black are the best ways to go. Some washed denim styles add light and dark shades in the right places that are very flattering as well.
Best Jean Styles Over 40
Skinny Jeans for Women Over 40
Skinny jeans can work on most body types if you treat them more like leggings. In fact, they are a better alternative to leggings for women over 40. This is because denim fabric is more substantial and side stitching and pockets on jeans are flattering details. Skinny jeans also tend to hold you in a bit more than thin leggings and hide any bumps and lumps you may have. And now that high waist is everywhere you can have even more tummy control. If you are more bottom heavy, I recommend always wearing something long like a jacket, tunic or sweater over your hips with skinny jeans. If your legs are cone shape (skinny ankles and thicker up top), try boots, either knee-high or medium height for volume at your ankles to balance off your entire look.
Straight Leg Jeans
The skinny jean will always have it’s place, but denim is trending back to wider leg styles. Yay! We can breathe! But if you like skinny jeans and are not ready to go for a lot of volume, a straight leg jean is a great compromise. Straight legs balance out wider hips and heavier legs. They also solve the dilemma of what shoes to wear. Ankle booties will fit under straight legs and you can wear classic flats, loafer or heels.
High Waist Jeans
Waistlines on jeans are moving higher, which is great news for women over 40. You will have no more muffin top nor skin showing when you lift up your arms. And these are not the uncomfortable high waist jeans you may remember, because now denim fabrics usually offer stretch! High waist jeans come in all styles from skinny jeans to wide leg. They work for most women over 40 unless your figure is larger busted, short-waisted or petite. In those cases you can try a modified high rise and should avoid super high paper bag waists which will shorten your torso. The styling options for high waist jeans are endless. You can wear sweaters and tops tucked in or out, and either cropped or long jackets with high waist jeans.
Cropped Jeans and Cropped Flare Jeans
Cropped jeans are our summertime heroes! This is because they are a perfect option to shorts for women over 40 (and are not matronly capris), who prefer to keep their legs covered in warmer weather. You can wear them with strappy sandals and slides in summer. And of course they are fabulous year round. Wear them in the fall and winter and to show off your favorite booties or heels. Cropped jeans are all about proportions. Wearing them just above the ankle works best for most women. If you are tall, you don’t want them much higher because they will look like high waters or like your pants shrunk. And if you are petite, just above the ankle will give you more of an elongated look and won’t make you look shorter.
Cropped flare jeans are another ideal option to balance out your proportions. With cropped flares you won’t look too top heavy and they will minimize your hips if you have those concerns.
Bootcut Or Flare Jeans for Women Over 40
Bootcut jeans are a classic and I know many women who are amazed at how they elongate the leg. Wear them with higher shoes if you are petite and they look fabulous with cowboy boots or pointy toe shoes or pumps. A blouse or shirt tucked in and belted or a blazer will balance out your proportions with flare leg jeans. You can also wear oversized tops and sweaters out over the waist of flare leg jeans for a more modern look, or try them with sneakers.
Wide Leg Jeans
Wide leg jeans can be super flattering for women because they totally hide your legs whether they are too big, too slim or not of the best proportions. These are a bit different than flares or boot-cut because they are loose around the knees. Style these the same way I recommend for bootcut or flare, only minimize your pieces at the top since these pants have more volume at the bottom.
The Boyfriend Jean
Boyfriend (or girlfriend) style denim are loose fitting and super comfortable. Boyfriend styles are more masculine and oversized which actually make you look more feminine and undersized. Girlfriend styles are often less overwhelming and more fitted in the waist and to the curves of a woman’s body. You can also find slim boyfriend jeans which are easier to wear. Women over 40 need to wear boyfriend or girlfriend jeans with a bit of caution because they can look sloppy. Wear them with slimmer fitting top and sweaters or a fitted button down shirt to clean up the look. Or add a feminine element of surprise like a pair of girly shoes, a floral or sparkly top, or pearls.
Distressed Denim Jeans
Of course women over 40 can wear distressed denim! Just beware of jeans with too many rips or tears, and of what they are revealing. Do you really want your knee revealed or the skin on your thigh exposed? If your skin is tight and smooth you can wear them, but these are questions only you can answer. If the distressed jeans look like the jeans your teenage daughter would wear they are probably not sophisticated enough for you. Besides, super distressed jeans are very casual, so they are not always appropriate. Most workplaces, for example, do not allow them. Yet if you do find a pair of distressed denim jeans that fit you well, then go for it! Simply keep the rest of your look “undistressed” with clean pieces. Think of the distressed denim as your texture and avoid wearing other pieces with a lot of details and embellishments.
How To Get The Best Fitting Jeans
Be picky when shopping for jeans and get the proper fit. Try on several pairs of jeans in different styles and sizes. If they are available, make sure you also try them on the exact same pair in the same style and size. The way some denim (not premium) is manufactured and cut from a stack of fabric, you may find them to be up to an inch difference in size. Yes this is a dressing room challenge, but there is a silver lining. You can find a pair of jeans that are a perfect fit for you. You don’t want your jeans too loose or too tight for a proper fit.
Trying on a bunch of sizes is not as important when it comes to stretch denim or loser styles. In fact, you may not wear only one size. Be creative and try different sizes, too. I have purposely bought a larger size to get more of an oversized look.
Have fun wearing and styling your jeans! Denim jeans have become such an everyday staple and there are so many options available that you can find a style (or several styles) that will make you look and feel your best.
Shop Jeans for Women Over 40
Which is your favorite style jeans for women over 40?
You may also like to read How To Wear Ankle Boots In The Winter When You’re Over 40 and The Best 9 Spring 2021 Fashion Trends For Women Over 40
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