28 styles later, how a Vogue writer found the perfect pair of jeans

It’s pretentious to say, but I think I’ve found the best little jeans for women. Not just one pair either – multiple styles of every silhouette, fit and wash. How did I get lucky, you may ask? I tried on 28 pairs of jeans, analyzing the pros and cons, fit and finish of each on my 5ft 1″ frame.

The key lesson I learned: never try on jeans alone. You need a second opinion in order to land on a pair you’ll love and cherish for years, otherwise you might settle for something mediocre – and no one wants that.

Whether it’s a friend or an expert – like the wonderful team at Selfridges’ expansive Denim Studio or Matches Fashion’s stylish private Carlos Place shopping rooms – assistance is needed. Selfridges denim aficionado Alfie taught me that silhouette isn’t the only thing to consider: grains, rivets and seams are also important. (Trust me, when you try on more than five pairs, you really start to notice the little differences.)

Another crucial learning point: some brands just don’t cater to petite women, and that’s fine, because there are plenty who have absolutely nailed the slip. Tailors are also useful, so don’t be afraid to accept changes, rather than tossing certain styles to the “no” pile. I’ve also learned to be open-minded about sizing, noting, for example, that boyfriend jeans are much better several sizes up, so they sit on the hips rather than the waist.

Twenty-eight jeans styles later, I’ve curated my selection of the best little jeans. Enjoy! I did the legwork for you, literally.

Best-selling basics

Sometimes it’s better to be simple. There were two particular styles that made me mark “great everyday jeans” in my ratings: J Brand’s cult Teagan high-rise stretch denim jeans and AG’s high-rise straight stretch denim jeans. Both do exactly what they say on the box, with no bells or whistles.

AG Mari high-rise stretch-denim straight-leg jeans

J Brand Teagan stretch denim high-rise straight-leg jeans

Fail-Safe Classics

Levi’s 501s have stood the test of time, but Re/Done’s styles are also becoming modern classics. Try the different silhouettes of the 90s, for example, which are inspired by vintage shapes.

Image may contain: clothes, clothes, pants, denim and jeans

Re/Done ’90s Ankle Crop High Rise Jeans

excellent boyfriends

The best boyfriend jeans I’ve found are from Raey and Citizens of Humanity. But since this is my favorite style, I’d like to point you to some other shiny boyfriend jeans, courtesy of Frame, below.

Raey Opa organic cotton baggy boyfriend jeans

Citizens of Humanity Emerson Mid-Rise Straight Boyfriend Jeans

Image may contain: clothes, clothes, pants, denim and jeans

Frame Le Piper straight fit jeans

Frame Le Jane high-rise straight-leg jeans

cool girl jeans

Pairs adorned with Prada logos sent the A-list into a frenzy: EmRata briefly broke the internet this summer with her Canadian Prada tuxedo, consisting of a bralette and baggy jeans. Loewe also has killer styles, decorated with a smart leather patch instead of a conventional back pocket. They are really worth the money.

Prada logo-plaque denim straight-leg jeans

High-waisted straight jeans with pockets in leather Loewe

Simple, but reliable

Looking for a simple pair you can always rely on? Wandler’s new denim offering is awash with eye-catching styles, including cropped, slim-leg eyelets (although they were long on me). I also wore the Emerald pair from Tu Es Mon Tresor on a loop.

Tu Es Mon Tresor Emerald high-rise straight-leg jeans

Wandler Carnation cropped slim-leg jeans

Wide-legged wonders

The appetite for wide jeans is on the rise. It’s a tough shape to get into, but I found Levi’s and Ellas de Khaite’s beloved Ribcage style to cut the mustard. Levi’s offers a free modification service, so I raised my rib cages a few inches to get the perfect fit.

Image may contain: clothes, clothes, pants, denim and jeans

Ella Khaite cropped high-rise jeans

Levi’s Ribcage straight ankle jeans

nostalgic bootcut

Bootcut jeans are on the rise. The divisive denim shape isn’t for everyone, but if you’re ready to channel your inner Jennifer Aniston, 7 For All Mankind is your port of call. The Scandi Totême brand also offers great silhouettes: its kickflares suited me perfectly.

7 For All Mankind mid-rise bootcut jeans

Totême flared jeans

Ultra flattering

Former fit model Paige Adams-Geller knows a thing or two about denim. With years of experience under her belt, she launched her eponymous label Paige, specializing in timeless denim styles. Sarah’s high-rise stretch denim slim jeans caught my eye, not least because they’re super flattering, like a hug in denim form.

Paige Sarah stretch-denim high-rise slim-leg jeans

Paige Sarah Slim high-rise cotton-blend denim jeans

Is it worth it

There are two more that deserve a final shout-out: Citizens of Humanity’s Marlees — the perfect loose fit — and Re/Done’s ’90s pinch-waist jeans, which are pure genius.

Citizens of Humanity Marlee organic cotton-blend denim high-rise tapered jeans

Agolde 90s Pinch Waist high-rise straight jeans